ISPCS Sessions: Duane Ratliff of CASIS

CASIS CEO Duane Ratliff speaks at ISPCS. (Credit: CASIS)
CASIS CEO Duane Ratliff speaks at ISPCS. (Credit: CASIS)

At the ISPCS this morning, CASIS Chief Operating Officer Duane Ratliff gave a keynote address about his organization’s efforts to facilitate research aboard the International Space Station. He also appeared with SpaceX President and CEO Gwynne Shotwell and Fast Company Magazine Editor-at-large Jon Gertner in an afternoon roundtable chaired by AIAA Executive Director Sandy Magnus.

Although I was not able to go to Las Cruces this year, I have compiled a series of Tweets of what Ratliff said during the two sessions that are reproduced below.

ISS National Lab

  • Ratliff: Congress created ISS Nat Lab – 2005. 2010 NASA Act extended ISS to 2020 & directed creation of NGO. CASIS selected in 2011.
  • Ratliff: we have 3 primary elements – diverse R&D portfolio for national benefit, use by non-NASA entities, communicate value of ISS.
  • Ratliff: Commercial development is at the crux of sustaining the ISS & fulfilling its value.
  • Ratliff: Access to the ISS comes at no cost to our users. Transportation & ISS logistics covered by NASA.
  • Ratliff: Your idea can go to the ISS and we can get you there – the ride is free.
  • The ISS National Lab is available for only the cost of building your payload & CASIS will help you make it happen.
  • Ratliff: As an NGO, we can leverage our seed funds & operational access to drive external, non-NASA funding for flight projects.
  • Ratliff: Obligated >$15M for more than 40 manifested projects in two years of operation. >$2M in non-NASA funds in last 9 months.
  • Ratliff: Our team is able to help with business development, science definition, and flight integration to ensure your success.
  • Ratliff: One of our top priorities is identifying barriers in safety & verification processes to make it easier for commercial use.
  • Ratliff: Driving needed changes in the system thru business development, targeted RFPs, and open process for unsolicited proposals.
  • Ratliff: Our mission is to generate direct value for life on Earth from the ISS. Commercial applications are key to this challenge.
  • Ratliff: Merck, P&G, Novartis, and Cobra Puma Golf are flying projects thru CASIS for proof-of-concept and product development.
  • Ratliff: Novartis wants to use “quick to fail” model on ISS to save years & millions in drug discovery costs.
  • Ratliff: We have partnerships with orgs like the MIT industrial liaison program to multiply our reach to the business world.
  • Ratliff: ISS partnerships will open the door to whatever platforms come next.

Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust

  • Duane Ratliff, CASIS: may be too much emphasis right now on ISS as research lab for science only; role for tech development there too
  • Ratliff: to prove ISS comm’l utility, need to show benefits of µg research, make users aware of CASIS role, streamline processes.
  • Ratliff: at the end of the day, what we’ll be graded on is whether we provided a return on investment for the ISS.
  • Ratliff: NASA’s Bill Gerstenmaier has told us at CASIS to do things NASA can’t do on ISS, & take more risks.



  • “Depending on the area of research/technology you are interested ink, there are many options for analysis.” Duane Ratliff
  • “The ISS has a multitude of capabilities” Duane Ratliff of @ISS_CASIS

Suzi Gordon ‏@suzigordon

  • Radliff: We need to market to every single demographic, not just the people who have the funding.
  • @DisneyPixar used CASIS and the #ISS to send Buzz Lightyear “to infinity and beyond”