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For Your District: New 2013 Student Experiments Opp. (G5-12) on International Space Station

Put YOUR student's experiment on the International Space Station!
posted on 10:42 AM, December 4, 2012

 December 4, 2012


Announcing the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Sixth Flight

Opportunity - SSEP Mission 4 to the International Space Station 

for 2013



We Are Truly Inviting YOUR Students to be Real Researchers, and Your Community

to Be Part of America’s Space Program


Opportunity for Schools and Districts to Engage Their Grade 5-12 Students in

Very Real Microgravity Experiment Design for Flight to the International Space

Station (ISS)





9-Week Experiment Design Phase in Your Community: February 25 to April 29, 2013

Selection of Your Community’s Flight Experiment: May 30, 2013

Ferry Flight to ISS: mid-October 2013

Ferry Flight Return to Earth: mid-November 2013

National Conference in Washington, DC: early July 2013, and 2014





DECEMBER 31, 2012; schools and districts need to assess interest with their

staff and, if appropriate, move forward with an Implementation Plan.


DEADLINE FOR COMMUNITIES TO BE ABOARD (approved Implementation Plan and funded):

February 18, 2013. To meet this deadline, the Center needs to begin working with

interested communities as soon as possible.    



Dr. Jeff Goldstein: 301-395-0770  or



The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in the U.S., and the

Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally, invite

communities across the U.S. and Canada to participate in SSEP Mission 4 to the

International Space Station (ISS). 


SSEP immerses a community of students in real scientific research of their own

design, using a highly captivating spaceflight opportunity on the International

Space Station - America’s newest National Laboratory, and which will garner

the community significant media attention for STEM education.


Each participating community will be provided all launch services to fly a real

microgravity research mini-laboratory on ISS from mid-October to mid-November

2013, and a kit for assembly and loading of their mini-lab. 


A 9-week experiment design competition in your community, held Winter/Spring

2013, will allow grade 5-12 student teams to design microgravity experiments

vying for the community’s reserved mini-lab slot on ISS. Your student teams

write very real but grade level appropriate research proposals, go through a

formal proposal review process, and one experiment is selected to fly for your

community. This is a true science immersion program where students are asked to

be real scientists and go through the exact same process as professional

researchers vying for research resources and research opportunities. 


In fact two NASA feature articles on the SSEP program at appeared on

the International Space Station RESEARCH page, not education page. NASA

considers these students TO BE RESEARCHERS. The program is changing the way

students view both science and their ability to do science. It is also changing

the way teachers teach science.


SSEP is a true STEM education program. It addresses a wide range of biological

and physical science disciplines (thus appropriate for all teachers of science),

including: seed germination, crystal growth, physiology and life cycles of

microorganisms (e.g. bacteria), cell biology and growth, food studies, and

studies of micro-aquatic life. Students design experiments to the technology and

engineering constraints imposed by a real research mini-lab and flight

operations to and from Earth orbit. 


SSEP is about a commitment to the joys of learning; to student ownership in

exploration through immersive and REAL science experiences; to science as

journey; to rich experiences for teachers in real science; and to science as an

interdisciplinary tapestry that extends to vital written and oral communication




SSEP has had 5 flight opportunities to date:


Through SSEP on the final two flights of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program (STS-134

and STS-135), 977 student team proposals were

received, and 27 experiments

have flown - one for each of the participating communities (16 on STS-134 and 11

on STS-135). 


SSEP Missions 1, 2, and 3 to the International Space Station engaged 32

communities, providing 69,100 students in grades 5-14 the opportunity to

participate, 3,370 student team proposals were received, and thus far 39

experiments were flown to space station on the SpaceX Dragon vehicle, heralding

in a new era in human spaceflight. Student flight teams were at Kennedy Space

Center for the launch and were interviewed by NASA TV.


The Mission 3 payload of 17 experiments is expected to fly to the space station

in April 2013.


The initiative was also highlighted last year at the 2nd Annual White House

Science Fair event. 





1. Typically a minimum of 300 grade 5-12 students across a participating

community are engaged in experiment design. The school district is free to

determine the participating grade levels. SSEP is not designed for a single

class or a small number of students. A team of science teachers partnering

across a school or a district is a recipe for success.


2. Implementation is straightforward and well defined; all needed curricular

materials are fully developed; and we provide ongoing, proactive support for

your educator implementation team.  


3. Well-designed content resources for teachers and students support

foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. 


4. SSEP is flexible enough to be tailored to your community's strategic needs in

STEM education.   


5. A suite of SSEP program elements - the Community Program - leverages the

flight experiment design competition to engage the entire community, embracing a

Learning Community Model for STEM education. Elements include flying up to 2

Mission Patches resulting from an art and design competition across your



6. Students can take part in their own research conference where they can report

on experiment design and results. The conference is normally held in Washington,

DC, in early July, at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the

site of the 2011 and 2012 conference – the most visited Museum on the planet.



1. CAREFULLY read the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program home page (link

below), which includes links to all aspects of the program, including program

operations, how to participate, profiles of the 51 communities participating to

date, and summaries of all selected flight experiments. Also below are the links

to extensive media coverage, and program testimonials from community leadership.


2. Contact us via the SSEP home page, or call me directly at: 301-395-0770  





Be part of history by making history 


Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director and SSEP Program Creator  

Cell: 301-395-0770

National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)

PO Box 3806 

Capitol Heights, Maryland 20791 



National Center for Earth and Space Science Education

Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education

NanoRacks, LLC

Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)


This on-orbit, real research opportunity for students is enabled through

NanoRacks LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act

Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a

National Laboratory.