Important Information for STS-135 Finalist Proposals: Read this Post Before Submitting to NCESSE

Three finalist proposals from each of the communities participating in SSEP on STS-135 are due to NCESSE NO LATER THAN 10:00 PM EDT MAY 13, 2011.

As can be seen from the Critical Timeline, milestones for: finalist proposal submission, to selection of flight experiments, to winning team submissions of samples for the Fluid/Sample Compatibility Test, to submission of samples for flight on Shuttle Atlantis, come exceedingly fast. We are therefore providing the list of items below as an added check for all communities submitting their finalist proposals, so that proposals are submitted as complete and as required. If a proposal arrives on May 13, and an outstanding issue(s) is identified, there may be no time to resolve the issue before proposals must be turned over to the Step 2 Review Board. In such a case a proposal can, and has been (for STS-134), eliminated from the review. (Welcome to the world of REAL science.)

So make sure that:

1) General

  • All required components of the proposal are included AND within page limits (as listed in the checklist on the first page of the Proposal Guide)
  • The proposal meets style requirements, especially with regard to font size, line spacing, and margins (as listed in the checklist on the first page of the Proposal Guide)
  • Proposals are in the correct file format (PDF, which is mentioned in the Background for Teachers document in the finalist proposal submission guidelines)

2) Experiment Materials and Handling Requirements Pages:

  • Only one MDA mini-lab Experiment Slot is identified, and only one that is allowed, which is either a Type 1 or Type 2-Prime. No proposal will be accepted using Type 2 or Type 3 Experiment Slots.
  • List of proposed experiment samples:
    • is complete: all fluids and solids (experiment samples) mentioned in the proposal are included on the list
    • only includes samples listed in the Master List of Experiment Samples
    • includes a proper description for the concentrations of the samples, for all samples
  • Special handling requirements are complete and include all details mentioned in the main body of the proposal
  • The section is signed by the Teacher Facilitator

3) Letter of Certification of a Student-Directed Effort

  • Letter is signed by the Teacher Facilitator identified on the Proposal Cover Page

We hope this guidance can help identify issues right now rather than later when it may be too late!


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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.