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Students get ready for blast off

"The minute it lands, these units area taken off and sent right back to us, so within a day or two it will be back here," said Stuart Williams, of the district's community resources department. "Simultaneously, they're also supposed to do the experiment here on the ground to compare."

Two other finalists were chosen by the local review board, but didn't make it on for national consideration. High School students Denise Croote and Troy Mackey submitted "Effect of Penicillin in Microgravity" and "The Effect of Microgravity on Bacterial Reproduction," respectively. The three proposals submitted to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) were selected by a local review board, including consulting engineers as well as representatives from GLOBALFOUNDRIES and the Children's Museum of Science and Technology.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program launched in June to provide middle and high school classes around the country with the ability to propose experiments to fly in low Earth orbit for 10 days. It is enabled through NanoRacks LLC, which is working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory, according to information from the program's website.

As a STEM initiative, Williams said the district fit right in.

"For us, it's a priority for this district to stay ahead of the curve as far as preparing students for the future, learning in this type of format, working in small groups, solving problems and gaining skills to help in the future," said Williams.

The space shuttle Endeavor is scheduled to blast off on Feb.27. For more information about the Spaceflight Program and other finalists selected, visit http://ssep.ncesse.org/2010/11/ssep-is-proud-to-announce-the-student-proposals-selected-for-spaceflight-on-sts-134.

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