Students' experiment to be aboard International Space Station

August 25, 2014

What child hasn’t dreamed of going to outer space at one time or another?

Well, for some students from Hobby Middle School that dream will come true when an experiment that they worked on last school year is placed aboard the International Space Station sometime in mid-to late October.  

The winning team

With a proposal title of “Crystal Tetras,” the winning team consists of Madelyn Hickman, Anthony Holmes, Jacob Rubio, and Kalista Ybarra. They are all students at Hobby Middle School this coming school year, although two were fifth graders at Howsman Elementary when they initially worked on the project. Their sponsors are Ronica Korn, Michael Dawson, and Serena Connally.

Twenty-four schools in Northside participated in Mission 6 of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) designed by the National Center for Earth and Space Education (NCESSE), in partnership with NanoRacks.

Based on real-world science proposal models, teams of students researched science projects and wrote proposals that were submitted for a two-step approval process. Forty-five proposals were reviewed by a local review board made up of educators and researchers from Southwest Research Institute, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the UT Health Science Center, and Northside.

Finalists  announced

The three finalists were announced at a special ceremony on June 2.

The two finalists in addition to the flight selected team were also announced at a special ceremony on June 2.

The first finalist team’s proposal was “Sea Monkeys in Space” from Glass Elementary and Neff Middle School. Team members are Daniel Harmon, Ariana Herrera, Sophia Lopez, Dravin Mendiola, Mia Silva, and John Sullivan.

The second finalist team’s proposal was “Does Lactobacillus Acidophilus reproduce in microgravity environment more rapidly?” The team is from Hoffmann Elementary and Briscoe Middle schools and includes Erika Howlett, Jake Remmert, Abby Huhn, Emily Hines, Jasmine Hovsepian, and Nathanael Weigle. Sponsors are Shannon Zavala and Angela DeLaRosa.

Students design a winning Mission Patch

The Fine Arts Department also teamed up on this science project to hold a design contest for a Mission Patch. The winning designs were by Shelby Crowley from Kuentz Elementary School for her K-5 Mission Patch, and Isabella Perdoma from Clark High School for her 6-12 Mission Patch.

Shelby Crowley, Kuentz ES

Isabella Perdoma of Clark HS.

Participating schools make it a team effort

Students began working on their projects in February and proposals were due at the end of April. Researchers from Southwest Research Institute and UTSA worked with students at many of the schools.

 Middle school and elementary schools teamed up for the project.  Schools participating were Allen, Beard, Esparza, Forester, Glass, Hatchett, Helotes, Hoffmann, Howsman, Knowlton, Oak Hills Terrace, Thornton, and Ward elementary schools; and Briscoe, Garcia, Hobby, Jefferson, Neff, Pease,  Rayburn, Ross, Rudder, Vale, and Zachry middle schools.

“This was such a wonderful experience for our fifth and sixth grade students,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods. “This hands-on, real-world exercise could lead to any number of careers in the STEM field for these young people. Their future could truly be ‘out of this world.’”

SSEP is undertaken by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) 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.