International Space Station Program (ISSP)
Calvary Chapel High School International Space Station Program (ISSP)
Imagine, for a moment, the future of space. What is humanity’s place in the stars? Will we colonize the moon? Will we explore the far reaches of our solar system? But even more important than our destination, how will we arrive there? How will we survive there? This is the first question that must be answered before long-term space endeavors can even be considered a possibility. One of the largest issues that this question entails is manufacturing in space—both how, and what, to manufacture. We need access to sustainable resources, we need processes by which everything from building materials to air filters can be manufactured, and we need to conduct research on these topics in space. Our mission is to design experiments and begin the research that will one day answer these questions.
Who We Are:
We are a team of high school students with various talents, who work in teams to conceptualize, create, and conduct experiments that autonomously run onboard the International Space Station. CCHS is privileged to be one of five schools in the United States who offer this program, utilizing Quest Institute, to work with NASA and Space Tango. We are the scientists, technologists, engineers, artists, communicators, and leaders of today trailblazing the way into the future.
What We Do and Why It Matters:
Our objective is to pioneer manufacturing and sustainability in space. As a means to fulfill this goal we have successfully experimented in space since 2021, building upon this principle. The students engineer everything from the conception of the experiment to the design and build process. Students receive data from the ISS, while the experiment is still onboard. The data is analyzed and discoveries made about the effects that microgravity and space conditions present.
Experiment #1 (2021): Launched to the ISS on Space X CRS-22, June 3, 2021.
The first experiment repurposed food waste to create graphene, the supermaterial of the future. To accomplish this, waste was simulated to replicate what would be available on the International Space Station using baby food and carbon from water filters. It provided a sustainable source for useful material while simultaneously disposing of waste.
Experiment #2 (2022): Launched to the ISS on Space X Crew 4, April 27, 2022.
This experiment utilized graphene as an additive material. A lunar regolith simulant was created, in other words, a material to replicate the materials discoverable on the Moon’s surface, to manufacture a concrete simulant, with increased strength and durability. This furthers NASA's mission of sustainability in space.
Experiment #3: To be launched on Northrop Grumman Cygnus NG-19, spring 2023 (May 2023 scheduled). The third experiment entails a graphene-based ink that will manufacture a simple electrical circuit. Graphene can be made wherever humans are present, so this electrical circuit will provide a practical utilization for that graphene, to be applied in potential lunar colonies.
Experiment #4 (Coming 2023-2024 school year): This experiment will take a biological turn as we will delve into developing plant life in a zero gravity environment, still furthering sustainability in space with a different focus of production.
Where We Have Gone:
Our team presented our research findings and paper at the University of Merced at an American Institution of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) competition - to industry professionals, and placed 2nd in our division.
Participants in this program have gone on to prestigious universities such as:
- UCI - Computer Engineering
- UCI - Engineering
- UCI - Business Management
- Pepperdine - Biology / Engineering
- Cal Poly Pomona - Electrical Engineering
- Cal Poly Pomona - Civil Engineering
- Grand Canyon University - Computer Science
Our students have also been given exposure to industry professionals and given time to further interact with them, which has awarded them opportunities such as the following:
- Employee -SpaceX
- Internships - SpaceX, Texas A&M, more coming this summer
The pictures above were taken of our student's experiment aboard the International Space Station. NASA published a piece on our student's work explaining the process of how the experiment converts powdered carbon and baby food into graphene, a super-material that is highly conductive and can be used for energy.