Student Spaceflight Experiments Program

Student Spaceflight Experiments Program



SSEP is a STEM initiative put forth by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education.  It is intended to be a community-wide experimental design competition for students in fifth grade and up. 


Why have we decided to participate in SSEP?

The ability to think critically and solve problems is necessary to be competitive in today and tomorrow’s job market. Education in the 21st century is marked by a unique challenge to not only build a foundation of knowledge but to expand that knowledge by fine-tuning skills that can be utilized in the global community. Technology is no longer a separate aspect of the modern job market; it is pervasive throughout every field. Proficient use of technology should no longer be the end-goal in today’s classrooms, rather technological proficiency must be used as a stepping-stone to innovation, further invention, application and ultimately solutions to real-world problems. The methods used to present information and programs adopted to cultivate problem-solving ability and critical thinking skills need to be fresh, student-centered and have a real application in today’s world if they are going to be effective.

SSEP's experimental design competition requires students to utilize information they've gained in the classroom and expand upon it by further research and investigation. Throughout SSEP, interest level and therefore student investment is high because this program is a student-driven program where students are able to pursue a topic that is of interest to them.

There is a clear connection between the investigative skills that are fine-tuned through scientific exploration and problem-solving ability. With the job market's transition from national to international playing fields, problem-solving ability and critical thinking skills are the tools our students will need to get a job in competitive fields. Additionally, in order to find solutions to the increasingly complex problems that the world faces such as resource scarcity, global warming, and epidemic disease, tomorrow's world leaders, scientists and engineers will need to possess the very skills that SSEP develops and hones in students today.

AASCC participated in SSEP STS-135 which sent an ecological experiment to space on the last ever flight of the shuttle Atlantis.  We are now commencing work on SSEP Mission 1 to the International Space Station.


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