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

SSEP Team from Galva-Holstein, Iowa

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.

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