Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 12 Finalists Announced

BURLESON, Texas – (Dec. 1, 2017) – Congratulations to the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 12 Finalist teams. Local Step 1 Review  judges poured over student team submissions to determine which three flight experiments moved on to the SSEP Mission 12 to the International Space Station (ISS) Step 2 Review Board. This Board will select the experiment that will eventually fly to the ISS on SpaceX-15 as part of the SSEP “Mercury” payload, and will blast off from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, no sooner than June 2018.

The flight team will be announced in mid-December, 2017.

“We are proud of all student proposal teams!” said Stacy Hughes, Burleson ISD’s SSEP Director. “It is not easy to develop an experiment from scratch for the first time, let alone an experiment that has to fit in a tube, and only be tested microgravity. All participants took on this assignment with rigor and our finalist experiments reflect the best of the best.”

We congratulate the SSEP Mission 12 Step 1 Review Finalists:

  • REALM at Kerr Middle School’s  “Penicillium Mold Growth,” developed by Principal Investigator Gabe McCarthy, Co-Investigators Ryder Huskins and Kenneth Sanders, and Collaborators Ethan Moore and Ian Ray. Teacher Facilitator is Mrs. Laura Smith.
  • Kerr Middle School’s “Hornwort Water Purification in Microgravity,” developed by Principal Investigators Olivia Gardner, Macie Grosskurth, and Cameron Pewitt. Teacher Facilitator is Mrs. Megan Adams.
  • REALM at Kerr Middle School’s “View on Insulin,” written by Co-Principal Investigators John Andrews, Joe Collins, Alexander Ferguson, and Ty Vander Laan. Teacher Facilitator is Mrs. Laura Smith.


We congratulate the remaining SSEP Mission 12 Step 1 Review Finalist Teams:

  • Academy of STEAM at Stribling’s Deimos Ecosystem – Ellen Douglas Facilitator. Co-Principal Investigators Aubrey Chiarelli, Jonah Mitchell, Isabella Molina.
  • STEAM Middle School’s H20 Reservers with Thorns – Alyssa Sanchez Facilitator. Co-Principal Investigators Hayden Childs, Brayden Carson, John Van Cleef.
  • STEAM Middle School’s Cherry Tomato – Alyssa Sanchez Facilitator. Co-Principal Investigators Maria Ortega, Cason Padget, Sarah Bowles.
  • STEAM Middle School’s Wolffia Experiment – Molly Marek Facilitator. Co-Principal Investigators Braeden Barnes, Camden Flood, Kaden Bacon, Logan Mack.
  • STEAM Middle School’s Microgravital Coral – Molly Marek Facilitator. Co-Principal Investigators Liam Andrews, Ian Elder, Elijah Stone.
  • Hughes Middle School’s “How does Microgravity Affect Actinobacteria?” – Sandi Parsons Facilitator. Co-Principal Investigators Marijah Barnett, Chayce Carter, Colin Parsons, Alexis Price
  • Hughes Middle School’s “Effects of Microgravity on Food Spoilage.”  Joel Johnson Facilitator. Co-Principal Investigators Luke Siddall, Anthony Escamilla, Haroon Ahmad.


SSEP is a U.S. National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that immerses students in every facet of authentic scientific research of their own design, using a highly captivating space flight opportunity on the International Space Station. SSEP Mission 12 to ISS provides a real research mini-laboratory capable of supporting a single microgravity experiment, and all launch services to fly the mini-lab to ISS, and return it safely to Earth for harvesting and analysis. Mirroring how professional research is done, student teams across the community submit research proposals, and go through a formal proposal review process to select the flight experiment. The design competition – from program start, to experiment design, to submission of proposals by student teams – spans 9 weeks.


For more information on Space Night or SSEP Mission 12, visit


About Student Spaceflight Experiments Program

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (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.


About National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) creates and oversees
national initiatives addressing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
education, with a focus on earth and space. Programs are designed to provide an authentic
window on science as a human endeavor. Central objectives of the Center’s programs are to help ensure a scientifically literate public and a next generation of U.S. scientists and engineers – both of which are of national importance in an age of high technology. NCESSE is a Project of the Tides Center. To learn more, visit:


About NanoRacks
NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide quality hardware and services for the U.S.
National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. NanoRacks now has two research
platforms onboard the U.S. National Laboratory that can house plug and play payloads using the Cube-Sat form factor. Our current signed customer pipeline of over 50 payloads, including
domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government
organizations, has propelled NanoRacks into a leadership position in understanding the emerging commercial market for low-earth orbit utilization.


For information on the Mission 12 to ISS flight opportunity, and to get a detailed understanding of the program, visit the SSEP Home Page:



Burleson Independent School District serves more than 12,000 students at 17 schools, and is recognized as a premier school district in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area. The mission of Burleson Independent School District is to engage and support every learner with a rigorous curriculum so that they graduate college and career ready.



Mikala Hill or Katelyn Tyler

Burleson ISD Communications