2018-2019 FIRST FLL Research Project

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Welcome FIRST teams! We are happy to help your FIRST robotics team learn more about this season’s theme of space exploration, as well as help connect your team with answers to any questions you may have as part of your research. Listed below are some frequently asked questions of professionals in the aerospace industry.

How to ask an expert

If your FIRST LEGO League team has questions not answered by the FAQ below, please contact us at In the email, your team should identify a specific physical or social human spaceflight-related problem of focus and describe the ideas for your proposed solution(s).
Due to the large volume of requests, we are unfortunately unable to connect each team directly with subject matter experts, but we would love to pass along your team’s questions and solution ideas. Our group will contact subject matter experts to respond to your questions and provide additional feedback on your team’s ideas for a solution to your problem of focus. We will get back in touch with you once a subject matter expert has addressed them and responded to our group.

Common Issues with Long Duration Space Travel

Still undecided?

Is your team is still unsure of what specific human spaceflight challenge to focus on? Read about the five categories of stresses and challenges that affect space travelers, narrowed down and under careful research by NASA’s Human Research Program:
The Human Body in Space.

STEM on Station

STEM on Station is your connection to the International Space Station. There are many education downlinks to schools across the country where students ask the astronauts questions about the challenges of life on the International Space Station. We have highlighted a few question and answer sessions that your team may want to look at to see the answers to the questions from the astronauts!


NASA’s Speakers Bureau has put together subject matter experts from around the agency to talk about the challenges with deep space travel.

Talks are every Tuesday at 2:00PM Eastern. Ask the experts questions with the hashtag #NASADEEP on twitter or in the chat room in the video.

Each one of the talks will be available @

NASA Deep Talk Schedule

Archived NASA DEEP Talks

ISS Astronauts Give Guided Tours Onboard the ISS

  • Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams gives a guided tour of the ISS including the crew’s sleeping quarters, hygiene station (she even demonstrates brushing her teeth), restroom, and kitchen.
  • Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams gives a guided tour of the ISS including the Japanese, European, and American science experiment laboratories, exercise area (stationary bike), and the spacewalk airlock (including great detail about the spacesuit).
  • Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams gives a guided tour of the ISS including the station’s observation deck (the cupola), the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), and the Permanent Multi-Purpose Module (PMM).
  • Expedition 33 Commander Suni Williams gives a guided tour of the Russian segment of the ISS, which includes the Service Module, the Russian spacewalk airlock area, a docking probe hatch, and the Russian Soyuz.
  • Astronaut Steven Swanson gives an extensive guided tour of the ISS including:
    • Columbus (European laboratory – blood sampling & processing, storage, ultrasounds, mass measurements, vacuum cleaner)
    • Node 2 (docking stations, work benches, living quarters)
    • “The Lab” (American laboratory – science experiment area, negative 80 degree freezers for experiments & astronaut health samples, Robonaut torso (before his legs were attached), exercise area, medical supply area, robotics workstation w/ robotic arm controls, robotic arm control simulator for training & practice)
    • Node 1 (kitchen area: food preparation table, entertainment area, food warmer, food stowage)
    • Airlock (equipment lock & crew lock for spacewalks)
    • PMM or Permanent Multipurpose Module (stowage area – extra supplies, food, equipment, trash)
    • Node 3 (workout area w/ treadmill & “weight-lifting” (resistance) machine, water analyzer, bathroom, water/air processing system, hygiene kit)
    • Cupola (observation area to view Earth, robotic arm, exterior Japanese science experiments, satellite launcher, PMM, Soyuz, Progress, solar arrays)
    • Node 1 again (PWD or Potable Water Dispenser & refrigerators)
    • Node 2 again (Japanese laboratory – negative 80 degree freezers, glovebox, Spheres (robotic satellites for science experiments & demonstrations), workstation for the Japanese robotic arm, airlock, colloidal research area)
    • JLP or Japanese Experiment Logistics Module, Pressurized Section (storage in “Bungee Jail”)
    • PCS or Space Flight Systems (monitor showing how the station systems are doing, what Space-To-Ground communication channels are available)
    • FGB or Zarya (Russian segment – storage, docking probe hatch, hygiene station, spare food stowage)
    • Module, airlock for spacewalks, & Soyuz (living compartment)

Houston, We Have a Podcast

NASA’s Johnson Space Center hosts the Podcast “Houston, We Have a Podcast” which has great talks about a few of the issues with deep space travel.
They have a five part series which talks specifically about the hazards of human spaceflight which we have linked below:


Also check out NASA’s “STEMonstrations” (STEM demonstrations) series recorded on the International Space Station.
This series includes many topics the astronauts experience in space such as: Exercise, Nutrition, Water Filtration, Surface Tension, Newton’s Laws of Motions, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I request a speaker for my FIRST event?
A: As much as NASA’s subject matter experts would love to attend community events we are unable to attend every event out there. However you can still request a NASA subject matter expert through
NASA’s Speaker’s Bureau. To request an expert please go to the How to Request a Speaker website.

Q: How long does it take for an expert to respond to my question?
A: Typically it takes a one to two business days for an expert to respond. However depending on how many inquiries we receive it can take up to a week for an expert to respond.

Q: Can we schedule a video conference or a site visit with an expert?
A: As much as we would love to have on-going video conferences or visits with teams we are unable to meet the demand. Please use the email with your specific question to get an experts response!