SpaceX CRS-16, the new space station replenishment mission, presents various scientific experiments organized by the US National Laboratory of the International Space Station.
SpaceX's Dragon capsule is expected to be flown in space by the company's Falcon 9 rocket on December 4th. The rocket and payload will be launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.
"[CRS-16] is completely packed in research, "said UPI's Patrick O'Neill, spokesperson for the National Laboratory of the ISS.
SpaceX payload experiments involve a variety of scientific fields, including genomics, cell biology, botany, immunology, and so on.
The ISS national laboratory evaluators are working with NASA and various other federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health, to select scientific experiments likely to benefit from the Microgravity environment of the space station.
The ISS National Laboratory conducts research from researchers from various institutions, including public universities, large corporations, startups, and more.
One of the experiments going to the space station during the next replenishment mission is a tissue chip project designed by Sonja Schrepfer, a researcher at the University of California at San Francisco. The Schrepfer survey aims to measure the impacts of microgravity on the human immune system.
NIH collaborated with ISS National Lab to secure space for several microchip projects.
"The on-chip experiments include small devices the size of a microscope, blades measuring about 3 cm, that can be powered with different types of human cells," said Michael S. Roberts, chief scientist at UPI. Assistant of ISS National Lab. "If you create the right environment and feed the cells with the right substances, you can guide them so that they behave like specific human tissues and even whole organs."
It is much simpler, cheaper and more effective to study small tissue samples than whole organs.
"They are of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry because they would help drug manufacturers and researchers to test the effect of drugs on different types of tissues and organs," Roberts said.
An experiment to test the effectiveness of a wound treatment technology developed by Elaine Horn-Ranney and her biomedical company, Tympanogen, accompanies the tissue chip project. The space station's microgravity environment will allow Horn-Ranney to accurately measure the ability of its new hydrogel to promote healing and combat the bacteria responsible for infections.
Microgravity is ideal for studying the properties of very thin layers.
"In normal environments, here on Earth, when you drop a very thin layer of something, the heterogeneity of the material mix is inevitable," Roberts said. "There will be different densities involved and, therefore, potential defects.In the absence of gravity, there are no convection currents in the material, so you have greater homogeneity on the layer and therefore more reliable experimental results. "
An experiment designed by Budweiser also travels to ISS aboard the SpaceX freighter. The experiment will test the effects of microgravity on infiltration, germination and cooking, processes involved in malting barley. The findings could help beer makers design barley varieties that can withstand more stressful growing conditions.
Microgravity is also an ideal environment for studying biomedical devices such as implants. An experiment designed by Nicole L. Wagner, researcher at LambdaVision, will help scientists better understand how protein-based retinal implants develop and form different forms.
"Under microgravity, biomaterials perform better than in the body," Roberts said. "In the body, biological materials are not in constant contact with cells, and they often float freely."
All the experiments going to the International Space Station next week have been evaluated for their scientific potential.
"We are looking at whether a research project will have both tangible and intangible impacts," said Roberts. "We are not only looking to benefit from the experience for a single company, but also for humanity on its return to Earth."
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January 7: The first space capsule SpaceX to the International Space Station
(UPI) November 24, 2018
NASA has set January 7 as a date for the shipment of an unused SpaceX capsule on its maiden voyage to the International Space Station.
The commercial flight of Crew Dragon will be known as Demo-1 or DM-1, NASA announced in a press release issued earlier this week.
Crew Dragon will take off from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the launch pad of Kennedy Space Center Complex 39A, where the Apollo 11 mission took off for the moon in 1969. SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, now rents the ramp launch.
In an update … read more