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In celebration of International Education Week 2012, classrooms everywhere are invited to tune in via webcast to a live video-conference between astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and grade 5-14 student researchers whose microgravity experiments are aboard Space Station right now. These are student researchers of the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP).

The conversation on November 15 between ISS commander Sunita Williams, flight engineer Kevin Ford and students will address the human experience aboard the orbiting laboratory, the nature of a microgravity (‘weightless’) environment, and what it is like to be an astronaut.

This live video-conference with 9,500 students across 24 SSEP communities in the U.S. and Canada, and its simultaneous webcast by NASA TV and the Smithsonian for classrooms everywhere, is sponsored by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Education.

What is International Education Week?

REMARKABLE TEACHABLE MOMENT: It is fortuitous that on November 15 there will be 23 very real SSEP microgravity experiments from grade 5-14 student researcher teams on ISS. Commander Williams has been operating all the experiments since arrival at Station via the SpaceX Dragon vehicle on October 11, 2012 (see the Experiment Log). These 23 experiments were selected from 1,904 formally proposed by student research teams reflecting 7,420 students fully immersed in every facet of microgravity experiment design and proposal writing. The SSEP experiments are scheduled to return to Earth with Commander Williams on November 19, 2012, just four days after the webcast.

The Teachable Moment: the SSEP student researchers, some as young as 10 years old (grade 5), reflect our next generation of scientists and engineers. These students were asked to be real scientists, stepped to the plate, and demonstrate that human exploration on the frontier is exciting, challenging and attainable. These are student researchers that serve as remarkable role models for all our children who might aspire to be scientists and engineers – which is why we are inviting classrooms everywhere to watch via webcast.

What is the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program?

Read about the Student Experiments Currently Aboard ISS, and the Student Research Teams 

See Student Research Teams Presenting on Their Experiments
SSEP 2012 Conference playlist
SSEP 2011 Conference playlist
at the SSEP National Conference at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum … and BE AMAZED

Just the Facts

Thursday, November 15, 11:35 am – 1:00 pm EST

You can watch a live webcast of a video-conference originating from the Moving Beyond Earth gallery at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Participating in the video-conference will be astronauts aboard the International Space Station, 130 students from DC Public School’s Stuart-Hobson Middle School who are taking part in the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, and 9,500 students at venues across 23 other communities particating in the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program in the U.S. and Canada.

The 80-minute event will include VIP presenters in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery, including Astronaut Leland Melvin, and a 20-minute link with the astronuats on ISS. Each community will get to ask a question of the astronauts aboard ISS and in the gallery.

The video link with the international Space Space Station is made possible via a NASA In-Flight Downlink from the NASA Teaching From Space Office.

NASA TV and the Smithsonian will be webcasting the entire event live. You are invited to tune into the webcast, and be part of the background conversation on Twitter using the #SSEP1 hashtag. We have set up a Dashboard Page, right here on this website where you can watch live. The Dashboard Page combines NASA TV, Twitter, and the ability to submit an email into a single page.

See the Dashboard Page

You can also tune in to NASA TV or the Smithsonian directly—


Aboard ISS: Commander Sunita Williams and Fiight Engineer Kevin Ford
Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, Director, National Air and Space Museum
Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian
Tony Miller, Deputy U.S. Secretary of Education
Leland Melvin, Astronaut, Associate Administrator for Education, NASA
Jeff Goldstein, Center Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education

1. Webcast Main Page
2. ISS Webcast Participants and Schedule
3. SSEP Experiments Currently Aboard ISS
4. Educational Resources in Support of the Webcast
5. WEBCAST DASHBOARD: a cool place to watch the webcast

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
U.S. Department of Education

1. What is International Education Week?
International Education Week (IEW) is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. IEW was first held in 2000 and today, is celebrated in more than 100 countries worldwide. IEW 2012 runs November 12–16.
Find out more about International Education Week 

2. What is the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program?
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) was launched in June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in strategic partnership with NanoRacks, LLC. It is a remarkable U.S. national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative that gives typically 300+ students across a community the ability to design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, first aboard the final flights of the Space Shuttle, and then on the International Space Station (ISS)–America’s newest National Laboratory.
Find out more about the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program 

3. What is NASA Teaching From Space? What is a NASA In-Flight Downlink?
The video link between the International Space Station and the National Air and Space Museum is a NASA In-Flight Downlink, an education program from NASA’s Teaching From Space Office that is open to schools and school districts via formal proposal.
Find Out More About Teaching From Space 

4. What is the Moving Beyond Earth Gallery?
The Moving Beyond Earth gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, will be the “Hub Site”  for the video-conference. This gallery is also the site of the annual SSEP National Conference held each July.
Find Out More About the Gallery