PI Launchpad Workshop Content

2021 Virtual PI Launchpad

NASA SMD, the University of Arizona, the University of Michigan, JPL, and the Heising-Simons Foundation are organizing a virtual workshop in June of 2021 for researchers and engineers who would like to submit a NASA space mission proposal in the next few years but don’t know where to start. We are interested in broadening the pool of potential NASA space mission PI’s. People with marginalized identities are strongly encouraged to apply. There is no cost to attend the workshop.

PI Launchpad applications and instructions on how to apply are available on the NSPIRES website. Applications may be submitted via NSPIRES until 11:59 pm Eastern Time on March 22nd, 2021. All applications must be submitted as a "Notice of Intent" via NSPIRES as a self-contained PDF file that includes your name, organization, and contact information. To submit an application, an NSPIRES account is required. To create a new account, please see the NSPIRES User Registration Page.

Answers to FAQs and an accessibility statement are available at on our 2021 Virtual Launchpad Information page. Please share this with others who may be interested. If you’d like to send a notification of this opportunity to a mentor, colleague, or mentee, please use the form here: http://bit.ly/PIL_nom.

The PI Launchpad organizers are committed to making this virtual workshop as accessible as possible, especially for people with disabilities. See our statement here. The PI Launchpad Workshop will be conducted through WebEx with additional support for accessibility. Go to Team Collaboration - Webex | Accessibility Support if you have accessibility questions. If you require further accommodations or needs, please e-mail Kirsten Petree or fill out our anonymous request form. We will consider all requests.

Important Dates:  

  • Applications due on NSPIRES: March 22nd, 2021
  • Selections made no later than: May 3rd, 2021
  • Workshop Dates: June 14th-June 26th
  • Workshop Location: Virtual via WebEx


About the PI Launchpad

Are you interested in developing your first flight mission proposal but have no idea where to start? NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD), the Heising-Simons Foundation, and the University of Arizona have teamed up to make this process more transparent and accessible.

In the Fall of 2019, the University of Arizona hosted the first PI Launchpad. This workshop occurred over 3 days, covering a range of topics relevant to mission development. Attendance was limited due to budget constraints and many more people applied or expressed interest than we were able to accomodate. As a public service, we are posting all of the content developed for the PI Launchpad here. In addition to the workbook used by participants throughout the workshop, below we post videos and pdfs for all panels and presentations.

Any information contained in this or any linked pages is meant for general use and not for profit. If you use any slides or content from the linked videos and pdfs, you must provide credit to the original author/presenter. If you are unsure of whom to credit, please contact Erika Hamden.

We are in the process of adding closed captions to the videos and will upload new videos as soon as they are available.


The PI Launchpad was organized through the work of:

  • Prof. Erika Hamden (University of Arizona)
  • Dr. Nicole Cabrera Salazar (Movement Consulting)
  • Ellen Gertsen (NASA SMD)
  • Dr. Michael New (NASA SMD)

The PI Launchpad was generously funded by a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation and through support from NASA. The speakers and panelists whose presentations are captured here graciously provided their time and expertise to this workshop and made it a success.

Resources Overview & Downloads

License Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

Please direct questions or corrections on this page to SARA@nasa.gov