Space Biology on Station Ahead of Cargo and Crew Ship Activities

The International Space Station as it appears in 2018. Zarya is visible at the center of the complex, identifiable by its partially retracted solar arrays. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Expedition 62 crew wrapped up the workweek with more space biology research to understand what living in space does to the human body. The International Space Station is also getting ready to send off a U.S. cargo craft and swap crews.

A 3D bioprinter inside the station’s Columbus laboratory module is being deactivated and stowed today after a week of test runs without using human cells. NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir packed up the device that seeks to demonstrate manufacturing human organs to help patients on Earth. The Bio-Fabrication Facility may even lead to future crews printing their own food and medicines on missions farther away from Earth.

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan checked out hardware for an experiment exploring how to create heart cells on the orbiting lab. The investigation may lead to advanced treatments for cardiac conditions on Earth and in space.

Morgan and Meir are also getting the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship ready for its departure on April 6. The duo gathered U.S. spacesuit components and packed them inside Dragon for engineering analysis on the ground.

During the morning, Commander Oleg Skripochka continued servicing a variety of laptop computers in the station’s Russian segment. After lunchtime, the veteran cosmonaut serviced hardware for a pair of experiments, one looking at the Earth’s upper atmosphere and the other to understand the degradation of station gear.

Back on Earth at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, three new Expedition 63 crewmembers are in final preparations for their April 9 launch to the station. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner stepped out of the Cosmonaut Hotel today for pre-launch activities celebrating spaceflight heroes such as Yuri Gagarin.

The Shape of Watering Plants in Space

Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques is photographed performing a reservoir fill on the Veggie Ponds facility in the Columbus module of the International Space Station in 2019. The primary goal of the hardware validation test was to demonstrate plant growth in a newly developed plant growing system, Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS). (Credits: NASA)

By Danielle Sempsrott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

The challenge: getting water to behave the way it does on Earth while in a microgravity environment. A collaboration between NASA, Techshot, Inc., and the Tupperware Brands Corporation is working to get the solution just right.

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How Space Station Research is Helping NASA’s Plans to Explore the Moon and Beyond

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly undergoes ultrasound measurements for the Fluid Shifts experiment during his one-year mission. The investigation measures how much fluid shifts from the lower to the upper body and in or out of cells and blood vessels as well as the effect on vision and the eye. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As part of the Artemis lunar exploration program, NASA plans to return astronauts to the Moon and use that experience to inform future human exploration of Mars. To safely and comfortably explore for days at a time on the surface of these celestial bodies, astronauts need suitable equipment and places to live. Almost 20 years of human habitation aboard the International Space Station and a growing body of research conducted there are contributing important insights into how to meet these needs for future lunar explorers.

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Tackling Immune System Dysfunction— from Multiple Angles

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, perform a Functional Immune Blood Sample Draw at the Human Research Facility (HRF), in the Columbus Module. The Functional Immune investigation analyzes blood and saliva samples to determine the changes taking place in crew members’ immune systems during flight. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Getting sick is no fun for anyone, but it especially taxes crew members aboard the ISS. Protecting crew health is important as NASA prepares for long-duration, deep-space missions. The human immune system is a complex web of biological structures and processes; decreased activity in one piece of it can change overall disease risk. Studies have shown microgravity causes modifications in the human immune system. Figuring out why and how this occurs could help not only astronauts, but people affected by immune dysfunction here on Earth.

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Science Takes Time, Even in a Lab Moving 17,500 Miles per Hour

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly undergoes ultrasound measurements for the Fluid Shifts experiment during his one-year mission. The investigation measures how much fluid shifts from the lower to the upper body and in or out of cells and blood vessels as well as the effect on vision and the eye. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The International Space Station, a microgravity laboratory orbiting Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, has hosted a variety of scientific research for nearly 20 years. Some of that research continues for months and even years.

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Producing Human Tissue in Space

Space Tango CubeLab on board the International Space Station ISS. (Credit: Space Tango)

ZURICH (University of Zurich PR) — The University of Zurich has sent adult human stem cells to the International Space Station (ISS). Researchers from UZH Space Hub will explore the production of human tissue in weightlessness.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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SpaceX Dragon Heads to ISS With Experiments, Bartolomeo Facility

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

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station after launching at 11:50 p.m. EST Friday. Dragon will deliver more than 4,300 pounds of NASA cargo and science investigations, including a new science facility scheduled to be installed to the outside of the station during a spacewalk this spring.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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NASA to Fund Researchers to Fly on Suborbital Vehicles, Maybe Astronauts

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

After spending a few years in hibernation, the Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) is being held in Colorado this week. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but I’ve been following all the action on Twitter.

In a keynote address on Monday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine floated the idea of letting the space agency’s astronauts fly aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard and Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicles. He also discussed certifying the systems to comply with a subset of NASA’s human ratings requirements.

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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.

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