Project Payload

All university-sponsored events, on and off campus, are canceled or postponed until a later date. Please check back regularly for summer plan updates as we learn more about the progression of COVID-19. Click here for USC COVID-19 updates. Please click here for a list of high-quality online STEM resources for teachers and families.

The mission of Project Payload is to empower historically underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged middle school girls to enter aerospace engineering and computer science fields and to advance their career readiness in technologies of the future, especially rocketry and satellite design and construction. Project Payload will achieve its mission by providing hands-on problem-based learning experiences for its students.

Project Payload has successfully empowered middle school girls from historically underrepresented populations and educationally disadvantaged and underserved communities to authentically experience science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through a real-world and tangible project. The participants increased their knowledge, skills and self-efficacy in STEM, which will increase the likelihood that they will pursue college major and careers in the STEM.


Project Payload taught the participants rocketry and satellites. The first part of the program was a successful two-week summer program and is now continuing until February 29, 2020  Twenty-seven of the original 30 underrepresented minority middle school girls designed a Cube Sat with additional support from Tata Consulting Services, the California Endowment, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman. The culmination of the effort was a successful high altitude balloon launch of a CanSat (lower earth orbit version of a CubeSat) with the support of the team. Upon recovery of the satellite, the participants will analyze their data and generate a final report. 

Click here to read the blog about the launch.


Project Payload is not currently being offered this summer. For other opportunities for girls in STEM, please see our Summer Programs page, and our other STEM Camps page.

Sponsored by Intel