Vine Middle School students experiment launching into space at Kennedy Space Center

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Sunday morning three Vine Middle School students loaded their luggage and left for Cape Canaveral, Florida to the Kennedy Space Center.

The team of students won the Student Space Flight Experiments Program Competition. The members were: Chandler Arnold, Sude Buyuktazeler, Shukurani Cimpaye, Jairo Tomas, and Tayon Wright. The team adviser, Melody Hawkins is also an eighth grade science teacher at Vine.

The five students created an experiment on blue-green algae that will be launched into space Monday afternoon.

“Our project is to see how a microgravity environment would affect the separation of blue-green algae from water,” said Hawkins. “It’s basically a way for us to see if we can purify water that has an excessive amount of blue green algae blooms.”

The entire team made their way to the Kennedy Space Center in February to watch Bearden Middle School’s experiment launch. Only three members were able to attend the second trip.

“For me, it’s been exciting just to see ours go through and go through all the testing and for us to do all of that, for us to finally see it go up is going to be amazing,” said team member Tayon Wright.

Hawkins says she is excited to see three years of education and hard work pay off her students.

“In 6th grade, that’s where they’ve gotten into earth and space science,” said Hawkins. “For our 8th graders to get a chance to go on this trip, and they’re going as 9th graders now, they learned about earth and science in the 6th grade and so now as 8th graders, or 9th graders really, they’re getting a chance to see how that connects in real life.”

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