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LCO Ojibwe School / Waadookodaading Join America’s Space Program


Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School / Waadookodaading was named one of 33 communities in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil to be welcomed aboard the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 14 to the International Space Station. LCO / Waadookodaading will be the first tribal school, and only the second school in Wisconsin to ever participate in SSEP.


SSEP engages entire communities. Each participating community is provided all launch services to fly a real microgravity research mini-laboratory in low Earth orbit, capable of supporting a single experiment. An experiment design and proposal process in each community, mirroring how professional research is undertaken, allows student teams to design microgravity experiments vying for their community’s reserved mini-lab slot.


Students in grades 5-12 will learn about forces and motion in science classes, then break into teams to design research proposals for microgravity experiments. They will engage in an authentic research design project and gain valuable technical writing experience. In November, a committee of local scientists will select three finalist proposals from the school to submit to a national selection committee, which will select one of the three for the spring/summer 2020 spaceflight. Elementary students will participate in a mission patch design competition. Two patches will be chosen to ride along on the spaceflight.


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) was developed by astrophysicist, Dr. Jeff Goldstein, who founded the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE). The program originated in 2010 to address national strategic needs in Workforce Development for the 21st Century and is designed to inspire the next generation of U.S. scientists & engineers. SSEP is a national STEM education initiative of the National Center for Earth and Space Education (NCESSE).


Dr. Goldstein met with LCO / Waadookodaading SSEP implementation team via Skype for two hours on September 18th to prepare them with best practices and resources for a successful program.


A national STEM education program framed around a commercial payload is a ground-breaking arrangement. More specifically, SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.


This opportunity is made possible because of generous financial supporters including the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, Subaru, LCO Youth and Education Fund and the LCO Tribal Governing Board.


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 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.