The Space Shuttle Endeavour will soon lift off into history as it begins the STS-134 mission, signifying the penultimate orbital flight of the NASA Space Shuttle program. Flying aboard the vehicle will be student experiments bound for the International Space Station through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). The 16 experiments selected for flight include studies of cell biology, life cycles, seed germination, food preservation, and crystal growth.
During the 14-day mission, A4H co-founder Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto will monitor the experiments from the Kennedy Space Center, where she also helped prepare them for integration into the payload before the launch. After the mission she will retrieve samples from the experiments and return them to their respective Principal Investigators at schools across the country. Veronica Ann will help manage samples for use in ITA's Materials Dispersion Apparatus (MDA) and Liquid Mixing Apparatus (LMA) hardware. These will help investigate the effects of the absence of gravity on fluids. Both the MDA and LMA hardare are part of Commercial Reusable Experiments for Science and Technology (CREST-1) payload by American Aerospace Advisors, Inc. You can watch the SSEP team hard at work on its live Ustream broadcast.
The SSEP is a project of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and is enabled through NanoRacks, LLC and Instrumentation Technology Associates, Inc. (ITA), which are working in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. This mission will be the first of several planned missions to give routine, affordable access to the space environment for researchers, educators, and industry.
To commemorate Veronica Ann's work supporting this important mission, as well as A4H's capabilities for payload and experiment operation, we are launching a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook during the STS-134 mission to raise awareness of Astronauts4Hire.