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

 Posted by DrJeff on June 17th, 2011

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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.

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Shuttle Atlantis Home! Prompts Me to Look to America’s Future … and I’m Troubled

 Posted by DrJeff on November 27th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog



















This is a Teachable Moment in the News and a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.


This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE and at the Space Tweep Society Blog HERE.


I just watched space shuttle Atlantis land at Kennedy. I had lots and lots of mixed emotions. The shuttle is just a remarkable technological achievement, and watching it land can be a pretty emotional experience.

But the space shuttle was never supposed to be more than a space truck to low Earth orbit. I was left reflecting on my childhood when I watched Apollo astronauts walking on the Moon, and dreamed of what awaited us in the 21st century in terms of human spaceflight. It has definitely not come to pass. In fact, approaching 2010 we are now at a crossroads. Shuttle has just 5 more flights, and then the U.S. will need to rely on the Russians for years just to have astronaut access to the International Space Station. And that’s just keeping the status quo with humans continuing to travel no farther from the surface of Earth than a couple hundred miles. I drive farther than that visiting my mom just north of New York City from my home near Washington, DC. It’s called low Earth orbit, and we’ve been stuck here now for 37 YEARS. Is this the grand vision for human spaceflight we embraced 40 years ago when we saw Armstrong and Aldrin walking on the Moon?

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