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The NASA Academy offers an intense, multi-disciplinary research program that emphasizes collaboration, teamwork, leadership, innovation and creativity.

Academy participants experience research under circumstances similar to those faced by aerospace professionals. In addition to a team research project, the program includes invited lectures on technical subjects, weekly discussions with NASA professionals, and use of NASA research facilities.

Note, this is NOT a typical internship with a mentor-prescribed research plan. This is an intense, multi-disciplinary, research project that requires focus and commitment. A real problem in aeronautics or aerospace is given to the team and the team decides how to solve the problem using available resources. The team will have a technical advisory committee composed of NASA experts in the area of the project, including past summer team alumni. The advisory committee meets once per week to hear the team's progress, take questions, make suggestions, etc.

Apply NowApplication are open Dec. 15, 2019 - Feb. 18, 2020.
To Apply, read the instructions. AFTER READING THE INSTRUCTIONS, establish a new user account to begin the application.


Sponsorship from NASA Space Grant is helpful. If you apply to the Academy, please consult with your Space Grant office to ask about their requirements to sponsor a NASA Academy intern. The Academy program provides no-cost housing for its students. NASA provides the technical resources needed to accomplish the research including materials, approved computing equipment, safety training, and supervised research facility access. To contact your Space Grant office to inquire about their NASA intern sponsorship requirements, please consult their respective website https://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/spacegrant/home/Space_Grant_Consortium_Websites.html

Note: Though applicants may obtain conditional Space Grant sponsorship, it does not mean that they have been accepted to the Academy program.If an applicant is accepted to the Academy, the program director will contact the Space Grant directly to confirm their sponsorship of their student.

Project Description

The era of off-world atmospheric flight is here! NASA currently has two projects that will fly vehicles in the atmospheres of Mars and Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The Mars Helicopter Scout will launch as part of the next Mars rover mission in the summer of 2020 and fly in the atmosphere of Mars in early 2021 to demonstrate the feasibility of Mars flight and pave the way for future Mars atmospheric flight vehicles. The Titan Dragonfly mission, launching in 2026, will fly a nuclear powered multicopter in the thick atmosphere of Titan to gather data which will help us understand the evolution of Titan and the solar system.

The task of the 2020 NASA Academy is to develop a Mars mission concept that will place a robotic multi-modal surface exploration vehicle in a geographically challenging and scientifically interesting area of Mars that cannot be traversed by traditional rovers due to the extreme terrain. This area may include canyons, steep volcano slopes, and lava tubes. The vehicle will need to travel across extreme surface features and occasionally switch from surface traverse mode to flying mode to get over unnavigable features. Large areas of surface must be covered over the 5 year mission, so the vehicle must be much faster than current surface rovers.

The NASA Academy team will develop the mission and surface vehicle concept, perform engineering trade studies on design options, build and test a proof of concept vehicle that will be tested at NASA Langley, and finally, present the mission concept to a NASA panel of space mission and flight vehicle experts.

We hope you will apply to this rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the NASA environment to interact with NASA experts and experience first-hand how NASA exploration projects and flight projects are formulated and executed.

Application ProcessAcademyApp.com is where students apply to the NASA Academy programs at Langley Research Center. Before beginning, please read the instructions. Then, login or create a new user account.

Applications will require a personal statement, a current resume, your current unofficial transcript, two current letters of recommendation from supervisors or college professors, and emails/phone for the two references. Space Grant sponsored students are encouraged to apply.

US Veterans, females, and Under-represented students who meet eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply.

  • Application Opens: December 13, 2019
  • Application Deadline: February 18, 2020 23:59 UTC
  • Application Review: February 18 - March 1
  • Selections can begin on Feb 1 and continue through March 1
  • Program Dates: The summer program will run for 10-12 weeks, roughly middle to end of May through early to mid August. Exact dates will be determined before the start of the program.
  • Housing: provided by the Academy program
EligibilityAn applicant for the NASA Academy program must:
  • be a US citizen*
  • be in high academic standing (GPA of 3.0 or greater)
  • have a minimum age of 18
  • have completed two full years of college.
    Preferred candidates will have completed three full years of college (with the exception of two year college students transferring to a four year institution).
  • have a demonstrated interest in aeronautics and/or aerospace.

*Citizens of US territories Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Marianas are U.S. citizens. Non-US Citizens (permanent resident foreign nationals, legal resident aliens, work permit holders, etc.) are ineligible, please do no apply.

Competitive applicants will have:

  • demonstrated successful experience working with peers in team environments,
  • if applicable, pass their state Space Grant's requirement of sponsored intern eligibility
    (Note: this may not be possible for all applicants as some Space Grant's do NOT sponsor NASA interns)
  • excellent communication and excellent interpersonal skills,
  • a major in relevant engineering disciplines (Aeronautics, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical Engineering), Computer Science, Applied Mathematics, Physics or Applied Physics, Instrumentation, Electronics, or Mechatronics),
  • The Academy has typically preferred rising seniors or graduating seniors at a four year college, however, we would also like to accept competitive two year college students who will have completed their first two years or will have earned a 2-year degree in May of 2020.
Additional Program InformationYou can read more about the NASA Academy program here. Questions can be emailed to program director, Dr. Elizabeth Ward at elizabeth.b.ward@nasa.gov.
System Notes
  • This system uses the UTC time zone for deadlines.
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  • If you have any problems using this system, please contact help@AcademyApp.com immediately.
System Time:
2020-02-21 04:57:38 UTC