Peabody-Burns Elementary School Principal
When the Space Shuttle Endeavour launched from the Kennedy Space Center Friday evening on mission STS-126, its cargo included a very personal contribution from the students at Peabody-Burns Elementary — their signatures!
The event is part of the Student Signatures in Space (S3) program, jointly sponsored by NASA and Lockheed Martin. Designed to stimulate young people’s interest in space and technical studies, S3 gives K-12 students the opportunity to send their digitized signatures into space and feel a personal involvement with the crew and the mission. The program is part of the award-winning “Space Day” educational initiative.
Last May, students at PBES joined more than 500,000 other students from around the world in signing giant Space Day posters. Those signatures were downloaded onto a disc and given to the crew of STS-126 to fly onboard the shuttle this week.
“From an educational standpoint, we are very pleased that STS-126 is the mission that will be carrying our students’ signatures,” said Barbara Reinike, Space Day program manager of Lockheed Martin. “The crew will be delivering supplies to the International Space Station to help expand the station’s living areas and increase long-duration occupancy from three astronauts to six.
“The STS-126 crew also will perform repairs and maintenance work on the Station’s Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJs), which will require four spacewalks. It’s an exciting mission that is sure to pique students’ interest as they follow the travels of their signatures.”
Throughout the 15-day mission, students will be learning about mission activities and the space program in general, and will demonstrate how learning science and math can help them prepare for future roles in America’s space program. Information is being presented in school-wide morning announcements and, in some classes, as individual lessons.
Upon conclusion of the mission, the poster that PBES students signed will be returned to the school for permanent display, along with an official NASA flight certification verifying that the signatures flew in space and a photo of the STS-126 astronaut crew that flew the signatures.
STS-126 is the 124th space shuttle flight and the 27th flight to the International Space Station. The mission will be docked during the 10th anniversary of the space station which is Thursday.
NASA and Lockheed Martin have been conducting the Student Signatures in Space program since 1997, when Space Day was created by Lockheed Martin. To date, more than 5.25 million students have participated in the Student Signatures in Space program.