NASA Glenn Continued Research in 2021 for Space Exploration and Next-Gen Aeronautics

Credit: NASA

CLEVELAND, Ohio (NASA PR) — Looking deeper at the way fire behaves in space, Glenn researchers delivered the fifth in a series of NASA investigations in January. The Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment-V (Saffire-V) successfully tested larger, more dynamic fires for over 26 hours inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.

As NASA Glenn continued to manage the difficulties of the pandemic, scientific and technology research continued at a rapid clip this year with an eye toward the future.

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What We Learned from the Space Station this Past Year

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — As the International Space Station enters its third decade of continuous human presence, the impact of microgravity research conducted there keeps growing. The months between Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2021 saw publication of more than 400 scientific papers based on studies aboard the orbiting lab.

Here are some highlights of recent results from groundbreaking space station science:

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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Research on Ageing Launched to International Space Station

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — A government-backed experiment which could help people live longer, healthier lives launched to the International Space Station on Tuesday 21 December.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool, funded by the UK Space Agency, are using space to understand what happens to human muscles as we age, and why. 

When astronauts spend time in space, without the effects of gravity, their muscles get weaker, just as they do in older age, before recovering when they return to Earth. By studying what happens to muscle tissue in space, the team can compare the findings to what happens on Earth.

This will help the solve the puzzle of why muscles get weaker as we age and look at ways to prevent it.

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Emulate Brain-Chip to Study the Effects of Microgravity on Human Brain Physiology at the International Space Station

BOSTON, December 21, 2021 (Emulate PR) – Emulate, Inc., a leading provider of next-generation in vitro models, today announced that the Brain-Chip was sent to the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory (ISS National Lab) to study the effects of microgravity on human brain physiology as part of the Tissue-Chips in Space initiative sponsored by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the International Space Station National Lab (ISS-NL). The ISS provides an environment where researchers can study human health in microgravity, allowing them to isolate the effects of gravity from other factors that can impact brain cell function. 

The Emulate Brain-Chip is the most comprehensive in vitro model of the human neurovascular unit, including the blood-brain barrier (BBB), for preclinical research. It contains five cell types in a dynamic and tunable microenvironment, resulting in in vivo-like gene expression and phenotypic response. Each chip is about the size of a USB thumb drive and contains two fluidic channels separated by a porous membrane. The vascular channel is lined with brain microvascular endothelial cells, while the brain channel contains cortical neurons, astrocytes, pericytes, and microglia. This allows researchers to study BBB function, the ability of drugs to cross the BBB, and the complex cell-cell interactions involved in brain physiology, disease, and drug response.

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Six DreamUp Payloads Launch on SpaceX’s CRS-24 Mission to the International Space Station

A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft launches on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy for the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. (Credits: NASA)

SPOCS team members from NASA, DreamUp, and Nanoracks with the University of Idaho and Columbia University SPOCS teams at the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA Kennedy Space Center

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., December 21, 2021 (DreamUp PR – At 5:07 AM ET today, Tuesday, December 21st, the 24th cargo resupply mission from SpaceX lifted off carrying six student experiments from DreamUp in its Dragon capsule, alongside about 6,500 pounds of cargo, equipment, experiments, and supplies for the crew on board the International Space Station. DreamUp, the leader in space-based educational offerings, is proud to support these educational payloads from student researchers around the world. The Cargo Dragon is scheduled to berth to the Space Station on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

This morning’s mission included three student Mixstix experiments supported by the Ramon Foundation and developed by students at Tichon Hadash in Tel Aviv, Shimon Ben Zvi in Givatayim, and Amit Zefat Yeshive in Tzfat. The experiments examine the effects of microgravity on the degradation of plastic by bacteria, the response of a community of intestinal microbes to antibiotics, the effect of Moringa seed powder and copper pieces on E. coli cultures, and the effect of a technique that enhances or inhibits gene expression in certain cells, called transfection, on the rate of drug delivery into lung cancer cells via a technology called Nano-ghosts. The Ramon Foundation is also preparing for the launch of the next Israeli astronaut to the Space Station in 2022.

The first two Nanolab payloads from the Student Payload Opportunities with Citizen Science (SPOCS) also launched on this mission. This program, supported by STEM Earth at the NASA Johnson Space Center and conducted in coordination with Nanoracks, is an opportunity for five Artemis Generation university student teams to conduct research on the International Space Station. Each student team was also tasked with engaging their local community through citizen science and outreach. The University of Idaho’s Vandal Voyagers launched an investigation entitled “Bacteria Resistant Polymers in Microgravity,” and Columbia University’s Columbia Space Initiative launched “Characterizing Antibiotic Resistance in Microgravity Environments (CARMEn).”

The final DreamUp investigation launched on SpaceX CRS-24 is a 1U Nanolab developed by Aurora, d.o.o., which is conducting the experiment as part of the larger Qucopartex project in collaboration with students and the biotechnical faculty at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. “Qucopartex 22” is an investigation studying how exposure to space affects various materials such as high-quality beryl and volcanic glass pebbles.

Lauren Milord, Director of Programs at DreamUp said, “DreamUp is honored to support student research from a broad range of learners, from elementary school to university, and from the United States to Israel and Slovenia. As the low Earth orbit economy rapidly develops, it is critical to provide opportunities for students to develop real-world STEM skills today so they can be tomorrow’s innovators.”

These launch opportunities were made possible via our partnership with Nanoracks and its Space Act Agreement with NASA.

For additional media inquiries, please email us at info@dreamup.org, and for continued updates, be sure to follow @DreamUp_Space on Twitter and Instagram.

About DreamUp

Based in Washington, DC, DreamUp is the first company bringing space into the classroom and the classroom into space. Uniquely positioned to inspire kids globally and engage them through scientific discoveries in space, DreamUp aims to foster an educational community where space-based research and projects will be available to all learners of all ages. DreamUp has a proven track record with more than 500 student research payloads from around the world launched on SpaceX and Northrop Grumman rockets to the International Space Station via a partnership with Nanoracks and its Space Act Agreement with NASA. For more information, visit  https://www.dreamup.org/.

Cargo Dragon Docks to Station with Brand New Science

The space station is viewed from the SpaceX Cargo Dragon during its automated approach before docking. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — While the International Space Station was traveling more than 260 miles over the South Pacific Ocean, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the space-facing side of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module at 3:41 a.m. EST, Wednesday, Dec. 22. NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn were monitoring docking operations for Dragon.

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European Science Launches to Space Station Aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft launches on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy for the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. (Credits: NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The next SpaceX resupply vehicle is packed with European science, ready for delivery to the International Space Station just in time for Christmas.

The Dragon spacecraft was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA, at 11:06 CET (10:06 GMT) Tuesday 21 December. We take a quick peek at some of the European cargo it carries.

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NASA Selects Nine Space Technologies for Commercial Suborbital Flight Tests

Carthage College student Nicolas Welker prepares to start a zero-gravity transfer of propellant simulant during a flight on Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE on Nov. 16, 2021. The flight enabled testing of technology designed to gauge propellant levels during on-orbit refueling and transfer operations. (Credits: Zero Gravity Corporation/Steve Boxall)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected nine space technologies under the agency’s 2021 TechFlights solicitation for testing aboard parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital rocket-powered systems.

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Detergent, Skin Bioprinter Launch on NASA’s SpaceX Resupply Mission

A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft launches on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy for the company’s 24th commercial resupply services mission for NASA. (Credits: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — A SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft carrying more than 6,500 pounds of science experiments, crew supplies, and other cargo is on its way to the International Space Station after launching at 5:07 a.m. EST Tuesday from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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NASA Awards Grant for Purdue University Engineer to Fly as Researcher Aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

Steven Collicott, an aerospace engineer in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was selected by NASA for a suborbital flight to conduct a research experiment aboard a Virgin Galactic aircraft. (Credit: Purdue University/Rebecca McElhoe)

Editor’s Note: Although NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has awarded a grant for Steven Collicott to fly as a researcher on SpaceShipTwo, the space agency has yet to approve Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft or Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle to carry agency-funded researchers. Those technical reviews are on-going at the moment. It’s unclear when approvals might be given. Virgin Galactic is scheduled to complete its flight test program next summer and begin flying paying passengers in the fourth quarter of 2022.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR) — Purdue University’s Steven Collicott was 8 years old when he saw Neil Armstrong step onto the moon and dreamed of reaching the stars. Now, both he and his research are going to make a giant leap into space aboard a Virgin Galactic craft.

Collicott, a professor of aerospace engineering in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, was selected Wednesday to receive an award by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program giving him the chance to fly into suborbital space and back on a Virgin Galactic craft while conducting a zero-gravity experiment.

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Redwire Will Launch Super Alloy Manufacturing Technology and Plant Science Experiments to Space Station Aboard SpaceX’s 24th Cargo Resupply Mission

Preflight imagery of the Turbine SCM device, which will test processing heat resistant alloy parts in microgravity. (Credits: Redwire Space)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Redwire PR) — Redwire Corporation (NYSE: RDW), a leader in space infrastructure for the next generation space economy, is launching four payloads on SpaceX’s 24th cargo resupply services (CRS) mission for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) focused on advanced materials manufacturing and plant science experiments in low-Earth orbit. SpaceX CRS-24 mission is scheduled to lift off on Tuesday, December 21 at 5:06 a.m. EST from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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SpaceX CRS-24 Launching Multiple Life Science Investigations to International Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., December 15, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS) has a profound impact on cells and tissues, allowing researchers to conduct life sciences research in ways not possible on the ground. SpaceX’s 24th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting laboratory will deliver a variety of life science payloads sponsored by the ISS National Lab. From stem cell research on neurodegenerative diseases to a tissue chip experiment studying the blood-brain barrier and an investigation testing the use of bacteria to protect DNA from the stresses of spaceflight—the research launching on this mission is helping to improve the quality of life for people on Earth.

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Merck, Procter & Gamble Among Private-Sector Partners Launching Research to the ISS on SpaceX CRS-24

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., December 13, 2021 (CASIS PR) – SpaceX’s upcoming 24th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will include more than 15 payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory, managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS). These payloads include multiple investigations from private-sector entities, including two supported by highly recognizable companies: Merck and Procter & Gamble.

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USRA Continues Low Earth Orbit Presence with Nanoracks and Voyager Space

Starlab, a commercial low-Earth orbit space station is being planned for use by 2027. (Credit: Nanoracks)

COLUMBIA, Md. (USRA PR) — Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has been selected by Nanoracks and Voyager Space –along with ZIN Technologies, The Ohio State University, and the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation–to join the founding leadership team in charge of supporting the development of the Starlab George Washington Carver (GWC) Science Park. The GWC Science Park will leverage a successful terrestrial business model where scientists and industry members share findings, collaborate, and use new technologies to advance both scientific and commercial endeavors.

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