The Space Experiment Module (SEM) introduces students to the concept of performing space based research on ISS. SEM provides students with the opportunity to conduct their own research on the effects of microgravity, radiation and space flight on various materials.Principal Investigator(s)
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)Research Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration:
October 2004 - April 2007Expeditions Assigned
10,11,13,14Previous ISS Missions
SEM has a long history of space flight. It has flown on 11 Space Shuttles, including STS-107 (Columbia), which was lost in 2003 and ISS Expeditions 10-11 and 13.
The Space Experiment Module (SEM) provided high
school students with an opportunity to conduct research
on the effects of microgravity, radiation, and space flight on
various materials. Research objectives for each experiment
were determined by students but generally include
hypotheses on changes in selected materials due to the space
environment. This was achieved by providing students space
capsules that contained passive test articles for flight. These
capsules were clear, sealable polycarbonate vials, 1 inch in
diameter and 3 inches in depth. The vials were packed in
satchels (20 per satchel) that contain special formed foam
layers for flight.
Students selected the items that were contained inside the vials. Some of the items included seeds, such as corn, watermelon, cucumber, beans, peas, and several other vegetables. Additional items included materials, such as wool, Kevlar, silk, ultraviolet beads, chicken bones, copper, plastic, dextrose, yeast, over-the-counter medications, human hair, mineral samples, light bulbs, and brine shrimp eggs. Many students tested seed growth after microgravity exposure; other students tested how materials protect against radiation exposure and survival rates of microscopic life forms.
SEM introduces the concept of space-based scientific experiments to the next generation.Earth Applications
Eleven schools are running experiments on the first Space Experiment Module (SEM) satchel flight. The experiments are contained in clear polycarbonate vials. These vials are also flown in passive (no power required) SEM experiment modules. Students create their own experiments, and consider such variables as space radiation, microgravity and launch environment. SEM is educating and inspiring the next generation to take the journey.
On orbit the satchels are placed in passive stowage on the ISS for one stage. At some point during the stage, a crew member will remove the satchels and - using a video camera - will take videos of the experiment capsules and describe their contents and student interests. These videos will be down-linked to the ground for use by the students in their analysis.Operational Protocols
SEM will not require any crew interaction.
Eleven schools and 300 students developed experiments for SEM Satchel 001. The satchel was launched during ISS Expedition 10 in December 2004 and returned to Earth on Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-114) in August 2005. The sample vials were returned to the students for analysis. (Evans et al. 2009)