California Space Grant Consortium Project is One of Eleven Selected Among Thousands to Participate in Teleconference with Astronauts

On November 15th, the California Space Grant team attended a live video downlink between International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 33 Commander Sunita Williams and Flight Engineer Kevin Ford aboard the ISS, astronaut Leland Melvin at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and 9,500 students of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). The recorded webcast of the teleconference is available at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum USTREAM archive.

With funding from the California Space Grant Consortium, Lincoln Middle School students participated in the live video downlink activity, in conjunction with their microgravity project recently sent to the ISS aboard the SpaceX Dragon.

With help from eighth grade physical science teachers Carol Wrabel and Marianna O’Brien and visiting local scientists, students were supplied with tools and research materials to design an experiment to test the effect of microgravity on a physical, biological, or chemical system. Among the thousands of projects submitted, the Lincoln Middle School students’ project was one of eleven selected to board the ISS.

Following the live Earth-to-ISS exchange, NASA Associate Administrator for Education and two-time space shuttle astronaut Leland Melvin gave a presentation to encourage the students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“You are the scientists, engineers and astronauts of tomorrow,” Melvin said. “America’s future of scientific research and space exploration is in your hands, and there’s no better way to prepare yourselves for those grand adventures than to start pursuing a STEM career now.” Jeff Goldstein, director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, which sponsors the SSEP, also addressed the students and shared recent program highlights.

SSEP is an on-orbit educational research opportunity that allows students to design and fly experiments to the space station through a collaboration with NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA as part of using the space station as a national laboratory.

Additional information about the Lincoln Middle School project is available at http://casgc.ucsd.edu/?p=2641.

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