HHS Spaceflight Experiments Program


Contact Information:
Hoboken Public School District
Christopher Munoz
[email protected]

RELEASE DATE: Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hoboken HS Team Proposal Selected for Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP)

Two Hoboken HS Juniors’ experiment will be launched into space in the near future.

Hoboken, NJ, — Thursday, January 20, 2022, This year, students from Hoboken High School participated in the
Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 16 to the International Space Station (ISS). The
students worked in teams to design a question, conducted research, communicated with professional advisors
in the field, performed experiments, and collected and analyzed their data. Three of the proposals were
submitted to the National Step 2 Review Board conducted by the National Center for Earth and Space Science
Education (NCESSE). This past December, Nanoracks performed a preliminary review of the flight experiments
to ensure they met the safety requirements for the flight.

We are thrilled to announce that 11th grade students, Kai Hultstrom and Feline Dirkx's project, The effect of
microgravity on catheter biofilm formation by the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens, has been selected for
flight aboard the International Space Station! This study will be launched in Spring/Summer 2022! The
reviewers were impressed by the study's "elegant and straightforward" experimental design.

The scientific question that these two budding researchers assigned for their study was "Does a microgravity
environment affect the biofilm growth of Pseudomonas fluorescens?”. Their hypothesis is that if Pseudomonas
fluorescens is exposed to a microgravity environment, then biofilm growth will accelerate. Biofilms are
harmful secretions made by microorganisms that can often block catheters and interfere with other medical
devices in a clinical setting. A catheter is a tube used to deliver medications and fluids to patients.

For their experiment, they will set up identical tubes, inoculated with this microorganism, with a section of
catheter submerged in a growth medium. They will be able to assess the amount of biofilm growth by using
both a spectrophotometer as well as visual analysis. They designed an experiment, which makes perfect use of
the fluids mixing enclosure (FME) device "mini-lab system" which will be sent to space and manipulated by an
astronaut aboard the ISS. The same experiment will be run at Hoboken High School, so a direct comparison of
biofilm growth can be made.

Congratulations to all of our participants in this amazing program and especially Kai and Feline.
We look forward to watching and learning about your project’s outcomes in the future.

About the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or SSEP]
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or SSEP] is a program of the National
Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space
Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with Nanoracks LLC, which is working
with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a
National Laboratory.

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