Dragon Mission to Carry CASIS-Sponsored Experiments to Space Station

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL., March 21, 2018 (CASIS PR) The 14th Commercial Resupply Services (awarded by NASA) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by SpaceX is targeted for launch no earlier than 4:30 p.m. EDT on April 2.

A Dragon cargo spacecraft previously flown on SpaceX’s 8th commercial resupply mission to the station for NASA will now include 20 separate payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory (managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space).

These payloads represent a diverse combination of science, technology, and the validation of new facilities that will contribute to greater research capacity in the future. Additionally, multiple investigations will launch to station focused on inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Below are highlights of sponsored ISS National Lab investigations that are part of the SpaceX CRS-14 mission.
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NASA Science Heading to Space Ranges from the Upper Atmosphere to Microbes

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A Dragon spacecraft scheduled to launch into orbit no earlier than April 2, carries the 14th SpaceX commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA. Lifted into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, Dragon takes supplies, equipment and scientific research to crew members living and working aboard the station.

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ASU Student Payloads Selected to Fly on Blue Origin’s New Shepard

New Shepard capsule after landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

TEMPE, Ariz. (ASU PR) — Three Arizona State University student-led payload projects have been selected to launch into space on Blue Origin’s “New Shepard” space vehicle later this year.

The projects were selected during a competitive pitching competition Monday night at the School of Earth and Space Exploration. To earn a spot on “New Shepard,” students were challenged to do one of three things for their payload project: answer a science question, test technology development, or engage the five senses (smell, taste, sight, touch, sound) in space.

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It Ain’t Transparent Aluminum, But ESA’s Working on See Through Metals

Credit: Paramount Pictures

PARIS (ESA PR) — Astronauts on the International Space Station have begun running an experiment that could shine new light on how metal alloys are formed.

How humanity has mastered metallurgy is synonymous with progress, with historians labelling periods such as the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

Most metals used today are mixtures – alloys – of different metals, combining properties to make lighter and stronger materials.

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CASIS and Marvel Entertainment Unveil Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (January 10, 2018) The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and Marvel Entertainment today announced the Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge is open for American students ages 13-18 to submit microgravity flight experiment concepts that could be conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory.

The contest focuses on Rocket and Groot, characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book franchise, and students are encouraged to develop flight proposals based on the attributes of these Super Heroes. The contest will run through January 31, 2018. After the contest concludes, two student-submitted flight concepts will see their vision turned into reality and become an official ISS National Lab investigation, launching to the space station in 2018.

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Canadian Space Agency Looks Ahead to Busy 2018

Credit: CSA

LONGUEUIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — After all of 2017’s amazing moments and space discoveries, we have another exciting year ahead of us! From mapping an asteroid to sending a Canadian to space, here are five key projects that will make 2018 a year to remember for the Canadian Space Agency.

January–December 2018 – Canadian health science experiments will be conducted aboard the International Space Station

Credit: CSA

As space agencies from around the world are preparing to send people farther into the solar system, keeping astronauts safe and healthy during long missions will be critical. Canadian science conducted aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will help us better understand and offset the harmful effects of space on the human body (e.g. radiation exposure, which is a risk factor for cataracts and cancer; bone loss; muscle shrinkage; arterial stiffness; and weaker immune system).

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Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic Eye Human Spaceflights in 2018

New Shepard booster fires its engine just over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

While Boeing and SpaceX move toward flying astronauts to the International Space Station this year, there are two other companies working on restoring the ability to launch people into space from U.S. soil.

Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic aren’t attempting anything as ambitious as orbital flight. Their aim is to fly short suborbital hops that will give tourists and scientists several minutes of microgravity to float around and conduct experiments in.

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SpaceX Ruled Roost in 2017, Boosting U.S. to No. 1 in Global Launches

Falcon 9 carries the Dragon cargo ship into orbit. (Credit: NASA TV)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX had a banner year in 2017, launching a record 18 times and helping to propel the United States to the top of the global launch table with a perfect 29-0 record. The U.S. total made up 32.2 percent of 90 orbital launches worldwide, which was an increase over the 85 flights conducted in 2016.

The 29 American launches were a leap of seven over the 22 flights conducted the previous year. This is the highest number of American orbital launches since the 31 flights undertaken in 1999. However, that year the nation’s launch providers suffered four failures whereas they were perfect in 2017.

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Cellular Dynamics International Sends Human iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes to ISS

MADISON, Wis., Dec. 27, 2017 (CDI PR)  — Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a FUJIFILM company, the leading developer and manufacturer of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and differentiated tissue-specific iPSC-cells, announced that its iCell® Cardiomyocytes were launched into space via SpaceX’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station on Dec.15, 2017.

The purpose of the scientific research project utilizing CDI’s iCell Cardiomyocytes in space is to validate the function of NASA’s new Bioculture System for automated cell culture on the International Space Station and to study human cardiac cell function in microgravity.

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Updates From Blue Origin, Space Angels, Exos Aerospace & More

New Shepard booster fires its engine just over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference was held in Colorado earlier this week. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but the following folks tweeted the sessions:

Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust
Rand Simberg‏ @Rand_Simberg
Colorado Space News‏ @CO_Space_News
Laura Seward Forczyk @LauraForczyk

Below are summaries of a number of talks based on their tweets.  The talks included Erika Wagner of Blue Origin, Dylan Taylor of Space Angels, John Quinn of Exos Aerospace, Tim Lachenmeier of Near Space Corporation, Lewis Groswald of the University of Colorado Boulder, and Alain Berinstain of Moon Express.

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JHU APL Monitoring Instrument Rides into Space on New Shepard Vehicle

New Shepard capsule after landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

LAUREL, Md. (JHU APL PR) — The newest realm of space travel is closer to home than many think, but still shrouded in mystery. And while Earth’s upper atmosphere may soon be a destination for tourists, scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, are blazing a research trail in this “suborbital” region with the launch of an instrument to study flight conditions 60 miles above ground.

The JANUS integration and monitoring platform flew on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle on Dec. 12. The device, about the size of a car battery, will provide researchers with a look at suborbital conditions from inside a crew capsule.

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Future Looks (Mostly) Bright for Space Industry in DC


The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference is being held in Colorado through today. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but the following folks are there tweeting away:

  • Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust
  • Rand Simberg‏ @Rand_Simberg
  • Colorado Space News‏ @CO_Space_News
  • Laura Seward Forczyk @LauraForczyk

Below are updates based upon their tweets on what is happening in Washington, DC, from talks by officials from the FAA, NASA, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
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ZERO-G Provides Colleges Unique Opportunity for Microgravity Research


ORLANDO, Fla. – December 18, 2017
–  Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®), the only FAA-approved weightless flight provider in the U.S, provided a microgravity test lab for collegiate research teams, most of which were funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. Students from seven colleges collected crucial data from their individual technologies in the microgravity environment made possible by the parabolic flight pattern of ZERO-G’s specially modified Boeing 727, G-FORCE ONE.

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Space Tango Sends Experiments to ISS

Credit: Space Tango

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space Tango, Inc. launched an Anheuser-Busch research payload on December 15th at approximately 10:36 AM EST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 for NASA Commercial Resupply Services-13 (CRS-13) mission. Additional payloads from Zaiput and Biorasis, Inc., as well as two experiments from Space Tango, will yield data that could improve life on Earth.

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Embry-Riddle Research Payloads Flew Aboard New Shepard

New Shepard capsule after landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Embry-Riddle experiments in space could help with cancer treatment

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ­(Embry-Riddle PR) — For less than four minutes at the edge of space, T-cells from mice in an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University experiment in partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Medical University of South Carolina were exposed to microgravity onboard a successful Blue Origin launch in the hope of one day finding new treatments for cancer.

The payload from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus flew Dec. 12 on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle to assess how microgravity impacts the cellular processes of T-cells or T-lymphocytes, which develop from stem cells in the bone marrow and are key to the immune system.

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