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Three student finalist teams chosen for Spaceflight program

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.
Three student finalist teams chosen for Spaceflight program

Edina Public Schools received 35 student research proposals from over 200 students across grades 5-12, all contributing to the selection of the top three finalists for this year’s Student Space Flights Experiments Program. The final selections include:

Does Gravity Affect the Germination Rate of Raspberry Seeds?

  • Creek Valley Elementary School, Gr. 5
  • Student Names: Nithini Weerakkodi Arachchilage, Kaydence Chen, Fallon Smith, and Marit Western
  • Teacher: Mr. Cody Ellis

Growth of Typha Latifolia

  • Valley View Middle School, Gr. 8
  • Student Names: Evelyn Ge and Angela Huang
  • Teacher: Ms. Christine Retzlaff

Study of the Root Growth and Liquid Intake of a Chlorophytum Comosum Roots in Microgravity as Opposed to Chlorophytum Comosum in Earth’s Gravity

  • Edina High School
  • Student Names: Leo García Temiño, Gr. 11, William Teskey, Gr. 11, John Fernandes, Gr. 12
  • Teacher: Ms. Jodi Ramirez

The final experiments will be reviewed formally by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education Step 2 Review Board, which will select one of the three proposals to be sent to the International Space Station. The selection will be complete in December with an expected rocket launch in June of 2024. 


Edina’s winning experiment from last year is currently operating in space

Last year, Edina High School students and alumni Grayson Irons, Joshua Cram, and Colin Shaw’s experiment was selected out of 180 teams and was launched into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center atop a Falcon 9 rocket on Nov. 9, 2023. Their experiment is currently being operated by astronauts aboard the spacecraft. 

On the official Student Spaceflight Experiments Program website, a special message was directed to the students who secured an opportunity to have their experiments in space:

“To all SSEP Mission 17 Student Flight Teams, your experiments are now being operated by the astronauts aboard the largest spacecraft ever constructed, orbiting our home world at an altitude of 250 miles and traveling at 18,000 mph. Every 90 minutes your experiments complete an orbit of Earth – traveling over 25,000 miles. Yes, this is all very real. Congratulations for a job well done.”

Watch the Nov. 9 launch:

The Student Space Flights Experiments Program is funded by the Edina Education Fund. Learn more about Edina Public School’s program at