Associate Director of NASA’s Minnesota Space Grant Consortium
Dr. James Flaten is a contract 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. He helps organize intercollegiate challenges on topics ranging from robotics to drones to stratospheric/eclipse ballooning. He works with Tripoli MN, a high-power rocketry club, to run the annual Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocketry Competition.
One of his ballooning team’s emphases, dating back to 2017 and being revisited in 2023 and 2024, is developing and flying experiments and video telemetry equipment during solar eclipses. Dr. Flaten also conducts teacher workshops and outreach activities at local schools and for the general public on aerospace, astronomy, physics, and engineering.