August 13, 2020
DEVELOP participants during an end-of-term presentation. Left to right: Sabine Nix, Jennifer Heeth, Caley Feemster, and Samuel Tatum. Image credit: Amiya Kalra
Full scale replica of the Saturn V rocket at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Image credit: A.R. Williams
Nestled deep in the Tennessee Valley lies a city with a unique past. From the historic Redstone Test Stand to its ever-growing population, Huntsville, Alabama continues to strive for innovation and the frontiers of space! Huntsville, also known as the “Rocket City,” is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Space Camp, and International Space Station (ISS) Payload Operations Integration Center, which coordinates all science work on the ISS. The Rocket City is also home to NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), located on Redstone Arsenal.
Weather Balloon image collected over Northern Alabama in 2016. Image credit: G. Suiter
Spring 2020 DEVELOP participants hiking at Monte Sano. Left to right: Samuel Tatum, Sabine Nix, Amiya Kalra, Rachel Earwood, and Richard Murray. Image credit: A.R. Williams
The NASA DEVELOP MSFC location began in 2008 and is based out of the National Space Science Technology Center (NSSTC) at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Being housed at the NSSTC allows DEVELOP MSFC participants to work with leading academic and NASA scientists. The NSSTC is home to multiple groups that DEVELOPers have had the opportunity to learn from and interact with, including NASA SERVIR, the National Weather Service, NASA SPoRT, NASA MSFC scientists, and faculty in the Atmospheric Science Department at UAH. Participants also have the chance to learn more about the Sally Ride EarthKAM and watch a weather balloon launch!
DEVELOPers at MSFC work on a wide variety of projects, ranging from research on urban heat islands to drought and understanding energy in the Tennessee Valley. Over the years, DEVELOP participants at the MSFC location have also closely collaborated with DEVELOP’s Capacity Building sister program, NASA SERVIR. SERVIR is a joint initiative between NASA and the US Agency for International Development that provides local decision-makers in developing countries with tools and training to utilize satellite data to answer important environmental questions. MSFC participants can further their professional development skills by presenting to members of the NSSTC each term during a department faculty meeting and end of term closeout presentation.
After hours and on the weekends, DEVELOP MSFC participants enjoy access to natural areas, such as Monte Sano for hiking and adventuring. You can also find DEVELOPers in the Lowe Mill Arts District, walking downtown through Big Spring Park, or trying some local food trucks. Visits to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and tours of important sites at the space flight center have also been favorites for past DEVELOP MSFC participants.
Between the adventures and history, DEVELOPers in the Rocket City get an opportunity to utilize NASA Earth observations, along with the guidance of NASA and partner scientists, to contribute to the advancement of Earth Science. This makes the DEVELOP MSFC experience truly, out of this world!