March 21, 2012

NASA astronaut to name global winners in YouTube space lab contest

NASA astronaut Suni Williams will announce March 22 the two winners of the YouTube Space Lab contest, a global science competition that challenges 14-18 year-old students to design a science experiment for the International Space Station.

The awards ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., EDT, in the Newseum’s Knight Room at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. in Washington, D.C.

Thousands of individuals and teams from more than 80 countries entered the competition to have their experiment flown in space. Williams will perform the two winning YouTube Space Lab contest experiments 250 miles above Earth during the Expedition 32 and 33 missions on the space station later this year.

A team of judges, including William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration Mission Directorate, and Leland Melvin, associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Education and a former astronaut, selected 60 finalists. Online voting chose the final six. Gerstenmaier will introduce the finalists in the 17-18 year-old category at the awards ceremony.

The 2005 NASA Authorization Act designated the U.S. segment of the space station as a national laboratory and directed NASA to develop a plan to “increase the utilization of the ISS by other Federal entities and the private sector.” As the nation’s newest national laboratory, the station further strengthens relationships among NASA, other Federal entities, and private sector leaders in the pursuit of national priorities for the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The International Space Station National Laboratory is opening new paths for the exploration and economic development of space. As these activities are ramping up, contests like the YouTube Space Lab are important components of an integrated strategy to inspire the next generation of explorers and scientists using the orbiting outpost.

For information about the contest and to see the proposals from the 60 finalists, visit


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