Spacehab to Conduct Research on ISS; Salmonella Vaccine Model to Fly on Discovery

Spacehab and NASA announced an agreement on Friday to use the International Space Station for research and development aimed at creating commercial products on Earth.

“The finalization of this agreement unlocks an entirely new market for us,” said Thomas Pickens III, chairman and CEO of the Webster, Tex.-based company. “The ability to utilize the unique microgravity environment for industrial processing purposes is expected to revolutionize a myriad of industries. We believe the utilization of the ISS as a national lab will have a significant social and economic impact and shows great promise of saving lives and providing thousands of new jobs in the coming years.”

The work will be done by Spacehab’s BioSpace Technologies subsidiary, which also has partnered with Space Florida to develop multiple vaccine models aboard ISS. The Space Shuttle Discovery will carry a salmonella model when it is launched to the orbiting laboratory. The experiment flew aboard the last shuttle flight in March.

“We’re establishing a space-based, biotech corridor that stretches from the International Space Station to the Space Life Sciences Lab at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center,” Steve Kohler, president of Space Florida, said in a press release.

“Validating a model for vaccine development on this mission opens the door to help people live healthier lives, build a new industry related to pharmaceutical development, and drive diversity in aerospace economic development,” Kohler said.