Private-Sector Research to Launch to Space Station Aboard SpaceX CRS-18 Mission

After the Candadarm2 grappled the Dragon spacecraft and berthed it on the space station’s Harmony module, OCO-3 was extracted and installed on the exterior of the Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., July 9, 2019 (ISS National Lab PR) — SpaceX’s 18th commercial resupply services mission (CRS-18) to the International Space Station (ISS) will include 17 private-sector research projects sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory. In total, the ISS National Lab is sponsoring 25 separate payloads on SpaceX CRS-18, a new high for a resupply mission.

ISS National Lab Vice President of Business Development and Strategy Christine Kretz comments, “This launch showcases both the potential of the ISS National Lab to reach a wide range of private-sector users and the increased appeal of conducting research in the unique environment of low Earth orbit.”

Kretz cited several examples of the diverse private-sector research launching to the ISS National Lab on this mission: 

  • AstraZeneca is sending its second payload sponsored by the ISS National Lab, this time studying monoclonal antibodies for a therapeutic to treat cancer and immune diseases.   
  • adidas intends to launch multiple investigations to station, with this initial experiment examining the dynamic spinning behavior of a soccer ball in microgravity, which could help resolve information gaps in aerodynamic testing.
  • The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company will launch a materials payload to evaluate the creation of novel silica forms and structures in microgravity, and results could inform future efforts to improve tire performance through the development of new manufacturing techniques on the ground.
  • Nickelodeon, the first American television network for children, plans to send its iconic slime to the orbiting lab for a series of science demonstrations that will educate students on the basic principles of fluid flow in microgravity versus normal gravity on Earth.

Also launching on SpaceX CRS-18 is the BioFabrication Facility, which will enhance bioprinting capabilities available on the space station. Additionally, two startup companies awarded through the MassChallenge startup accelerator program are sending research to the ISS National Lab to help advance the development of their new business models. These projects were funded through a MassChallenge “Technology in Space Prize” awarded in collaboration with Boeing.

SpaceX CRS-18 is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station no earlier than July 21 at 7:35 p.m. EDT. 

To learn more about all payloads sponsored by the ISS National Lab on SpaceX CRS-18, please visit: https://www.issnationallab.org/launches/spacex-crs-18/

About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: 

In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Lab manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space.