Final Day of Go-for-Launch! Austin – Presentations

It’s been a fantastic first 2 days of our second annual Go For Launch! Austin at St. Edward’s University. We are excited to hear all the brilliant ideas the students who participated this year will present and want to invite you to join us for this!

You are welcome to join us for any, or all, of the following TODAY in Carter Auditorium (JBWS):

1:30-2:15   Talk From Astronaut Don Thomas

2:15-3:50   Student presentations of their experiment ideas

3:50 – 4:00  Overview of St. Edward’s University

4:00-4:30   Break with refreshments

4:30-5:00   Award Ceremony

TOPP Alumna Covers Go-For-Launch! at St. Edward’s University

Natalie Ferrari, one of nearly 100 alumni of the Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Project (TOPP), now works at KXAN as an on-air meteorologist.  She came to St. Edward’s on Tuesday, 12 July, as part of Go-For-Launch! to both give a talk to the participants on her career trajectory as well as to do a story on the camp itself.  You can see that story, which appeared on the 6 pm news on Wednesday, 13 July, here!

During her presentation, she talked about the importance of making connections, pursuing internships, and communicating with others.  Her broadcast career got started with an unpaid internships at Fox affiliate KRIV in Houston during her senior year at the University of Houston (UH).  She worked in Abilene and College Station before arriving in Austin last Fall.

It was the first time Dr. Gary A. Morris, Dean of Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s, and Natalie had met in person in more than 5 years.  Natalie graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from UH in 2011.  While she was there, she took a class in Advanced Atmospheric Data Analysis and Laboratory from Dr. Morris during a semester in which he was a visiting faculty member at UH.  She joined the TOPP team and helped launch weather balloons instrumented to measure ozone as well as temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction.

“It’s always nice to meet up with former students to see what they’re up to and where they’ve been along the way,” said Dr. Morris.  “I’m very proud of Natalie — she’s made it in a very tough field!  And it’s fun to think that her experience as an undergraduate with our balloon research project might have helped her on that path.”

You can see Natalie on KXAN on the weekend and morning reports.  Thanks to Natalie and KXAN for covering our inaugural Go-For-Launch! event at St. Edward’s University.

Natalie Ferrari (KXAN meteorologist), Mike Foreman (retired NASA astronaut), and Michelle Lucas (founder and CEO of Higher Orbits) at Go-For-Launch, 11 - 13 July 2016 at St. Edward's University

Natalie Ferrari (KXAN meteorologist), Mike Foreman (retired NASA astronaut), and Michelle Lucas (founder and CEO of Higher Orbits) at Go-For-Launch, 11 – 13 July 2016 at St. Edward’s University

Go-for-Launch Brings Japanese and American Student Teams Together

The first 30 students at Go-For-Launch St. Edward's University, 11 - 13 July 2016.

The first 30 students at Go-For-Launch St. Edward’s University, 11 – 13 July 2016.

St. Edward’s University hosted its inaugural “Go-For-Launch!” event 11 – 13 July 2016.  30 students participated with 15 here as part of the summer program with Asia Pacific University and 15 from Austin-area high schools.

Team Rigel builds their paper tower on Day 1.

Team Rigel builds their paper tower on Day 1.

Astronaut Mike Foreman met with students all three days, answering questions about life in space and the technical challenges associated with conducting experiments on the International Space Station (ISS).

Students formed teams of 5, with no more than 3 international students on any given team.  Monday started with competitions included building a paper tower, selecting a team name, and designing a team mission patch.  By Wednesday, teams had designed an experiment for the International Space Station.

In addition to Astronaut Foreman, Mac McCall (a longtime NASA contractor with Boeing who worked 18 years on ISS projects), Associate Vice President of Global Initiatives Bill Clabby, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics Paul Walter, Dr. Paul Colosky (Space Physiologist), Dean of Natural Sciences Gary A. Morris, and CEO and Founder of Higher Orbits Michelle Lucas did the judging.

The winning project, designed by a team called, “Ryusei 5,” sought to watch a phytoplankton species (Nannochloropsis) develop on the ISS to determine the impact of the low gravity environment.


We look forward to hosting Go-For-Launch! at St. Edward’s again next summer, 10 – 12 July 2017.  Spread the word!

Winning team, Ryusei 5, with Astronaut Mike Foreman at the inaugural Go-For-Launch! event at St. Edward's University, 11 - 13 July 2016.

Winning team, Ryusei 5, with Astronaut Mike Foreman at the inaugural Go-For-Launch! event at St. Edward’s University, 11 – 13 July 2016.


4th of July 40% Discount for Go-For-Launch!

Spread the word — there’s a discount on registration for the Go-For-Launch event July 11 -13 at St. Edward’s University.  Enter the code


and get 40% off the $250 registration fee.  The discount is only good through July 4.  Register here NOW!

For more info on the camp, follow these links:

NSCI News Story <— general info <— details on our program

Contact Gary A. Morris, Dean of Natural Sciences, with any further questions.



KXAN Coverage for Go-For-Launch! Event

A former research assistant of Dean Gary A. Morris, Natalie Ferrari is now on the weather team at KXAN here in Austin and is helping to promote our upcoming Go-For-Launch! event at St. Ed’s.

As an undergraduate at the University of Houston, Natalie took Dr. Morris’ GEOL 4397 course on “Advanced Atmospheric Data Analysis and Laboratory” while he was a Visiting Professor for one semester in the Spring of 2008 and was on the launch team for Dr. Morris’ ozonesonde project.  Natalie made her way through the small-town broadcast meteorology market to arrive in Austin last Fall.

She kindly picked up and promoted our Go-For-Launch! event, scheduled for 11 – 13 July 2016 – the summer camp for high school students focused on leadership and team-building.  Students at the camp will design an experiment to be performed in space, with the winning project earning the chance to be built, flown to the space station, and conducted by the astronauts there.

Retired astronaut, Michael Foreman, will be in attendance for the entire 3-day event, serving as a mentor to the student teams.  You can follow him on Twitter.

For more information on Go-For-Launch! including scholarships and how to register, click here.  Space is still available.  Our registration deadline is 1 July!

Compete to Put an Experiment on the International Space Station: Go-for-Launch at St. Edward’s University, 11 – 13 July 2016

St. Edward’s University is delighted to work with Higher Orbits to host its first Go-for-Launch camp this summer, 11 – 13 July.  Teams of high school and college students will learn leadership skills and teamwork.  An astronaut will be in residence for the entirety of the camp.  With the help of all the mentors, student teams will design an experiment for the International Space Station (ISS).  A panel of experts will judge the student proposals, and the winning project will be built, flown to the ISS, and conducted on the ISS.  If the launch occurs in the USA, the winning team will receive an invitation to attend (travel costs not included — but seeing a rocket launch is really cool).

The cost of the three-day camp is $250, which includes lunch and snacks each day.  This is a day camp only (no housing).

Click here to register today!

Note that scholarships will be available, and there is an option on the registration form to register for as little as $10 with a commitment to fundraise with Higher Orbits partners (PopCorn Factory and FannieMae)!


For those of you who are NOT students, we are still recruiting mentors for the camp.  Contact Dean Morris for more information.