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Supporting STEM Education

A key component of ASE’s mission is to enable and grow a technically knowledgeable and proficient future workforce, which is part of a national education imperative to ensure our nation’s future economic and scientific prosperity. As part of ASE’s general outreach efforts, our astronaut and cosmonaut members visit schools, universities and youth groups world-wide and interact with thousands of teachers, parents and students each year. ASE continuously explores creative ways to engage and inspire the next generation of scientists, astronauts and engineers.

ISS Crew Fund Scholarships

In 2014 the Westphalian Peace Price was awarded to the crews of the International Space Station (ISS) to honour their international cooperation for the peaceful exploration of Space. In awarding the prize, special notion had been given to the fact that formerly competing nations have found a way to join their forces and build and operate the largest technical project in Space - the ISS. The prize ceremony took place in the German town of Muenster, North-Rhine Westpahalia, where in the presence of Federal Secretary of State, Mr. Steinmeier, and other local, state, and federal politicians the former ISS crew members Thomas Reiter, ESA/Europe, Michael Lopez-Allegria, NASA/USA, and Pawel Vinogradov, RoscosmosEnergia/Russia were presented with the symbol of the prize, a sculpture representing the heraldic horse of Westphalia.

The associated prize money and other such ISS prizes now form the ISS Crew Fund and are kept in an escrow account under the custody of the Association of Space Explorers - Europe. The money is intended to be used to provide opportunities of international cooperation also for the next generations of young space professionals and foster international cooperation for peaceful research and exploration of Space. Funding decisions are taken by the ASE-Europe Board of Directors.

2017 ISS Crew Fund Scholarship Recipients

Marc Rovira (Spain)

Read his essay

“Receiving the ISS Crew Fund Scholarship is an honor. Knowing that the ISS Crew Fund is founded on the international cooperation for the peaceful exploration of Space between formerly competing nations makes it even more special. Thank you.”

Daria Stepanova (Russia)

Read her essay

“That is a true honour to hold the ISS crew scholarship. It gives me the confidence that my view and my ideas about human space flight go in the right direction. I appreciate the support deeply and I will proudly display it with honor.”

Ian Benecken (Germany)

Read his essay

“After following International Space Station operations with great passion now for over 10 years winning this ISS crew fund scholarship is a huge honor for me.”

Yuri Shimane (Japan)

Read his essay

“I see this as an opportunity as well as a challenge, to make myself most useful for everyone at the workshop but also to push myself in taking more initiative than I would normally do.”

Zoe Townsend (United Kingdom)

Read her essay

“Winning the scholarship is a wonderful achievement and I am very grateful to have been selected for the scholarship. I look forward to attending the 2nd Space Generation Workshop in Paris, France and meeting everyone.”

STEM for Space / ASE Scholarships

In 2015, ASE-USA signed a memorandum of agreement with the STEM for Space Foundation to provide annual scholarships to students studying STEM field relevant to space activities, which broadly includes all science, engineering, technology, and math fields. The STEM for Space Foundation was founded under the generous patronage of ASE member Owen Garriott.

ASE General Scholarships

ASE – USA awarded scholarships in 2017 to students at the Colorado State University and Washington State University, with the generous individual support of ASE members Owen Garriott and John Fabian, respectively.

ASE AstroSat Challenge

ASE continued its partnership with Ardusat, Inc. to provide exciting and unique opportunities for high-school aged teams to conduct their own real research experiment in Earth orbit on board a real satellite. Participants engage with focused online course content, and will design and build their own programs to monitor any of the 20 sensors onboard, using a variety of real-time, online resources. This unique program is intended to drive students toward STEM education and careers and to give them hands on, project-based learning experience in multiple formats – in the classroom, through independent study, or via science clubs and other after-school activities.

The ASE AstroSat Challenge is an unmatched opportunity that has created great inspiration to pursue STEM education and careers among the participants. Many of the teams tested their experiments on a balloon launch that went to 100,000 feet and several have completed their space experiments.


“What better motivator could my students have to design a well thought-out experiment than the possibility it could be sent into space?”

– ASE AstroSat Challenge Team Leader


Each team has a mentor who helps them design experiments that use the many sensors on board the satellite. Teams can measure temperature, acceleration, magnetism, visible light, ultraviolet light, and many other parameters. By instructing the satellite to take particular measurements at particular times, they are experiencing the thrill of being a mini Mission Control.

ASE – USA has enlisted its partner Ardusat to guide the selected teams through the process of developing their on-orbit experiments and analyzing the received data, and Spire, Inc. provides the satellite in orbit. Funding for the ASE AstroSat Challenge has been generously provided by Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Thirty-four teams from across the USA were selected to prepare and fly space experiments in 2017.

ASE – Europe ISU Master's Thesis Award

In 2016, ASE - Europe inaugurated a 500 Euro award for the best individual project thesis of the ISU Masters of Space Studies course. ASE selected Jenna Tiwana as the Best Human Spaceflight related thesis at the ISU SSP 2017. The award comes with a financial prize, which is generously sponsored by former ESA astronaut André Kuipers and his foundation in the Netherlands.  ESA Astronaut and ISU faculty member Reinhold Ewald personally presented the award on behalf of ASE and encouraged Jenna and the other MSS 2017 graduates to continue in their efforts to advance space technology and research for the exploration of the solar system by making space missions safer and more feasible.

ASE – Europe ISU Summer Space Studies Program Scholarship

In 2017, ASE-Europe awarded its fifth International Space University Summer SSP scholarship to Ms. Beth Healey.  After studies in Physiology, Beth obtained her degree as medical doctor, specializing in conflict and catastrophe medicine. She was involved as medical specialist in several expeditions. The ASE selection committee gave the following rational for the choice:

“Ms. Beth Healey has shown remarkable motivation and energy in the Antarctic Overwinter Campaign at Concordia. Through her research this outpost in isolation and darkness can be seen as a true analogue to space, helping future space farers to better cope with the adversities of their journey.”

On behalf of the Committee, Dr. Reinhold Ewald added:

I am convinced that this is a worthy continuation of the joint efforts of ASE and ISU to promote the beneficial potential of space also in its effect on the inspiration and curiosity of a young generation of space researchers and professionals.”

ASE Community Days

At each Planetary Congress, ASE members dedicate a full day for outreach with the local and national communities in the country where the Congress is being hosted. The astronauts and cosmonauts reach thousands of students, teachers, parents, and members of the general public to inspire and promote education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.