TIS Newsletter 2012 #2

International Space Station Experiment Contest

Students working with the teachers of the TiS 2012 Flight Experiments Workshop will compete to send a student -designed and -created experiment to the ISS

Teachers in Space and Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) are proud to announce a Student Design Competition for Mission 3, with the winning entry securing a launch date to the International Space Station in the spring of 2013. This is a competition open to student groups working under the direction of the 25 teachers who successfully completed the July 2012 Flight Experiments Workshop provided by TiS.

If you are a teacher who participated in the TiS 2012 Flight Experiments Workshop, this is how you move forward. The participating students will generate their own competitive proposals under the guidance of their Teacher Facilitator, including aproposal summary, question(s) to be answered by the investigation, experiment design, experiment materials and any special handling concerns, and background research.

A review panel appointed by the Space Frontier Foundation will evaluate the proposals generated by the TiS-eligible teams. Proposals which do not meet the SSEP requirements will be eliminated from the competition during this evaluation process. The review panel will then select three proposals to advance as finalists. The three proposals which advance to the final round of competition in December 2012 will be judged by a research team at SSEP, and the winner of that round of judging will be awarded a launch date for 2013.

Teachers in Space is collaborating with Student Spaceflights Experiments Program to offer this contest. The Student Space Flight Experiments Program [or just "SSEP"] (http://ssep.ncesse.org) is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE; http://ncesse.org) in partnership with Nanoracks, LLC. This on-orbit educational research opportunity is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC, which is working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

July 2012 Flight Experiments Workshop Recap

TIS’s Flight Experiments Workshop ran July 23-27, 2012 at NASA’s Ames research center. Twenty-five teachers from across the United States learned about research being conducted in space today, as well as the commercial companies and other organizations which are making that research possible. In addition, the teachers conducted their own experiments in Earth’s stratosphere by building and preparing data sensors for actual flights on a zeppelin and a hydrogen-filled weather balloon under the guidance of Luther Richardson of the Columbus Space Program.

Jim Dunstan and Steve Bress of Celestial Circuits presented some plans for software which will help researchers gather data from experiments onboard the ISS (International Space Station). Unlike Earth-based experiments, space experiments are rarely returned to their creators for analysis. Instead, data must be collected, recorded, and relayed from space. Dunstan and Bress also worked with the teachers to explore and help define the types of data that researchers on Earth might need ISS astronauts to collect and transmit back to them.

Dr. Jeff Goldstein of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) visited the workshop to discuss the types of experiments which students could design for launch and installation aboard the ISS. A competition open to select students is currently underway, and the winning team’s entry will be launched to the ISS next year. (See the previous article in this month’s newsletter for extensive details.)

Lynn Harper of Space Portal led the 25 teachers in the workshop launch team through a NASA Flight Readiness Review (FRR). The team produced and examined the required documents and procedures including flight path predictions updated every three hours to incorporate wind shifts, Go / No-Go protocol and decision points, and a backup plan in case of a scrubbed launch. The team tested all equipment including the parachute and associated PVC system at the First Robotics lab.

The balloon launch occurred at 8:40 PDT Friday 27 July 2012 under the command of Richardson and Ron Meadows of the California Near Space Project. The balloon rose into the upper atmosphere enabling its attached camera to photograph the curve of Earth against the darkness of space, while the sensors recorded over 15 million data points on velocity, altitude, temperature, and other information pertaining to the balloon’s flight and surrounding environment. The balloon flight occurred just before a solar flare, and might have collected some data of potential value to scientists studying solar flares. At high altitude the balloon burst and its payload parachuted back to Earth, where its GPS signaled its landing location for recovery.

Richardson is currently creating a tutorial on how to decipher the raw counts into real units, but was willing to share some pictures and raw data with us.

Space Math @ NASA

Get your students involved with Space Math problem books for grades 4 and up. These documents are full-color, and contain additional explanatory materials about the content and how the topics align with national mathematics and science standards identified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematicsand the National Science Teachers Association. Enjoy!

NASA 120 Day Survey

Everyone who participated in a TiS workshop this summer should have received afollow-up survey from NASA. These short 10-question surveys must be completed and submitted by mid-October. If you have not yet received your survey, click the link above to submit your thoughts and experiences to NASA. These surveys are vital to the grant funding process – without them we will not be able to continue offering NASA-funded workshops to teachers like you!

Next Month’s Newsletter

Will include details on a student mission-patch design competition, a program in development which may offer students the opportunity to launch weather balloon experiments and work with the data collected, and more!

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