The Columbia Space Initiative (CSI) is a group of students of all backgrounds and majors dedicated to advancing space technology through the pursuit of technical projects and space-related programming. We are involved in everything from space mission design, high altitude balloon design, miniature satellite design, space industry outreach, model rocket launching, and more!
Over the summer, CSI competed in two challenges sponsored by NASA. The first, the Micro-G design challenge, involved designing, machining, and testing a space-related tool at NASA’s National Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL). In late May, CSI members visited the NBL. They had an asteroid anchor of their own design tested by professional divers. Their anchor had to hold at least 10 lbs of force when embedded into sand. It was able to withstand more than 30 lbs of force during testing!
The second challenge, the RASCAL challenge, involved designing a hypothetical mission plan for NASA. Team members designed a mission plan for visiting Deimos, one of Mars’ moons. The mission plan included technical outlines, budget specifics, and a timeline for completion. Team members were invited to Cape Canaveral in late June, where they presented their mission design to NASA judges and were awarded multiple honorable mentions!