SpaceX launch to include Grand Blanc ninth graders’ blueberry experiment

GRAND BLANC, MI – In just two short weeks, blueberries, dirt and water from a Grand Blanc eighth grade project will be sent into space.

Five students, each who were eighth graders at Grand Blanc’s Perry Center last year, got back together this week to pack and ship fluid mixing enclosures — one control and one experimental — to be launched on a SpaceX rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The current launch schedule projects that the students’ experiment will launch at 5:27 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18.

The students are testing blueberry decomposition in space after being chosen through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. They will study how to efficiently decompose food matter to then reuse and grow new food in microgravity.

The test tube will be in space for about 4-6 weeks, then it will be sent back to Grand Blanc for analysis.

Each of the five students, now in their first year of high school, were happy to get back to experimenting on Friday, Oct. 28 to practice packing the test tube to be sent out on the rocket.

On Monday, Oct. 31, the test tubes were overnighted to Nanorocks LLC, a program partner.

“They picked up right where they left off,” advisor Jason Vallimont said.

Each test tube has blueberries, organized by mass, a dirt/water mixture with dirt from the Grand Blanc campus under a tree, and a glycerin water mixture.

Grand Blanc is one of only 23 communities chosen for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, an opportunity for students in grades 5-16, including colleges and education programs in other countries, to propose and design real microgravity experiments for flight aboard the International Space Station.

The program is a part of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, enabled by a partnership with NASA and Nanoracks LLC, which allows them to use the International Space Station as a National Laboratory under the Space Act Agreement.

MLive-The Flint Journal featured the project in February. Here is a link to the story.

Read more at The Flint Journal:

Ready for liftoff: Michigan eighth graders to test blueberry decomposition in space

Flint school board still operating without a treasurer for 13th week

A guide to Genesee County school board elections this November

The Flint woman who’s in charge of getting your child to school when you can’t


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