SpaceEagles Put Finishing Touches on Second Space-Bound Experiment

Apparently, the phrase “the more the merrier” is not just about Christmas parties or other celebrations of the season.

It also seems to apply to teaching STEM students how to put an experiment into space.

Utilizing new ideas from their instructional toolbox, SpaceEagles mentor-teachers Mrs. Michelle Martinez, Ms. Jasmine Royse, and Mr. John Slane, with support from Mrs. Laura Deck, have created and innovated a fresh team approach to the second-year Quest for Space International Space Station Project, combining Level 1 (Grade 4-5) and Level 2 (Grade 6-8) students into a powerhouse unit of complimentary peer learners.

The result is Orbital Experiment Mission 2 (OEM-2), which is undergoing final preparations for delivery to Quest for Space engineers in San Jose by December 15, and subsequent NASA approval for spaceflight in the spring of 2018.

OEM-2 will mark the second consecutive year that ALCS student engineers will have created a robotics software experiment to be used aboard the ISS, but it will be the first time that elementary students have joined middle schoolers to achieve the milestone. Such collaboration at the student team level is proving historic.

“Sometimes, a challenge presents itself that provides an opportunity to do something new, that requires an innovative disruption to the status quo in order to solve the problem or take a project to the next level,” explained Dr. Vance Nichols, ALCS Head of School. “That’s what our remarkable mentor-teachers have done in SpaceEagles. They have restructured and re-innovated the Quest for Space teaching model and applied that new vision to our kids here at ALCS. The result is nothing short of genius on the part of our mentor-teachers;
that’s a reflection of our faculty at ALCS and the students they lead.”

Last year, ALCS STEM students made spaceflight history by being part of the first multi-school collaborative effort to ever create and deliver middle school student experiments on the ISS.

In addition to writing the code for this year’s robotics software experiment, the team is also working on the physical engineering of the ground unit cube, as well as mission patch concepts for the school’s second mission into space.