Education Payload Operations (EPO) includes curriculum-based educational activities that demonstrate basic principles of science, mathematics, technology, engineering and geography. These activities are videotaped and then used in classroom lectures. EPO is designed to support the NASA mission to inspire the next generation of explorers.Principal Investigator(s)
Expedition 7 - 9:
Heinz, Ontario, , Canada
Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada
Rice University, The Rice Space Institute, Houston, TX, United States
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Houston Independent School District, Houston, TX, United States
Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX, United States
Expedition 7 - 9:
Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, OH, United States
Miami University, Oxford, OH, United States
Expedition 7 - 9:
St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis, MO, United States
Maryland Science Center, Baltimore, MD, United States
Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, United States
Association of Science and Technology, Washington, DC, United States
Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, CO, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
NASA Education (EDU)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
December 2001 - October 2004Expeditions Assigned
4,5,7,8,9Previous ISS Missions
EPO began ISS operations during Expedition 4.
The objective of the Education Payload Operations (EPO) investigation is to use toys, tools, and other common items in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) to create educational video and multimedia products that inspire the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, physicists, and other scientists. The products are used for demonstrations and to support curriculum materials distributed across the United States and internationally. The individual EPO projects are designed to explore physical phenomena such as force, motion, and energy. Each Expedition involves different on-orbit activities and themes, as well as different partners, such as museums, universities, and public school districts.
The EPO payloads are small, weighing less than 6.8 kg (15 lbs) each. Whenever possible, the demonstrations use materials and objects already available on ISS. Some of the activities cover physical properties, such as Newton’s Laws of Motion or Bernoulli’s Principle for air pressure, and others are specific to life in space, such as explaining how ISS solar panels work or demonstrating EVAs.
Specific activities are as follows:
EPO introduces the next generation of explorers to the environment of space.Earth Applications
EPO is part of NASA's continuing effort to use space as a unique educational tool for K-12 students. Everyday items, such as toys and tools, are given a new twist by combining them with the allure of space flight and the unusual weightless environment to produce educational materials that inspire interest in science and technology and encourage curiosity and creativity.
EPO does not require power, telemetry, or specialized hardware. However, each demonstration requires several hours from at least two crew members, one of whom operates the video equipment and the other demonstrates the activity.Operational Protocols
After setting up the demonstration, at least one crew member performs the demonstration while another films it. Each demonstration has its own props (e.g., toys or tools). The demonstration is then dismantled and returned to stowage. After the videos are returned to Earth, they are used to develop teaching guides, project plans, and educational packages focusing on the physical sciences and technology.
EPO is a successful education program on ISS. By using simple objects and the microgravity environment, NASA is able to produce videos that demonstrate physical properties, such as force, motion, and energy, which may be obscured by gravity on Earth. To date, over 500 videos, DVDs, and video clips have been produced and distributed to science teachers and schools throughout the United States. About 1500 teachers each year are trained to use the materials in their classrooms. An additional 30.9 million students have had the opportunity to participate in live downlink events where their classmates pose questions of ISS crews on orbit.
McClain B, Woodard D. Extending the Learning Environment to the World's Most Unique Microgravity Laboratory: The International Space Station. 54th International Astronautical Congress, Bremen, Germany; 2003