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Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 18 Flight Team

STEAM Middle School's “Growth of Raspberry Seeds in Microgravity" team was selected as the flight team for the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education's Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 18.

The experiment will undergo NASA Toxicology and Flight Safety Review over the next few months to prepare for flight to the International Space Station (ISS). 

The team includes co-principal investigators Cade Sando and Mac McGinnis and teacher facilitator Alesha Youngs. 

December 6, 2023

Congratulations to the SSEP Mission 18 finalist teams and patch design contest winners.

Finalist Teams

  • STEAM Middle School - Raspberry Seeds in Microgravity
    Teacher Facilitator: Alesha Youngs
    Student Co-principal Investigators: Cade Sando and Mac McGinnis
  • STEAM Middle School - Effect of Streptomyces hygroscopicus in microgravity
    Teacher Facilitator: Alesha Youngs
    Student Co-principal Investigators: Austin Wise, Christopher Greene, Orian Garcia, and Reagan Weber
  • STEAM Middle School - Cladosporium sphaerospermum strain TC09's growth with sugar water
    Teacher Facilitator: Alesha Youngs
    Student Co-principal Investigators: Feyi Adesola, Azrael Kelley, Noah Medina, Justus Somoni, and Fisher Wilkins

Mission Patch Design Contest
The Mission Patch Design Contest winners are Deklynn Zeiner from Academy of Leadership and Technology at Mound and Nikki Doan from Kerr Middle School.


Mission 18 Space Challenge: Burleson ISD students’ microgravity research, engineering projects prepare for liftoff
The scientists of tomorrow are in BISD classrooms now and soon will find out if their big ideas could take flight on a rocket into space. Students’ experiments could help lead to discoveries aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on how microgravity affects the human body, causes chemical reactions, and more.
Burleson ISD students have for the last ten years had a design selected for testing by astronauts launched to the ISS. The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) space challenge requires professional research and engineering processes with student teams across BISD submitting research proposals, testing their designs, and submitting formal proposals of final designs to review committees.

Students will showcase their microgravity experiment designs for judges, including professional engineers, college professors, and other scientists who will choose the top three projects to advance to the SSEP National Step 2 Review Board for possible selection for the SSEP Mission 18 to the ISS.

WHAT:             Space Night
WHEN:            Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. 
WHERE:          Burleson High School, 100 Elk Dr., Burleson, TX

  • 350+ BISD students who accepted the SSEP Mission 18 Space Challenge
  • Professional engineers and scientist judges, including Texas Christian University professors
  • Monnig Meteorite Gallery will have a meteorite exhibit
  • Fort Worth Astronomical Society will bring telescopes for stargazing
  • Hundreds of students and parents enjoying hands-on space activities, Mission Patch design voting,  space-themed refreshments, and more. 

TICKETS:     Attendees require a ticket (free) through Hometown Ticketing: BISD Space Night Tickets.  

“The ingenuity of students in this space challenge could help solve problems in ways we never thought possible. We get to see the beginnings of these promising discoveries from up-and-coming scientists in our own community,” Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson said.

Nearly 300 Burleson ISD students are participating in the SSEP, which also commissions elementary and secondary students to design Mission Patches to accompany BISD's experiment to the ISS.

About Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or 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 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.