Stunning Video: Endeavour Docked at ISS – Aboard Her, 16 SSEP Student Experiments

 Posted by DrJeff on June 17th, 2011

 Copyright 2011  |  About this blog


Photocaption: Endeavour (STS-134) and ISS as seen by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli in a Soyuz capsule.

We were eagerly awaiting Endeavour’s return to Earth on June 1. Student teams across the nation had experiments aboard. It was the culmination of a many months long process where 19,700 grade 5-12 students across America were given the opportunity to design experiments to be placed aboard Endeavour on her final flight, and they all felt like they were part of history.

It’s also been a very special program for me. It has been a labor of love (and one which has taken me away from another labor of love—this Blog.) I still remember sitting in that restaurant sketching out the program structure on a napkin. You know, napkins are pretty important tools for anyone who wants to craft vision. I suspect some of the greatest accomplishments of the human race started on napkins. I wouldn’t be surprised if John F. Kennedy one day sat down for lunch with his advisors and sketched out a plan to land a man on the Moon before the decade was out. Then that historic napkin was likely left on the table, and tossed in a trash can by an unsuspecting waiter. But I’m willing to bet there was a napkin.

Well Endeavour landed and there was euphoria in the participating communities. We even had a live video feed from the payload processing lab where technicians were harvesting the precious experiments (and we’ll have it again for the 11 experiments on STS-135.)

Then the stunning video below was broadcast to the world. I am so proud to say that aboard Endeavour in this video are the 16 experiments of Our Center’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). It offers a dramatic new perspective of this keystone U.S. National STEM education initiative that is engaging tens of thousands of grade 5-12 students in real science on orbit—their science.

Imagine watching this video, as a member of a 5th grade student team with your science experiment aboard Endeavour, that you designed, and it’s in orbit … right there! If that doesn’t inspire America’s next generation of scientists and engineers, and teachers of science across the nation, well, I’m not sure what will. And we’ve got 11 more experiments ready for launch on the final flight of Atlantis and of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program.

Read the rest of this entry


Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Flight Teams on Final Space Shuttle Flight – ENTER LAUNCH PHASE

 Posted by DrJeff on June 8th, 2011

 Copyright 2011  |  About this blog


Photo Caption: SSEP Team from Galva-Holstein, Iowa

I wanted to share a major milestone on a program that I created a year ago, the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). Over 30,000 grade 5-12 students in 27 communities were given the opportunity to design REAL experiments to fly aboard the final two flights of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program, the flights of Endeavour and Atlantis. Over 1,000 student team proposals were received! And a formal 2-step review process de-selected to 27 experiments to fly—one for each of the 27 communities participating—with 16 on STS-134, and 11 on STS-135.

There has been a great deal of coverage by the media including featured articles at Visit the SSEP In the News page to see the coverage.

Below is a message I just sent to the student teams flying on Atlantis in July. Again, I wanted to share:) You might also want to read the National Announcement of Selected Experiments.

And by the way, if any of your schools or school districts want to engage grade 5-12 students in REAL SCIENCE – REAL RESEARCH – we are about to announce the start of routine operations on the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION. Let me know … if you are interested!

Finally, if you want to stay on top of breaking new on the SSEP and the flight of Atlantis, I’d like to invite you to subscribe to the SSEP National Blog. You subscribe in the lower right column on the SSEP Home Page.

From: Dr. Jeff Goldstein, SSEP National Program Director
Center Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education

To: America’s Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers Participating in SSEP on STS-135

To all SSEP student flight experiment teams, this is what you’ve been waiting for! We have now officially entered the SSEP Launch Phase for the final flight of the U.S. Space Shuttle program, and the historic flight of your experiments. Congratulations to all students, their teachers, their schools, their families, and their communities.

NCESSE has just received approval from NanoRacks and ITA for our proposed Critical Timeline for submission of your experiment samples (fluids and solids). We have therefore just put up the new STS-135 Submission of Experiment Samples for Flight page. You will see that the requirements for your submissions are precise and have critical deadlines. This is …. VERY REAL SCIENCE, and you are VERY REAL SCIENTISTS on this mission. We have also updated the main STS-135 Critical Timeline page to reflect sample submission milestones.

I am now advising you that you are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through holidays, and through Shuttle landing. This is VERY REAL …. (ok I said it already.)

To all Community Program Directors and Co-Directors on STS-134 and STS-135—that’s 27! communities across America— FIRE UP YOUR COMMUNITY BLOGS.  We will be showcasing all the active Community Blogs on this SSEP National Blog next week. In addition, if you have not already, consider having your community participate in the Student Voices of Mission Control (SVoMC) coverage of the final flight of Atlantis. Hopefully you can arrange for some students to work with you on this early in your summer break, so they can be part of history. We also strongly urge you to spread the word in your communities that anybody is invited to subscribe to this SSEP National Blog to get breaking news on SSEP and the launch of Atlantis.

This is also an appropriate time to honor and reflect on the legacy of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program. We have put together a Resource Page to do just that, and we will be updating it very soon for STS-135.

Finally, let me leave you with a favorite essay that I wrote last year which addresses the question: How will the next generation view the era of the space shuttle?

Keep your dreams alive …. always

The SSEP on-orbit research opportunity 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.