iLEAD students complete postflight analysis of space station experiments

As part of their recent DreamUp to Space missions, the students, representing SCVi, iLEAD Agua Dulce, and iLEAD Exploration, had proposed, designed and refined experiments to be shipped to Cape Canaveral for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Courtesy photo.
As part of their recent DreamUp to Space missions, the students, representing SCVi, iLEAD Agua Dulce, and iLEAD Exploration, had proposed, designed and refined experiments to be shipped to Cape Canaveral for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Courtesy photo.
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News release  

While their classmates were on winter break, teams of students from three area tuition-free public charter schools gathered in the science lab at Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School on Dec. 30 to open packages sent to them from space.  

As part of their recent DreamUp to Space missions, the students, representing SCVi, iLEAD Agua Dulce, and iLEAD Exploration, had proposed, designed and refined experiments to be shipped to Cape Canaveral for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.  

The experiments were conducted by astronauts on the ISS in microgravity while simultaneously being conducted on Earth by the students. The space versions were then returned on SpaceX for postflight analysis, during which the students compared the results of the experiments performed in microgravity with the Earth-bound ones. 

The students conducted the following experiments: 

  • A team from SCVi, in Castaic, analyzed whether bok choy, an edible type of Chinese cabbage, germinates and grows effectively in space.  
  • A team from iLEAD Exploration, an independent study program, analyzed the viability of growing creeping Charlie plants (a kind of ground ivy) in space.  
  • A team from iLEAD Agua Dulce analyzed the growth of capsicum, a variety of red pepper, in space. 
  • A combined team of students from SCVi and iLEAD Exploration analyzed the growth of yucca plants in space.  
  • Another combined team from SCVi, iLEAD Exploration and iLEAD Agua Dulce analyzed the viability of growing seagrass in space. 

With their experiments now fully analyzed, the students are working on their post-experiment technical reports.  

Staff and families alike have been inspired by the experience, according to an iLEAD news release.  

“Our students, families and staff were thrilled to get their experiments back from the Space Station to analyze their results,” SCVi Codirector Chad Powell said in the release. “This is what true project-based learning is all about; real-world science for a real-world purpose. This unique experience allowed our students to collaborate with experts in the space community as they reach into the future together.” 

Through a partnership with DreamUp, iLEAD California Charter Schools has offered this DreamUp to Space opportunity to their students for nearly a decade. The project is designed to determine the viability of human colonization of the moon and Mars.  

“Postflight analysis is a powerful experience and the culminating phase of the iLEAD DreamUp to Space project,” Kathleen Fredette, iLEAD California’s director of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) initiatives, said in the release. “Learners, facilitators, family members and experts gather to touch and observe the team’s experiment that ‘lived’ on the International Space Station for over a month. Comparing the Earth-based experiment with the space-based experiment using careful visual and microscopic examination provides our kids with the opportunities to do what very few people ever have the chance to do – interact with something that has been to space.” 

As part of their recent DreamUp to Space missions, the students, representing SCVi, iLEAD Agua Dulce, and iLEAD Exploration, had proposed, designed and refined experiments to be shipped to Cape Canaveral for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Courtesy photo.
As part of their recent DreamUp to Space missions, the students, representing SCVi, iLEAD Agua Dulce, and iLEAD Exploration, had proposed, designed and refined experiments to be shipped to Cape Canaveral for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and cargo Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. Courtesy photo.

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