Ballston Spa finalists selected for Spaceflight program

During the last two months, Ballston Spa students executed more than 70 applications for the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, with several local students competing for a chance to have thier experiment launched into space.

The students were responsible for the research and design for the submissions to SEEP and each has a chance to have their experiment launched on the space shuttle flight in February.

Milton Terrace South Elementary School students Dana Betti, Jordyn Catherall, and Kate Yager, all in grade-five and high school students Denise Croote and Troy Mackey were finalists.

The proposals submitted to the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education were chosen by review board including consulting engineers and well as representatives from GLOBALFOUNDRIES and the Children’s Museum of Science and Technology.

“Development of Minnow Fish Eggs in Space,” “The Effect of Microgravity on Bacterial Reproduction” and “Effect of Penicillin in Microgravity” all made the final cut. Mary Lou Stern and Mary Ellen Kusnierz, both science instructors at the Ballston Spa High School served as councilors for the students.

“It was a lot of work to research and design his proposal, but definitely worth it when he found out that his experiment was ranked as one of the top three proposals in the district,” said Mackey.

Students in Ballston Spa will also be able to design an emblem representing the community and their participation in the contest.

“We congratulate all of the students that participated in this program. The finalists should be extremely proud to be recognized at the national level for their proposals”, said K-12 Science Coordinator Diane Irwin. “Their experiment proposals were chosen as the top three to send forward out of over 140 that were started and 70 being submitted for formal Step one review.”

The emblem will fly on a shuttle flight and be returned to the community for display, according to the SSEP.

“ [It will] serve as a testament to the efforts of your students, teachers and community on SSEP, and recognition that your community was part of America’s Space Shuttle Program at this historic moment,” according to information from the SSEP.

A national review board will select one of the three experiments from Ballston Spa to go through flight safety review and be included on the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on February 27. Information about the program can be fount at or by contacting Diane Irwin, K-12 science coordinator, at [email protected], or at 884-7150 ext. 2317.


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