Today, at 10:21 am ET, SpaceX CRS-7 is launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, adjacent to Kennedy Space Center. The vehicle carries the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 7 to ISS Odyssey payload of student experiments.
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) invites you to watch the launch live, right here at the SSEP website, in the NASA TV portal below.
This page also provides supporting information for Mission 7 to ISS, and Odyssey, which contains 25 student experiments. Mission 7 to ISS is SSEP’s 9th flight opportunity to fly experiments to Low Earth Orbit since program inception in June 2010 – the program just turned 5 years old.
There are in fact 30 SSEP Student Researchers representing 9 of the flight experiments down at Kennedy for the launch. Together with teachers, administrators and family members, the SSEP Mission 7 delegation to Kennedy Space Center totals 124. The SSEP Student Researchers are giving formal Science Briefings to the public at 9:00 am and 12:00 pm today in the Astronaut Encounter Theater, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. We’ll make sure to take a ‘class picture’ like the one below, which was taken for the launch of Orb-3 in October 2014. FYI – the agenda for the Mission 7 delegation at Kennedy can be found on the Mission 7 Launch Viewing Plans page.
The 24 experiments flying as the SSEP Mission 7 Odyssey payload reflect the 24 communities participating in Mission 7 to ISS. Program operations in all communities began on September 8, 2014. Microgravity experiment design and proposal writing was conducted over the course of 9 weeks, September 8 through November 7, 2014. Across the communities, a total of 10,760 grade 5-12 students were fully engaged in microgravity experiments design and 2,521 experiment proposals were received from student teams. The selected flight experiment for each community was determined by the SSEP National Step 2 Review Board that met at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on December 9 and 10, 2014. In the intervening months, all flight experiments underwent NASA Flight Safety Review and passed; flight experiment teams continued to optimize their experiments; and experiment lock-in for flight configuration occurred on May 1, 2015. Flight experiments arrived at NanoRacks in Houston by June 12, 2015, for payload integration into the Odyssey payload. For a complete description of the selected flight experiments see the downloadable media package below.
The Odyssey payload contains a 25th experiment that was 1 of 18 SSEP Mission 6 experiments lost with the Orb-3 explosion on October 28, 2014. This is the only Mission 6 experiment not yet re-flown. All other Mission 6 experiments were re-flown on SpaceX CRS-5 on January 10, 2015. (The compelling story of the loss, and rapid 1 month return-to-flight for the Mission 6 student flight teams is found in this December 8, 2014 blog post.)
MEDIA PACKAGE FOR MISSION 7 TO ISS Downloadable Documents (PDFs)
SSEP National Program Overview for Congressional Briefings on Capitol Hill
Mission 7 Flight Experiments: Research Teams and Experiment Descriptions – an experiment-by-experiment summary including community, school, grade level, research team (PIs, Co-Is and Collaborators), and experiment abstract
SSEP National Program Summary
Launched in June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in strategic partnership with NanoRacks LLC, SSEP was designed as a model U.S. National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that immerses typically 300 (grade 5-16) students across a community in every facet of authentic scientific research of their own design, using a highly captivating spaceflight opportunity on the International Space Station (ISS).
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on SSEP. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on SSEP.
Each participating community is provided a flight certified mini-laboratory capable of supporting a single microgravity experiment, and all launch services to fly the mini-lab to ISS, and return it safely to Earth for harvesting and analysis. Mirroring how professional research is done, student teams across the community submit research proposals, and go through a formal proposal review process to select the community’s flight experiment. The design competition – from program start, to experiment design, to submission of proposals by student teams – spans 9 weeks. Students can design experiments in diverse fields, including: seed germination, crystal growth, physiology and life cycles of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria), cell biology and growth, food studies, and studies of micro-aquatic life. Content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. Additional SSEP program elements leverage the experience to engage the entire community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education.
SSEP National Program Impact to Date
Since program inception, there have been ten SSEP flight opportunities—SSEP on STS-134 and STS-135, the final flights of Space Shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis; and SSEP Missions 1 through 8 to ISS. A total of 110 communities have participated in the program, reflecting 35 States in the U. S. and 4 Provinces in Canada. Mission 7 to ISS is the next to launch. (Note: details of all SSEP flight opportunities can be found on the SSEP Flight Opportunities to Date page.)
Since program inception, a total of 49,260 grade 5-16 students have been fully immersed in microgravity experiment design and proposal writing, 11,150 flight experiment proposals were received from student teams, and 153 experiments were selected for flight. A total of 113 experiments have flown through SSEP Mission 6, and 24 more are flying on Mission 7 launching on SpaceX CRS-7.
WATCH LIVE ON THE NASA TV PORTAL BELOW:
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 NanoRacks LLC, 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.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc., are U.S. National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. Magellan Aerospace is a Canadian National Partner on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.