Multiple Tissue Engineering Payloads Selected Through ISS National Lab & NSF Joint Solicitation

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), October 7, 2019 – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced that five research investigations have been selected from a joint solicitation to leverage the microgravity environment of the orbiting laboratory for tissue engineering and mechanobiology research.

The ISS National Lab and NASA will facilitate hardware implementation and in-orbit access to the orbiting laboratory. NSF will fund the selected projects to advance fundamental science and biomedical engineering knowledge (up to $2 million in total). NSF supports transformative research to help drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security, and maintain America’s position as a global leader in innovation.

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NanoRacks Opens Office in United Arab Emirates

ABU DHABI, UAE (NanoRacks PR) – NanoRacks, the world’s leading provider of commercial access to space, is pleased to announce that it’s opening and staffing its first office in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi’s Hub71, a global tech ecosystem driven by Mubadala Investment Company, backed by the Abu Dhabi Government’s Ghadan 21 program.

This expansion highlights NanoRacks commitment to the growing space sector in the UAE and will offer end-to-end customer service and technical advice for a fast-developing customer base in the Middle East, Africa, and South East Asia region.

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Virgin Galactic, Italian Air Force Announce Contract for Human Tended Research Flight

SpaceShipTwo glides over the Mojave Desert after being released from its WhiteKnightTwo mother ship. (Credit; Virgin Galactic)

WASHINGTON, DC, October 2, 2019 (Virgin Galactic PR) — Virgin Galactic has announced a new contract with the Italian Air Force for a research flight on the company’s SpaceShipTwo system during which Italian researchers will actively conduct experiments while they are in space.

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NASA Selects Space Biology Experiments to Study Living Organisms on Russian Bion-M2 Mission

An artist’s depiction of the Van Allen Belts, showing Earth’s magnetic field lines and the trajectories of charged particles trapped by them. The twin ELFIN spacecraft are shown following their inclined polar orbit, traced in yellow. (Credits: UCLA EPSS/NASA SVS)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has selected nine grant proposals for space biology research experiments, the results of which will contribute to the understanding of health risks humans will experience in deep space, including exploration at the Moon through the Artemis program and future missions to Mars. Selected investigators will have an opportunity to conduct rodent experiments to be flown on a biosatellite mission, known as Bion-M2, with the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

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A Short Review of Virgin Galactic’s Long History

SpaceShipTwo fires its hybrid engine. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Today, Sept. 27, marks the 15th anniversary of Richard Branson announcing the launch of Virgin Galactic Airways. It’s been a long, winding road between that day and today, filled with many broken promises, missed deadlines, fatal accidents and a pair of spaceflights.

This year actually marks a double anniversary: it’s been 20 years since Branson registered the company and began searching for a vehicle the company could use to fly tourists into suborbital space.

Below is a timeline of the important events over that period.

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Fly Your Experiment to the Space Station with Bioreactor Express Service

ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli prepares the Kubik hardware. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is partnering with Kayser Italia to offer the Kubik facility on the International Space Station to commercial customers. The new Bioreactor Express Service allows users to conduct experiments in weightlessness.

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NASA Study Links Genetics and Vitamin Status to Eye Changes

Astronaut Karen Nyberg, Expedition 37 flight engineer, performs an Ocular Health fundoscope exam in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

by Shaneequa Vereen
NASA Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON — Recent research findings show a link between nutrition, genetics and ocular changes during bed rest, an analog of spaceflight. These findings support and extend earlier findings in astronauts and may point to potential low-risk countermeasures. 

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ISS Report: Station Science Returns and a Spacecraft Shuffle

Space station cupola view (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s Beyond mission has kicked into high gear during the last two weeks. He has been keeping the International Space Station running smoothly as well as working remotely with European researchers – with even Luca’s mealtimes the subject of experimental scrutiny.

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Multiple ISS National Laboratory Payloads Return to Earth on SpaceX Cargo Ship

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), August 29, 2019 – After 30 days berthed to the International Space Station (ISS), the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft completed its mission when it splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, bringing with it multiple investigations sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory that were conducted on the orbiting platform.

Splashdown of the Dragon spacecraft concluded its 18th commercial resupply services (CRS-18) mission from SpaceX (contracted by NASA) to send critical research and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. Approximately 550 pounds of research and facilities sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory returned to Earth on this mission.

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Satellite Software Contest on Space Station as Crew Tests Organ Printing

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 International Space Station is the setting today for a student competition to control tiny, free-floating satellites aboard the orbiting lab. Meanwhile, the Expedition 60 crewmembers conducted a variety of research operations and continued configuring a pair of spacesuits.

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ISS U.S. National Lab, University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute Form Biomedical Research Alliance

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), August 12, 2019 (ISS U.S. National Laboratory PR) – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory is embarking upon a multi-year research alliance with the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (MIRM) at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) to push the limits of biomedical research and development aboard the orbiting laboratory.

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NASA Selects 15 Space Biology Research Proposals to Support Moon, Mars Exploration

Telomeres highlighted on the ends of human chromosomes. These long repetitive DNA sequences protect the ends of chromosomes from degradation and damage. One of the newly selected studies from this NASA Research Announcement will examine how spaceflight-like conditions impact telomere length, and how that in turn impacts muscle cell function. (Credits: McKenna MJ and Bailey S, et al. The NASA Twins Study: A multidimensional analysis of a year-long human spaceflight. Science. 2019;364(6436). doi: 10.1126/science.aau8650)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded 15 grants for new space biology research designed to help the agency achieve its goals under the Artemis lunar exploration program. Teams of investigators will use state-of-the-art genetic and other biological techniques to explore how life adapts and changes during spaceflight, and the results could help support human exploration of the Moon, and ultimately, Mars.

Selected microbiology investigations will study whether changes in bacteria, fungi, and viruses are likely to affect how they interact with crew and material surroundings aboard the International Space Station, with an emphasis on likelihood to cause infections and microbial evolution.

The plant studies will determine important characteristics of plants relevant to space-farming methods for exploration missions. Topics for investigation include how interactions between microbes in soil and on plants change in spaceflight and changes in plant disease defense mechanisms.

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ISS National Laboratory Announces Research Opportunities in Advanced Materials and Industrial Biomedicine

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 8, 2019 (ISS National Lab PR) – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory has announced two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) directed toward key areas of research that will utilize the orbiting platform. The announcement was made at the 8th annual ISS Research and Development Conference in Atlanta. The purpose of the RFPs is to solicit project concepts from investigators focused within one of two targeted areas for research and development.

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Two Weeks of Science and Beyond

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano performs a European experiment called GRIP that studies astronauts’ perception of of mass and movement and how they interface with the human body and change in microgravity. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Over two weeks have flown by since ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was launched to the International Space Station for his second six-month stay in orbit. His arrival, alongside NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Roscosmos Soyuz commander Alexander Skvortsov, boosted the Station’s population to six and the crew has been busy ever since – performing a wide range of science in space.

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Kits Designed to Extract Metals from Moon, Mars Launched to Space Station

The biomining reactors will use bacteria to recover minerals and metals from rocks. (Credit: UK Space Agency)

EDINBURGH, Scotland (UK Space Agency PR) — UK scientists lead international project to build world’s first space rock mining devices which use bacteria to recover minerals from rocks on the Moon and Mars.

Astronauts will test the devices on board the International Space Station, following the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket last night (at 23:01 BST, Thursday 25 July) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.

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