The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, are proud to present the 31 Mission Patches selected for flight to the International Space Station (ISS) for Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 9 to ISS. The selected flight patches shown below resulted from local art and design competitions meant to capture the spirit of SSEP in each Mission 9 community.
The mission patch competitions foster community-wide awareness and engagement in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program – an initiative that takes students, teachers, and the community at large to the space frontier through immersion in an authentic research experience. The 21 selected Mission 9 microgravity flight experiments from student teams, representing the 21 communities participating in Mission 9, comprise the SSEP Endeavor experiments payload, named after the Apollo 15 Command Module.
As a historical note, mission patches have been part of human spaceflight since the days of Project Mercury in the 1960s (see, e.g., this page at the NASA History Program Office). The official NASA mission patch for Apollo 15 is shown above. The SSEP Mission Patch competitions therefore allow communities to engage in another authentic aspect of the space program. From an education standpoint, the mission patch component of SSEP forges interdisciplinary connections between STEM fields and art and design, so that SSEP is a true STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) initiative.
Across the 19 of 21 Mission 9 to ISS communities conducting Mission Patch art and design competitions, 12,790 grade K-12 students were engaged, and 11,184 patch designs were submitted. Judges within the communities selected the 31 patches shown below.
You can also read more about the Mission 9 to ISS Patch Competition at the main SSEP website.
Students at Langevin School had the opportunity to take part in the Mission Patch competition in support of our winning Student Spaceflight Experiments Program finalists. The competition was open to students in kindergarten to grade 9, with one competition for K – 4 students and a second competition for 5 – 9 students. 135 students submitted patch designs in the K – 4 competition and 172 students submitted patch designs in the 5 – 9 competition for a total of 307 students participating community-wide. The winning patch in our K – 4 competition was designed by first grade student Dexter Muir. The winning patch in our 5 – 9 competition was designed by sixth grade student Deni Hui.
Lincoln Middle School’s SSEP patch competition included over 475 entries from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Over 330 eighth graders submitted an official entry, with 10 classes honoring a winner and the “Top Five” honored school-wide. The middle school winning artist for SSEP Mission 9 Patch is Siri Storstein-Norgaard. We also proudly invited all 10 elementary schools to participate in our community patch competition. Eleven eighth graders personally extended the invitation by visiting ten different classrooms from our three feeder schools. They exposed kindergarten through fifth graders to the International Space Station, the concept of microgravity, the SSEP project, and Lincoln’s proposal chosen for flight. 149 students submitted patch designs for the elementary school competition with McKinley Elementary School student Madeleine Masson’s patch being selected. We are very proud of our 475+ participants!
East Lyme School District offered two Mission Patch design competitions. The first was open to grade 5-8 students at East Lyme Middle School, which was the school engaged in the experiment design competition. We had 200 students participate and received 171 submissions. The second was open to our grades K-4 and 9-12 students; we had 150 students participate and received 102 submissions. Overall the competition was available to every student in our school district, a total of 3,123 students. Our winning patch from the middle school features the International Space Station with the three FME types floating in a window, an astronaut promoting East Lyme Middle School’s (ELMS) involvement in SSEP and a few comets flying by wearing a Viking’s helmet. Vikings are the community’s mascot. Each winning design was turned into cloth patches and sold to the community as a fundraiser.
Hillsborough County Public Schools opened the Mission 9 Patch Competition to 7,000 elementary school students in our community, which represented 12 schools. We divided the competition – one for Kindergarten through Second Grade students, with 350 patches submitted and another for Third through Fifth Grade students, with 401 patches submitted. 2,420 students drew a design and 751 patches met the requirements for judging by a committee of teachers and community leaders. Of these patches 1,015 were submitted by Kindergarten through second grade students and 1,405 were submitted by Third through Fifth Grade students. The Kindergarten through Second Grade Mission Patch winner is Vyenna Le, a Second Grade student from Schwarzkopf Elementary in Lutz, Florida. The winning patch from the Third Grade through Fifth Grade competition was Alexis Ochoa, a 5th grade student from Gibsonton Elementary in Gibsonton, Florida.
200 grade 4-5 students participated in the elementary mission patch competition. K-3 students were also invited to participate. Of the 200+ rough draft patches that were designed, 29 students completed designs to enter into the official competition. The elementary design chosen was designed by Rachel Hinckly in 5th grade. She created a drawing with a Triops and a spaceship representing the mission to space. Our art teacher engaged 90 secondary students in direct instruction on graphic design techniques. The competition was also open to students that were not enrolled in art. These students were engaged in the patch competition through their science and advisory teachers. Students also learned about the contest through newsletters and daily announcements. 102+ students were directly engaged in designing rough draft patches. Of these, 72 secondary students chose to create final draft patch designs to enter into the secondary competition. The secondary design chosen was designed by Madeline Clark in the 7th grade. Her design is a husky silhouette filled with Triops, a rocket, an astronaut, and stars.
Bullis School in Potomac, MD received 152 mission patches submitted by 426 students, in grades 8-11, working in teams of 2-3. Individual teachers collected the student team patch submissions and narrowed the field to the top 3 patches per class. Of this group, the Bullis Science Department nominated the top 3 patches throughout the school. The finalist patch was selected by the Bullis Administration based upon aesthetic appeal. Our winning design, created by 10th grader Princess Ke, features a rocket in Bullis Blue and Gold heading off to the International Space Station.
The Mission Patch Art & Design Competition was split into two competitions. The first competition, afforded 1400 in grades 9 – 12 the opportunity to participate. 115 patches were received and voted on by students, teachers, administrators and staff. The winning patch was created by Mathias Suarez Rodriguez, a junior in Graphic Communications. The 2nd patch competition was opened up to over 20 elementary/ middle schools in our surrounding communities. We received 172 patch designs from students in four different schools ranging from grades 1 – 5. The winning secondary patch was designed by Arianna Picariello from Varnum Brook School, Grade 4. Monty Tech has developed a strong SSEP program and enjoys the opportunity to engage students in science and artistic creativity.
All students in the primary learning community, Traverse City West Senior High School (current enrollment of 1650 students, grades 9-12), were invited to participate in the Mission 9 to the ISS Patch Design competition. 107 students submitted entries. The top six designs were judged by a groups of administrators, teachers, and support staff to determine the final winner, Rosemarie Soma.
Jersey City Public School District engaged 5th grade students from 7 schools in the mission patch competition. Four of the schools engaged approximately 75 students, each submitting a mission patch design, from various classes into their own competition. Each school nominated one submission to the selection committee. The selected patch portrays the joy and journey of science the students experienced while preparing their proposal. The patch displays a rocket that is launched from Earth to the International Space Station. The hand represents students working together to achieve the best understanding of the sciences.
The Springfield Public Schools held two patch design competitions: one for K-5 students, and a second for grades 6-12. A total of 1,049 students in grades K-5 participated in patch design in their art classes, with 1,147 completed patches. As part of the 6-12 selection process, all students in our middle school art classes submitted 322 patches; at the high school a total of 63 students in both Studio Art and Graphic Design classes, as well as the Art Club, all designed and completed patches. Megan Zuzarth, a 5th grader at Thelma L. Sandmeier Elementary School, created the patch chosen from K-5. Matthew Kanengiser, an 11th grader in a Graphic Design class at Jonathan Dayton HS, created the 6-12 selected patch design. The two finalists and all semi-finalist patches will be displayed at our district science exposition.
The Buffalo Niagara Coalition of ten urban schools targeted two student groups: the Grades 5-12 students directly involved in writing SSEP flight proposals and K-12 students at Coalition schools that were not involved in writing SSEP fight proposals. A teaching artist from the community provided instruction to students on the design process and branding of a theme. There were 108 students submitting entries in Grades 5-12 who were involved in SSEP and another 197 K-12 entries from those who had not participated in SSEP (190 at Grade K-5 and 7 at Grade 6-12). Student entries were required to meet minimal compliance criteria to be judged at the school level. A school-based panel, arranged at each school, identified their top entries and a panel of five professional artists, arranged by WNY STEM, judged ten finalist entries on a rubric developed for the following criteria: creativity, craftsmanship, design elements, compliance with criteria, theme.
Churchill High School (CHS) and Arts and Technology Academy (ATA), both from the Eugene School District created two patch designs for their SSEP project. 8th grade students at ATA wrote the winning proposal “What are the effects of microgravity on SLIPS in space?” At CHS (grades 9-12), students enrolled in Design Thinking, Physics, Engineering Design and AVID courses participated in the SSEP patch competition. This resulted in 88 patch designs. A panel of students, staff members, administrators and community member selected the patch. A patch designed by CHS student, Violet Fritsche was selected. ATA students (grades 6-8) all created Mission Patch designs in their daily advisory and social studies classes. Over 300 students participated in the contest. From the initial 300 patch designs, each grade level selected 8-10 finalists. The ATA staff voted and selected four finalists. A school wide vote resulted in Abby Scott’s design being selected.
At Palmetto Scholars Academy, one patch was selected for Mission 9 with the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. 426 students in grades 6 through 12 had the opportunity to design a patch through art class or through the art teacher. 72 patches were submitted for consideration of being the Mission 9 mission patch at Palmetto Scholars Academy. A fine arts committee comprised of local artists and artisans narrowed down the mission patches to the top 3 patches, and a vote was taken to determine the winning patch. The selected patch was created by Madisyn Hostetler, a junior at Palmetto Scholars Academy. She created a patch that reflects the local culture in Charleston and adds a space component to exemplify PSA’s commitment to space endeavors.
Approximately 1800 students in grades K-4 had a lesson on space and the art of mission patches. Then they were challenged to create one to represent our community for this mission. The art teachers from each school narrowed down the submissions to submit 98 different patches representing 11 different schools for judging. We had 600 high school students choose the top 8 from the 98 and those went out to our community where 1260 votes were cast to find their favorite among the 8 finalists. The winner was 3rd grader at Beaumont Magnet Academy and includes a dogwood bloom and the Sunsphere. Our city hosts the national Dogwood Festival every spring and the Sunsphere is a central point and visitor destination to our downtown area. It was the centerpiece of the 1982 world’s fair held in our city. The phrase “let your mind grow” was part of the lesson about why we participate in the SSEP program.
The Bullard High School SSEP team opened the Mission Patch Design Competition to all art students as well as the whole student body at the Bullard High School campus. With the support of our art teacher, Sam McCullough, and the Fine Arts Chairperson, Gary Jordan, the opportunity was announced to the students during classes. A total of 40 patches were designed and submitted by 110 students from grades 9-12. The SSEP campus team selected 8 patches to move forward to a community vote via the campus’s Facebook page. From the community vote, 5 patches were presented to the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees for the final patch selection. The winning patch was designed by Freshman, Peyton Moore, which was announced along with the SSEP experiment design winning team to the entire school community via daily announcement as well as in person.
It was with great excitement that a total of 1,760 students from Burleson ISD in Burleson, Texas, participated in the SSEP Mission 9 Patch Competition. There were 1,510 K-4th grade and 250 5th -8th grade students supporting our SSEP Experiment Design teams with their individual patch design submissions. Their patches were displayed during our official district “Space Night,” with an attendance that beat Friday night football. Students sought their mission patch designs and pointed them out to friends, relatives, and school board members. The winning K-4th grade patch by Nolan McDonald from the Academy at Nola Dunn, “Blasting off to Greatness,” features a bald eagle behind an American flag. The winning 5th -8th grade patch by Lanna Johnson, also from the Academy at Nola Dunn, illustrates our solar system with the charge to “Explore the Universe”. Congratulations to all student participants!
Students in the VAMOS pathway prepared Mission Patches. In grade 10, 140 students created designs. In grade 11, there were 153. In grade 12, there were 221. This totaled 514 designs. The designs were reviewed by the faculty of the pathway and five finalists were chosen. We were unable to do in-person voting, as we had planned. Instead, we used online resources that allowed students to vote online. This allowed students to learn about the SSEP project, the actual experiment that will be carried out, and to view the designs prepared by our students. Students in all pathways at the school participated in the voting, and the winning design received over 47% of the vote. Our Senior VAMOS students will be making a video to honor the winning designer and the team of students who have been working on the experiment itself. In other words, the outreach will continue.
McAllen ISD was excited to have engaged hundreds of students in their first SSEP Mission 9 to ISS: Mission Patch Art Competitions. The first patch competition consisted of 362 middle school art students (grades 6-8) who submitted 556 patch designs and the second competition included 820 high school art students (grades 9-12) who submitted 1,341 patch designs, which means a total of 1,897 patch designs were submitted to the art instructors as part of the competition. Each middle and high school art instructor selected their top designs and a panel of three judges (artists within our community) reviewed and selected the winning patch design for each competition. The first competition winner was, 7th grader, Grace Kelly, with her colorful design. The second competition winner was, 9th grader, Travis Zigler, with his digital graphic design.
All Open Window School students participated in our two SSEP Mission Patch Art & Design Competitions. In the K-3rd competition, 151 student participated. In the 4th -8th competition, 158 students participated. All students in grades K-4 created mission patch designs during their art classes. In grades 5-8, students were informed of the contest through their advisors. Over 200 mission patch designs (151 for K-3 and 55 for 4-8) were submitted and displayed so our entire school community could vote for the design that they felt best reflected our school and the SSEP program. Third grader Sophia Sekits won the K-3rd competition with her design featuring an ‘OWS’ constellation. The winning design from the 4th-8th grade competition came from Cadence Ching, a fourth grader. Her design features a space scene with a shuttle, astronaut, and test tube. All student mission patch designs will be showcased at our K-8 STEM Day this spring!