A minilab developed by Ukrainian pupils will go into space on the Falcon 9 rocket

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On November 26, 2022, a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with a Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in the United States. This is the first time that two Ukrainian school projects have participated in an international mission. Last year, the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (JAS) joined SSEP for the first time. Seven schools from six regions of Ukraine took part in the pilot competition. The Kyiv innovation park UNIT.City and the family investment company Dovgiy Family Office provided great assistance to the MAS in organizing and conducting the competition.

Mission 16 SSEP (Student Spaceflight Experiments Program) has been operating since 2010 and has already delivered more than 300 school projects to the International Space Station (ISS). In total, more than 134 thousand students from nearly 3 thousand educational institutions around the world worked on real experiments and submitted more than 27 thousand proposals for space research.

A total of 962 students in grades 7-11 under the guidance of 34 teachers competed for the right to represent Ukraine at SSEP. A total of 238 projects were submitted to the jury. The winners of the competition were students from the Richelieu Odesa Science Lyceum and Kharkiv Gymnasium No. 47, who researched the topics “The Effect of Microgravity on Potassium Hexacyanoferrate(III)” and “Strengthening of Dental Materials in Microgravity”. 

All the members of the winning teams watched the rocket take off at Cape Canaveral, the historic Pad 39A from which all Apollo missions to the Moon were launched. In parallel with the experiments on the ISS, the teams will also conduct research in laboratories on Earth under the supervision of experts from NASA, the National Center for Earth and Space Education (USA) and the private American space company Nanoracks. Upon completion of the experiment on the ISS, the participants will compare the results of the research with the results in Earth’s gravity.

The experiment of the students of Kharkiv Gymnasium No. 47 will help to find out whether dental materials cured in space differ from those formed on Earth. The effect of microgravity on the strength, internal integrity and hardness of fillings will be studied.

Minor Academy of Sciences will participate in the SSEP program next year as well. The competitive selection of projects has already begun.