Status Report

NASA ISS-NLEP Workshop Minutes

By SpaceRef Editor
January 11, 2012
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NASA ISS-NLEP Workshop Minutes

International Space Station National Laboratory Education Project (ISS-NLEP)
December 2, 2011
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Moderator: Dr. Regina Blue, Project Manager

Dr. Florence Gold, NASA Johnson Space Center Payloads Office
Stephanie Countryman, Bioserve Space Technologies (Univ. of Colorado)
Jeffrey Manber, Nanoracks, LLC
Kris Kimel, Kentucky Space LLC
Monica Trevathan, Tietronix/NASA Education
Sara Malloy, NASA Johnson Space Center
Vijayanand Kowtha & Henry Pickard, NASA Johnson Space Center
Teresa Sindelar, NASA Johnson Space Center


Dr. Mabel Matthews, Higher Education Program Manager

Welcomed the group and gave a very brief history of ISS-NLEP, and introduced Regina Blue

Dr. Regina Blue

Welcomed and thanked attendees then provided an overview of the day’s process and purpose. The workshop should serve as a pre-cursor to the solicitation (which should be out by March 2012). This will be a time to listen to and share ideas, learn from speakers. This is a time to brainstorm, not contain ideas.
An overview of who would be presenting was given, with each speaker introduced prior to their presentation.

Dr. Florence Gold (discussion and video)

Discussed HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware), a project sponsored from the Payloads Office which works closely with NASA’s Office of Education. The mission is to find a cost effective way to create hardware for astronauts going into space. Stacy Hale (Project Manager) had a OEhunch, that high school students could do this, in a 3-step process: training hardware, microgravity experiments, and making videos. After doing some research into the benefits of student support and involvement, the OEHUNCH project, was born. The project, established in 2003, has grown from working with three schools to currently working with 39 schools across the country. The goal is to have a HUNCH school in every state.

Q: Is there funding for faculty development/training?

A: When there is a need, NASA makes sure that training is available, especially since faculty involvement is paramount.

Q: Has a partnership with NASA Space Grant Consortium (SGC) been considered?

A: Yes, some of the SGC money will be used in each state. It is thought that the SGC will go to Universities to discuss needs. Professors and graduate students will then work with high school points-of-contact (and students)

Participant comments: Space Grant Directors are willing to work with Universities on the HUNCH program, even at the community college level.

Q: How is activity integrated into the classroom?
A: Through STEM classes and HUNCH classes.

Presenter comments: It takes 1-2 years to build and see results in student created projects and experiments.

Q: Is there a citizenship requirement?

A: Yes, you must be a U.S. citizen unless you have a green card, but some locations (Center facility, certain areas of the NASA campus, etc.) are off-limits.

Q: Do all projects come from high school students?

A: Yes, the microgravity projects, not software.

Q: Is there a stipend?

A: There are funds to support the material; no funds for travel-schools might pick-up these expenditures.

Jeffrey Manber (powerpoint discussion and video)

Discussed NANORACKS efforts to provide low-cost, standardized hardware for any user to conduct research. They have partnered with NCESSE, and Jeff Goldstein (the NCESSE Center Director) was in attendance to add to the conversation sharing his thoughts and experiences.

Q: What happens to payload data?

A: Video and data flow down within 11 hours. Depending on what is planned-if the payload is needed, it is brought back, otherwise it will be released and will burn off in the atmosphere.

Q: Can the work be controlled from ground?

A: No, you can only watch. Software instructions must be included when it goes up. NASA is concerned about outside entities controlling data.

Q: What is the timeframe for building and experiment until it goes into space?

A: On average it takes about 9 months, overall it should be done in an academic year. NASA is working to streamline the process.

Q: Who owns the IP or patent for the experiment?

A: The client.

Q: if you write a proposal, will Nanoracks help?

A: Yes.

Monica Trevathan (discussion and website demonstration)

Briefly discussed the ISSLive! Website prior to a thorough walkthrough of the Website and its
features. The site strives to be a single source to find out and learn what is going on at/on the ISS. The site provides real-time data (i,e., telemetry) and there are many activities with opportunities to learn and explore.

There is a strong education component to assist teachers and stir interest in students. The end-game is to get students interested early, enrolled in STEM curriculums, graduated and contributing in the workforce

Q: When the mobile app is released what will it look like?

A: It will look just like the Website.

Q: Can we get access to the architecture behind the site?

A: Not sure-will find out.
Follow-on answer: Where open source is used, access to the architecture is available. Otherwise, no.

Q: Is there a plan to work with Tietronix to export data to customize?

A: There are hurdles with that process. Due to this being an international entity, many levels of approval have to be obtained from the owners of the data (JAXA, ESA etc.).

Q: Is there a funding opportunity for faculty to get involved in course development?

A: Dr. Blue is working with Tietronix and other domains to obtain lesson information. If so, yes funding will be provided for additional lessons outside of the already contracted for baseline lessons.

Participant comment: As an K-12 educator, this tool will be of great use!

Moderator comment: This tool will help our students become more STEM savvy.

Vijayanand Kowtha and Henry Pickard (discussion and video narrated by Sean Bain)
Discussed the three (3) phases of their project: proof of concept, design and development, implementation

Q: Given the number of camera angles available and resolution, could results be inaccurate?

A: No. If camera is pointed down only about 1 square kilo will provide accuracy. So a dense target zone is important.

Q: What is the general timeline?

A: About one school year.

Q: How stable is the imaging?

A: Cannot answer, depends on the altitude.

Stephanie Countryman (discussion and presentation)
Discussed the Bioserve program which works within University of Colorado, Boulder

Q: How many of the research projects are done by the company?

A: All commercial research is done by research partners/scientists.

Q: Who designs the experiments?

A: BIO designs experiments with occasional outside help.

Kris Kimel (discussion and presentation)

They are an independent non-profit established in 2005/2006 that started at NASA Ames Research Center. Discussed the work they are doing and that exo-medicine and biomedical research will be big.

Sara Malloy (discussion and presentation)
Gave overview of the focus of the ISS-NLEP ground-based experiments not requiring upmass to the ISS. Pointed out K-12 educators and undergraduate students are the target audience.

No questions for this session.

Teresa Sindelar (discussion)

Provided instruction on how to submit a viable proposal to fly a payload onboard the ISS, pointing out what areas need special and pointed attention. Shared her first-hand experiences to highlight potential pitfalls.

Q: Can you do your own payload on the ISS?

A: That would have to go through Regina.


Mr. Leland Melvin, Associate Administrator for Education
The Associate Administrator for Education briefly shared what work is being done at NASA HQ (especially funding measures) and thanked participants for their interest, and hard work.

Dr. Regina Blue

Concluded with a wrap-up of what was discussed, thanked presenters and reinforced how important the workshop was in order to share and obtain information about the ISS-NLEP and the upcoming 2012 solicitation. The planned release date of the solicitation was given again (late February-early March), with a plan to engage the community before then. Also, there will be a webcast prior to the release, with one of the topics being how to write a viable proposal.

NOTE: All presentations presented at the ISS NLEP workshop are available at: . Click on the topic of interest inside of the program.

SpaceRef staff editor.