Scientific Return and Reporting – Mission 8 to ISS

This page provides a video archive of presentations at the annual SSEP National Conference by student researchers whose experiments were part of the SSEP Mission 8 to ISS Kitty Hawk experiments payload. Mission 8 to ISS was the tenth SSEP flight opportunity.

Kitty Hawk launched on SpaceX-9, 12:45 am ET, July 18, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Kitty Hawk also returned to Earth on SpaceX-9, splashing down in the Pacific off the California coast, on August 26, 2016.

For details on the flight profile for Kitty Hawk, see the SSEP Mission 8 to the International Space Station (ISS) page.

Some student flight teams present at more than one annual conference, reporting out status at various stages of the life cycle of a flight experiment. It is also true that not all student flight teams attend a conference. For details on all Kitty Hawk flight experiments, see the Selected Experiments on SSEP Mission 8 to ISS page.


Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Ryerson University

Title: Will Microgravity Affect the Growth of Pleurotus ostreatus?
Oral Presentation, 5th Annual SSEP National Conference, July 2015
Ryerson University
Grade levels: 11 and 2nd year Undergraduate

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8

Co-Principal Investigators: Komalpreet Kahlon, Francis Buguis, Gemma Mancuso, Modlin Orange, Kugenthini Tharmakulasekaram
Collaborator: Murad Jabarov
Teacher Facilitator: Bryan Koivisto, Nathan Battersby

Abstract: This experiment aims to explore the effect of microgravity on the growth of the saprotrophic fungus Pleurotus ostreatus, more commonly known as the pearl oyster mushroom. This fungus has been subject to much research. This highly nutritious fungus is grown in many countries and is consumed as a major source of nutrients. Differences in growth will be determined by studying the mycelial content in both samples. This research could be a step towards the production of food in space.


Toronto, Ontario, Canada – University of Toronto Schools

Title: How will Microgravity Affect the Functions and Development of Stem Cells in S. Mediterranea Flatworm?
Oral Presentation, 5th Annual SSEP National Conference, July 2015
Independent School
Grade levels: 8 and 11

Type of Experiment: Finalist Experiment, Mission 8

Co-Principal Investigators: Arjun Aggarwal, Rahim Dhalla, Matthew Egan, Madeline Elder, Alisia Lalji
Collaborators: Jeffrey Burrows, Ko Currie, Michael Prysciak
Teacher Facilitator: Suzanne Monir

Abstract: We devised a plan to examine the effects of placing a sexual and asexual species of Planarian flatworm, known as Schmidtea mediterranea, under microgravity. Planarians are capable of complete regeneration from any fragment of their body and have become essential in stem cell research. These organisms have unique genomic tools allowing for analysis of their regeneration process from a molecular perspective. Alteration of gravity can affect stem cell polarity, intercellular communication, and expression of related genes and processes essential to stem cell proliferation.


Santa Ana, California

Title: Investigation of Water Absorption
Oral Presentation, 5th Annual SSEP National Conference, July 2015
Mendez Fundamental, Santa Ana Unified
Grade level: 6

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8

Co-Principal Investigators: Haydee Contreras, Sandy Ceja, Daniel Polanco, Anthony Montiel
Teacher Facilitator: Lizette Cabrera

Abstract: The purpose of the experiment is to observe the effect of microgravity on the water absorption of Hyaluronic Acid (Sodium Hyaluronate) to see whether the lack of gravity will have a positive, negative or neutral effect on the water absorption of Hyaluronic Acid. Water absorption and maintaining moisture are important in space because there is only a limited amount of water sources on the ISS and maintaining moisture levels in microgravity environments can help the astronauts’ daily lives.


Prince George’s County, Maryland

Title: Hot Pepper Power
Oral Presentation, 6th Annual SSEP National Conference, June 2016
Chesapeake Math & Information Technology Elementary School
Grade level: 5

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8

Co-Principal Investigators: Akintunji Akinselure, Pamela Ikegwu, Lise Chelsea Mbakop, Clarence Rucker, Victoria Rush, Ebrima Sise, Jasmine Wilson
Co-Investigators: Dariel Gray, Kayla Kingston, Darlene Opoku, Roshni Pawar, Cameron Salisbury, Sydney Virgil, London Wiggins
Collaborators: Joycelyn Ajiboye, Grace Akinsola, Caleb Bradley, Jailyn Buie, Zoe Burkett, Iris Daniels, Nandi Edwards, Ralph Martino, Bryant-Alexander Oliphant, Hannah Simmons
Teacher Facilitator: Benora McCain

Abstract: The students from Chesapeake Math & Information Technology Elementary School in Prince George’s County decided to research hot peppers. We researched and discovered that hot peppers can fight bacteria. The purpose of this mission is to find alternative food sources for astronauts. If they can germinate hot peppers this could be used to help fight bacteria. This will keep astronauts healthy. We hope hot pepper seeds will germinate in a microgravity environment. This could be a new food source for astronauts.


New York, New York – NEST+m

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on Bacterial Biofilm Formation on Soft Contact Lenses
Oral Presentation, 5th Annual SSEP National Conference, July 2015
New Explorations into Science Technology and Math, NYC Department of Education
Grade level: 5

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8

Principal Investigator: Maya Karri
Collaborators: Alex Apelewicz, Chloe Coward, Tori Feinstein, Michelle Fridman, Jack Galligan, Anabel Giacobbi, Benjamin Goodstein, Quinci Huston, Andrew Kogan, Vivian Lee, Spring Lin, Haydn Long, Samantha Mayol, Ines Menendez, Fiona O’Reilly, Jean Carlos Paredes, Catherine Pyne, Kiara Reyes, Natalie Roston, Jacob Rubakha, Maximillian Shen, Rachel Svoyskiy, James Thompson, Abel Torres, Madison Williams, Danny Yang
Teacher Facilitator: Margaux Stevenson, Marvin Cadornigara

Abstract: This experiment investigates the effect of microgravity on biofilm formation on soft contact lenses. A biofilm is an assemblage of cells that adhere to a surface, held together by a substance they secrete. On contact lenses, they are harmful because they render any defenses useless. A type 3 FME that mimics a fluid processing apparatus is used. The bacteria used is Serratia marcescens and the growth medium is lactose broth. Biofilm formation on ground and experimental samples will be compared.


Suffolk County, New York – South Huntington School District

Title: The Effect of Microgravity on How Detergent plus Polymer Beads Clean a Cotton Cloth
Oral Presentation, 5th Annual SSEP National Conference, July 2015
Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center, South Huntington School District
Grade level: 6

Type of Experiment: Flight Experiment, Mission 8

Co-Principal Investigators: Hussain Babar, Dylan Cellamare, Richard Kurjanski, Leo Musitano, Stephan Tsolis, Jacob Veeder
Teacher Facilitator: Mari Scardapane

Abstract: The purpose of this experiment is to observe how microgravity impacts the effectiveness of polymer beads when cleaning an oil-stained cloth. This is a major problem on the ISS due to the lack of water for washing clothing. On Earth, polymer beads require a minimal amount of water to be activated, expanding to trap stains. We will test our experiment in a microgravity environment and see how effectively the beads clean the cloth.


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.