KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (March 22, 2012) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization managing research on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, announced today that it is stepping up efforts to maximize use of the ISS, and will be issuing formal solicitations beginning in June for space research projects for osteoporosis, muscle wasting, immune system compromise, antigenicity and protein crystallization. This follows last week’s announcement regarding a June solicitation for external ISS research opportunities in materials, observation and biological sciences on NanoRacks’ NanoLabs hardware outside the Station.
The new call for research proposals in life sciences follows the findings last month of the CASIS Biological Sciences Review Panel, led by Timothy Yeatman, M.D., CASIS Interim Chief Scientist, after a review of more than 135 experiments flown in Space by NASA over the last 10 years. The panel’s conclusions, which were presented to NASA earlier this month, identified osteoporosis, immune system and muscle-loss drug research as showing substantial potential for breakthroughs in a microgravity environment.
“There is wonderful opportunity in taking the initial discoveries made by the NASA experiments and advancing the research towards real innovation and commercialization,” said Dr. Yeatman. “We are really excited by the potential of what we will be able to learn on orbit about treating these problems on earth.”
“By focusing our first solicitations, CASIS is taking a big step in getting space-based research into the pipeline and up to Station quickly,” said CASIS Interim Executive Director Jim Royston. “We want to ensure that the research community is given plenty of notice regarding this solicitation, so that they have ample time to prepare their proposals.”
CASIS will post the solicitations on its website www.iss-casis.org. Once posted in June, the CASIS Life Sciences research solicitation will remain active for 45-60 days.
Selected researchers will have access to CASIS assistance and resources that could significantly reduce costs, depending on the nature of the selected project. To be able to help researchers prepare their projects for flight, CASIS also signed a deal this week with long-time ISS research hardware provider BioServe, a company that provides unique internal laboratory racks utilized to house life science experiments that require temperature and gas controls. The CASIS agreement with BioServe will ensure life sciences researchers have the environments they need to effectively conduct their experiments in space.
In addition to the formal solicitations, CASIS will also soon be accepting unsolicited proposals on the website to ensure that all scientists, researchers and industry representatives have an opportunity to submit their projects that are ready for flight.