Cubes in Space Academy


This year we are offering the Cubes in Space Academy for students 14-18 years of age. Parents enroll their learner in one of our course sections. Students will learn directly from and have their work evaluated by the founder and creator of the Cubes in Space program. 

This 9-week course will introduce students to the fundamentals of the scientific inquiry and engineering design processes along with aerospace science and engineering concepts that are essential for conceptualizing and designing research and a small experiment to fit inside a small plastic cube.   The goal for students is to have their experiment selected to fly on a real NASA mission to space or near space that launches in the summer of 2021.

Two different formats of the Academy are offered this year. The Live Academy provides live and interactive course instruction 2 days a week for 1.5 hours each. The Flexible Schedule Academy provides the same high-quality level of instruction through videos, presentations, and content to read and interpret.  The Flexible Schedule Academy is a good solution for students that live in time zones that make it difficult to attend live sessions or for students that want to add this course to their current academic schedule.  

 Please visit for more information and to enroll.

Disclaimer:  This is a preparatory course designed to guide and facilitate the submitting of an Application for Spaceflight for the Cubes in Space program. Successful completion of this course does not guarantee an experiment will be selected for spaceflight. Students’ names on the Applications for Spaceflight are anonymous to Evaluation Committee members.  

Course Features

This is not your everyday online course.

  • Activities

    Our activities were a blast to create (couldn't resist)! With a learn-do-share approach, students will engage in creative and critical thinking to design and propose unique experiments to fly into space with NASA. All assignments build knowledge and skills-no "busy work" here!

  • Collaboration

    Learning is a social process. Even in a virtual environment, interaction with peers is important to make learning more meaningful and enjoyable. Through face-to-face meetings or ed tech tools like SeeSaw and FlipGrid, students will communicate and learn together.

  • Feedback

    High-quality and timely feedback for each student is the hallmark of a successful learning experience. We respect students' time and effort by providing careful evaluation and thoughtful, individualized feedback along with consistent communication.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introductions; Course Fundamentals; Scientific Inquiry Activity Part I; Program Overview; Scientific and Engineering Design Notebook set-up; Introduction to Science, Math and Engineering Relationships

Week 2: Scientific Inquiry Activity Part 2; Systems Thinking and Diagramming; Science Communication, It IS Rocket Science - Part 1 (space environment and conditions, introduction to launch vehicle)

Week 3: It IS Rocket Science - Part II (payload properties and configuration, understanding launch conditions, vehicle performance and payload relationships); It IS Rocket Science - Part III (variable identification): Launch! game activity- part I

Week 4: Launch! game activity - part II; Fun with Hypotheses (yes, you read that right!); designing "weird" experiments; Introduction to research methods and techniques; exploration of experiment design topics; Knowledge assessment 

Week 5: Big Balloons = Big Science, Part I (near space environment and conditions, layers and properties of Earth's atmosphere); vehicle characteristics, capabilities and flight profile; Big Balloons = Big Science, Part II; experiment design concepts; virtual ballooning; basic fluid mechanics

Week 6:  Experiment Design; Rocket and Balloon mission requirements and constraints influence on experiment design; Ready for Research!; Intent to Fly Form (IFF) preparation and review; Preliminary experiment design

Week 7:  Submit Intent to Fly Form; IFF Revisions; Research and experiment design; Application for Spaceflight Overview; Question and Answer Discussions; Elements of Scientific/Technical drawing; Application for Spaceflight Review

Week 8: Completion of Application for Spaceflight: Experiment Proposal and Scientific/Technical Diagram; Submit final draft of  Application for Spaceflight for review and evaluation (Preliminary Design Review).

Week 9: Individual meetings to discuss Application for Spaceflight evaluation and feedback. This meeting is the final stage of the Preliminary Design Review.  Submit final Application for Spaceflight to the Cubes in Space program.