Broward College project selected for NASA Mission

September 26, 2017 | Did You Know, News

Sculpture of NASA's logo: Blue Earth globe with NASA written across.

Did you know that Broward College has been on space missions with NASA?

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, more popularly known as NASA has been responsible, since its creation in 1958, for the achievements in human space flight and the advancement of space science breakthroughs.The College has participated in missions dating back to 1998. This year will be no different as a research project proposed by the science faculty was again selected for a mission aboard the Blue Origins New Shepherd SRLV (suborbital reusable launch vehicle).  The project titled “Measurement of the Atmospheric Background in the Mesosphere as a Pre-cursor to Astronomical Observations,” will launch in the first half of 2018 and is a timely way to recognize the 20th anniversary of the first Broward College project to launch in space.

The project will study the abundance of hydroxide, a gas originated from water vapor, in the mesosphere which is the middle layer of earth’s atmosphere. The gas is a burden for scientists who try to explore space from Earth and learning more about it will guide them in the proper calibration of their instruments.

The project is being led by Rolando Branly, Broward College physics professor. “My students and I are excited to continue our collaboration with NASA through Blue Origins,” he said, “Broward College is one of only two higher education institutions in the Florida Space Grant Consortium with full membership, and we plan to submit many more projects to learn what we can about ‘the final frontier’.” He is now working with a team of students this semester to prepare equipment for the project.

For the Blue Origins project, the College partnered with Silicon Valley Space Center, an aerospace industry business incubator, overseen by Dr. Sean Casey.

Broward College President J. David Armstrong, Jr. commended the team and the value of these programs to students.  “For the past twenty years, Broward College has had a strong relationship with the space community, working in tandem to understand the cosmos while inspiring the next generation of astronomy enthusiasts,” he said.

The College has participated in 19 launch missions with projects studying a wide range of subjects involving microgravity, atmospheric makeup, and more. Two projects have gone into space, in 1998 and 2000, five have been on zero-gravity flight missions, and two were included on the last two NASA space missions on shuttle Discovery.

Read more about the NASA mission at

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