Plant Growth on the International Space Station has Global Impacts on Earth

Astronaut Peggy Whitson with the ADVASC soybean plant growth experiment during Expedition 5. (Credits: NASA)

MADISON, WI (NASA PR) — Understanding the effects of gravity on plant life is essential in preparing for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit. The ability to produce high-energy, low-mass food sources during spaceflight will enable the maintenance of crew health during long-duration missions while having a reduced impact on resources necessary for long-distance travel.

(more…)

Startups Launch Innovative R&D on SpaceX CRS-20 to Improve Patient Care on Earth

Falcon 9 lifts off with the the cargo Dragon CRS-20 mission. (Credit: NASA webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. March 6, 2020 (ISS National Lab PR)  – What if the next breakthrough to improve patient care on Earth came from research off of Earth—in space? Three biotechnology startups have launched research to the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, tackling a broad range of patient care objectives—from next-generation diagnostic tools to drug discovery and improved devices for drug delivery.

(more…)

Front Range Biosciences Launches Hemp and Coffee Tissue Culture Samples to Space

LAFAYETTE, Colo., March 6, 2020 (Front Range Biosciences PR) — Front Range Biosciences® (FRB), an agricultural technology company focused on breeding and nursery production of new plant varieties and seeds for the hemp and coffee industries, today announced that its mission to transport plant cultures to space to examine the effects of zero gravity on plant gene expression is scheduled to launch this evening at the Kennedy Space Center.

In partnership with SpaceCells USA Inc. and BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado Boulder, FRB’s coffee and hemp cell cultures will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) on the SpaceX CRS-20 cargo flight slated to depart today at 4:50 a.m. UTC, weather permitting.

(more…)

Dragon Freighter Arrives at International Space Station

The 20th SpaceX Dragon resupply mission approaches the space station. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — While the International Space Station was traveling more than 262 miles over the Northeast Pacific near Vancouver, British Columbia, Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA grappled Dragon at 6:25 a.m. EDT using the space station’s robotic arm Canadarm2 with NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan acting as a backup.

Ground controllers will now send commands to begin the robotic installation of the spacecraft on bottom of the station’s Harmony module. NASA Television coverage of installation is now scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. Watch online at www.nasa.gov/live.

Here’s some of the research arriving at station:

New Facility Outside the Space Station

The Bartolomeo facility, created by ESA (European Space Agency) and Airbus, attaches to the exterior of the European Columbus Module. Designed to provide new scientific opportunities on the outside of the space station for commercial and institutional users, the facility offers unobstructed views both toward Earth and into space. Potential applications include Earth observation, robotics, material science and astrophysics.

Studying the Human Intestine On a Chip

Organ-Chips as a Platform for Studying Effects of Space on Human Enteric Physiology (Gut on Chip) examines the effect of microgravity and other space-related stress factors on biotechnology company Emulate’s human innervated Intestine-Chip (hiIC). This Organ-Chip device enables the study of organ physiology and diseases in a laboratory setting. It allows for automated maintenance, including imaging, sampling, and storage on orbit and data downlink for molecular analysis on Earth.

Growing Human Heart Cells

Generation of Cardiomyocytes From Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Cardiac Progenitors Expanded in Microgravity (MVP Cell-03) examines whether microgravity increases the production of heart cells from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). The investigation induces stem cells to generate heart precursor cells and cultures those cells on the space station to analyze and compare with cultures grown on Earth.

Keep up to date with the latest news from the crew living in space by following https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter, and the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

FOAM-C: Airbus Now “Foaming” on Board the International Space Station

FOAM-C experiment (Credit: Airbus)

Friedrichshafen, 03 March 2020 (Airbus PR) – Airbus has sent a new fluid experiment, FOAM-C, to the International Space Station (ISS). FOAM-C, which was developed and manufactured for the European Space Agency (ESA), is scheduled to be activated this month by astronaut Jessica Meir, who has been on the ISS since September 2019. 

(more…)

An Astronaut’s Guide to Applying to Be An Astronaut

NASA astronaut Anne McClain is assisted out of the Soyuz MS-11 that returned her and crewmates Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency back to Earth on June 24, 2019, landing in a remote area near Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, after 204 days aboard the International Space Station. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

By Anne McClain
NASA Astronaut

About every four years, NASA accepts applications for a new class of astronauts. We in the astronaut office are thrilled and excited it is that time again! As someone who just went through this process a short seven years ago, I know how stressful it can be. It is hard to want something so badly for your whole life, to have a dream so magical that it has kept you up at night, then try to contain all that excitement while concisely describing your experiences and skills for complete strangers via an application form. So I wanted to share some thoughts for all those who find themselves in that position.

(more…)

Boeing’s Troubled Starliner Flight: It’s All in the Numbers

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

To truly understand how problem plagued Boeing’s orbital flight test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was in December, all one needs to do is to look at the numbers.

  • 2: Boeing could have lost the automated spacecraft in flight on two separate occasions, once after launch and again before reentry;
  • 3: number of glitches (two software, one communications) that nearly resulted in the loss of the spacecraft;
  • 49: gaps in software testing where software bugs might have been found;
  • 61: corrective actions recommended by joint independent review team investigating the anomalies;
  • 410,000,000: Cost in dollars to Boeing if has to redo an automated flight test to the International Space Station (ISS) before conducting one with crew;
  • 4,200,000,000: Cost in dollars of what NASA is paying Boeing to develop and test Starliner.

On Friday, Boeing and NASA officials briefed the media on the results of an independent review team’s investigation of Starliner’s partially successful flight test just before Christmas.

(more…)

SpaceX to Launch Dragon Mission to ISS Friday Night

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Friday, March 6 for launch of its twentieth Commercial Resupply Services mission (CRS-20), which will launch from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Launch is targeted for 11:50 p.m. EST, or 4:50 UTC on Saturday, March 7.

Dragon will separate from Falcon 9’s second stage about nine minutes after liftoff and attach to the space station on Monday, March 9. A backup launch opportunity is available on Saturday, March 7 at 11:27 p.m. EST, or 4:27 UTC on Sunday, March 8.

(more…)

Little Tissue, Big Mission: Beating Heart Tissues to Ride Aboard the ISS

Project to help researchers understand aging on Earth, protect astronauts

BALTIMORE (Johns Hopkins University PR) — Launching no earlier than March 6 at 11:50 PM EST, the Johns Hopkins University will send heart muscle tissues, contained in a specially-designed tissue chip the size of a small cellphone, up to the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) for one month of observation.

(more…)

Cleared for Commercialization – Bartolomeo External Platform to Expand ISS Usage

Bartolomeo with laser (Credit: Airbus)
  • Europe’s first commercial external platform on the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for launch on 6 March 2020.
  • Built and tested in Germany, the Bartolomeo platform is a major step towards commercial ISS use in Europe.
  • Bartolomeo offers companies and research institutions ideal conditions for exposing their experiments and technological developments to the conditions of space simply and directly.

Its days on Earth are numbered – the external platform Bartolomeo is currently waiting for its launch to the International Space Station (ISS) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida inside a SpaceX Dragon capsule.

(more…)

Three Techshot-Managed Research Campaign Launching on SpaceX Dragon

Astronaut and USU graduate Drew Morgan with BFF. (Credit: NASA)

GREENVILLE, Ind. (March 2, 2020) – Commercial space company Techshot Inc., will send equipment and samples supporting plant, heart and cartilage research for three of its customers to the International Space Station (ISS) on SpaceX mission CRS-20. Scheduled to launch at 11:50 p.m. EST on March 6 from space launch complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the unpiloted cargo spacecraft is expected to arrive at the orbiting laboratory two days later. Techshot customers on board CRS-20 include NASA, Emory University, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU).

(more…)

Awesome Flight Video of Crew Dragon Demonstration Flight

Video Caption: On March 2, 2019, Falcon 9 launched Crew Dragon on its first demonstration mission, and the next day it became the first American spacecraft to autonomously dock with the International Space Station.

After its stay at the space station, the spacecraft successfully splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, completing its mission and demonstrating SpaceX’s capabilities to safely and reliably fly astronauts to and from the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA Schedules Coverage for SpaceX Dragon Cargo Launch

A camera on the tip of the Canadarm2 robotic arm views the SpaceX Dragon as it separates from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 11:50 p.m. EST Friday, March 6, for the launch of its 20th resupply mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage of the launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website with prelaunch events Thursday, March 5 and March 6.

(more…)

More Than 20 ISS National Lab-sponsored Payloads Set to Launch on SpaceX CRS-20

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), February 27, 2020 – When the Dragon spacecraft launches on SpaceX’s 20th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission (contracted through NASA) to the International Space Station (ISS), it will do so with dozens of research experiments to be executed on the orbiting laboratory over the coming months. In particular, the ISS U.S. National Laboratory is sponsoring more than 20 separate payloads on this mission that will leverage the unique space-based environment of station to benefit life on Earth.

Launching no earlier than 11:50 p.m. ET on Friday, March 6 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, this mission carries with it a wide variety of research investigations—several funded by private companies focused on technologies critical to their commercial success and others supported by external funds focused on science questions to improve knowledge and human health.

(more…)

Qarman CubeSat Deployed From ISS

Qarman CubeSat deployed from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

The moment ESA’s latest mission left the International Space Station: the Qarman reentry CubeSat developed with Belgium’s Von Karman Institute was deployed by NASA astronaut Andrew ‘Drew’ Morgan via a Nanoracks dispenser on 19 February 2020. Qarman will now fall gradually to Earth, to eventually gather valuable data on atmospheric reentry physics.

Read more here.