HOUSTON (NASA PR) — After its capture this morning at 5:28 a.m. EDT, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 7:31 a.m. At the time of installation, Cygnus was flying 255 miles above the Indian Ocean just south of Singapore.
Cygnus will remain at the space station until July 23, when the spacecraft will depart the station, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, then have an extended mission of nine months before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
DUBAI, UAE, 3 April 2019 (NanoRacks PR) — To support its efforts to empower and encourage youth to take an interest in space science, The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) launched the ‘Science in Space’ competition, in coordination with NanoRacks LLC. This initiative is under the umbrella of the UAE Astronaut Programme, where schools can apply to participate in conducting scientific experiments to study the impact of microgravity.
MBRSC will choose 15 schools based on their efforts to promote the study of STEM fields and the reasons for participating in this competition. The winning schools will be able to nominate students to attend and participate in workshops organised by MBRSC to conduct 15 scientific experiences, where students can learn how to prepare scientific experiments and its phases.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Parkinson’s disease affects more than 5 million people on Earth. Research on the International Space Station could provide insight into this chronic neurodegenerative disease and help scientists find ways to treat and prevent it.
The investigation, Crystallization of LRRK2 Under Microgravity Conditions-2 (CASIS PCG 16), grows protein crystals of Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) on the space station. A kinase is an enzyme that adds phosphate groups to other molecules as part of the body’s metabolic processes. People with Parkinson’s disease experience increased function of LLRK2, and genetic studies link mutations in the LRRK2 gene to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Medications that inhibit LRRK2 are in development, but without knowing the precise structure of this enzyme, such work is like making a key without knowing the shape of the keyhole it must fit.
Growing LRRK2 crystals on Earth is difficult and does not produce samples with high enough quality for researchers to determine the protein’s shape and structure –the keyhole. Protein crystals grow larger and more uniformly in space, though. Scientists can analyze the larger space-grown crystals to get a better idea of how the disease works and develop drugs – or keys – that target the condition more effectively and with fewer side effects.
This investigation builds on a previous experiment, CASIS PCG 7. For CASIS PCG 16, the crew used larger sample wells, filled the wells during flight, and monitored the LRRK2 crystals as they grew. In this video, NASA astronaut Serena Auñon-Chancellor narrates as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst uses a microscope to examine and photograph the LRRK2 crystals. Gerst interacted in real time with investigators on the ground, including scientists at the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany, and University of California San Diego in La Jolla, California.
This space station research may bring those working to treat and prevent Parkinson’s disease one step closer to finding the right key.
Video Caption: The Fly Your Thesis! programme gives master and PhD candidates the opportunity to fly their scientific experiment or technological research in microgravity conditions. The experiments can be related to fluid physics, chemistry, biology, material sciences, heat transfer and astrophysics.
The parabolic flight campaign takes place on the Airbus A310 Zero-G, which is operated by Novespace from Bordeaux, France. Each campaign consists of a series of three flights of 30 parabolas each. These will provide about 20s of microgravity each.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), March 15, 2019 – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) for investigators seeking biological specimens from mice to support fundamental biological and biomedical inquiries related to the effects of age on health after exposure to microgravity.
Due to a tremendous response from the research community after an initial Rodent Research Reference Mission in 2018, the ISS National Lab will provide a second opportunity to access space flown biospecimens.
The reusable, suborbital rocket landed back in the desert under a parachute. No information yet on altitude.
Flight programs and associated payloads on the flight included:
SPACEedu… Help your school fund, build, fly and reuse CubeSat projects for their S.T.E.M research programs. Having already flown for many schools, Exos is literally taking education to a higher level. P1. Arete’ Greater Nanticoke Area Trojans (space thermal energy transfer experiment).
SPACEbuild… Test or manufacture in space aboard an Exos vehicle for premium exposure to space flight conditions. The reduced cost of suborbital flights makes it a preferred risk mitigation step for qualifying orbital payloads. P2. NASA (Vibration Damper – TRL advancement), P3. University of Central Florida (Dust Aggregation experiment – SPACE-2 NASA REDDI Payload), P4. Agronautics, LLC (Space hops & grain), P5. SOLGW (memorabilia)
SPACEaid… Perform breakthrough medical research by leveraging the ability to test in the microgravity and vacuum of space. With Exos we can return your payload within minutes of landing. Our soft (5G) launch and fin stabilization means a gentle ride for your payload requiring less effort in payload design over other commercial launch options. P6. Center for Applied Space Technologies (Sponsoring Mayo Clinic for two “BRIC66” payloads performing cell research)
SPACEship… Launch from Spaceport American in New Mexico and we’ll deliver your payload to space and eject it to perform your test outside our vehicle.* (LEO target aboard our reusable (first stage) Jaguar vehicle – late 2022).
EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — From November 13 to 16, Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE modified 727 completed its latest parabolic research flight campaign for Flight Opportunities. Seven NASA-supported technology payloads were demonstrated during the campaign’s four flights.
A fledgling industry of rocket and balloon companies is taking science and technology experiments into space-like environments.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — At the edge of space, in the upper reaches of the stratosphere, extremely cold, near-vacuum conditions can be an ideal proving ground for space-related science and technology experiments.
“Earth’s atmosphere can interfere with the ability to do certain types of research, and at this height, you’re above a large majority of it,” says Andrew Antonio, director of marketing at World View, a Tucson, Arizona–based company that sends research and other high-altitude balloons into the space-like stratosphere, which he says offers an affordable environment for some space-related research.
Without the influence of gravity, astronauts experience bone loss and it takes research in space to figure out how to reverse that.
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Spaceflight is hard on the human body. Adapted over generations to meet the rigors of an environment with gravity, all of the normal rules about staying healthy on Earth don’t apply in zero gravity. Long-term space exploration depends on knowing how to keep humans strong and well, so NASA has been studying the consequences of short-term trips in space for years, with the International Space Station contributing significantly to the understanding of how to keep astronauts healthy.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — A test tube drifting in midair and a computer tablet slowly turning are fun moments for the scientists who experience brief periods of weightlessness during parabolic flights. However, the science that’s taking place is no joke. NASA’s Flight Opportunities program makes it possible for U.S. researchers to take experiments out of their laboratories and into zero gravity for some for serious research with a bit of levity.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), January 25, 2019 (CASIS PR) – Last night, the Regenerative Medicine Foundation awarded the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory the foundation’s annual Leadership Award for enabling stem cell and regenerative medicine investigations onboard the orbiting laboratory. The award was presented at the 14th annual World Stem Cell Summit in Miami, Florida. Past recipients of this prestigious award include former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden and also Michael J. Fox (The Michael J. Fox Foundation has sent multiple projects to the ISS National Lab aimed at improving the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease). ISS National Lab Board of Directors member Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
Throughout the Space Age, suborbital flight has been the least exciting segment of the launch market. Operating in the shadow of their much larger orbital cousins, sounding rockets carrying scientific instruments, microgravity experiments and technology demonstrations have flown to the fringes of space with little fanfare or media attention.
The suborbital sector has become much more dynamic in recent years now that billionaires have started spending money in it. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic both made significant progress last year in testing New Shepard and SpaceShipTwo, respectively. Their achievements have raised the real possibility of suborbital space tourism flights in 2019. (I know. Promises, promises…. But, this year they might finally really do it. I think.)
The Expedition 58 crew focused again today on studying head and eye pressure changes astronauts experience while living in space. The crew then went on to more science hardware and life support maintenance aboard the International Space Station.
Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques worked throughout Thursday morning researching the upward flow of fluids that occurs inside astronauts’ bodies. The duo conducted eye scans with a variety of devices to measure eye pressure changes caused by these fluid shifts in microgravity.
Commander Oleg Kononenko ensured the upkeep of life support gear and other station systems in the Russian segment of the orbital lab. The veteran cosmonaut of three previous Expeditions ended the day exploring how station crew members from around the world interact and learn to live together in space.
On SpaceX’s recent 16th commercial resupply mission, 40 mice of two different age groups were sent to the orbiting laboratory for comparison with age-matched ground controls as part of this reference mission. Awardees from this RFP will have the ability to evaluate spaceflight biospecimens once they are returned to Earth as well as ground controls.
EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Suborbital space is the perfect environment for researchers to test experiments, edging them closer to inclusion on future exploration and science missions. NASA’s Flight Opportunities program gives researchers this access, funding flights on Blue Origin and other commercial providers.