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Students' Experiment Launches To Space Friday

The experiment designed by four Westlake High School freshmen is set to launch on a rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. to the International Space Station (ISS) Friday, April 8 at 3:43pm Central Daylight Time. This will be the second attempt for the mission, after the rocket originally launched in June was lost approximately 2.5 minutes after launch on June 28, 2015. All 27 experiments on the rocket, including the Westlake students', were lost.

As part of a national science, technology, engineering and mathematics program, the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) selected the former West Ridge Middle School 8th graders' project after more than 400 Eanes ISD middle schoolers submitted 126 proposals.

William Buchanan, Steven Foncerrada, Myles Kovalik, and Kyle Shaw will have their experiment launch to the ISS, where astronauts will conduct studies to answer the boys' question: Will Heterotrophic Algae Neochloris oleoabundans grow in microgravity? The students, who were advised by WRMS teachers Todd White and Dillon Finan, as well as local microbiologists, will simultaneously conduct identical experiments at school and on the ISS to determine the affect microgravity has on algae growth and lipid production.

The ferry vehicle returning to Earth with experiment data is expected to land off the California coast in May.

The two Eanes ISD students who won the Mission Patch Design Competition held concurrently will have their winning patches on the next SpaceX resupply flight to the ISS. More than 500 Eanes ISD students participated, with Ian Harvey (graduated 2015) winning the secondary competition and Sarah Wang (now in 6th grade) capturing top prize in the K-5 competition. See the winning patches online: http://eanesisd.net/spacelaunch/mission-patch-competition.

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