Thursday, December 1, 2011

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program -- Mission 2 to the International Space Station

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, in partnership with NanoRacks LLC, announces a new opportunity for communities across the U.S. and space station partner nations. The newest Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, or SSEP, flight opportunity, Mission 2 to the International Space Station, gives students across a community the ability to design and propose real experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station.

Each participating community will be provided an experiment slot in a real microgravity research minilaboratory scheduled to fly on the space station from Sept. 28 to Nov. 12, 2012. An experiment design competition in each community -- engaging 300 to 1,000 students -- allows student teams to design real experiments vying for their communities’ reserved experiment slot on the space station. Additional SSEP programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a Learning Community Model for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education.

This competition is open to students in grades 5-12 and college. Informal education groups and organizations are also encouraged to participate. All participating communities must submit letters of commitment of funding by Feb. 27, 2012. The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education is standing by to help interested communities secure funding. 

Through previous SSEP missions on the space shuttle and International Space Station, more than 70,000 students in almost 200 schools have had the opportunity to design and propose real experiments to fly aboard the space station. All 27 experiments selected to date, reflecting the 27 communities that participated in the program on the final two space shuttle flights, have flown in space.

To learn more about this opportunity, visit the SSEP Mission 2 to ISS National Announcement of Opportunity at http://ssep.ncesse.org/2011/11/announcing-communities-participating-in-ssep-mission-1-to-iss-and-new-flight-opportunity-mission-2-to-iss/.

The SSEP in-orbit research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of using the International Space Station as a national laboratory.

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please email SSEP National Program Director Jeff Goldstein at jeffgoldstein@ncesse.org.