HOUSTON (Conrad Foundation PR)— Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation, has announced the Foundation has joined forces with NanoRacks LLC, the leading company for low-earth orbit utilization, to launch a new program called DreamUp. The program will assist students in funding an out-of-this-world educational experience – conducting experiments in space. DreamUp is the first program to enable students to use American Express® Membership Rewards® points to fund student experiments onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
Junior high, high school and undergraduate college students from accredited U.S. schools who register for the DreamUp program will have access to Nanoracks’ two standardized research platforms (also known as NanoLabs) aboard the ISS, each of which supports 16 payloads, or experiments, housed in small containers. Each NanoLab is plugged into the ISS’ power and communications system by a NASA astronaut, offering students a chance to test scientific theories in the unique zero gravity environment. Students also get the opportunity to interact with ISS astronauts regarding their experiments.
“Some experiments can’t be done on Earth because we can’t turn off gravity,” Conrad said. “DreamUp, powered by our partner NanoRacks, is the ultimate ‘plug and play,’ helping our next great innovators participate in a scientific research opportunity like no other.”
Students can design two different size payloads, starting at $15,5000 each. To fund this learning opportunity, Conrad Foundation created a unique fundraising opportunity through the American Express Members Give program. Students, parents, teachers and friends can simply use their American Express card or donate their Membership Rewards points to the DreamUp program to help fund experiments for the school(s) of their choice. For every 1,000 points redeemed, the DreamUp program will receive $10.00.
“We are committed to lowering the barriers for entry to space research,” stated Jeffrey Manber, managing director of NanoRacks. “This is a double win. By lowering the costs via the use of customer reward programs and bringing in the world-class students through the Conrad Foundation, everyone gains.”
Some potential experiments that would work well for the DreamUp program include: testing plant growth in space; comparing insect lifespan in space versus Earth; testing food decomposition in space using leftovers from an astronaut’s meal; measuring the time it takes to hatch an egg in space; or studying the behavior of fish in a sealed aquarium.
Donations can also be made to a scholarship fund, which will help deserving, under-served schools fund their own NanoLab payload. Unused funds by participating DreamUp students will also be added to the scholarship fund.
“A number of schools are already collaborating with astronauts aboard the ISS to research various experiments in a microgravity environment,” said Julie Robinson, chief scientist for the International Space Station. “Now, students of all socioeconomic levels will be able to send their projects to space, taking their research capabilities a step farther. This program between the Conrad Foundation and NanoRacks will allow students from all across the country to utilize the resources of the National Lab.”
Schools interested in signing up for DreamUp should complete an easy online registration [B1] form to get started. Once registered, schools can join the Conrad Foundation’s online community and connect with other students, teachers and advisors to get even more ideas for new innovative technologies and research.
Anyone interested in donating money or points to the DreamUp program, please visit http://bit.ly/HgJKn5.
About The Conrad Foundation
The Conrad Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming the current methods of teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in high schools. The program is free to all who wish to participate and reaches all socio-economic levels. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind to combine education, innovation and entrepreneurship to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability. For more information, visit www.conradfoundation.org.
NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide quality hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. The company developed and has two research platforms onboard the U.S. National Laboratory which can house plug and play payloads using the CubeSat form factor. The current signed customer pipeline of over 60 payloads including domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government organizations, has propelled NanoRacks into a leadership position in understanding the emerging commercial market for low‐earth orbit utilization. Visit us at http://www.nanoracks.com and follow us at @nanoracks.