Student Spaceflight Experiments

Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Jefferson County’s 4-H Youth Development program is offering the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). This is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). Youth will learn how experiments are created and run on the space station. They will design an experiment in teams of 3-5 that may be selected to actually be conducted on the International Space Station!

Participating youth will work in research teams to design experiment proposals. All proposals will be reviewed by a team of researchers from Cornell University. Three of the experiment proposals will be selected to move forward in the process, to be reviewed by the National Step 2 Review Board and one will be selected to run on the International Space Station. Jefferson County 4-H programs are guaranteed to have one of their projects chosen. The student team that develops the selected proposal will provide instructions for ISS astronauts to implement their experiment. At the same time the student team will implement their experiment right here on Earth! The student team may also be given the opportunity to attend the launch of their experiment in late spring or summer of 2019.

The program is for youth in grades 5th – 12th  and will run from approximately mid/late September through early November. Youth may design experiments in diverse fields of interest – seed germination, crystal growth, physiology and life cycle of microorganisms, food studies and studies of micro-aquatic life. The content of the curriculum addresses the foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design, incorporating all science disciplines – physical, chemical and biological. There is also a seamless fusion with technology, engineering and math. Alongside all of this are the teaching of interdisciplinary skills such as writing, oral communication and art design. All of the 4-H after school programs are participating from – Beaver River Central School, Copenhagen Central School, Belleville Henderson Central School, Lafargeville Central School, Indian River Central School District and Watertown City School District. The program is also being offered to the Jefferson County 4-H Club program.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or 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.


Mitch McCormick
4-H After-School Director
(315) 788-8450 ext. 332

Last updated May 17, 2019