At a time when there is a great disparity in educational
preparedness for students across America…

At a time when it should be the birthright of all students to an education
that allows them to successfully enter the job markets of the 21st century…

At a time when America must inspire its next generation of scientists and engineers if
we as a nation are to compete in the technology markets of the 21st century…


New Flight Opportunity for School Districts  
Mission 9 to the International Space Station (Go to 3/20/15 Announcement)
Experiment Design Phase: Fall 2015; Flight to ISS: Spring 2016


Latest News
Subscribe for email notification of breaking NCESSE news. Use the Subscribe Box in the right column.
For all recent news, Jump to the News Blog; or visit the full News Archive


A Past Highlight
Over 12,000 SSEP Students in Live Webcast with ISS
November 15, 2012
Watch archived Webcast    Read about the Webcast 

 

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) creates and oversees national programs addressing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, with a focus on earth and space. Programs are designed to provide an authentic window on science as a human endeavor, and to inspire … then educate.

A central objective of the Center’s programs is to help continue America’s legacy as a leader on the frontiers of science and technology well into the 21st century by helping to ensure a scientifically literate public and a next generation of scientists and engineers—both of which are of national importance in an age of high technology.

In 2012, the Center launched its international arm, the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, which recognizes that all humanity is on a journey aboard spaceship Earth, that the story of our existence knows no national borders, and it should be the birthright for all our children to understand that the explorer lives within them.

NCESSE is a project of Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to social change.

Pretty Powerful Food for Thought: ISS and the Moon – A SSEP Teachable Moment

Sometimes a photo can speak volumes about scale.

The photo of the Moon below was taken by Theirry Legault on December 20, 2010, when the International Space Station (ISS) just happened to pass in front of the Moon as seen from Theirry’s location on Earth. Look closely, do you see ISS?

transit_iss_moon_101220_25

CLICK TO ZOOM  Photo-credit Thierry Legault – www.astrophoto.fr

Now for the fun part – a request to Gru on Despicable Me –

In the photo above, consider this – the Moon is about 1,000 x farther from Earth than the International Space Station. Imagine what you’d see if someone decided to carry the Moon closer to Earth so it would be as close as the International Space Station. It would therefore appear 1,000 x LARGER than in the photo above. (But as Gru brings the Moon closer, the ever larger tides caused by the Moon would lead to civilization-ending cataclysmic upheavals across the the surface of the Earth – so let’s not.)

 

A Challenge – prove the Moon is about 1,000 times farther than the International Space Station (feel free to consult with your math teacher – they will be happy to help)

Needed information:

The International Space Station is about 250 miles (400 km) above the Earth’s surface – I got that from the ISS Tracker on this website (note that the altitude of ISS does vary a little over its orbit)
The Moon is on average 238,900 miles (384,400 km) from Earth

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumCenter for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

LIVE VIDEO OF EARTH FROM ISS – A SSEP Teachable Moment

Last month, at the top of the SSEP Homepage, we added a new section titled “Multimedia”, which includes currently 3 multimedia resources, each accessible by opening up a ‘toggle’. The new multimedia section is meant to provide SSEP students, teachers, and their communities a real world connection to the International Space Station, its crew, and the fact that this vehicle is right now traveling over the Earth at an altitude of 260 miles (47 times higher than Mt. Everest), at the fantastic speed of 4.5 miles per second (17,000 mph or 27,600 km/hr).

With this blog post we wanted to provide an overview of two of these multimedia resources, and how they can be used by teachers as powerful teachable moments, as well as provide a wonderful family activity at home.

1. ISS Current Location
Wouldn’t it be cool to know what part of Earth the International Space Station is passing over right now? It would give you an understanding of what the astronauts are seeing when they look down from space at this very moment, or alternatively, where on Earth you’d need to be right now to see ISS fly overhead (assuming its night time there). In fact, it would be pretty cool to know if ISS is on the day-lit side of Earth or on the night side. Are astronauts looking down on an Earth illuminated by sunlight, or on a dark Earth punctuated with lights from human population centers? Well. the good folks at the European Space Agency, an International Partner on ISS, have made it so–

The ISS Current Location tracker below was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA’s Columbus laboratory is a component of the ISS. Visit the ESA website for more information on the tracker.

2. HDEV Live View of Earth from ISS
Now for the next cool multimedia resource, which allows you to see what the astronauts are seeing right now when they look out an Earth-facing window on ISS. In the portal below is high definition video of your world being telemetered to Earth LIVE from the International Space Station. To determine what portion of Earth is in view, use the ‘ISS Current Location’ above.

We invite you to use this live video feed to get into the spirit of exploration on the frontiers of space – expand the video window (in a classroom, use a LCD projector to display on a large screen), select and play an audio file below, and look down from 260 miles above Earth’s surface. (Suggestions for other audio tracks are welcome:)

If the image is black, ISS is on the night side of Earth. To check, use the ‘ISS Current Location’ above. Note: ISS orbits Earth in 90 minutes, with 45 minutes of daylight followed by 45 minutes of darkness.

 

David Bowie’s Space Oddity, sung by Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield on ISS (watch his video)


Superman


Star Trek TNG

 
About HDEV, from NASA: The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment aboard the ISS was activated April 30, 2014. It is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. HDEV includes four fixed cameras positioned to capture imagery of the Earth’s surface and its limb as seen from the ISS – one camera pointing in the direction the station is moving, two cameras aft (wake), and one camera pointing straight down at Earth (nadir). While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence though the different cameras. Between camera switches, a gray and then black color slate will briefly appear. To learn more about the HDEV experiment, visit this NASA webpage.

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumCenter for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

A Sense of Majesty – A Request to Teachers for Assistance

From Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Center Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Institute Director, Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education 
on Twitter: @doctorjeff

 

A request to teachers –

After my keynote address to 6,000 teachers of science at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference in 2011, I worked with John Boswell at Symphony of Science to create two short (3-min) auto-tuned music videos. The first, was for teachers everywhere, called We’ve Got to be That Light (see below), which apparently has been used at hundreds of briefings for teaching staff at the start of each new school year since 2012. The second, a Sense of Majesty, which was never completed (until now) was for students, meant to capture what human exploration and learning are all about, and to help in some small way to inspire this next generation.

Below is the audio track for A Sense of Majesty. Before marrying to the final video, we wanted to test the message with teachers. Please listen if you have a few minutes, and if you’re moved to do so, please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

The very best wishes for the end of the 2014-15 academic year,
Jeff

also a ps–

We are in the midst of on-boarding school districts interested in coming aboard America’s and Canada’s Space Program (really) – the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 9 to the International Space Station (ISS), with program operations in participating communities starting on September 7, 2015. Immerse a couple hundred standouts in your community in every facet of real microgravity experiment design and proposal writing, and one of your stunted team experiments will launch to ISS. For information on how to come aboard, visit http://ssep.ncesse.org

 

FOR STUDENTS – A SENSE OF MAJESTY TESTBED AUDIO TRACK

 

FOR TEACHERS – WE’VE GOT TO BE THAT LIGHT

 

 

VIDEO: Time Lapse Earth, Celebrating SSEP Mission 7 Flight Experiments to ISS in June on SpaceX-7, and 3,600 Mission 8 Students Now in Proposal Writing Home Stretch

Christer Fuglesang

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Christer Fuglesang, Space Shuttle Mission STS-116 mission specialist, participates in extravehicular activity (EVA) as part of construction of the International Space Station, December 14, 2006. CLICK TO ZOOM TO FEEL THE MAGIC (Photocredit: NASA)

 

We thought it would be a great time to share this video by Bruce Berry. It is a gift from past astronauts aboard the International Space Station who captured our world from orbit in stunning detail. We wanted to share this as a celebration of SSEP Missions 7 and 8 to ISS – for the student researchers, teachers, and extended community in each of the 24 Mission 7 to ISS communities flying experiments in June aboard SpaceX-7, and the 3,600 student researchers and their teachers across the 14 Mission 8 to ISS communities now putting finishing touches on their flight experiment proposals for flight in Fall 2015.

We promised real spaceflight all the time … and, well, here you go –

Mission 7 to ISS: A record 27 flight experiments for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) will be ferried to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX-7 (SpaceX CRS-7), currently scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, on June 19, 2015 (see the countdown clock in the right column). The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, in coordination with NanoRacks,  are now conducting pre-flight operations, working with all 24 student flight teams across the SSEP Mission 7 to ISS communities for lock-down of the flight configuration for their flight experiments. Three additional teams (two from Mission 5 and one from Mission 6) are also flying experiments. Together, the 27 experiments comprise the SSEP Mission 7 Odyssey payload.

Lock-down of the experiments’ flight configurations must occur by May 1, 2015, with the student flight teams, NCESSE, and NanoRacks formally signing off on what is termed the Flight Details Conformation Form. NanoRacks will then provide NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston the details of the experiments’ flight configurations for official entry into the NASA flight manifest for Odyssey, and NanoRacks will work with the ISS Crew Scheduling Team at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville to get the crew interaction days and specific crew interactions entered on the daily work schedule aboard ISS. (Did we mention this is real spaceflight all the time?)

Mission 8 to ISS: Educators across the 14 communities participating in Mission 8 to ISS are now working with 3,600 students that have been designing microgravity experiments since program start on February 23, 2015. Flight experiment proposals from student teams are due on April 24, with Step 1 Proposal Review Boards in each community selecting 3 finalist experiments to send to NCESSE by May 6, 2015. In turn, NCESSE is convening the Step 2 National Review Board  at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on May 19, 2015, with 20 reviewers selecting the flight experiment for each of the Mission 8 communities. We are expecting announcement of the Mission 8 flight experiments by May 28, 2015. The Mission 8 Kitty Hawk experiments payload is projected to fly in Fall 2015 (see the countdown clock in the right column).

NCESSE is also now onboarding Mission 9 to ISS communities, with a program start on September 7, 2015 (hey – do you know a community that might want to come aboard? yes? have them contact us). And by the way, the SSEP National Conference at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in early July 2015, will host delegations from 26 SSEP communities, and student researcher teams from Mission 5, 6, 7 and 8 will be presenting.

Now for the video –

The video below can truly be considered a gift to the human race. Only in the last 60 years has our technology allowed us to venture forth from this world, and see it from the solemnity of space. Countless human generations never got to see what you are about to see – the nature of our existence.

The United States and its international partners have constructed the International Space Station, arguably one of the most complex machines ever built, and the largest spacecraft ever constructed. It provides a permanent human presence in space, and serves as an outpost from which we can look down on our world in reverence and in awe. And in that moment we see pride in ourselves, for the human need to explore has taken us to this high frontier. That need to explore is seen in our children, and threads through our lives. It is what propels the scientist and engineer. And it is what propels communities to undertake SSEP – so that our children can be immersed in journey.

Right now student flight experiment teams from 27 communities in the U.S. are getting ready for the launch of their experiments on SpaceX-7 in June, destined for the International Space Station. Consider where those experiments are heading, to a vehicle traveling through space at 17,000 miles per hour (4.7 miles per second) at an altitude of 260 miles above Earth’s surface – 47 times higher than Mt. Everest.

To the thousands of students, teachers, families, and community organizations in the Mission 7 and Mission 8 communities, we invite you to recognize that you are part of this adventure, project the video below on a screen in your classrooms (and boardrooms for the SSEP funding organizations), turn down the lights, turn up the volume, and savor what we humans have done.

Time-Lapse EARTH is a video created by Bruce Berry, Jr., from footage taken by the astronauts on the International Space Station. Found below are Bruce’s notes on the making of the video. See more of Bruce’s work at http://bruce-wayne-photography.com

Time-Lapse | Earth from Bruce W. Berry Jr on Vimeo.

 

To Teachers:
This video can be put to work as a teachable moment in classrooms. It touches on history, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the human condition – all expressed through an artistry that combines moving images and music.

Have the class watch the video a few times and identify the atmosphere, storms, lightning, land masses, oceans, and cities.

Have students leave a comment below on their thoughts after seeing this video.

Notes from the artist:
All Time-lapse sequences were taken by the astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) (Thanks guys for making this available to the public for use!) All footage has been color graded, denoised, deflickered, slowed down and stabilized by myself. Clips were then complied and converted to 1080 HD at 24 frames/sec.

Hope you all enjoy it and thanks for watching!

P.S. It would be a dream to actually be up there in the ISS. Btw NASA, if you need a Biochemistry Ph.D. to do some work for you up there, I’m your man, LOL!

Music: “Manhatta” composed & performed by “The Cinematic Orchestra”
itunes.apple.com/us/album/cinematic-orchestra-presents/id527221766

All rights reserved to their respective owners.
Edited by: Bruce W. Berry @ Website: http://bruce-wayne-photography.com

Image Courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory
NASA Johnson Space Center, The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/Videos/CrewEarthObservationsVideos/
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/

Footage Note: The slower video represents a closer resemblance to the true speed of the International Space Station; this footage was shot at one frame per second. Clips are all marked with an *.

Locations of Footage in the order they appear:
1. A Jump over the Terminator
2. Sarychev Volcano
3. From Turkey to Iran*
4. Hurricane Irene Hits the US
5. Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean Through the Cupola*
6. Central Great Plains at Night*
7. Aurora Borealis over the North Atlantic Ocean*
8. Aurora Borealis from Central U.S.*
9. Up the East Coast of North America*
10. Myanmar to Malaysia*
11. Western Europe to Central India
12. Middle East to the South Pacific Ocean
13. Aurora Borealis over Europe*
14. City Lights over Middle East*
15. European City Lights*
16. Northwest coast of United States to Central South America at Night
17. Moonglow over Canada and Northern U.S.*
18. Stars from the Pacific Ocean (1)
19. Stars from the Pacific Ocean (2)
20. Stars from the Pacific Ocean (3)
21. Stars and the Milky Way over the Atlantic*
22. The Milky Way and Storms over Africa (1)
23. The Milky Way and Storms over Africa (2)

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

he Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumCenter for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

New Flight Opportunity for School Districts: Announcing Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 9 to the International Space Station for 2015-16 Academic Year

  • Download a PDF of this Press Release
  • Watch Video: A Program Overview
  • After reading this Press Release, be sure to carefully read the SSEP Homepage that serves as an Executive Summary for the program
  • To receive email notification of breaking program news, subscribe to the SSEP National Blog  using the Subscribe Box at the bottom of the right column.

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 9 to the International Space Station

Opportunity for Schools to Engage Grade 5-16 Students in the Design of Microgravity Experiments for Flight to the International Space Station

STEM Project-Based Learning Through Immersion in an Authentic Research Experience

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2015

Time Critical: interested schools are directed to inquire about the program no later than April 30, 2015

Washington, D.C. – The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE), and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, in partnership with NanoRacks LLC, announce a new opportunity for school districts across the U.S., Canada, and internationally to participate in the eleventh flight opportunity of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP).

Launched in June 2010, SSEP was designed as a model U.S. National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that immerses typically 300 students across a community in every facet of authentic scientific research of their own design, using a highly captivating spaceflight opportunity on the International Space Station (ISS).

The program is designed to inspire and engage the next generation of scientists and engineers, and is accomplished by providing each participating community their own very real Space Program.

SSEP Mission 9 to ISS will provide each participating community a real research mini-laboratory capable of supporting a single microgravity experiment, and all launch services to fly the mini-lab to ISS in Spring 2016, and return it safely to Earth for harvesting and analysis. Mirroring how professional research is done, student teams across the community submit research proposals, and go through a formal proposal review process to select the flight experiment. The design competition – from program start, to experiment design, to submission of proposals by student teams – spans 9 weeks from September 7 to November 6, 2015. A curriculum and content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science conducted in microgravity (in a weightless environment) and experiment design. Additional SSEP program elements leverage the experience to engage the entire community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education.

SSEP provides seamless integration across STEM disciplines through an authentic, high visibility research experience—an approach that embraces the Next Generation Science Standards. For school districts—even individual schools—SSEP provides an opportunity to implement a systemic, high caliber STEM education program tailored to community need. More broadly, SSEP is about a commitment to student ownership in exploration, to science as journey, and to the joys of learning.

SSEP is open to U.S. schools and school districts serving grade 5 through 12 students, 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, informal science education organizations, and internationally through the Center’s Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education. SSEP is not designed for an individual class or a small number of students in a community.

Student teams are able to design experiments across diverse fields, including: seed germination, crystal growth, physiology and life cycles of microorganisms, cell biology and growth, food studies, and studies of micro-aquatic life. Experiments require design to the technology and engineering constraints imposed by the mini-laboratory, and flight operations to and from low Earth orbit.

“SSEP is designed to empower the student as scientist, and within the real-world context of science. Student teams design a real experiment, propose for a real flight opportunity, experience a formal proposal review, and go through a NASA flight safety review. They even have their own science conference at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where they are immersed in their own community of researchers”, said Dr. Jeff Goldstein, creator of SSEP and NCESSE Center Director. “SSEP is about introducing real science to our children and if you give them a chance to be scientists, stand back and be amazed.”

SSEP Mission 9 to ISS includes an experiment design competition September 7 through November 6, 2015. Flight experiments are selected by December 17, 2015, for a ferry flight to ISS in Spring 2016. All communities interested in participating in Mission 9 to ISS are directed to inquire no later than April 30, 2015.

Heritage: There have been ten SSEP flight opportunities to date—SSEP on STS-134 and STS-135, the final flights of Space Shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis; and SSEP Missions 1 through 8 to ISS. A total of 110 communities have participated in the program, reflecting 35 States in the U. S. and 4 Provinces in Canada. Thus far 25 communities have participated in 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 flight opportunities, reflecting the sustainable nature of the program.

Through the first nine flight opportunities, a total of 45,970 grade 5-15 students were fully immersed in microgravity experiment design and proposal writing, 10,443 flight experiment proposals were received from student teams, and 138 experiments were selected for flight. A total of 113 experiments have flown through SSEP Mission 6.

Currently the 25 experiments of the Mission 7 to ISS Kitty Hawk payload are awaiting transport to ISS, with launch expected in June 2015 on the SpaeeX-7 vehicle launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, adjoining NASA Kennedy Space Center.

SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture. SSEP is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumCenter for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

For information on the Mission 9 to ISS flight opportunity, and to get a detailed understanding of the program, read the SSEP Home Page: http://ssep.ncesse.org

Other Links of Interest:
SSEP Mission 9 to ISS 3-Page Overview (MS Word doc)
2-Page SSEP Overview used for Congressional Briefings (PDF)
Program Description Video Clips: Clip 1 (NASA)Clip 2 (NASA)

SSEP Participating Communities and Partners
Selected SSEP Flight Experiments

SSEP In the News
Program Impact from Teachers, Students, and Community Leaders
Videoclips of Student Team Oral Presentations, SSEP National Conference, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

About NCESSE
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) creates and oversees national initiatives addressing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, with a focus on earth and space. Programs are designed to provide an authentic window on science as a human endeavor. Central objectives of the Center’s programs are to help ensure a scientifically literate public and a next generation of U.S. scientists and engineers – both of which are of national importance in an age of high technology. NCESSE is a Project of the Tides Center. http://ncesse.org

About Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education
The Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education is dedicated to delivering education programs world-wide that address our planet, its health, and our ability to venture beyond Earth and understand our place in a greater cosmos.The international arm of the NCESSE in the U.S., the Institute recognizes that all humanity is on a journey aboard spaceship Earth, that the story of our existence knows no national borders, and it should be the birthright for all our children to understand that the explorer lives within them. It is with profound honor and a deep sense of purpose that we continue Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s legacy.  http://clarkeinstitute.org

About NanoRacks, LLC
NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide quality hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory (USNL) onboard the International Space Station. NanoRacks has two research platforms on the USNL that can house plug and play payloads using the Cube-Sat form factor. The current signed customer pipeline includes over 50 payloads from domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government organizations, propelling NanoRacks into a leadership position in the emerging commercial market for low-earth orbit utilization. Visit www.nanoracks.com and @nanoracks on Twitter

Media Contact
Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director, NCESSE
301-395-0770 jeffgoldstein@ncesse.org

WATCH LIVE: ISS Change of Command, Astronaut Return to Earth, and a Fitting Song

Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA (left), Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Elena Serova of Roscosmos, seen here at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, just weeks before their launch to the International Space Station, are scheduled to return to Earth March 11, 2015. Image Credit: NASA/Stephanie Stoll

Expedition 42 commander Barry Wilmore of NASA (left), Alexander Samokutyaev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Elena Serova of Roscosmos, seen here at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, just weeks before their launch to the International Space Station, are scheduled to return to Earth March 11, 2015. CLICK TO ZOOM
Image Credit: NASA/Stephanie Stoll

International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore (USA), and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev (Russia) and Elena Serova (Russia) will be returning to Earth on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, in a Soyuz spacecraft. You can watch LIVE, in the NASA TV window below, the ISS change of command ceremony on March 10, and hatch closure, undocking, de-orbit, and landing in Kazakhstan on March 11, 2015. Also below is the March 4, 2015, full NASA Press Release on return to Earth, with NASA TV live coverage times (all Eastern Time).

This is a milestone event for SSEP Mission 6 to ISS. After the October 28, 2014, loss of the Orb-3 rocket and all original Mission 6 Yankee Clipper experiments, the Yankee Clipper II replacement experiments launched to Station on SpaceX-5 Dragon on January 10, 2015, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, (watch liftoff), and departed Station and returned to Earth on the same vehicle on February 10. While aboard ISS, Station Commander Wilmore operated all 17 re-flight experiments on the 5 scheduled Crew Interaction Days (see Mission 6 Experiment Log). All Mission 6 student flight teams are now harvesting and analyzing both their ground and flight experiments.

It is now a SSEP tradition that whenever astronauts operating SSEP payloads return to Earth, we share what that must be like with the over 100 communities across the U.S. and Canada participating in this program. The video below captures the experience for astronauts departing ISS, possibly for the last time in their careers. It is David Bowie’s Space Oddity sung by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. This is particularly poignant given one Mission 6 experiment was from School District 73 in Kamloops/Thompson, Britich Columbia, and three Canadian communities – University of Toronto Schools, Toronto, Ontario; Bishop Carroll High School, Calgary, Alberta; and Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario – started Mission 8 on February 23, 2015.

Right now there are 4 operational SSEP flight opportunities – 15 communities comprising Mission 5, and we hope to see many reporting at the National Conference at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, in July; 18 Mission 6 communities in the middle of experiment analysis; 24 Mission 7 communities in the middle of flight safety review; and 14 communities just starting Mission 8. Mission 9 will be announced next week for a program start in mid-September 2015.

 

Space Oddity sung in orbit by Commander Chris Hadfield

Just before his return to Earth on Soyuz 33S, on May 13, 2013, Expedition 35 International Space Station Commander and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield – the first Canadian to walk in space –released this video.

Teachers, we invite you to lower the lights in your classrooms, select ‘full screen’ on the video below, project it on a big screen, and let all your SSEP student researchers see that they are truly part of this adventure. Afterward, you might also consider having a class discussion about the emotional content of this song, who is singing it (here is Chris’ bio at the Canadian Space Agency), where he is singing it, and what it must feel like to leave Low Earth Orbit and return to Earth after an extended stay on Station.

Human exploration? It is a wondrously emotional endeavor, and we express that emotion in myriad ways – through art, through prose and poetry, through story-telling, and through music. And all this goes hand-in-hand with science, and more generally STEM – really. The human condition is an interdisciplinary tapestry – something to be celebrated in all our classrooms.

We shall not cease from Exploration.
And the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.
-T.S. Eliot

 

 

WATCH LIVE ON THE NASA TV PORTAL BELOW: ISS Change of Command and Expedition 42 Return to Earth  – See NASA Press Release Below for Coverage Times (all times Eastern)
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#.Ux37dCjn1sQ

 

NASA Press Release (NCESSE note – all times Eastern)
March 4, 2015
NASA Television to Air Space Station Change of Commander, Return of Three Crew Members
Three International Space Station crew members are scheduled to leave the orbiting laboratory Wednesday, March 11 after almost six months in space performing scientific research and technology demonstrations.

NASA Television will provide complete coverage of their departure and return to Earth, beginning with the space station change of command ceremony on Tuesday, March 10.

Expedition 42 Commander Barry Wilmore of NASA will hand over command of the station to fellow NASA astronaut Terry Virts. At 6:44 p.m. Tuesday, Wilmore and flight engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will undock their Soyuz spacecraft from the space station and land in Kazakhstan at 10:08 p.m. (8:08 a.m. March 12 Kazakh time).

NASA Television coverage is as follows:

Tuesday, March 10

10:25 a.m. — Change of command ceremony in which Wilmore hands over station command to Virts

Wednesday, March 11

3 p.m. — Farewell and hatch closure coverage (hatch closure scheduled at 3:25 p.m.)
6:15 p.m. — Undocking coverage (undocking scheduled at 6:44 p.m.)
9 p.m. — Deorbit burn and landing coverage (deorbit burn scheduled at 9:16 p.m., with landing at 10:08 p.m.)

Thursday, March 12

12 a.m. — Video File of hatch closure, undocking and landing activities
10:30 a.m. — Video File of landing and post-landing activities and post-landing interview with Wilmore in Kazakhstan

Their return will complete 167 days in space since launching from Kazakhstan on Sept. 26, on a mission covering almost 71 million miles. Wilmore will have logged 178 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on space shuttle mission STS-129 in 2009. Samokutyaev will have spent 331 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on Expedition 27/28 in 2011. This was Serova’s first flight into space.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 43 officially will begin aboard the station under Virts’ command. Along with his crewmates Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency), the three-person crew will operate the station for two weeks until the arrival of three new crew members.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, March 27 U.S. time (March 28 Kazakh time). Kelly and Kornienko will spend a year aboard the complex collecting valuable biomedical data that will inform future deep space, long-duration missions.

For the NASA TV schedule and coordinate information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For b-roll and other media resources, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/stationnews

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

-end-

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

THE SOLUTION to the Mission 8 Student Challenge: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where?

To teachers starting Mission 8 to ISS, this challenge was posted a week ago on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. It is designed to help you get your students immersed in Mission 8 microgravity experiment design by first exploring the concept of microgravity (often referred to as the phenomenon of ‘weightlessness’). As promised, here is the solution to the Challenge.

 

Ok, I know you’ve been perplexed, and hanging out on the edge of your seat for the last few days. You’ve been patiently waiting for me to read my bathroom scale on top of my 260 mile high mountain that apparently even the U.S. Geological Survey knows nothing about (I checked at their web site.) Wait! You say you have no clue what I’m talking about? Hey, you’ve got to read the original challenge FIRST! None of this lazy stuff going right to the answer.

Go read the original challenge, think about it for a while, and come back. I’ll wait right here for you. (What’s that Jeopardy music playing in the background?)

And now the answer—

(more…)

For SSEP Mission 8 to ISS Student Researchers – A Challenge: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where?

This post is for teachers in the 14 communities across the U.S. and Canada starting SSEP Mission 8 to ISS this week. You are invited to use this challenge to get the nearly 4,000 students immersed in Mission 8 microgravity experiment design to start thinking about the concept of microgravity (often referred to as the phenomenon of ‘weighlessness’). The solution to the Challenge will be posted Tuesday, March 3, 2015. 

 

I’ve heard a lot about this weightlessness stuff, with astronauts having a great time floating around in space. So I wanted to find out first hand what’s going on up there. Since they don’t have a spare seat on the next flight to low Earth orbit (at least not yet), I looked far and wide to find an amazingly tall mountain whose peak rises to the Space Station’s altitude in orbit so I could climb up and see for myself.

Station is currently orbiting the Earth about 260 miles (420 km) above sea level, and, by the way, crew and station are zipping along at 4.7 MILES PER SECOND (7.6 km/sec) relative to you sitting there at your computer. Bam. The Station just moved 4.7 miles. Really.

It took some Googling, but I found it! See my mountain in the picture? It accidentally got captured in an old Space Shuttle photo. Mt. Everest is only 5.5 miles (8.8 km) high. MY mountain (Jeff’s Peak) is 260 miles (420 km) high. I found it south of the Land of Make-Believe, down a not too well traveled path. Still, you’d think someone would have noticed it since it’s 47 times higher than Mt. Everest. (Have you ever heard of Jeff’s peak? No? See, nobody knows about it!)

So this week, I’m going to take the time to climb my mountain, and in my hand is my trusty bathroom scale, spring-loaded and guaranteed to be accurate at any altitude. I’ll camp out at the top, and I’ll wait until Space Station flies right by my mountain, so I can look in the windows and see if those lucky astronauts are weightless and floating around.

Here now the challenge—
As soon as I confirm they’re weightless in the Space Station, I’ll step on my bathroom scale to see my weight. If I weigh say 150 lbs (68 kg) when I’m standing on my scale in my bathroom at home, what will I weigh on top of my mountain?

Hint: You don’t actually need to calculate my weight. I’ll do that in the Solution to the Challenge. Your assignment—if you decide to accept it—is to guess what you think I’ll weigh and why. Hmmmm, lots of possibilities.

Post your guesses below, and remember to include why you think your guess is correct. Students of ALL ages are welcome to post a guess.

I’ll even give you almost week to noodle on this in class, and at home with your parents, and then post your guesses. I’ll post the answer next Tuesday March 3, 2015, right here at the SSEP National Blog. See you then, and good luck noodling!

Also – if you want to follow along with the latest news from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), you are invited to subscribe to the SSEP National Blog at the bottom of the right column.

 

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc. are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

For Mission 8 Communities Starting SSEP – NASA Pre-Flight Briefing with an SSEP Overview by Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Program Director

Orb3 Briefing

NASA Pre-flight Media Briefing for the launch of Orb-3, NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA, October 26, 2014

An Introduction to the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP)

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 8 to the International Space Station (ISS) started Monday, February 23, 2015.. There are 14 participating communities in Mission 8 – 11 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada. Mission 8 to ISS is the tenth SSEP flight opportunity since program inception in 2010, just 4.5 years ago. A list of the Mission 8 communities is provided below.

In support of Mission 8, to help teachers, students, and other stakeholders across each community understand the operation of the SSEP,  we are providing this repost of the NASA Pre-flight Science Briefing to media for the launch of the Orb-3 (Orbital Sciences Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft). Orb-3 was to carry the SSEP Mission 6 to ISS Yankee Clipper payload of 18 student experiments to the ISS, one from each of the Mission 6 communities, including one community in Canada – School District #73, Kamloops/Thompson, British Columbia. This represented the culmination of 6,860 students engaged in microgravity experiment design, and submission of 1,487 flight experiment proposals from student teams.

The Briefing was conducted at NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA, on October 26, 2014, in advance of the launch of Orb-3 from the adjacent Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). A live video feed of the rocket on Pad-0A can be seen behind the panelists. The Briefing was aired live on NASA TV.

Historical Background: Orb-3 was lost on launch on October 28, 2014 (see December 8, 2014 blog post). A replacement payload of 17 of 18 Mission 6 experiments, Yankee Clipper II, launched to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX CRS-5 on January 10, 2015, at 4:47 am EST, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL. This truly stunning, just 2-month turn-around was due to the remarkable efforts of all Mission 6 student flight teams, their teacher facilitators, NASA, NanoRacks, and NCESSE. After a month on ISS, Yankee Clipper II retuned to Earth on SpaceX CRS-5 Dragon on February 10, splashing down in the Pacific. All M6 student flight teams now have their flight experiments back, and are harvesting and carrying out analysis.

Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Center Director for the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, and the creator and director of the SSEP, was one of the panelists on the Briefing, and provided an excellent overview of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, including the breadth and depth of effort put forward at the local level in each of the participating Mission 6 communities. He also provided an overview of the science to be conducted on ISS with the Yankee Clipper experiments. Dr. Goldstein is the NASA Principal Investigator (PI) on all SSEP experiment payloads. Also on the briefing was Brian Talbot, from SSEP National Partner CASIS (Center for the Advancement of Science in Space)

The video provides a wonderful introduction to SSEP for everyone in the Mission 8 communities, and provides a sense of what is to come with the currently projected launch of the Kitty Hawk payload of Mission 8 experiments in Fall 2015.

The backdrop for the Briefing, framed by the American and NASA flags, and with the live feed from the Pad, provides a powerful sense that communities participating in this program are very much a part of America’s and Canada’s Space Program. For each Mission, SSEP is providing real immersion in real science on the frontiers of human exploration for thousands of students.

To all participating in Mission 8 to ISS, welcome aboard, and get used to the expression ‘real spaceflight all the time’ (you’ll be hearing it a lot:)

 

Pre-Flight Science Briefing – the SSEP Highlights:

SSEP Overview: at time stamp 10 min 50 sec

Question from Ken Kremer, Universe Today, on Sen. Tom Coburn’s (OK)  uninformed comments on the SSEP: at time stamp 19 min 25 sec

Goldstein’s response to Ken Kremer’s question: at time stamp 20 min 35 sec (also see NCESSE’s formal response)

 

 

The Mission 8 to ISS Communities – Welcome Aboard

Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Bishop Carroll High School
Calgary Separate School District

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
Ryerson University
Toronto District School Board (TDSB)

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
University of Toronto Schools (UTS)

Santa Ana, CA
Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School
Santa Ana Unified School District SAUSD

Vista, CA
Vista Magnet Middle School

Dover, DE
Delaware State University

Boise, ID
Treasure Valley Math and Science Center

Montgomery County, MD
Montgomery County Public Schools

Prince George’s County, MD
Prince George’s County Public School System

Kansas City, MO/KS
aSTEAM Village School Consortium

Elizabeth, NJ
Elizabeth Public Schools

New York City, NY
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex

New York City, NY
New Explorations in Science Technology and Math (NEST+m)
New York City Department of Education

Suffolk County, NY
Wyandanch Union Free School District
South Huntington Schools

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc. are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

The Tradition Continues – To 3,800 Students Now Starting SSEP Mission 8 to ISS, Welcome Aboard America’s and Canada’s Space Program, NASA Johnson Style

Click to Zoom

Click to Zoom

It’s now a space program tradition. Whenever we start a new SSEP flight opportunity, it’s time for NASA Johnson Style. It’s a video (see below) that will get students and teachers in the frame of mind to start Mission 8 to ISS. We want everyone to recognize that what they are about to embark upon is very real. Your students are being asked to truly slip on the shoes of microgravity researchers and be part of America’s and Canada’s Space Programs.

Program operations for SSEP Mission 8 to the International Space Station (ISS) – the tenth SSEP flight opportunity in just 4.5 years – officially begin on February 23, 2015. We expect 15 communities to participate in Mission 8, and for the first time in the history of the program, three of those communities are in Canada. Mission 8 is projected to engage 3,800 students in microgravity experiment design, and at least 780 flight experiment proposals are expected to be received from student teams. A 2-step formal proposal review process, culminating with the SSEP International Step 2 Review Board meeting at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, will select one flight experiment for each community. (You’re invited to meet the Mission 6 Step 2 Review Board.)

While we have been onboarding communities for Mission 8, 17 flight experiments comprising the Mission 6 Yankee Clipper II payload, reflecting the culmination of 6,850 students engaged in experiment design and selected from 1,487 flight experiment proposals, just returned to Earth on SpaceX-5 on February 10, 2015. The Mission 6 experiments were on the International Space Station (ISS) for a month – an immense spacecraft bigger than a football field, located 260 miles above the Earth, and traveling at 4.5 miles/second. ISS is really big, and if you watched Super Bowl XLIX on February 1, you might want to see this blog post.

Mission 6 was also a remarkable lesson in real science. The original Mission 6 experiments were lost in the dramatic explosion of the Orb-3 rocket on October 28, just a few seconds after launch at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Wallops Island, VA. There were 42 Mission 6 student researchers and a total of 130 SSEP delegates at the launch site, just a short 1.7 miles from Pad 0-A when the rocket exploded. The immediate despair after the loss of all experiments and what it took for the student flight teams to return to flight with reconstituted experiments – launching just 2.5 months later on SpaceX-5, on January 10, 2015 – is an amazing story. This is real spaceflight. SSEP is the real space program. What the Mission 6 student flight teams did is exactly what it takes to be an explorer on the frontier. The lesson was profound – failure happens, and we do in the face of failure defines who we are.

You are invited to read an emotional account of the loss of the Mission 6 experiments, and what it took to return to flight, which is the subject of a December 8, 2014, SSEP National Blog post.

You might also want to read the NASA Press Release with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden on the re-flight of Mission 6 Yankee Clipper. There is also the compelling story of one Mission 6 team in Michigan that was covered by NBC News.

While program operations are ready to begin for Mission 8, and Mission 6 experiments just returned to Earth, Mission 7 operations have been underway for months. The 24 flight experiments comprising the Mission 7 Odyssey payload were selected last December, and are right now moving through formal Flight Safety Review at the Toxicology Office a NASA Johnson Space Center. All Mission 7 student flight teams are now optimizing their experiments, and planning for a currently projected launch aboard SpaceX-7 in mid-June 2015, blasting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, adjoining Kennedy Space Center. We expect a significant number of delegations from the Mission 7 communities to attend. The Mission 7 flight opportunity engaged 10,700 students in experiment design and 2,521 flight experiment proposals were received from student teams.

WELCOME ABOARD TO THE MISSION 8 to ISS COMMUNITIES
To all Community Program Directors across the SSEP Mission 8 communities, use this video to get your students ready to roll. Put it up on the big auditorium (or cafagymateria) screen, turn down the lights, and TURN UP the volume.

It’s our way of saying welcome to America’s and Canada’s Space Programs. We are now a ‘go’ for launch of the Kitty Hawk payload of Mission 8 experiments in Fall 2015 – and you’re now living the adventure.

Real spaceflight all the time – that’s what we promised. In terms of STEM education for the 21st century, it’s the right stuff.

 

 

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc. are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.