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Creek Valley Elementary Students' Science Experiment Bound for International Space Station

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.
Creek Valley Elementary Students' Science Experiment Bound for International Space Station

Creek Valley Elementary School fifth-grade students have secured the remarkable opportunity to witness their science experiment venture into space as it heads to the International Space Station (ISS). A national panel of experts handpicked their proposal to be aboard a forthcoming SpaceX spacecraft next year. The students’ proposal was the only selection in Minnesota and one of 39 to be selected across the United States and Canada. 

The project's student winners include Nithini Weerakkodi Arachchilage, Kaydence Chen, Fallon Smith, and Marit Western, guided by their teacher, Mr. Cody Ellis. The experiment focuses on assessing the germination rate of raspberry seeds in microgravity conditions, exploring the viability of cultivating these berries in a space environment. Raspberries were chosen for their nutritional attributes, such as iron, potassium, and antioxidants, coupled with their relative ease of cultivation compared to other plant varieties.

According to the student’s proposal, “Studying how raspberries and other plants grow in space without gravity can teach us a lot about growing food for future space trips, like going to Mars or living in space. It’s important to figure out how to grow plants in space because we need sustainable food systems for astronauts during long missions. By learning about plant growth in space, we can make sure astronauts have enough healthy food to eat and stay strong in space.”

creek valley SSEP winners

The students were notified about their winning experiment during an all school assembly at Creek Valley Elementary School where their parents and caregivers were invited to watch the celebration. 


All teams participating in the flight experiment have the period from now until March for testing, refinement, and optimization of their experiments, with an anticipated launch scheduled for the fall of 2024.

Stacy Hamel, Senior Education Program Manager & SSEP Senior Flight Operations Manager, expressed her congratulations, stating, "Truly, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the future scientists that designed an experiment and wrote a proposal effectively detailing the experiment, so that it was deemed worthy of investigation 250 miles above Earth aboard the ISS!"

Edina Public Schools received a total of 35 student research proposals from over 200 students spanning grades 5-12 for this year's Student Space Flights Experiments Program. Three Edina Schools finalists were then selected and reviewed formally by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education Step 2 Review Board. 

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program is a global initiative spearheaded by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. Notably, Edina Public Schools is the first institution in Minnesota to participate in the program, beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. The program, which aims to engage students worldwide in an authentic, research-based space experience, encourages the development of the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Edina Education Fund has played a crucial role in financially supporting Edina Public Schools' involvement.

For more information about the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, please visit





Experiment Name


Edmonton, AB, Canada

The effect of microgravity on reproduction of Dugesia japonica


Guelph, ON, Canada

Will soil bacteria biodegrade compostable plastic in microgravity?


Kingston, ON, Canada

The Impact of Lectins on Escherichia coli Biofilm Formation in Microgravity



Production of biomedical purpose hydrogels in microgravity


Mesa, AZ

The Growth and Mutation of Staphylococcus epidermidis Biofilm in Microgravity


Tolleson, AZ

Does the Arabidopsis seed grow in the test tube without gravity?


Glendora, CA

Cyanobacteria (Trichormus variabilis): Growth in Extreme Conditions of Microgravity, Radiation, While in Extended Darkness


Lamont, CA

Effects of Microgravity on Lactuca sativa


Moreno Valley, CA

The Effects of Microgravity on Arugula


Colorado Springs, CO

Calcium Sulfate Crystal Growth in Microgravity


Loveland, CO

Cucurbita Maxima Seed’s Germination in Microgravity


Hillsborough County, FL 1

Handy, Dandy Dandelions


Hillsborough County, FL 2

Fenugreek and its Nutritional Value in Microgravity


Viera, FL

How do tardigrades preserve hemlibra medication in microgravity?


Pittsfield, MA

The Effects of Microgravity on the Chromosomal Alignment on the Metaphase Plate in Onion Root Tip Cells


Oak Park, MI

How Watermelon Germinates in Space Versus on Earth


Edina, MN

Does Gravity Affect the Germination Rate of Raspberry Seeds


Albany, NY

The effects of a microgravity environment on the growth of mold on strawberries


Garden City, NY

The Effects of Microgravity on the Mass of Salvia hispanica L. (Chia Seeds) Abundant with Omega-3


Long Beach, NY

The Effect of Microgravity on the Germination of Watercress Seeds


Red Hook, NY

The Effect of Microgravity on the Hatching Rate of Rotifers


North Tonawanda, NY

The crystallization of the spores of Bacillus thuringiensis in a Microgravity Environment


Grand Forks, ND

The effects of Rhizobia enriched soil on the growth of Phaseolus vulgaris (Black Beans) in Microgravity


Athens, OH

Effect of Spaceflight-Adapted Bacteria on Plant Growth and Resilience in Microgravity


Kent, OH

The Effects of Microgravity on Pisum sativum Roots


Pickerington, OH

Effects of Microgravity on Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier


Pittsburgh, PA

Effect of Microgravity on the Enzymatic Degradation of Polyurethane by Penicillium chrysogenum


Columbia, SC

Gravitational Effects on Calcium Oxalate (CaOx) Regulation in Edible Greens


Arlington, TX

Germination of Pisum sativum in microgravity


Burleson, TX

Growth of Raspberry Seeds in Microgravity


Houston, TX

Comparison of Arabidopsis thaliana germination and cell wall growth in microgravity versus standard conditions


Plano, TX

Growth and Life Cycle of Crickets (Acheta domesticus) in Microgravity for Astronaut Consumption


San Antonio, TX

Effects of Microgravity on Chia Seed Growth


Texarakana, TX

Will Normal Strength Concrete (NSC) keep its structure in microgravity?


Waxahachie, TX 1

Tardigrade Growth in Space


Waxahachie, TX 2

What is the effect of microgravity on dandelion growth?


Sandy, UT

Nematodes to the rescue! - Space worms as an integral component of space agriculture


Chesapeake, VA

The Growth of Beets in Microgravity


iForward-Grantsburg, WI

Will microgravity have an effect on the growth and development of brine shrimp?