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Take Flight

Student Space Flight Experiments Program


PS #198 International Preparatory School wins regional competition!

For the second year in a row, students from PS #198 International Preparatory School, under the leadership of teacher Andrew Franz, have won the regional competition. BPS Students were regional winners in 3 of the 4 WNY competitions.


The students’ research for Mission 14 is: The Effects of Microgravity on The Mating Habits of Hypsibius Dujardini. The students will travel to Cape Canaveral for the launch of their experiment during the spring/summer of 2020, engage with researchers from D’Youville College and The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia during post-flight testing of specimens returned to Earth and share their findings during a national convening at the Smithsonian.

WNY STEM Hub coordinated the project with more than 300 students from 6 local schools in grades 5-12 to design and test authentic experiments investigating diverse topics like seed germination, crystal growth, food studies, cell biology, and physiology and life cycles of micro-organisms. This is the fourth

mission to the International Space Station that WNY STEM Hub has offered in collaboration with the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, designed and operated by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE).


Local participation is made possible by significant grants from Praxair/Linde and First Niagara Foundation. Broad supplemental support comes from: Moog, Olin, Otis Eastern, Siemens, Trautman Associates, Hoot Mechanical & Electrical, Integer and InfoTech WNY.

Students (Grades 5-12) can participate in an authentic experience to design a space experiment and propose its launch to the International Space Station. Since 2015, WNY STEM Hub has had three previous winning teams of students from Hamlin Park School, International Preparatory School and Wellsville Secondary School with finalist teams from Lockport High School and Olean High School. Teams are matched with a local researcher who advises and hosts the team for lab work on their specimens. Upon winning, students and their teacher are invited to watch the launch of their experiment at Cape Canaveral and to present their findings at the Smithsonian.


For more information contact: Ms. Simone Ragland, Executive Director at




The “Sporeos” Team took a trip to Kennedy Space Center – the best summer vacation ever! The video below shows how the team enjoyed testing their experiment before launching and their summer travels to watch the launch. 


Congratulations to the “Sporeos” Team from the International Preparatory School in Buffalo!


An original experiment proposal developed by a team of Grades 7-9 students from a Buffalo Public School, International Preparatory, was selected in December 2018 for testing on the International Space Station in this year’s Take Flight Program, Mission 13.  WNY STEM Hub coordinated the program regionally in partnership with the National Center for Earth and Space Education (NCESSE).


This is the third mission sending work from a WNY team to the International Space Station. In 2015, a team of students (nicknamed “The Spud Launchers”) from Hamlin Park Academy in Buffalo was selected.  In 2017, a team from Wellsville Secondary School was selected.


This project is a real-world experience. The skills they learn put them ahead of their peers as they prepare for college.  The students agree that the Take Flight program was unique and special. Tyler Watson a Wellsville student said, “We’ve done labs for various sciences, but rarely have we had a chance to actually design and test an experiment of our own.”  Comments about new skills learned, an appreciation for teamwork and a sense of accomplishment have been echoed by other student team winners.

While awaiting the launch, the Sporeos team is now providing NCESSE with flight safety documentation and continuing ground truth experimentation, under guidance from their laboratory advisor at SUNY Buffalo State.  They have also posted a GoFundMe page to raise funds for their 2019 trip to Cape Canaveral to view the launch and a trip in 2020 to the Smithsonian where they will share their findings at a national conference of student scientists.


Proposals were reviewed by a local panel of judges organized by WNY STEM Hub. Twelve local schools participated with recognition going to teams from these schools:

Finalists: International Preparatory School, Lockport High School, Olean High School

Honorable Mentions: Buffalo Academy of Science Charter, Salamanca High School, Wellsville Secondary School

A mission patch contest identified student-designed patches to accompany the experiment.  Winners were from Depew High School and Lockport High School.  A special Hands Across the Border competition was completed with the Greater Fort Erie Schools, Ontario.

Lead sponsors of this Program were Praxair and Moog.  Supporting sponsors were: National Grid, Magellan Foundation, Integer, Turner Construction, First Niagara Foundation, Cornell Space Grant, Siemens, InfoTech WNY, Otis Eastern, Olin Buffalo Construction Management and Dupont.


NCESSE is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC NanoRacks, LLC, which works in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Stations as a National Laboratory. The NCESSE program originated in 2010 to address national strategic needs in Workforce Development for the 21st Century designed to inspire the next generation of U.S. scientists & engineers.

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