BIG Idea Challenge

Beginning in the Fall of 2020, R&D teamed up with the RISD Space Design Club and entered the NASA BIG Idea Challenge. The challenge provides funding to university teams with proposals that tackle the issue of lunar dust that can sneak its way into and damage astronauts’ tools and suits. The proposal involved designing space suit layers to prevent lunar dust from weakening the space suits, especially at creases of the suit (such as by the knees). Not only did they enter, but they were one of just seven schools to win funding for their proposal! This project will culminate with a final presentation and forum hosted by NASA in November. Check out their proposal video for more technical details.

Below: R&D team members at work this summer!



R&D has also started up our rocketry program again. Right now R&D is planning and designing with the hope to get building and launching rockets in competitions as in-person activities become allowed.

High Altitude Balloon Program

During the 2018-2019 school year, first-years, Sophomores, and high schoolers will continue to discuss and prototype different ideas to implement Brown Space Engineering’s high altitude balloon program.

Connected by string, a payload containing cameras, GPS trackers, and any additional instrumentation is reclaimed upon return to Earth’s surface by parachute and onboard tracking.


Our research and development team will use its high altitude balloon program to recruit first-years and Sophomores interested in joining the team, obtain basic measurements of Earth’s atmosphere, photograph the curvature of Earth from near space, and promote science and space exploration to high school students and below.

Future Projects

One of the R&D team’s main areas of focus is researching and discussing new ideas for future projects. After the completion of the BIG Idea Challenge the R&D team is going to shift focus to assisting the development of PVDX through high altitude balloon testing. This will serve to demonstrate some of the capabilities of PVDX’s payload (Perovskite Solar Cells specifically) and further develop interest in space in a low cost and accessible way.