Endeavour HOME: ITA Receives SSEP Payload from NASA

Welcome back to Earth—back home—Mark, Greg, Mike, Greg, Andrew, and Roberto. We’ve been expecting you. Have you seen your landing yet? Here you go—

At 6:25 am EDT this morning, ITA reported receiving the mini-laboratory payload from NASA that contains the experiments of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, a culmination of 20,000 grade 5-14 students given the opportunity to participate AS REAL SCIENTISTS, 447 student team proposals submitted, 293 forwarded to Step 1 Review, 43 forwarded to Step 2 Review, and 16 selected for flight on December 22. Then, on February 17, we proudly reported that all 16 passed NASA flight safety review.

On March 16, these experiments blasted off from Kennedy Space Center with the aspirations of thousands. They were taken above Earth’s atmosphere, to an altitude of over 200 miles, in one of the most magnificent machines ever constructed by the human race. On attaining orbit, the experiments were initiated by an astronaut who could casually look out the window and see the Earth below, gracefully moving by at 18,000 miles per hour. An astronaut who could see a sunrise every hour and a half.

The experiments then proceeded for 16 days as designed by these student scientists, and this morning, at 2:34 am they returned to Earth. Student teams across America are now preparing to receive their experiment samples for analysis, as ITA harvests and sends the samples to the teams. Then on July 6 and 7, the teams will converge in the Nation’s Capital, and be part of their own science conference—just like professional scientists—at none other than the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum – the most visited museum on Earth, and the student presentations of their results will be formally part of the visitorship experience for those two days.

This is just one of many fitting tributes to Endeavour, as she ends her 25th and final flight into space. Congratulations to the thousands of students, their teachers, their families, and their communities.

OK, now this is just plain exciting (you excited?)

3 Responses to Endeavour HOME: ITA Receives SSEP Payload from NASA

  1. madcom June 1, 2011 at 6:29 am #

    It is with so little fanfare that the space shuttle era ends. This really has been another giant leap for mankind. Lets hope we see something adventurous next.

  2. Lenny Sue June 1, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    I watched the NASA video on the STS-134 page listed as the “tribute” to Endeavour. Eleven and a half minutes of awesomeness! The Astronauts who were aboard her last recording from inside her belly while in orbit, their tribute to the shuttle program looking back and looking forward. Even the name ENDEAVOUR is interesting! I agree with madcom, so little fanfare for such a gigantic endeavour : )

  3. L. McCrary June 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    I set my alarm to make sure that I did not miss Endeavour’s final landing. My heart filled with joy. The entire SSEP process has been a thrill from start to finish…wait we are not done yet. Our students and staff members are impatiently waiting for the experiment to return.

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.