Associate Director of NASA’s Minnesota Space Grant Consortium
Dr. James Flaten is a contract associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Dr. Flaten serves as the Associate Director of the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium (MnSGC), a NASA higher-education program which involves state-wide promotion of all-things-NASA-related. He has taught freshman seminars at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities on high-altitude ballooning, high-power rocketry, quadcopters, and (mock) picosatellites called CubeSats.
Dr. Flaten works with college students and faculty on out-of-class NASA-related projects including building and flying miniature spacecraft into the stratosphere using weather balloons and developing science payloads for NASA suborbital rocket flights. For two years he ran a quadcopter competition for community colleges and currently he works with Tripoli MN, a high-power rocketry club, to run the annual Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition.
One big emphasis in 2017 was working with a student high-altitude ballooning team to fly experiments and video telemetry equipment into the path of totality of the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017. Dr. Flaten also conducts teacher workshops and outreach activities at local schools and for the general public on aerospace, astronomy, physics, and engineering.