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International Space Station (ISS) Program

Valley Christian High School continues its journey to space through the International Space Station (ISS) Project, forging a unique path among the world’s high schools. The ISS Program provides our students with the opportunity to conceive, design, build, test, integrate, and qualify computer-controlled science experiments that are then sent into space. The experiments are active on the International Space Station for 30 days, during which time each experiment module contains a digital camera and a student-programmed micro-controller. Partner schools work with VCHS students on this project, allowing our students to interface with as many as 200 students from all around the world. Each experiment’s module data is downloaded to an ISS astronaut’s laptop and sent to Earth for evaluation by the students. If any in-orbit corrective action is required, students can send correcting commands to the experiment modules via the astronaut’s laptop. Students typically present their flight results at the California Polytechnic State University CubeSat Workshop each year.

Returning to the ISS Project for the 5th consecutive year, VCHS students constructed four new experiments. During the summer of 2013, a launch to NASA’s U.S. National Lab included microlab experiments studying plant growth, radiation profiles aboard the ISS, the behavior of ant colonies, and bacteria growth in a microgravity environment. In addition to their own work, AMSE Institute leaders and students in the ISS Program mentored eleven other schools and organizations around the globe — from Hawaii to the continental US to Finland — helping them develop their own ISS launch experiments.

Students will achieve the following:

  • Develop experience with teamwork, project design, and project development
  • Participate in international collaboration and mentorship
  • Construct media interface and use project management techniques
  • Use knowledge of the Basic™ programming language
  • Apply physics, chemistry, mathematics, science, and engineering principles
  • Design printed circuit boards and mechanical hardware using CAD tools

Equipment & Software:

  • 3D Printer
  • Basic™ StampKit
  • Tektronix Oscilloscopes and HP Digital Voltmeters
  • Optical and Atomic Force Microscopes
  • ExpressPCB™ and AutoCad Inventor™ CAD software
  • Elementary School 1450 Leigh Avenue
  • San Jose, CA 95125 408.559.4400
  • Junior High 100 Skyway Drive, Ste. 130
  • San Jose, CA 95111 408.513.2460
  • High School 100 Skyway Drive, Ste. 110
  • San Jose, CA 95111 408.513.2400
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