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.
â€œThe finalization of this agreement unlocks an entirely new market for us,â€ said Thomas Pickens III, chairman and CEO of the Webster, Tex.-based company. â€œThe 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.â€
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.
â€œWeâ€™re establishing a space-based, biotech corridor that stretches from the International Space Station to the Space Life Sciences Lab at NASAâ€™s John F. Kennedy Space Center,â€ Steve Kohler, president of Space Florida, said in a press release.
â€œValidating 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,â€ Kohler said.