Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
site header image

SSEP Flight Experiment Proposal: SSEP Flight Experiment

The Assignment

The mission: Write a proposal for an experiment to be tested in space at the International Space Station.  The materials must use freeze-dried (or dried) bacteria, protist, or fungus (single-celled organism) and must fit into a small tube.  The experiment needs to have a direct application in space, on earth, or both.

Here are some examples of submissions done in the past.

Deadline: November 7th

The Proposal Guide from Mrs. deDiego is here in different parts. 
One person will make a copy and share with your partner and Ms. deDiego.   All words in BLUE must be erased before submitting the final draft.  

Go to the NASA page to view examples of current and past experiements.

The Plan

Think of some applications that can be addressed in microgravity including: 

  • food
  • fuel
  • air
  • water
  • waste
  • recycling
  • medicine
  • technology
  • health and wellness
  • safety

Background Research (for Part IV)

The description of the proposed experiment (Section IV) should include, but is not limited to:

  • A description of the basic question to be addressed by the experiment. 
          Ex. "Does microgravity affect the ability of Alcanivorax borkumensis to degrade n-alkanes?"
  • A discussion of current scientific understanding that is relevant to the question: 
      Explain what is already known.  How does this knowledge lead to the question to be addressed by the experiment?
  • A description of the insight that will be gained from the experiment
          How does the answer to the question posed above add to, or provide added confirmation of, the current understanding?

Databases and Websites (for Part IV)

You will need 5 references:
Try MicrobeWiki at is a free, university-monitored wiki on microbes and microbiology. Curated pages are reviewed and updated by microbiologists at Kenyon College.  Search for your microbe in the box on the left or browse the Taxomony Index.  And/or look in a supply house below.

Biological Supply Houses:

  • Carolina Biological Supply Company sells specimens that we can order in a dormant state.  Search the word microkwik in the search box for samples of specimens you can use.  
  • The ATCC Supply House also sells specimens.  Make sure that it's a Biosafety Level 1 organism.

Download the Background Worksheet.

Next Step Organizer


  Add and change keywords often.  Expand your search results by going to Advanced Search and clicking on Entire Document.  Note: You will not need a password from home.
Advanced Research:

JSTOR is a scholarly database of academic articles to use after you have done beginning research.  Note: You will need a password to access JSTOR from home: montytech1 - montytech1 

Timeline for Crew Interaction

There are limited dates that the astronauts can interact with the experiment. 

Allowed Crew Interaction Days for Mission 7 to ISS
Student teams can only choose Crew Interaction Days from the Table below for the assigned astronaut to manipulate their FME – days which best fit their experiment design. For the days listed below, A=0 is the Time of Arrival, when the SSEP experiments payload is brought from the ferry vehicle through the hatch on ISS, and U=0 is the Time of Undock.

Crew Interaction Day Description Day
1 on arrival at ISS A=0
2 during first week A+2
3 2 weeks prior to undock U-14
4 in week prior to undock U-5
5 in week prior to undock U-2 

The Product

Your proposal guide must follow a standard style and conform to the following requirements:

  • Font: 12 pt Times New Roman
  • Line spacing: single spaced, 12 pt
  • Standard 8.5” x 11” pages; single-sided
  • 1-inch margins all around
  • all pages numbered

For more information, please consult the Proposal Guide (left)