4 Northside ISD students' project launches to space

Four Hobby Middle Schoolers were hoping to see their experiment take off in a rocket headed for outer space Monday, but now the launch was moved to Tuesday.

The project is called "Crystal Tetras." As a team, the students competed with other schools in the Northside ISD, and out of 54 experiments they won, and today they were set to see the fruits of their labor hit the stratosphere and beyond.

A rocket by Orbital Sciences blasted off the launch pad from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, VA just before 6 p.m.

It was headed to the International Space Station with crew supplies, hardware, and two and a half tons of science experiments, including the one developed by the four students to see how crystals grow in space.

"I've always been interested in crystals in the formation of crystals and what it takes to make them," said sixth grader Madelyn Hickman.

7th grader Anthony Holmes said, "We are testing to see how the Borax and the water create crystals differently up in space compared to down here."

It took them two weeks to come up with the idea for the student Spaceflight Experiment Program that the school says signifies their message of Purple Power and excellence. Their teacher Ms. Connally was thrilled her students won. "It's beyond words how proud I am of these kids. They really worked hard and they've really done well," said Serena Connally.

The students took part in a teleconference with Nanoracks, who runs a research facility aboard the ISS's international laboratory, to make sure the project was properly put together. "They found us and helped us with the experiment and told us more facts about the crystals," said 7th grader Calista Ybarra.

What do they think the results will be? 6th grader Jacob Rubio said, "I think the crystals are going to grow better in space than down here."

The students say they plan to get the crystals back in about two months, and that's when they'll be able to compare the results from space, to their very on on the ground.


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