Welcome to the SSEP Community Network Hubsite
We believe that learners must see themselves in the stories we tell, and
experience scientific exploration through their own involvement.
We also believe that it takes a community to educate a child…
and a network of communities to reach a generation.
NEW FLIGHT OPPORTUNITY – Mission 5 to ISS (Go to 5/14/13 Announcement)
Experiment Design Phase: Fall 2013; Flight to ISS: Spring 2014
Watch: Video Clip describing SSEP Download: Press Release PDF
Download: 3-page Program Overview for Mission 5 (MS Word)
Breaking News from the SSEP National Blog
Subscribe to the Blog to receive email notification of breaking SSEP News. Use the Subscribe Box at the bottom of the right column on the main SSEP website.
- Ground Control to Major Tom – Canadian Astronaut, ISS Commander, and Rock Star Chris Hadfield May 17, 2013
- To School Districts: Announcing Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) Mission 5 to the International Space Station for 2013-14 May 14, 2013
On this SSEP Community Network Hubsite you can learn about the 60 communities across the U.S. and Canada that are taking part in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) and the over 280 organizational partners at the local level.
Note this Hubsite is a separate web environment from the SSEP Main Website which is where you’ll find a detailed overview of the SSEP, how to participate, and all the needed programmatic resources. This Hubsite is where we celebrate the communities—the tens of thousands of students, their teachers, and their families—engaged in this remarkable adventure on the high frontier.
All Hubsite pages are directly accessible from the navigation banner at the top of this page. Here you can read Community Profiles for each participating community and see the Local Partners that made their participation possible, explore the Experiments Selected for Flight, and see the student-designed Mission Patches that accompanied the experiments into orbit. At this Hubsite you can also explore the In Our Own Words page if you’d like to hear from participating students, teachers, and district administrators, and can read the SSEP in the News page for extensive media coverage of the program. You can also watch oral presentations by student researcher teams at the SSEP National Conference on the Scientific Return and Reporting pages. Finally, follow all SSEP program activities at the SSEP National Blog (you can subscribe to the Blog at the bottom of the right column.)
Think of this Hubsite as the Grand Central Station for all the students, teachers, families, and communities engaged in SSEP—a program that was designed to be a keystone initiative for U.S. National STEM education, and to inspire America’s next generation of scientists and engineers.
A Quick Program Overview
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) was launched in June 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education 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 – upper elementary, middle, or high school students (grades 5-12), or undergraduates at 2-year or 4-year colleges and universities (grades 13-16) – 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.
In 2012, SSEP was extended to international communities through the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, NCESSE’s new international arm.
SSEP is about immersing and engaging students and their teachers in real science—on the high frontier—so that students are given the chance to be scientists—and be inspired. More broadly, SSEP is about a commitment to student ownership in exploration, to science as journey, and to the joys of learning.
Each community participating in SSEP conducts a local Flight Experiment Design Competition, with their student teams vying to fly an experiment in low Earth orbit in a real research mini-laboratory reserved just for their community. Mirroring how professional research is done, student teams across the community submit formal research proposals, which then go through a 2-step proposal review process to select the flight experiment for the community. 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. A suite of SSEP program elements–the Community Program–leverages the flight experiment design competition to engage the entire community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education, and allows the experience to be celebrated with national, even global audiences.
Flight Opportunities to Date
Since program inception in June 2010, there have been six SSEP flight opportunities—SSEP on STS-134 and STS-135, which were the final flights of Space Shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis; and SSEP Missions 1 through 4 to ISS. To date, 60 communities have participated in the program, with over 100,000 grade K-14 students across 428 schools given the opportunity to participate in their community-wide experience. Not yet counting Mission 4 to ISS, a total of 17,670 grade 5-14 students were fully immersed in microgravity experiment design and proposal writing, and 4,347 experiment proposals were submitted by student teams. To date, 18 communities have participated in 2, 3, or 4 flight opportunities, reflecting the sustainable nature of the program.
SSEP on STS-134 and SSEP on STS-135: 3,050 students formally engaged in experiment design, a combined 977 student team proposals received, and 27 experiments have flown–reflecting the 16 communities participating on STS-134, and 11 communities participating on STS-135. Read about the Selected Flight Experiments for the final flight of Shuttle Endeavour (STS-134) and Shuttle Atlantis (STS-135). Read the flight profiles for SSEP on STS-134 and SSEP on STS-135.
Mission 1 to ISS: 12 participating communities, 3,490 students formally engaged in experiment design, 779 student team proposals received, and 15 selected for flight. On May 22, 2012, the Aquarius payload of Mission 1 experiments was launched aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, and was transported to ISS in the Dragon spacecraft—the first commercial spacecraft to dock with ISS heralding in a new era in human spaceflight. Read about the Selected Flight Experiments for Mission 1, the Mission 1 flight profile, the media coverage of SSEP on SpaceX Dragon, and the historic nature of the flight.
Mission 2 to ISS: 11 participating communities, 3,930 students formally engaged in experiment design, 1,125 student team proposals received, and 11 selected for flight. On October 7, 2012, the Antares payload of Mission 2 experiments was launched aboard SpaceX-1 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, on the first operational flight of SpaceX Dragon. Read about the Selected Flight Experiments for Mission 2, the Mission 2 flight profile, and the official announcement of selected experiments.
Mission 3 to ISS: 17 participating communities, 7,200 students formally engaged in experiment design, 1,466 student team proposals received, and 17 selected for flight. The Falcon I payload of 5 Mission 3 experiments is slated to fly to ISS in Fall 2013 on D-1 Cygnus, the first flight of the Cygnus spacecraft to dock with ISS. The Falcon II payload of 12 Mission 3 experiments will launch in Fall 2013 on SpaceX-3. Read about the Selected Flight Experiments for Mission 3, the Mission 3 flight profile, the Preliminary Announcement for the communities selected for Mission 3, and the historic nature of the flight of Falcon I on D-1 Cygnus.
Mission 4 to ISS experiment design began on February 25, 2013 with 11 participating communities. Currently projected impact: 3,500 students formally engaged in experiment design, 755 student team proposals, with 11 to be selected for flight. The Orion payload of Mission 4 experiments is slated to fly to ISS in Fall 2013 on SpaceX-3. Read the Mission 4 flight profile.
May 2013: NEW FLIGHT OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCED
SSEP Mission 5 to ISS
The seventh SSEP flight announcement of opportunity—for Mission 5 to ISS—provides for an experiment design competition Fall 2013, and a ferry flight to ISS in Spring 2014. Mission 5 to ISS is open to school districts and schools across the U.S. (grades 5-12); 2-year community colleges and 4-year colleges across the U.S.; communities in the U.S. led by informal education or out-of-school organizations; and international communities in European Space Agency (ESA) member nations, European Union (EU) member nations, Canada, and Japan, through the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education—the new international arm of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education.
National and Local Partners
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, and NanoRacks, the Strategic Partners on SSEP, are proud to be working with the following SSEP National Partners—the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Carnegie Institution of Washington, NASA Nebraska Space Grant Consortium, and Subaru of America, Inc., To read more about these partnerships, visit the National Partners page at the main SSEP Website.
Partnership is truly a hallmark of SSEP. Over 280 organizations support SSEP at the local level, including: school districts, private schools, NASA Space Grant lead institutions and other universities, corporate foundations, businesses, community foundations, and local research institutions. These organizations are designated the SSEP Local Partners. To explore the Local Partners, visit the Communities & Local Partners page.
The map provides the location of the 60 communities that have participated in the five SSEP flight opportunities to date, and which comprise the SSEP Community Network. Thus far, 14 of these communities have participated in 2, 3, or 4 flight opportunities, reflecting the sustainable nature of the program.
A Community that has taken part in one SSEP Flight Opportunity to date: Yellow
A Community that has taken part in more than one SSEP Flight Opportunity to date: Green
View the SSEP Communities on a larger map
Note: One Mission 3 to ISS Community, the Teachers in Space nationally distributed community program, is not shown on the map.
The tables below provide links to the Community Profiles for each community, and links to all active SSEP Community Blogs where teachers and students report on their local SSEP program activities.
Communities listed in Green below have participated in more than one SSEP Flight Opportunity.
STS-134 Participating Communities
|2.||Broward County, Florida||Profile||Blog|
|3.||Orange County, Florida||Profile||Blog|
|5.||Jefferson County, Kentucky||Profile||Blog|
|7.||Saint Mary’s County, Maryland||Profile||Blog|
|8.||Harry A. Burke High School, Omaha, Nebraska||Profile||Blog|
|9.||Omaha North High Magnet School, Omaha, Nebraska||Profile||Blog|
|10.||Central Consolidated School District, New Mexico||Profile||Blog|
|11.||Ballston Spa, New York||Profile||Blog|
|12.||Guilford County, North Carolina (1)||Profile||Blog|
|14.||El Paso, Texas (1)||Profile||Blog|
|15.||Canyons School District, Utah||Profile||Blog|
STS-135 Participating Communities
|2.||Hartford, Connecticut (1)||Profile||Blog|
|3.||Chicago, Illinois (1)||Profile||Blog|
|4.||Crown Point, Indiana (1)||Profile||Blog|
|5.||Galva-Holstein (Ida County), Iowa (1)||Profile||Blog|
|6.||Charles County, Maryland (1)||Profile||Blog|
|7.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (1)||Profile||Blog|
|8.||Potter and Dix, Nebraska||Profile||Blog|
|10.||Bridgewater-Raritan, New Jersey||Profile||Blog|
|11.||Inwood, New York||Profile||Blog|
Mission 1 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||San Marino, California (1)||Profile||Blog|
|2.||West Hills, California||Profile||Blog|
|3.||Hartford, Connecticut (2)||Profile||Blog|
|4.||Washington, DC (1)||Profile||Blog|
|5.||Lake County (includes Crown Point), Indiana (2)||Profile||Blog|
|6.||Ida County, Iowa (2)||Profile||Blog|
|7.||Charles County, Maryland (2)||Profile||Blog|
|8.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (2)||Profile||Blog|
|9.||Pleasanton and Norris, Nebraska (1)||Profile||Blog|
|11.||Houston, Texas (1)||Profile||Blog|
|12.||El Paso, Texas (2)||Profile||Blog|
Mission 2 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Santa Monica, California||Profile||Blog|
|2.||East Lyme, Connecticut||Profile||Blog|
|3.||Chicago, Illinois (2)||Profile||Blog|
|5.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (3)||Profile||Blog|
|6.||Pennsauken, NJ (1)||Profile||Blog|
|7.||Guilford County, North Carolina (2)||Profile||Blog|
|8.||Houston, Texas (2)||Profile||Blog|
|10.||Russell County, Virginia||Profile||Blog|
Mission 3 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Teachers in Space, Space Frontier Foundation||Profile||Blog|
|2.||Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada||Profile||Blog|
|3.||San Marino, California (2)||Profile||Blog|
|4.||Washington, DC (2)||Profile||Blog|
|6.||Valley Center, Kansas||Profile||Blog|
|7.||Howard County, Maryland||Profile||Blog|
|8.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (4)||Profile||Blog|
|9.||Traverse City, Michigan||Profile||Blog|
|10.||Pleasanton and Callaway, Nebraska (2)||Profile||Blog|
|11.||Alpine, New Jersey||Profile||Blog|
|12.||Pennsauken, New Jersey (2)||Profile||Blog|
|13.||New York City, New York (1)||Profile||Blog|
|14.||Guilford County, North Carolina (3)||Profile||Blog|
|17.||Wise County, Virginia||Profile||Blog|
Mission 4 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Highlands Ranch, Colorado||Profile||Blog|
|2.||Indiana State Science Consortium (incl. Crown Pt), Indiana (3)||Profile||Blog|
|3.||Huron County, Michigan||Profile||Blog|
|5.||Children’s First Network, New York City, New York (2)||Profile||Blog|
|6.||Rochester, New York||Profile||Blog|
|9.||North Charleston, South Carolina||Profile||Blog|
|10.||Hayes County, Texas||Profile||Blog|
NOTE: The link to an individual community blog is made active once a community launches a blog
SSEP is undertaken by 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.
All content on this website is Copyright 2013, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). Any use of this content without the permission of NCESSE is prohibited.