Student Spaceflight Experiment Program 2018
What is the SSEP?
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is designed to teach students how to become professional scientists by having them undertake an authentic research project. Students compete in a competition to design an experiment that tests the effects of microgravity (weightlessness) on a physical, chemical, or biological system.
The teams of undergraduates produced approximately 10 experimental proposals which were judged by the Stockton review panel last fall. Three finalist were selected and submitted to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) for final selection. The winning experiment will be flown to the International Space Station to be completed by astronauts!
What is the Impact?
This program provides faculty-mentored student research at the undergraduate level. Students use the principles of the scientific method to address a real world scientific problem. Through participation of this program, our students are expanding the frontiers of Microgravity research. They are also developing soft skills necessary for success in future employment, such as how to effectively communicate science to other scientists in a formal review process, as well as learn to communicate our scientific findings to the community at large.
How Can You Help?
We are excited to see what discoveries will be revealed from our experiment, but in order to further the scientific process, we need your help! Each and every donation will support this unique and vital program and continue to inspire our students and future STEM leaders.
Alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Stockton donated more than $2,500 to this project last year. Our goal is to raise that same valuable support to help our students to attend this year's launch, as well as present the results of the experiment at the SSEP National Conference at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Students Christina Tallone, a sophomore Physician Assistant Studies major, and Daniel Schneider, a freshman Pre-Medicine major, are working with faculty mentor Dr. Pamela Cohn, assistant professor of chemistry, to research the drug carriers that encapsulate controlled release medications.
This research project was chosen by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) as the winning experiment that will be flown to the International Space Station to be completed by astronauts!
The research focuses on the impact the Earth's gravitational pull puts assemblance of uniform drug carriers for medication. Non-uniform carriers results in intensified side-effects and dosage spikes, making the medication unpredictable. Their theory is that the absence of gravity will affect the structural consistency of drug carriers during self-assembly. The drug delivery research will be launched aboard SpaceX-15 to the International Space Station in late June.
NOTE: Mission 11 Update
Stockton SSEP Mission 11 students, Valkyrie Falciani and Danielle Ertz, attended the 6th Annual SSEP National Conference at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. last June where they presented the "Spores in Space: The Effects of Microgravity on Endomycorrhizae" experiment design.
In addition, Falciani and Dr. Tara Luke, along with Peter Straub, dean of the School of Natural Science and Mathematics, were in attendance at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch of SpaceX Dragon. Not only were the team able to witness the launch, less than 10 minutes later, the first stage of the two-stage Falcon 9 returned to Cape Canaveral.
Last fall, the student-designed experiment was returned to Stockton where the researchers quickly began analysis to observe locations where spores infect the root cells. "[The number of spore-root interactions determines if the fungus] is effective in microgravity as it is on Earth."
*The Student Space Flight Experiments Program [or just “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.*