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EPS Student Experiment Selected to Fly on Operational Flight of SpaceX

Posted Date: 12/07/2020

EPS Student Experiment Selected to Fly on Operational Flight of SpaceX

A science experiment by Longfellow Middle School students has been selected to be launched into outer space on December 2, 2020.

The experiment, part of National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) program, was designed by Jesseca Patnode’s sixth grade, now seventh grade, class last school year. At least 300 middle school and high school students are participating in facilitating the experiment through the Student Spaceflights Experiments Program (SSEP). The Longfellow experiment seeks to answer the question, “How is seed germination effected by microgravity?”

Patnode, science teacher at Longfellow Middle School, expressed the class’s excitement for the upcoming launch.

"It has been an honor to have been a part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program,” said Patnode. “What an amazing opportunity this has been for my Longfellow Middle School sixth grade students! My students and I appreciate the efforts of Mr. Hugaboom for bringing this adventure to our great city of Enid, OK. I enjoyed watching them master each task and challenge that arose along their journey.”

The launch, originally scheduled for June 2020, is now scheduled for December 2020. Astronauts on the ISS will carry out the class’ design and the experiment will be returned to the students for harvesting and analysis. Teachers are planning on hosting a launch party that day with live streaming provided by SSEP.

NCESSE created the competition to give students an experience similar to that of a real-world scientist, founder Jeff Goldstein said.

“We are grateful to Dr. Jeff Goldstein and his team for creating such a wonderful program that provides students the opportunity to be ‘scientists’,” Patnode said. “My students were very excited about this challenge and enjoyed collaborating to complete their experiment.”

Dusty Hugaboom, astronomy teacher at Enid High and one of the mentor educators, thanked the Enid community for their support.

“None of this would have been possible without the generous donations from the community of Enid,” said Hugaboom. “They have provided a once in a lifetime experience for the kids.”

The project is entirely student-led with no help provided by teachers. This is Enid’s first experiment to be selected to take flight.

In addition to the science experiment, students across the district created mission patch designs to accompany the science experiment to the ISS. The two winning patches – one created by an elementary student and one created by a secondary student – display images of space, the Earth, and the name of Enid Public Schools.

“I am so incredibly proud of their determination and achievements and cannot wait to see how they analyze their data once their experiment makes its return to Earth,” said Patnode. “These future scientists have left a lasting impression on me. I will forever be grateful to have shared this experience with them. I am looking forward to celebrating their success at the Launch Party in December.”

The SSEP is a program of the 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. 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.

Picture of sixth grade enriched science class attached. 6th Grade Science SSEP Class 

Front Row, Left to Right: Anijah Gaines, Marlene Ramirez, Ally Richey, Kalie Moreno, Shelia Mosqueda, Mrs.Patnode, Chance Nafus, Taevin Nguyen, Cheyanne Stufflebeam, Daniel Benzor 

Back Row, Left to Right: Myah Helms, Melany Ramirez, Kourtney Wright, Jude Newman, Pablo Mora, Dareon Cole, Gerado Pacheco, Eduardo Mendoza, Emilio Isaias.