The primary goal of the Aerospace Catalyst Experiences for Students (ACES) project, funded at Louisiana State University by NASA's National Space Grant College and Fellowship program, is giving students a true hands-on experience with project management, life-cycle, experiment construction, data collection, analysis and interpretation.
During ACES students design, build, fly and analyze the data returned from small payloads (typical dimensions 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm, typical weight ~500 grams) carried up to ~100,000 feet by a helium-filled latex sounding balloon.
The ACES pilot program, run during the 2002-2003 academic year, involved 13 LSU and SU students, grouped in 4 teams, that built payloads for studies in atmospheric science, cosmic rays and remote sensing. These payloads were then launched from the NASA National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF) in Palestine, Texas on May 21, 2003.Most recently, the La ACES (Louisiana ACES) program has been selected for funding by NASA.
During 2004-2005 La ACES has expanded the pilot program to five institutions across the state (See Groups page) and has included development of lectures and activities for a new Student Ballooning Course (see LaACES publications).
Student teams at each of the LaACES institutions are now engaged in the development of their balloon payloads and we anticipate launch during May 2005 from the NASA NSBF. We have also begun piloting an Advanced ACES program, for students who have completed the entry ACES "course", that includes participation in the student built MIMIC Mars probe spacecraft.
Management of LaACES is through the Louisiana Space Consortium with Dr. John P. Wefel as Principal Investigator. See the LaACES Management page for contact information
See the Question & Answer (Q & A) page for the ACES FAQ and Discussion Group