Space Grant

Welcome to a new year of space at RRCC!

Rocket launch photo

Check out our latest mission success! Be sure to pan around the 360 video

Interested in joining the 2022-2023 Space Grant Team? Send an email to sends e-mail)

For More information: View Short presentation on Space Grant at RRCC here

RRCC is part of the NASA Space Grant Program

Red Rocks Community College recently became a part of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC), a state-wide program that provides Colorado students access to space through innovative courses, real-world hands-on satellite programs, and interactive outreach programs. We are funded by NASA as part of National Space Grant Program. COSGC provides opportunities for undergraduate research projects that involve a high altitude balloon launch through the DemoSat program (a low-cost access to the edge of space to encourage student innovation, creativity and persistence in science and engineering).

This year's projects:

GLEE lunar project Fall 2022

RockSat X launch August 2023

Telescope data network and radio telescope automation project

Mars Grow projects - ongoing

DemoSat launch April 2023

Robotics Challenge April 2022

RockSat rocket launch August 2022

2022-2023 Photos

Space Grant Students

Space Grant Students

Space Grant Students in a Field

Space Grant Students Pose Next to a Rocket

Space Grant Students in the Classroom

Highlights from 2019-2021 Project: VRSE - Virtual Reality Space Experience

rocket launch at Wallops Island, VAThe team designed, constructed, tested and deployed a 360 camera from space on a sounding rocket. A 360 VR experience is being developed now!

Highlights from 2017-2018 Space Grant Teams

RRCC was part of the RockSat-X CCofCO team this past year. Project O.S.C.A.R. tested methods for space debris capture/ Their design and build was launched into space in August 2018. The Experiement deployed a mechanical arm, launched debris and captured debris. The secondary experiement tested small electrostatic charge methods. The full project report is posted here

RockSat-X team photo after the successful recovery of the payload


RRCC students Christian Prather, Rhiannon Larsden (not pictured), Brianne Treffner and Maggie Franchois were part of this inter-collegiate team (RRCC, CCA and ACC). This year-long project is highly demanding and an amazing opportunity to work with NASA and be a part of a rocket launch program.

RRCC Space Grant students also built and tested a radio telescope!

Radio telescope

RRCC students presented their projects at the Statewide Undergraduate Research Symposium at CU Boulder.

Demosat team

Demosat Yeast Team

Bio Team

RockSat team

Mars Grow project

Radio telescop team - first place winners

Radio Telescope Team won first place in the poster category!

Telescope Network project

Highlights from 2016-2017 Space Grant Teams

Demosat team designed an experiment to cold-adapt yeast prior to exposure to high altitudes to see if their survival rates would be any different from control strains of yeast.

Demosat team at the spring launch

Robotics team brought their robotic rovers to the Colorado Robotics Challenge at Great Sand Dunes National Park

Rover designed by RRCC robotics teamRobotics team at Great Sand Dunes

Students presented their projects at the COSGC Annual Research Symposium.

RRCC student, Christan Prather was the Grand Prize winner for his talk and paper on designing a low-cost thermocycler for DNA research.

Christain Prather, Grand Prize winner at the research symposium for best talk and paper.Mars Grow Team photo at the symposium

Eclipse team at the symposium

Demosat team poster presentation at symposium

Total Solar Eclipse Team!

RRCC participated in several Eclipse projects. We were selected to be one of four schools to design and build a system to live stream the eclipse from space as part of the High Altitude Eclipse Project. We also had a RRCC team design an experiment to be launched during the eclipse to expose seeds to Martian-like conditions and then grow the seeds in simulate Martian soil after exposure. We also flew a bacteria panel for NASA Ames Research Astrobiology program. We all experienced the total eclipse and did science in Guernsey, WY. It was amazing for all involved.

Eclipse team students at the Eclipse launch site

Colorado Eclipse Live Stream Project team members working on the receiverThe bacteria panel we flew on our payload for NASA Ames Research Astrobiology project

Highlights from 2015-2016 Space Grant Teams

Last year was very exciting. We had a DemoSat launch, a robotics team and a RockSat team. 

Our Demosat team designed a two pronged experiment. They tested the viability of different 3D printed materials as well as tested the microbial viability of samples sent up to high altitude.

the student team for the DemoSat launch in 2016

a picture of the payload designed and built by the students. The 3D printed test strips are visible on the outside of the box

Our robotics team designed a very unique robot that competed at the Colorado State Robotics Challenge in April 2016. As you can see from the photo, there were some unexpected blizzard conditions, but our robot did great! The team even won the "perseverance" award for the Challenge. Great job team!

A picture of the robotics team at Great Sand Dunes during the State Robotics Challenge in April 2016

Space Grant students meet with Congressman Purlmutter
Congressman Purlmutter came to Red Rocks to meet with all of our Space Grant Teams. This photo shows him checking out our robot with some of the team members

RRCC student winners at the COSGC Symposium: Best Poster demo by Shelby Ryan and Melissa Breathwaite

Symposium winners Shelby Ryan and Melissa Breathwaite

Our students also participated in an Inter-collegiate team to design and built a rocket payload. Our team launched their payload into space from Wallops Space Flight Facility in Virginia. It was an amazing opportunity for all involved. The payload tested a muon detector, carbon fiber radiation shielding, and DNA viability during spaceflight.

Students and faculty on the RockSat project at Wallops Space Flight Facility launchpad in Virginia

sounding rocket that housed the student build payload prior to launch.

Highlights from 2014-2015 DemoSat Team

In 2014-2015 RRCC formed the first DemoSat team who designed an astrobiology themed project for their edge of space research. The team designed a unique DemoSat flight package, obtained permission from the National Park service for collection of the microbial mats from Bad Water, CA, and devised a unique approach for studying the microbial community response to edge of space conditions focusing on viability studies and DNA probe analysis. Students launched their payload in April 2015, complete with four biological samples mounted for exposure. The balloon flight was two hours and reached a maximum altitude over 90,000 ft. Students presented their research results at local and national conferences.

Interested in joining the 2015-2016 DemoSat group? Send an email to

DemoSat launch

Field testing

RRCC Students and faculty at the COSGC training workshop

Student payload for the April 2015 launch. Note the unique sample exposure design for the microbial mats.