Graphic of NASa PI Launchpad Badge with rocket

University of Michigan Hosts NASA PI Launchpad Workshop

When researchers decide to develop their first flight mission proposal for NASA, one essential piece is knowing where to start. Enter the NASA PI Launchpad workshop.

When researchers decide to develop their first flight mission proposal for NASA, one essential piece is knowing where to start. The NASA Science Mission Directorate, the Heising-Simons Foundation, and a group of mission experts have teamed up to make the mission development process more transparent and accessible to researchers, by offering the NASA PI Launchpad workshop. This workshop is intended to open opportunities for mission leadership beyond an “insider” network, expanding the potential pool of proposers, especially with inclusivity and equity in mind. 

The third NASA PI Launchpad workshop will be hosted at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor July 24-27, 2023. Under the leadership of Professor Mike Liemohn at U-M Climate and Space, the workshop will be held in-person with all costs covered for participants. Like previous workshops, the training will cover a range of topics relevant to mission development with a full agenda. Networking events will also be part of the week’s activities.

In the past, two NASA PI Launchpad workshops were held. The first was held at the University of Arizona in 2019, and the second was offered virtually in 2021. As a public service, NASA has posted all the content developed for the PI Launchpad online. In addition to workbooks, agendas and training materials, the website also includes videos and PDF documents for every panel and presentation that has been offered in the past.

The PI Launchpad has been generously funded by a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation and through support from NASA. Many speakers and panelists graciously provided their time and expertise to the workshop, offering a robust variety of presentations and making the workshop a success.

The University of Michigan, in collaboration with the University of Arizona, Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Science Mission Directorate (SMD)at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC and the Heising-Simons Foundation, will host the PI Launchpad to guide participants through ways to turn their science question into a mission concept. Participants will go step-by-step through the process of developing a science case, defining requirements, building a team, securing partnerships, and obtaining support from the home institution. Participants also will have time for networking and personal reflection as they mature their mission concepts.

The University of Michigan is the home of over $28 million in research supported by NASA, 375 active projects supported by NASA, and 170 faculty, postdocs and graduate students, according to federal agency reports for fiscal year 2022. Some of the most recent mission work includes historic feats by the Parker Solar Probe led by U-M, expansion of the CYGNSS (Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System) Mission led by U-M, development of the SunRISE Mission set to launch in 2024, and leadership roles in the new GDC (Geospace Dynamics Constellation) Mission, set to launch no earlier than 2027.  

For more information about the 2023 NASA PI Launchpad Workshop, contact Mike Liemohn at: [email protected]

PI Launchpad Resources

Related Topics