ASU Prep STEM Team Wins Flight Opportunity in NASA’s TechRise Student Challenge

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We’re proud to announce a team of ASU Preparatory Academy Polytechnic High School students was chosen as a winner in the inaugural NASA TechRise Student Challenge. NASA selected 57 winning teams in this nationwide challenge designed to attract, engage, and prepare future STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professionals.

The NASA TechRise Student Challenge is a nationwide contest inviting teams of students to design, build, and launch experiments on NASA-supported test flights. Administered by Future Engineers, the challenge aims to inspire students to seek a deeper understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, space exploration, coding, and electronics, as well as develop an appreciation of the importance of test data. Nearly 600 teams applied, representing 5,000 students in grades 6 through 12. Proposals were evaluated on criteria including the originality of the flight experiment idea, its impact on education or society, and the quality of the build plan.

With the help and guidance of their instructor, ASU Prep Poly’s team, also known as the Hydrophobes, designed an experiment to explore how hydrophobic and non-hydrophobic sponges will react with water in microgravity. Now that the Hydrophobes’ experiment design was selected as a winner, the team will receive $1,500 from NASA to build their experiment, along with a suite of materials for preparing their payloads, including access to flight simulator software, and technical support from experts. They also will get an assigned spot to test their experiment on an upcoming suborbital rocket flight, expected to launch in early 2023.

The upcoming NASA-sponsored suborbital flights will be operated by either Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket or UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft rocket. Each flight will be approximately 11 to 16 minutes and will experience up to three minutes of microgravity, or weightlessness. After the suborbital rocket flight is completed, Blue Origin and UP Aerospace will collect the payloads and send them back to the winning teams so students can analyze their experiment data and results.

“At NASA, we educate and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The TechRise Student Challenge is an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience designing, building, and launching experiments on suborbital vehicles. I’m so impressed we received hundreds of entries from across the country, and I want to congratulate the winning teams. I can’t wait to see these incredible experiments come to life!”

Watch the Arizona ABC 15 news story.

For the latest NASA TechRise Student Challenge news and to follow the student teams’ progress, visit To learn about ASU Preparatory Academy, please visit