Hoboken HS Team’s Experiment Ready for Launch

Hoboken HS Team’s Experiment Ready for Launch
Posted on 11/05/2022

Hoboken High School Team’s Experiment Ready for Launch into Space


Hoboken, NJ, — Friday, November 4th, The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 16 to the International Space Station (ISS) is officially underway and scheduled for launch on November 18, 2022.  Hoboken High School students, Kai Hultstrom and Feline Dirkx, prepared and loaded their experiment in accordance with their proposal that was submitted and selected for flight last school year.  Their proposal, “The effect of microgravity on catheter biofilm formation by the bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens”, was one of the three finalist proposals that was sent to the National Step 2 Review Board conducted by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE).  Their study addresses the effect of a microgravity environment on the growth of biofilm.  Biofilms are harmful secretions produced by certain species of bacteria that cause nosocomial infections. They have many implications on medical care as they can block catheters and interfere with medical treatments. 


Caption (L-R): Student researchers, Kai Hultstrom and Feline Dirkx, loading up their mini-lab to be flown in orbit aboard the International Space Station under the guidance of their teacher advisor, Jean Lebegue.

Last week, Kai and Feline loaded their experimental materials into a fluids mixing enclosure (FME), otherwise known as a mini-lab, under the guidance of their teacher advisor, Mr. Jean Lebegue, and a representative from Nanoracks, LLC.  They prepared two mini-labs as the experiments will be conducted simultaneously, one on the International Space Station (ISS) and the other on Earth.  One mini-lab was shipped to Nanoracks, LLC in Texas and then will be transported to be loaded onto the ferry vehicle, SpaceX-26.  The ferry vehicle will be launched from Space Launch Complex 39A (SLC-39A), NASA Kennedy Space Center, Floriand then the experiments will be transferred to the ISS.

The mini-lab on the ISS will be manipulated, while in orbit, by the astronauts who will execute the experiment as per the protocols detailed in Kai and Feline’s proposal.  The results from both mini-labs will be compared to determine the influence of microgravity on their study.  Through the analysis of the results, Kai and Feline will be able to answer their question about whether or not biofilm secretion increases in a microgravity-based environment.  Their hypothesis is that biofilm secretion will increase within the confines of a microgravity-based environment while their null hypothesis states that microgravity does affect the rate of biofilm secretion.  Kai and Feline hope to discover whether this will be more or less of an issue in space.


Caption (L-R): Kai Hultstrom, Feline Dirkx, and Jean Lebegue representing Hoboken High School in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program Mission 16.

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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