We just received an exciting note from Dr. Jeff Goldstein, the Director for the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. There is a unique and historic opportunity for students in grades 5-12 to fly an experiment on the final scheduled space shuttle mission, STS-134, through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP).
There is room for 45 different experiments to be flown for 10 days aboard Shuttle Endeavour, each designed by middle school and high school classes across the U.S., and with astronauts operating the experiments. Launch is tentatively scheduled for November 2010, but a launch slip to mid-January is expected, enabling this extra student spaceflight experiments opportunity.
But it’s time-critical! All the details of the experiments have to be submitted by the first part of August, 2010, and each team does have to secure their own funding.
So check out the SSEP website for details, and spread the word to all the teachers, students and school administrators you know!
This program does hinge on whether the flight will be delayed until January. The issue is the big new spectrometer that is going to the International Space Station, which will use a different type of magnet than originally planned. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer was supposed to fly in July, then was switched to the final scheduled shuttle flight and tentatively delayed to November to allow for the change in magnets. But now it appears it might slip to January, 2011.
But the delay is also providing this potential new opportunity. So, teachers, students — take advantage! And good luck!