A team of sixth grade students from P.S./I.S. 30 Mary White Ovington in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, will see their experiment launched into space! The team has been selected as the winner of the first Intrepid International Space Station Challenge (I2S2C), an experiment design competition created by the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, in partnership with the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) and the Ramon Foundation. The winning team—Dana Ahmad, Sundous Aljahmi, Joshua Feliciano, Jiahao Guan and Joyce Wong—bested 42 other teams from five New York City public schools for the chance to have their experiment sent to the International Space Station (ISS).

Led by science teacher Nathan Tubbs, the team designed an experiment that explores how microgravity affects the germination of pot mum seeds. The experiment will be sent to the ISS on SSEP Mission 8 in the fall. An astronaut aboard the ISS will conduct the experiment. After approximately six weeks in orbit, the experiment will be returned safely to Earth for data collection and analysis.

“This has been an amazing experience for my students and me. To know that they, as sixth graders, have an opportunity to see their experiment fly into space, has engaged them in a way other projects have not,” said Nathan Tubbs, science teacher and facilitator for the winning team. “I have had a great time watching them complete their research, work as a group and interact with scientists to refine their ideas. It has been hard work, and we are extremely excited to be able to represent the Intrepid Museum, our school and our community as a part of SSEP Mission 8.”

“I think it’s really cool that we got chosen because this is a big opportunity,” added winning team member Sundous Aljahmi. “All of our families are really proud of us.”

The winning team and their families convened at the Intrepid Museum on June 18 for a special congratulatory luncheon with Mike Massimino, former NASA astronaut and senior advisor for space programs at the Intrepid Museum.

“It’s great to see these students connect to and engage in science through this extraordinary opportunity,” stated Massimino. “The Intrepid Museum, SSEP and the Ramon Foundation created a remarkable program that gave many New York City students the chance to experience what it’s like to be part of groundbreaking research and innovation and to feel excitement and wonder for all that is yet to be discovered.”

Also attending the lunch was Ruben Savelson, a student at the Institute of Collaborative Education. Ruben  designed a mission patch representing the creative spirit of all the participants in I2S2C. His mission patch will also be launched to the ISS.

All student experiments were designed to work within an existing, flight-certified research mini-laboratory designed by NanoRacks, LLC, and provided through SSEP. In order to give students an experience comparable to the reality of the scientific field, the competition mirrored how professional researchers formally compete to obtain limited research assets. Each team, composed of three to five students, proposed an experiment designed to assess the impact of microgravity on a physical, chemical or biological system in any number of diverse fields, including seed germination, crystal growth, physiology and life cycles of microorganisms, cell biology and growth, food studies or micro-aquatic life.

The participating schools were the Brooklyn Science and Engineering Academy (Brooklyn); Institute for Collaborative Education (Manhattan); P.S./I.S. 30 Mary White Ovington (Brooklyn); I.S. 204 Oliver Wendell Holmes (Queens); and the Urban Assembly Institute for New Technologies (Manhattan).

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program is an on-orbit educational research opportunity 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.

The Intrepid Museum gratefully acknowledges The Corcoran Group, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Foundation and Time Warner Cable for their generous support of I2S2C.

This was the official press release from the Intrepid Museum in June 2015. Updates to follow soon.