The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) was established more than 25 years ago by the National Academy of Sciences
to support NASA in efforts such as the Student Explorer Demonstration Initiative STEDI program.
USRA was chartered to provide a means by which universities and other research organizations may cooperate
with one another, with the government of the United States, and with other
organizations, toward the development of knowledge associated with space
science and technology.
USRA was vested in a university membership, initially forty-eight and
now seventy-eight institutions, that oversees all activities, thus inherently
ensuring to the government that activities undertaken serve to benefit
the broad community and not any particular institution.
The goals of the STEDI program were: To conduct a significant space-flight
scientific experiment; to demonstrate the feasibility of doing so in University
settings at low cost, and to do so with meaningful student involvement.
The three missions of the STEDI program were SNOE, Boston University's TERRIERS project,
and the University of New Hampshire's CATSAT project.
NASA procured launch services to support SNOE under the Ultralite
Expendable Launch Services Program. NASA used the Pegasus
XL launch vehicle, supplied by Orbital.