Educator Features

Name the Next ISS Node
International Space Station
What's in a name? An opportunity to help get students excited about spaceflight and learning!

NASA is currently looking for a partner to hold a contest for U.S. K-12 students to name the future Node 2 module of the International Space Station. The agency hopes to enter into an unfunded collaboration with a commercial or non-profit organization, working together to plan and carry out the competition.

Image to right: NASA is looking for a partner in a contest where students could win the chance to name Node 2 of the ISS. Credit: NASA

The goal of the contest is to promote student interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as in NASA projects, by giving them an exciting opportunity to play a role in naming an important part of the Space Station.

Node 2 will mark a major milestone in the history of the International Space Station. Already completed and awaiting launch, the Node 2 module will complete the core U.S. portion of the ISS when it is launched, possibly as early as late next year. Like the first node module, named Unity, Node 2 will be a key building block for the Station. Attached to the U.S. Destiny laboratory module, it will serve as a connecting point for modules constructed by NASA's international partners in the Space Station project. These will include the Japanese Experiment Module, named "Kibo," or Hope, a research laboratory developed by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Columbus Module, a general purpose science lab designed by the European Space Agency.

Node 2 will also serve as the connecting point for the U.S. Centrifuge Accommodation Module, a gravitational biology research laboratory. In addition, the Node will serve as the docking port for the Japanese unmanned H2 Transfer Vehicle cargo spacecraft and for the Space Shuttle. When installed, Node 2 will increase the living and working space inside the Space Station to approximately 18,000 cubic feet. The module was built in Italy, through a partnership agreement between NASA and ESA.

NASA is looking to select a partner organization for the project by June 2005. Organizations interested in entering into a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement partnership with NASA on the contest must submit a proposal to the agency by Feb. 28, 2005. The partner will be responsible for conducting the competition during the Fall 2005 and then selecting and giving to NASA the top 25 names and nomination projects submitted by the students by Feb. 28, 2006. NASA Headquarters will make the final name selection by May 31, 2006. The partner agency will benefit from the public interest the contest will inspire.

The contest will be similar to the one held in 2003 to name the two Mars Exploration Rovers, which was carried out as a partnership between NASA, The LEGO Group and The Planetary Society. The names Spirit and Opportunity were submitted by Sofi Collis, then a 9-year-old third grader from Arizona. Her submission was selected from around 10,000 entries.

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David Hitt/MSFC