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Student Project Launching to International Space Station

ATA and Churchill students’ science experiment is going to space • Watch the launch of SpaceX mission on Sunday, Feb. 19

Eugene School District 4J students have been aiming high. Now their work is about to launch into space!

Early in the morning on Sunday, February 19, the SpaceX CRS-10 mission will launch from NASA Kennedy Space Center. Part of its payload is a science experiment designed by three local students.

The spacecraft will carry the students’ experiment to the International Space Station in low earth orbit, where the experiment will be conducted in microgravity by astronauts.

Student project set to launch

The Eugene students’ science project is part of the international Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). Eugene School District 4J’s Arts & Technology Academy and Churchill High School participated in the hands-on space science program last school year along with other schools in participating communities. Students worked to develop realistic proposals for miniature microgravity research.

Three students look at a prototype of the experiment they designed.

Kobe Skidmore, Garrett Price and Cabala Ray Newell designed the “SLIPS in microgravity” experiment when they were in 8th grade at Arts & Technology Academy. The three students, now in 9th grade at Churchill High School, will see their experiment launch into space in February 2017.

The experiment going into space , “SLIPS in microgravity,” was designed by a team of three students, Cabala Ray Newell, Garrett Price and Kobe Skidmore. The students, now in 9th grade at Churchill High School, designed the experiment as 8th graders at Arts & Technology Academy.

The SLIPS student experiment came out on top among 152 proposals from more than 600 students at the two schools. It will join the SSEP Mission 9 Endeavor payload on the SpaceX CRS-10 launch along with student experiments from 20 other communities across the United States and Canada.

The experiment is designed to test whether SLIPS—the world’s slipperiest substance, inspired by properties from the pitcher plant—has the same properties in a microgravity environment as it does on Earth. The SLIPS material makes a solid surface, once coated, so slippery that no liquid can touch the face of the solid. The student team hopes to determine whether the SLIPS material could lend itself to the future design and maintenance of space equipment.

Launch set for Sunday, February 19

NASA provider SpaceX is now scheduled to launch its mission to the International Space Station at 9:38 a.m. EST (6:38 a.m. local time) on Sunday, Feb. 19. The launch was scheduled for Saturday morning but was delayed at the last minute.

The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will lift off on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will carry science research—including the Eugene students’ experiment—as well as crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the ISS crew members.

The launch will be broadcast live by NASA. You can learn about the program and watch the broadcast online.





About the SSEP program

The Student Space Flight Experiments Program (SSEP, ssep.ncesse.org) is an immersive program that was launched in 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). It provides students in participating communities the ability to design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station (ISS). The program was created to promote student learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 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.

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.

About the schools

Arts & Technology Academy (ata.4j.lane.edu) is both a neighborhood middle school and a state model STEM Lab School. Arts & Technology Academy students participate in scientific inquiry and project-based learning in all content areas using the design process. Teachers integrate reading, writing, mathematics and science curriculum to support problem-solving and critical-thinking skills with real-world challenges. Student elective choices include visual and performing arts, engineering, architecture, robotics, rocketry, green architecture, manual craft art, culinary science and chemistry and medical forensics. Student experiences at Arts & Technology Academy result in strong academic growth that prepares them for high school success and the continuation of their STEM studies and interests at Churchill High School, which serves students from the same neighborhood and beyond.

Churchill High School (chs.4j.lane.edu) is the only local high school to offer a full-scale pre-engineering program. Churchill offers a wide range of opportunities for students, including cutting-edge programs in STEM and career technical education (CTE), as well as an International Baccalaureate program through the Eugene International High School program co-located and integrated at Churchill. Students can explore or specialize in any one of five CTE academies: engineering, graphic design, health services, Rachel Carson environmental science program, and the West End Creative and Performing Arts Academy.

Community support

Arts & Technology Academy and Churchill High School were able to bring the SSEP experience to students in their STEM-focused programs thanks to the generous support of many local companies and community members from the Eugene–Springfield area and beyond. Thank you for your support.

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