If there is one thing that Space Grant is not… it's not boring. Nervous waiting, last-minute rescheduling, dynamic rebalancing and reprioritization, and unexpected novelty have all been part of the action since our Affiliates Meeting two weeks ago. (By the way, if you didn't make it, we missed you. You could have helped us finish some of the food we ambitiously ordered from Adelino's.)
As promised and intended, the INSGC Central Office submitted our Annual Performance Data (APD) report on Friday (yes, April 13) after the meeting; I was able to add a few details mentioning our rich and very helpful discussions about our SMART Objectives, and the Affiliates' engagement in "Next Big Thing" discussions and priorities. Officially, our submission of the APD begins the formal process of gaining approval for the 2012-13 Base budget for the program year beginning May 17.
As I had mentioned, we are very excited and proud of the INSGC-supported group of students whose Student Spaceflight Experiments Project is due to launch on the SpaceX / Dragon mission representing the first commercial launch to the ISS. I was able to pry open a small window of time to attend the launch on April 30… but the launch was delayed until May 7 (right in the middle of finals and grading for me). Sigh. Oh, well.
However, lest I spend too much time sulking and brooding, I got some very good information on Tuesday. Our Augmentation funding has arrived from NASA Shared Services! Yes, the moment we've been waiting for, and now subcontracts can be written, additional support can be allocated, and we can even look at repurposing some funds to make sure students can start on their summer NASA Center internships. This is the source of a huge sigh of relief from Angie, and from Dawn, and from me. It will still take some time to get all of the paperwork through Sponsored Programs, but we are focusing on that now.
Interestingly, one of this month's Wired Magazine's cover articles is "7 Ways to Spot the Next Big Thing". Funny, I don't remember any journalists in the audience during our Affiliates Meeting, but that's exactly what we were discussing. It's clear that we're on our way already. Based on discussions with, and activities led by, our new INSGC Partners, Indiana Afterschool Network, and Wisdom Tools, INSGC will continue to be involved with the NDIA / AIA discussions to address STEM education and employment in Indiana. This is certainly a challenge we cannot wait to address.
I could go home now, and wait to post this on Monday… no, I have been doing enough waiting. Copy, paste, post… doing is better.