All SSEP Finalist Proposals Received and Off to SSEP National Step 2 Review Panel

We are happy to report that finalist proposals from all 16 SSEP participating communities have been received and accepted by Dr. Harri Vanhala, SSEP National Program Manger, and as of 12:00 noon ET today, have been forwarded to the SSEP National Step 2 Review Panel.

On Monday and Tuesday November 22 and 23, 2010, the panel will review all finalist proposals submitted by student teams from across the SSEP Community Network. The panel will divide into 4 teams, each comprised of both researchers and science educators, with each team responsible for review of proposals from 4 SSEP communities.

The winning proposals that will move on to flight safety review will be selected by November 26, 2010.

To all the student teams across the nation that have worked so hard on their SSEP proposals—please know you are all winners. This program is first and foremost about giving you the experiences of real researchers, and, through SSEP, that’s what you have been. It’s been challenging, it’s been exciting, it’s required critical thinking—and that’s science. To all teachers and administrators that have worked so hard to navigate the landscape of a real science competition with their students, we know this has been challenging for you too. And it is now time to savor the moment. Every one of the 16 SSEP communities has put forward finalist proposals, and we’re about to find out which team from each of your communities will be given the opportunity to move on to flight safety review, and fly their experiment aboard the final flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour. So step back, realize what you’ve done, recognize this is all way cool, and gather everyone in your classrooms together and give each other a big round of applause!

Once the winning teams are selected, we invite each community to rally around their team and be part of the adventure. WE ARE NOW EXACTLY 100 DAYS FROM FLIGHT OF ENDEAVOUR!

If this is getting you just a tad excited, leave a comment below, and let other readers of this post get excited too.

Finally, the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education is both proud and excited to introduce the 17 members of the SSEP National Step 2 Review Panel for the STS-134 flight opportunity. We have just added a web-page for the Panel under the Teams page at this SSEP Program website (

Here is the direct link to the SSEP National Step 2 Review Panel Page:

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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12 Responses to All SSEP Finalist Proposals Received and Off to SSEP National Step 2 Review Panel

  1. Gary Munn November 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Congratulations, Jeff!! I can’t wait to see which projects are chosen. I know this has been a dream of yours, and I am so happy to see it coming true!! This is a tremendous example of what can be done at all levels and all disciplines. Science Education will be much better thanks to your effort!!

    Dr. Gary R. Munn

  2. Zoila Marcia November 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    Congratulations to all the students in all participating areas that are taking part in this wonderful endeavor. What an amazing opportunity to be part of history and the process before this launch. Best of Luck to all of you since i know the panelist will have a hard choice to make among all the participants. whatever the results do not be discouraged because after all you have given 100% of your best work. Hope this will be the beginning of many other opportunities to come. once again, best of luck to all of you.

  3. Tim Livengood November 19, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

    I am really looking forward to this! We’ve been building up to this moment for a while now, and it’s going to be great to see what students have come up.

  4. Sharon Churchwell November 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program has been an amazing journey for the students and teachers. The students have worked to troubleshoot and refine their experiments and proposals and have dealt with challenges. They have spoken with scientists in fields of endeavor that are cutting-edge like stem cell scientists and scientists who study microencapsulation. The scientists have shared how they think and what the current challenges are in their fields. Students have been asked to use math to calculate and predict possible results for their experiment. They have thought of ways to engineer containers for spaceflight experiments and have adjusted their plans based on current constraints of equipment and sample viability. They have been inspired to work and think and problem solve across multiple disciplines of learning and have done so with energy and resolve. Thank you SSEP for this inspiring project that has opened doors and changed lives!

  5. Alexander Hildebrand November 21, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    As a teacher facilitator, I was fortunate to listen and witness students’ brainstorming and planning ideas for the SSEP program – the creative and “sky is the limit” attitude of the students is inspiring! Upon hearing such ideas that were not feasible (such as the efficiency of a steam engine in microgravity) and helping the students understand the requirements and limitations of the program, I was further impressed by their ability to shrug off infeasible ideas and dig deeper for meaningful experiments that will undoubtedly have future applications on earth as well as in microgravity environments. This is an excellent program and I’m lucky to be involved – Thank You!

  6. Corbi Van Wagoner November 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    Thank you so much for extending this opportunity to the younger learning community. My 5th and 6th graders were very excited to have such an extraordinary opportunity. Each of the team members, 10 – 12 year old students, worked many hours after a regular school day. They did indeed do research and develop their hypothesis. Each were very dedicated to the project. As one of their teachers and adult supporters, the experience was once in a life time. Watch their dedication, determination, and drive as they worked through the process was phenomenal. Experiences such as this will help mold our budding scientists. Again, thank you opening this to younger students.

  7. Diane Irwin November 21, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    The Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) seemed both exciting and challenging to the students and teachers when it was introduced in early September. The students have needed to demonstrate innovation, creativity, problem solving and perseverance over the last two months. They have been true researchers and did a great job. By the end of the day on November 12th, we had received over 70 complete proposals from students in our district. Our Superintendent of Schools Joseph P. Dragone, Ph.D. recently stated that “This type of project-based enrichment activity is a specific example of the learning that needs to take place in our classrooms, to engage students in the learning process and to help them develop the skills necessary to be successful in their future education and the workplace of the 21st Century.” SSEP has been a great method to promote STEM education in our community and our students can’t wait to find out which proposal is selected from our community to fly on Endeavour.

  8. Linda Musial November 22, 2010 at 8:53 am #

    Our students, teachers, and community are anxiously awaiting the results of the Phase 2 Review Process. Our Phase 1 community reviewers were very impressed with the students ideas and proposals. This is an incredible experience for our entire community. Students have learned the process of science by “being the scientists”. Collaborating with the real world in their experimental designs has helped them understand the connection with their thoughts and the possibliities of scientific exploration. We are very thankful to the Maryland Space Grant Consortium, NanoRacks and NCESSE for making this opportunity possible for our future scientists.

  9. Gretchen Carr November 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Let me tell you about an experience I had working with a student group one evening. I had a group of 5 juniors and seniors who were in either AP chemistry, AP physics, or AP biology. They had decided to write a proposal involving protein crystals. I dug up some primary literature on protein crystal synthesis and handed it out. At first they didn’t get it- haven’t we all had that experience when we get our first journal article and think “Oh my goodness- what have I gotten myself into?”. But they were persistent and after reading through it several times they started to pick out useful information and make connections with the project they were planning.

    They started to get excited as they realized that each of them had unique knowledge and backgrounds that could contribute to the project. No longer were the sciences isolated. Biology blended into chemistry; chemistry blended into physics. The idea of becoming “creators” of knowledge rather than “consumers” of knowledge was in their opinion “pretty sick!”

    So often we teach mathematics and the various sciences in isolation when in reality they are inextricably intertwined. Working in education, I miss the rigorous nature of research science and this has been a great opportunity for me to stretch myself. It has been awesome to see my students apply what I have taught them and realize that science goes beyond the classroom. Thank you for providing my students with an authentic and meaningful research opportunity.

  10. Willie Hendrickson November 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    I had the good fortune to be contacted by one of the students to ask for help on understanding the science of his project and providing some guidance with the design of the experiment. It was a treat to work with the student to help him understand the scientific process, designing an experiment, and anticipating what the results could be from the experiment. It has been over 40 years that I have been doing R&D and I can remember the excitement of my first hypothesis, experiment, and results analysis. I saw the next generation of scientists developing before my eyes, they were as excited as I was, and I was impressed with the process. Thank you all for a special treat in being allowed to help.

  11. Shane G. November 25, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I am a student whose proposal was chosen for the national board and i am so nervous and excited. On the behalf of the my group i would like to thank ssep. this whole expirience was incredible. i cant wait to find out. when do we find out though? Again thank you keep your fingers crossed!!!

  12. Mrugami November 26, 2010 at 10:58 pm #

    I am student whose proposal was chosen in the top 3s and i am very nervous to find out who is going to win and good luck to all the students participating. The best should win!

    -Lincoln hall student

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 DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are 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.