WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) announced that NASA has awarded the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium $500,000 to support the Community College Technical Schools (CCTS) Student Launch Program and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in New Mexico. The Student Launch Program, which began in 2009, enables students to create and design experiments and launch them into space from Spaceport America near Las Cruces. The program seeks to attract students to STEM education, expose them to aerospace-related careers and hands-on space technology experience. In April, Udall and Heinrich requested continued funding for education programs supported by Space Grant, which help attract and retain students to jobs in high-tech sectors, and maintain New Mexico and the nation’s competitiveness in STEM fields.
“The Student Launch Program is an invaluable experience that gives New Mexico students exposure to cutting-edge space technology," Udall said. "The commercial space industry is expanding in New Mexico. I was proud to support this grant to inspire students to stay in the science and math fields and get training that will help them excel in aerospace and other science and engineering careers across the state.”
“New Mexico helps provide the testing grounds, assets, and talent to deliver the technologies our country relies on for national security and for the most ambitious commercial ventures,” Heinrich said. “It has become increasingly important to engage students in STEM education, and it’s programs like the Student Launch Program that inspire students to innovate and give them the experience needed to compete in a global economy.”
Funding for the award was granted through NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (Space Grant). New Mexico State University is the leading institution sponsoring the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, but students from several New Mexico schools participate in the Student Launch Program.