Five OPS students and their two teacher advisors were invited to the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Fla., to learn more about the launch of STS-134, the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavour. The students—four seniors from North High Magnet School and one sophomore from Omaha Burke High School—were selected in a contest seeking student-designed experiments to conduct in microgravity. The OPS schools’ projects represent two of the 16 school communities from across the country represented on the April mission. The contest is part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), coordinated by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and NanoRacks, LLC. SSEP is a national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative that provides middle and high school classes (grades 5-12) the ability to propose experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, and to celebrate that accomplishment with their local community and with national and global audiences.
While in Florida, the students had the opportunity to tour Kennedy Space Center and received a bus tour of Cape Canaveral. They also got an up close look of Endeavour's launch pad and the media area. Students saw the assembly building where the booster rockets and external fuel tank are being prepared for the scheduled June launch of STS-135. The students were also able to test out a space shuttle sleeping bag and pose in a replica of an Apollo capsule. While in Florida, the students will also attend an SSEP conference, featuring speakers who work in the space industry. The North and Burke students will present the details of their spaceflight experiments and hear about the experiments from other participating students.
Click here to see a photo slideshow of the students' trip to Kennedy Space Center!