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 11 to ISS (Go to 3/30/16 Announcement)
Experiment Design Phase: Fall 2016; Flight to ISS: Spring 2017 Download: Press Release PDF
Download: 3-page Program Overview for Mission 11 (MS Word)
Watch Video Clips describing SSEP: Clip 1 (NASA), Clip 2 (NASA)
Scientific American feature article on SSEP: February 17, 2015
Download: 2-page SSEP Overview used for Congressional Briefings (PDF)
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.
- THE SOLUTION to the Mission 11 Student Challenge: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where? September 21, 2016
- For the 13,500 SSEP Mission 11 to ISS Student Researchers – A Challenge for the Start of Program: Understanding Weightlessness – You Want Me to Take a Bathroom Scale Where? September 14, 2016
Multimedia (click on toggles below)
This high definition video of your world is being telemetered to Earth LIVE from the International Space Station. To determine what portion of Earth is in view, use the ‘ISS Current Location’ toggle above. We invite you to get into the spirit of exploration on the frontiers of space – select an audio file below, expand the HDEV video window, and look down from 250 miles above Earth’s surface. Suggestions for other audio tracks are welcome:)
David Bowie’s Space Oddity, sung by Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield on ISS (watch his video)
Star Trek TNG
About HDEV, from NASA: The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment aboard the ISS was activated April 30, 2014. It is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. HDEV includes four fixed cameras positioned to capture imagery of the Earth’s surface and its limb as seen from the ISS – one camera pointing in the direction the station is moving, two cameras aft (wake), and one camera pointing straight down at Earth (nadir). While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence though the different cameras. Between camera switches, a gray and then black color slate will briefly appear. To learn more about the HDEV experiment, visit this NASA webpage.
In late 2015, the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education suggested to NASA Headquarters that a Spot the Station widget, which could be easily embedded on any website, would be a wonderful way to extend ISS public awareness. The widget below was the result, and you’ll note that it is also found in the right column on all main pages of this SSEP website.
You are invited to use the widget to explore Station over-flights of your community, and even embed this widget on your website by clicking on the “About” button in the widget.
On this SSEP Community Network Hubsite you can learn about the 134 communities across the U.S. and Canada that have been engaged in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), and the over 800 organizational partners at the local level thus far.
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 on the SSEP Main Website.)
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 competing to fly an experiment in low Earth orbit in a real research mini-laboratory reserved just for their community. The competition is conducted through formal submission of real research proposals by the community’s student teams—just like professional researchers. 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. A curriculum, and other content resources for teachers and students, supports foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experiment 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. One element is a Mission Patch design competition allowing hundreds of students across the community (down to grade K) to capture through art and design their community’s SSEP experience. Up to two Mission Patches accompany the community’s selected flight experiment to low Earth orbit.
An annual SSEP National Conference held at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, immerses delegations of students in a real research conference where they formally present to their peers on experiment design and science results (explore the 2015 Conference page, and video clips of presentations archived on the Scientific Return and Reporting pages, see e.g., Mission 6 to ISS Scientific Return and Reporting).
Flight Opportunities to Date
Since program inception in June 2010, there have been twelve 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 10 to ISS. A total of 134 communities have participated in the program, reflecting 36 States and the District of Columbia in the U. S. and 4 Provinces in Canada. Thus far 28 communities have participated in multiple flight opportunities – one community is conducting their 7th flight with Mission 9 – reflecting the sustainable nature of the program.
Through the first eleven flight opportunities, a total of 61,150 grade 5-16 students across 780 schools were fully immersed in microgravity experiment design and proposal writing, 13,617 flight experiment proposals were received from student teams, and 174 experiments were selected for flight. A total of 113 experiments have flown through SSEP Mission 6. Another 61 experiments are expected to launch in 2016: 25 experiments as the Mission 7 Odyssey II payload on SpaceX-8, 15 experiments as the Mission 8 Kitty Hawk payload on SpaceX-9, and 21 experiments as the Endeavor payload on SpaceX-10 – all three launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL, adjoining Kennedy Space Center. Over 100,000 more students across the entire grade preK-16 pipeline were engaged in their communities’ broader STEAM experience, submitting 57,847 Mission Patch designs.
For more information on SSEP Missions to date, explore the Flight Opportunities to Date page, which provides launch and landing dates, and information on the ferry spacecraft, astronaut crews aboard ISS during experiment operation, and the SSEP flight experiment payloads.
March 30, 2016: NEW Flight Opportunity Announced
SSEP Mission 11 to ISS
The thirteenth SSEP flight announcement of opportunity—for Mission 11 to ISS—provides for an experiment design competition Fall 2016, and a ferry flight to ISS in Spring 2017. Mission 11 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 – in the U.S., the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and Subaru of America, Inc. and in Canada, Magellan Aerospace. To read more about these partnerships, visit the National Partners page at the main SSEP Website.
Partnership is truly a hallmark of SSEP. Over 800 organizations have supported SSEP at the local level since program inception, 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 134 communities that have participated in the 12 SSEP flight opportunities to date (through Mission 10 to ISS), and which comprise the SSEP Community Network. Thus far, 28 of these communities have participated in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 flight opportunities.
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
*The ‘Teachers in Space’ geographically distributed community (participating in Missions 3 and 5) is not shown on the map.
Communities listed in Green below have participated in more than one SSEP Flight Opportunity.
STS-134 Participating Communities
|2.||Broward County, Florida||Profile|
|3.||Orange County, Florida||Profile|
|5.||Jefferson County, Kentucky (1)||Profile|
|7.||Saint Mary’s County, Maryland||Profile|
|8.||Harry A. Burke High School, Omaha, Nebraska||Profile|
|9.||Omaha North High Magnet School, Omaha, Nebraska||Profile|
|10.||Central Consolidated School District, New Mexico||Profile|
|11.||Ballston Spa, New York||Profile|
|12.||Guilford County, North Carolina (1)||Profile|
|14.||El Paso, Texas (1)||Profile|
|15.||Canyons School District, Utah||Profile|
STS-135 Participating Communities
|2.||Hartford, Connecticut (1)||Profile|
|3.||Chicago, Illinois (1)||Profile|
|4.||Crown Point, Indiana (1)||Profile|
|5.||Galva-Holstein (Ida County), Iowa (1)||Profile|
|6.||Charles County, Maryland (1)||Profile|
|7.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (1)||Profile|
|8.||Potter and Dix, Nebraska||Profile|
|10.||Bridgewater-Raritan, New Jersey||Profile|
|11.||Inwood, New York||Profile|
Mission 1 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||San Marino, California (1)||Profile|
|2.||West Hills, California||Profile|
|3.||Hartford, Connecticut (2)||Profile|
|4.||Washington, DC – Capitol Hill Cluster of Schools (1)||Profile|
|5.||Lake County (includes Crown Point), Indiana (2)||Profile|
|6.||Ida County, Iowa (2)||Profile|
|7.||Charles County, Maryland (2)||Profile|
|8.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (2)||Profile|
|9.||Pleasanton and Norris, Nebraska (1)||Profile|
|11.||Houston, Texas (1)||Profile|
|12.||El Paso, Texas (2)||Profile|
Mission 2 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Santa Monica, California (1)||Profile|
|2.||East Lyme, Connecticut (1)||Profile|
|3.||Chicago, Illinois (2)||Profile|
|5.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (3)||Profile|
|6.||Pennsauken, NJ (1)||Profile|
|7.||Guilford County, North Carolina (2)||Profile|
|8.||Houston, Texas (2)||Profile|
|10.||Russell County, Virginia||Profile|
Mission 3 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Teachers in Space, Space Frontier Foundation (1)||Profile|
|2.||Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada||Profile|
|3.||San Marino, California (2)||Profile|
|4.||Washington, DC – Capitol Hill Cluster of Schools (2)||Profile|
|6.||Valley Center, Kansas||Profile|
|7.||Howard County, Maryland (1)||Profile|
|8.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (4)||Profile|
|9.||Traverse City, Michigan (1)||Profile|
|10.||Pleasanton and Callaway, Nebraska (2)||Profile|
|11.||Alpine, New Jersey||Profile|
|12.||Pennsauken, New Jersey (2)||Profile|
|13.||New York City, New York – NEST+m (1)||Profile|
|14.||Guilford County, North Carolina (3)||Profile|
|17.||Wise County, Virginia||Profile|
Mission 4 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Highlands Ranch, Colorado||Profile|
|2.||Indiana State Science Consortium (incl. Crown Pt), IN (3)||Profile|
|3.||Huron County, Michigan||Profile|
|5.||New York City, New York – Children’s First Network||Profile|
|6.||Rochester, New York||Profile|
|9.||North Charleston, South Carolina (1)||Profile|
|10.||Hayes County, Texas||Profile|
|11.||Pharr, Texas (1)||Profile|
Mission 5 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Teachers in Space Inc. and Space Frontier Foundation (2)||Profile|
|3.||Santa Rosa, California||Profile|
|4.||Washington, DC – Cesar Chavez Charter School Cluster||Profile|
|5.||Hillsborough County, Florida (1)||Profile|
|6.||Jefferson County, Kentucky (2)||Profile|
|7.||Howard County, Maryland (2)||Profile|
|8.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (5)||Profile|
|9.||North Attleborough, Massachusetts||Profile|
|10.||Kansas City, Missouri (1)||Profile|
|11.||Brookhaven, Mississippi (1)||Profile|
|12.||Pennsauken, New Jersey (3)||Profile|
|13.||New York City, New York – NEST+m (2)||Profile|
|14.||Rockland County, New York||Profile|
|15.||Guilford, County, North Carolina (4)||Profile|
Mission 6 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Kamloops/Thompson, British Columbia, Canada||Profile|
|3.||San Marino, California (3)||Profile|
|4.||Washington, DC – DC Space Grant University Community||Profile|
|7.||Madison Heights, Michigan||Profile|
|8.||Kansas City, Missouri (2)||Profile|
|9.||Berkeley Heights, New Jersey||Profile|
|10.||Long Branch, New Jersey||Profile|
|11.||Ocean City, New Jersey||Profile|
|12.||Flushing, New York||Profile|
|13.||Colleton County, South Carolina||Profile|
|14.||North Charleston, South Carolina (2)||Profile|
|15.||Knox County, Tennessee (1)||Profile|
|17.||Rockwall County, Texas||Profile|
|18.||San Antonio, Texas (1)||Profile|
Mission 7 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||La Verne, California||Profile|
|3.||Santa Monica, California (2)||Profile|
|5.||Hartford, Connecticut (3)||Profile|
|8.||Hillsborough County, Florida (2)||Profile|
|9.||Sioux City, Iowa||Profile|
|10.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (6)||Profile|
|12.||Brookhaven, Mississippi (2)||Profile|
|13.||Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas (3)||Profile|
|14.||Johnson County, Nebraska||Profile|
|15.||Pennsauken, New Jersey (4)||Profile|
|16.||Somerset, New Jersey||Profile|
|17.||West Fargo, North Dakota||Profile|
|18.||Grant County, Oregon||Profile|
|20.||Knox County, Tennessee (2)||Profile|
|22.||Burleson, Texas (1)||Profile|
|23.||Pharr, Texas (2)||Profile|
|24.||San Antonio, Texas (2)||Profile|
Mission 8 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Calgary, Alberta, Canada – Bishop Carroll HS||Profile|
|2.||Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Ryerson University||Profile|
|3.||Toronto, Ontario, Canada – University of Toronto Schools||Profile|
|4.||Santa Ana, California||Profile|
|6.||Dover, Delaware – Delaware State University||Profile|
|8.||Montgomery County, Maryland||Profile|
|9.||Prince George’s County, Maryland||Profile|
|10.||Kansas City, Missouri/Kansas (4)||Profile|
|11.||Elizabeth, New Jersey||Profile|
|12.||New York City, New York – Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum||Profile|
|13.||New York City, New York – NEST+m (3)||Profile|
|14.||Suffolk County, New York||Profile|
Mission 9 to ISS Participating Communities
|1.||Calgary, Alberta, Canada – Langevin School||Profile|
|2.||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||Profile|
|3.||Santa Monica, California (3)||Profile|
|4.||East Lyme, CT (2)||Profile|
|5.||Hillsborough County, Florida (3)||Profile|
|8.||Fitchburg, Massachusetts (7)||Profile|
|9.||Traverse City, Michigan (2)||Profile|
|10.||Jersey City, New Jersey||Profile|
|11.||Springfield, New Jersey||Profile|
|12.||Buffalo – Niagara Falls, New York||Profile|
|14.||Columbia, South Carolina||Profile|
|15.||North Charleston, South Carolina (3)||Profile|
|16.||Knox County, Tennessee (3)||Profile|
|18.||Burleson, Texas (2)||Profile|
|19.||Houston, Texas – Cesar Chavez HS||Profile|
Mission 10 to ISS Participating Communities
|2.||Elk Grove, California||Profile|
|3.||iLEAD Consortium, California||Profile|
|7.||University System of Maryland (USM), Maryland||Profile|
|8.||Clark County, Nevada||Profile|
|9.||Summit, New Jersey||Profile|
|11.||San Antonio, Texas||Profile|
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 2016, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). Any use of this content without the permission of NCESSE is prohibited.