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Top 10 moments for Year of Education on Station

October 9, 2018

The Year of Education on Station (YES) is an agencywide initiative celebrating educational opportunities on the International Space Station (ISS). Former classroom teachers and astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold were assigned back-to-back expeditions aboard the space station, creating a year of opportunity from September 2017 to October 2018.

Here are the top 10 YES moments:

1. YES Opening Facebook Live

YES Opening Facebook Live
The official YES kickoff was a Facebook Live event featuring ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman and an in-flight education downlink with Acaba and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli. The Facebook event reached over 912,000, and the corresponding Snapchat and Instagram posts reached an additional 2 million.

2. STEMonstrations

Stemonstration with Acaba
“STEMonstrations” are STEM lessons filmed aboard station. The first STEMonstration, “Exercise,” was filmed by Acaba, making its debut during the Expedition 55/56 Crew News Conference. The video has received more than 48,000 views to date. Seven other STEMonstrations have been released, with many more to come. These videos have more than 10 million impressions across social media channels.

3. NASA Center Downlinks

NASA Center Downlinks
As part of YES, each NASA center hosted an in-flight education downlink. Armstrong Flight Research Center held their downlink as part of “Bring Your Child to Work Day,” hosting more than 500 students, teachers and parents in a hangar as they spoke with astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor.

4. Christa McAuliffe’s Lost Lessons Filmed

Christa McAuliffe's Lost Lessons Filmed
During an education downlink hosted by Challenger Center on Jan. 29, Acaba announced that the lessons Christa McAuliffe, NASA’s first educator astronaut, had planned to film on Challenger mission STS-51-L would be filmed aboard the space station as a part of YES. The first of these lessons, “Chromatography,” was filmed by Arnold and released on Aug. 7.

5. #ThankATeacher

NASA launched an agencywide campaign to thank teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week in May. NASA personnel, including astronauts and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, recognized teachers who inspired them. Arnold’s #ThankATeacher post on Twitter netted nearly 85,000 views, and a video of Acaba and Arnold’s thoughts about teaching earned more than 187,000 views on Facebook and Twitter.

6. National Science Teachers Association National Conference

National Science Teachers Association National Conference
NASA personnel, including Associate Administrator for STEM Engagement Mike Kincaid, presented to more than 600 educators to promote YES and educational resources available through NASA. About 1,600 educators experienced the NASA Driven to Explore mobile exhibit, and many more interacted with NASA personnel to learn about NASA resources. A live downlink with astronaut Scott Tingle was the highlight for many attendees.

7. YouthSpark Live

YouthSpark Live event
NASA partnered with Microsoft to provide two YouthSpark Live Events for 200 students from the Houston Independent School District and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. The events ignited student interest in STEM with hands-on workshops in coding, robotics, and sensors and drones. This included presentations from NASA subject-matter experts relating the workshops to space exploration, and an education downlink with Arnold. The second YouthSpark Live was a national event with workshops and downlink watch parties in Microsoft retail stores across the country.

8. University of Houston-Downtown Partnership

University of Houston-Downtown Partnership
Pre-service teachers from the University of Houston-Downtown (UH-D) designed experiments for Acaba to perform while aboard the station. In February, UH-D expanded their reach to local K-12 students with workshops and exhibits relating to the orbiting laboratory. In addition, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner declared Feb. 13 as University of Houston-Downtown NASA Day when more 300 pre-service teachers, faculty and community members connected to Acaba through an education downlink.

9. Downlink with Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Downlink with Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria
Acaba lifted spirits of Hurricane Maria survivors during an education downlink with the Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics. Acaba, who is of Puerto-Rican descent, described his unique vantage point of the hurricane, discussed its impacts on the island and coached students to work hard in life and their education.

10. YES Closing Event

YES Closing Event
YES concluded with a Q&A session featuring ISS Operations Integration Manager Kenny Todd and an in-flight education downlink with Arnold. The event, which was broadcast on NASA TV and Facebook Live, also included a quick video from Acaba enumerating YES highlights and firsthand testimonials from educators and students who took part in YES initiatives.

Learn more about YES and some fun facts about the program by clicking the video below. 

YES brought this future explorer from the Children's Museum of Indianapolis closer to current explorers aboard the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA
YES brought this future explorer from the Children's Museum of Indianapolis closer to current explorers aboard the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA