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UT-Space Grant Consortium

The TSGC (Tennessee Space Grant Consortium)is a part of the NASA Space Education Program and was established 1989 to foster Space Grant University educational and research activities. The TSGC is administered by Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Professor Larry Taylor, Director of the PGI, is the representative to the TSGC here at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The funds received as a participant in the TSGC are used for several scholarships and fellowships to undergraduate and graduate science and engineering students persuing space-related education and research at UT, as well as for numerous Space Outreach endeavors.

Detailed information can be found at UT-Space Grant Consortium page.


  • PGI’s Space Outreach Program is vital to the continued growth and success of our University. Each year, between 10,000 and 12,000 students, teachers, special interest groups (e.g., Kiwanis, Lions, UT Alumni groups, O’Connor Center, etc.) are presented with our outreach programs.
  • In March 1998, the Teacher’s Resource Distribution Center was successfully established and officially dedicated here at the University of Tennessee. This unit offers K-12 and college teachers free access to everything planetary that NASA offers.
  • PGI continues to play an important role in the annual Moon Buggy Race, held each spring at The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
  • During 1999-2001, thru a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, Fentress County schools were presented with six large Meade telescopes and given instruction in their use.
  • We have initiated an entirely new space outreach program aimed at middle to high schools, the use of a scaled-down, 4-person Space Shuttle, carried on a trailer to schools in east Tennessee.
  • An official new student organization on the UT campus, Aerospace Education and Research Organization (AERO) was formed for all students interested in space endeavors.
  • A two-semester, Senior-Design course in Aerospace Engineering provides the mechanism for involving students in several NASA design programs. This is promoted and funded by PGI, thru the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium.
  • PGI organized and supported UT Aerospace Engineering student’s participation in the NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunity Program (RGSFOP). This gave team members the opportunity to fly their experiment aboard NASA’s KC-135 “Weightless Wonder,” known in some circles as “the vomit comet”.
  • In 2001, AERO, with PGI support, expanded its undergraduate research opportunities through the NASA MarsPort Competition. The AERO student’s project won this competition, culminating in their presentation of their concepts and designs at Kennedy Space Center.
  • Each year, PGI sponsors numerous Science and Engineering Speakers each year for visits and seminars at UT and lectures open to the public. Dr. Harrison (Jack) H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut, geologist, and last person to step on the Moon, visited UT (2001) spreading his enthusiasm amongst our students.
  • Distribution of PGI member’s publications is facilitated by reprint cards being sent worldwide to over 800 research scientists worldwide.
  • Fellowship of all members of the PGI is promoted at every opportunity. We have over 20 students, Postdocs, and faculty participate in the Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, where >30 oral and poster presentations enhanced the reputation of UT (the original one in Knoxville, not Austin). PGI also participated in and won the 33rd LPSC Chili Cook-Off for Best Presentation. Awards are also presented each year, during our Departmental Awards Ceremony, to the graduate student performing the most notable research.
  • The PGI has established an effective Web Page to advertise the various activities and accomplishments of its members, with details of the thesis/dissertation research of the several student members. This has led to numerous inquiries from students interested in graduate studies in planetary geosciences at UT.