Astronaut Ken Ham in Scotland

ISSET’s Mission Discovery programme is a great opportunity for ordinary students to do something extraordinary.

High school and university students carry out biomedical research with NASA astronauts, rocket scientists and trainers for a week at one of the best universities in the world. In teams, you will propose an idea for your own biomedical experiment; the best idea will be sent to the International Space Station and put into practice in space.

With help from brilliant NASA role models, astronauts, astronaut trainers, scientists and engineers; you will learn about space through a variety of exhilarating hands-on activities, based on themes such as:

  • NASA leadership and team building
  • How space exploration benefits life on Earth
  • Experiencing the environment of space
  • Looking at different kinds of experiment & what makes them great
  • How you succeed in your dreams and ambitions

To learn more or to share information about Mission Discovery at St. John’s College, Annapolis, download one of our PDF packages:

Renfrewshire, Scotland Mission Discovery 2014 Brochure


About NASA Astronaut Ken Ham

NASA EXPERIENCE:  Selected by NASA in June 1998, he reported for training in August 1998.  His astronaut candidate training included orientation briefings and tours, numerous scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school to prepare for T-38 flight training as well as learning water and wilderness survival techniques.  Initially assigned as Ascent/Entry, Orbit and station Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), Ham completed his first spaceflight as pilot on STS-124 and logged more than 13 days in space.  He completed his second mission as commander of the STS-132 crew and has logged a total of 25 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes and 9 seconds in space.  Subsequently, Ham was assigned to the Aircraft Operations Division as a T-38N instructor pilot and WB-57F research pilot.  Ham left the agency in June 2012.

SPACEFLIGHT EXPERIENCE:  STS-124 Discovery (May 31 to June 14, 2008) was the 123rd space shuttle flight and the 26th space shuttle flight to the International Space Station.  STS-124 was launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and docked with the station on June 2, 2008, to deliver the Japanese Experiment Module-Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System.  The STS-124 shuttle astronauts delivered the 37-foot (11-meter) Kibo lab, added its rooftop storage room and performed three spacewalks to maintain the station and prime the new Japanese module’s robotic arm for work during the nine days it was docked at the orbiting laboratory.  STS-124 also delivered a new station crew member, Expedition 17 Flight Engineer Greg Chamitoff.  He replaced Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, who returned to Earth with the STS-124 crew.  The STS-124 mission was completed in 218 orbits, traveling 5,735.643 miles in 13 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and 7 seconds.

STS-132 Atlantis (May 14 to May 26, 2010) was the 132nd space shuttle flight and the 32nd shuttle flight to the International Space Station.  STS-132 launched from Kennedy Space Center and docked with the station on May 16, 2010, to deliver Rassvet, a Russian-built Mini Research Module (MRM1) to the station.  STS-132 shuttle astronauts performed three spacewalks to install a spare antenna and a stowage platform, replace batteries on the P6 truss that store solar energy and retrieve a power data grapple fixture for installation at a later date.  They used Atlantis’ robotic arm to remove Rassvet from the shuttle payload bay and hand it to the station robotic arm, Canadarm2, for installation on the Zarya module.  The STS-132 mission was completed in 186 orbits, traveling 4,879,978 miles in 11 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes and 2 seconds.

Astronaut Ken Ham Portrait

STS-124 Mission Patch

STS-132 Mission Patch

STS-124 Crew Portrait

STS-132 Crew Portrait


U.S. Space Mission Patch Guide

Follow the link to our mission patch guide, free download please distribute freely. Contains brief mission details and the story behind each mission patch. U.S. Mission patch gallery and links to our store.

The Mission Insignia of the U.S Shuttle Program 4.2.1

The Mission Insignia of the U.S Shuttle Program lr Mission Patches

Space science gives European teachers a boost


New classroom activities

20 July 2012
ESA’s third summer workshop for teachers took a four-day journey into space to boost science, technology, engineering and maths education in classrooms across Europe.
Nearly 40 school teachers took part in an intensive hands-on workshop at ESTEC, Noordwijk, the Netherlands, beginning 10 July. The teachers were taken on a voyage into our cosmos, learning from ESA experts how space can enliven STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education for all students and foster future generations of explorers.

In a learn-by-doing approach, educators found themselves tracking clouds in the Venusian atmosphere, testing how plant life withstands the rigours of space travel and building simple signal tracers as an introduction to the invisible world of radio waves.

A slate of experts from space science, human spaceflight and Earth observation presented the latest exploration and technology topics. Hands-on activities included retrieving eye-catching solar images from the SOHO heliospheric observatory data archive and simulating the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun.

Space is extremely inspiring for young people
Participants also met ESA astronaut Christer Fuglesang, who spoke about his experiences in orbit. “I am convinced that what we do in space is extremely inspiring for young people,” he noted.

“The International Space Station is today a unique and irreplaceable platform not only for orbital sciences but also for Earth observation and even high-energy physics. It’s critical that students know they have a future working in a growing range of space research and application development.”


Practical session

In the third annual workshop, inspiration and enthusiasm ran high.

“We are not only here to make science fun. We also use amazing space stories as a ‘hook’ to explain all sorts of phenomena in our Universe,” explained Anu Ojha, Director of the National Space Academy (UK National Space Centre), and a presenter at the workshop.

The topics presented and associated materials were suitable for classes ranging from upper primary up to first-year university.

The educators, who came from 12 ESA Member States, also learned where to find and how to apply ESA online resources in their daily teaching. The workshop gave them the ability to cover sophisticated fundamental principles using very simple equipment and widely accessible resources.

Participants ended the workshop better equipped to provide their students with enriched science learning experiences, and have all committed to disseminate the knowledge they acquired to other teachers.

Contact for further information


Apollo 12’s Command Module Pilot Richard Gordon Visits the U.K 2012

Apollo 12’s Command Module Pilot Dick Gordon will be in Glasgow on WEDNESDAY 17th OCTOBER.

There are two opportunities to meet him.

Both events include a complimentary autograph and there is a discounted combo price if you come to both events.

At 11am we will have an unplugged question and answer session in Blackfriars Club in the Merchant City area of the city centre just minutes from Argyle Street. If you were at Al Worden’s unplugged session you will know how special an opportunity this was to get up close and personal.

In the evening there will be a lecture in the Glasgow Caledonian University at 7.30pm. This will include a short Q&A session, an opportunity to have a souvenir photo taken with Dick and an auction of special montage photos of Dick’s missions.
All auction prizes will be signed in addition to your complimentary signature!

Full details are on the website and tickets went on sale this morning!

Space oddities to teach science

André with EPO Convection experiment
André with convection experiment

22 February 2012
When liquids and bubbles are in space, odd things start to happen. ESA astronaut André Kuipers is taking schools across Europe on a microgravity waltz to learn what is behind seemingly simple phenomena such as convection and foams.
Space oddities on the International Space Station will help thousands of schoolchildren to realise that the consequences of the laws of physics running our Universe can be complex – and on Earth they are not the same as in the Station’s weightlessness.

Armed with two ESA educational experiments during his PromISSe mission, André is inviting students aged 10–14 to share his scientific adventure.


Children across Europe have the chance to follow these ‘Take Your Classroom into Space’ experiments with André as part of the ‘Spaceship Earth’ educational programme.


André with EPO FOAM-Stability experiment
André with foam experiment

Playing with microgravity
Young scientists on Earth can run their own identical experiments on the ground and make their observations while André does his on the Station.

‘Convection’ illustrates how thermal gradients drive convective currents. On the scale of a planet, this is how temperature gradients influence density-driven convection and create currents in the atmosphere and oceans.

A simple device shows how heat affects the density of liquids and the role that gravity plays in distributing the heat.

By grasping the convection loop on one side, heat from the hand is enough to drive a convective current within the loop in Earth’s gravity.

On the Space Station, though, things might be different.

‘Foam Stability’ highlights the properties of wet foams and how gravity influences their stability.

On the Station, foams are free of gravity’s effects. Up there, it is possible to form very stable foams from pure water – rarely seen on Earth.

André will show students how foam is created from pure water in microgravity. He will also play with a beer-like sample and oils.

Understanding how foams form and collapse helps us to improve products on Earth, such as making tastier foods and drinks, or creating stronger and lighter metal foams.


André with EPO FOAM-Stability experiment
André with foam experiment

Get your space kit
Teachers are invited to join the space waltz with André’s oddities. The results of André’s experiment will be accessible on the PromISSe website in May. The school kits with the Take Your Classroom into Space experiments can be ordered here now and delivered free of charge. Dutch schools should get them from

The kits are shipped free of charge to ESA* member state schools on a first-come first-served basis. Lessons attached to these two experiments will also be available online.

*ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania. Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

NASA TV’s Public, Media Channels Transitioning to HD

WASHINGTON — Beginning Feb. 17, 2012, NASA Television’s Public and Media channels will transmit their respective content in high definition.NASA Television’s Public Channel (101), the channel most often carried by cable and satellite service providers, provides digital coverage of NASA missions and events, as well as documentaries, archival and other special programming.

NASA TV’s Media Channel (103) provides mission coverage, news conferences and relevant video and audio materials to local, national and international news-gathering organizations.

NASA TV’s Education Channel (102) will continue in standard definition. The current NASA TV HD Channel (105) will cease service.

For complete NASA TV downlink information, visit:


ESA – Ice Data at Your Fingertips

Discover ESA’s ice mission, track it in real time and obtain the latest measurements with the new CryoSat application. CryoSat is measuring the thickness of polar sea ice and monitoring changes in the ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica.
The CryoSat iPhone and iPad application – or CryoSatApp– is now available at Apple’s App Store.

CryoSatApp’s main menu provides access to four sections: mission description, a 3D model of the satellite, position tracking and data visualisation.

In the first section, users can easily find information on the CryoSat mission, including images, videos, archived news and an overview of how CryoSat obtains and delivers data.

The 3D model feature allows users to zoom in on how the satellite is built and discover its instruments – such as the radar altimeter for measuring ice thickness.

Information on CryoSat’s current position is automatically updated, including its visibility over selected ground stations. Users can also track the satellite’s position in relation to the iPhone or iPad’s geographical location.


Surface elevation

But it’s the data feature that makes this app unique. Not only does it give access to all of CryoSat’s measurements, it can help you visualise the ice sheets by providing a vertical profile over the area.

All geophysical parameters stored in the CryoSat products can be easily displayed at the touch of your fingertips as soon as they are generated on the ground. Users can select the day and orbit from which they want to extract the data, and view Earth’s ice profile from that orbit.

This is a remarkable tool for students and scientists engaged in using CryoSat products.


CryoSat in 3D

ESA has a new Earth Observation Data Policy, which allows for free and open access to satellite data.

Since its launch in April 2010, CryoSat-2 has been collecting data to improve our understanding of the relationship between ice and climate.

In June 2011, the first map of Arctic sea-ice thickness was unveiled. The satellite will continue to monitor the changing ice for years to come.