Axiom Space Tests Key Space Station Acrylic Sample on ISS in Alpha Space’s MISSE Facility

The Axiom acrylic being tested will form the large windows of its forthcoming room-sized earth observatory in space. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON, May 13, 2019 (Axiom/Alpha Space PR) — A pair of private American companies brought a key material sample for an upcoming space station from simple concept to testing in space in only six months, in a sign of the burgeoning commercial space industry’s responsiveness and agility.

Axiom Space and Alpha Space Test & Research Alliance (Alpha Space), both based in Houston, released photos on Wednesday of a specially formulated acrylic sample belonging to Axiom flying on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) in Alpha Space’s MISSE Flight Facility. It was one of more than 400 samples contained in seven MISSE carriers launched Nov. 17 on the Northrop Grumman NG-10 ISS resupply mission.

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University of Arizona Partners With Space Tango to Test Diagnostic Tool in Space

by Marian Frank
UA College of Medicine

PHOENIX (UA PR) — Researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix are partnering with Space Tango, a private aerospace company that designs, builds and operates facilities on the International Space Station, to develop an easy way to test astronauts’ health in space.

Led by Frederic Zenhausern, director of the UA Center for Applied NanoBioscience and Medicine, the project has received three independent NASA grants. The latest funding will allow researchers to develop a diagnostic tool – a miniature syringe-like device that can detect bioagents and hundreds of biomarkers in blood or saliva – and test it in space.

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Dragon Carries Experiments to ISS

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) — Early Saturday morning at 2:48 a.m. EDT, a variety of payloads managed by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory were successfully launched to the space station on SpaceX’s 17th commercial resupply services mission from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Many of the ISS National Lab investigations included on this mission are aimed at improving human health on Earth, with several focused on drug development.

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Stop Aging in Space

Nanoceria (Credit: Gianni Ciofani)

PARIS, 4 May 2019 — Wrinkles, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a clumsy brain are all natural consequences of getting old. As our cells rust over time, a key to fighting chronic disease may be in tiny, smartly designed particles that have the potential to become an anti-ageing supplement. A European experiment seeking innovative antioxidants is on its way to space.

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NASA and Blue Origin Help Classrooms and Researchers Reach Space

Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable, suborbital rocket. (Credits: Blue Origin)

By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

EDWARDS, Calif.  — “We are now on the verge of giving students and teachers the ability to build and fly affordable experiments in space. When teachers are this excited about putting experiments in space, their students can’t help but get excited about space, too.”

Elizabeth Kennick, president of Teachers in Space, does not take the opportunity to fly an experiment to space for granted. The nonprofit organization has worked with educators and engineers to design and test standard equipment for classroom-developed experiments, including 3D-printed frames, customizable processors, power adaptors and more. The equipment first flew on high-altitude balloons and more recently on a stratospheric glider. Now, thanks to support from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, the equipment will fly higher than ever before: to space on the next launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

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Techshot Research Equipment Launching Aboard SpaceX Mission CRS-17

Specially Developed Experiment Modules Contain MIT Tissue Chips

GREENVILLE, Ind. (April 26, 2019) – An uncrewed SpaceX cargo resupply spacecraft scheduled to launch to the International Space Station May 1 will contain experiment modules specially-developed by Techshot Inc., for a Massachusetts Institute of Technology tissue chip experiment. Tissue chip devices are designed as accurate models of the structure and function of human tissues such as the lungs, liver, heart and bone.

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Hermes to Bring Asteroid Research to the ISS

Hermes Cassette-1 experiment. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Asteroid researchers on Earth will soon gain a powerful new way to remotely conduct experiments aboard the International Space Station. The device, called the Hermes Facility, is an experiment station that can communicate with scientists on the ground and give them the ability to control their studies almost as if they were in space themselves. Hermes will be carried to the space station aboard the SpaceX CRS-17 ferry flight.

Hermes is the creation of Dr. Kristen John, a researcher with the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). John and her research team developed Hermes as a way to study how samples of simulated asteroid particles behave in microgravity and the vacuum of space.
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Multiple Regenerative Medicine Payloads Ready for Flight to ISS U.S. National Laboratory

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., April 22, 2019 (CASIS PR)  – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory is finalizing more than a dozen payloads for launch to the orbiting laboratory aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Many of these payloads are aimed at improving human health on Earth, with several focused on drug development and screening. Research concepts include commercial companies leveraging microgravity to improve drug delivery systems, other government agencies funding transformative science, and academic inquiry to enhance fundamental knowledge of diseases on Earth.

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Cygnus Cargo Ship Attached to International Space Station

April 19, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are docked at the space station including Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter and Russia’s Progress 71 and 72 resupply ships and the Soyuz MS-11 and MS-12 crew ships. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — After its capture this morning at 5:28 a.m. EDT, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 7:31 a.m. At the time of installation, Cygnus was flying 255 miles above the Indian Ocean just south of Singapore.

Cygnus will remain at the space station until July 23, when the spacecraft will depart the station, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, then have an extended mission of nine months before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.

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Feds: Former Executive Used CASIS Funds to Pay for Prostitutes

Florida Today reports that a former CASIS executive has been indicted for allegedly using the non-profit organization to pay for prostitutes and falsifying his tax returns.

Charles Resnick, served as chief economist for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, or CASIS, which is primarily funded by about $15 million annually from NASA.

According to a 10-count indictment filed Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Resnick created phony receipts and other documents when filing expense reports that hid spending on prostitutes and escorts during trips to Europe and New York between 2011 and 2015.

“Expenses incurred for escorts, prostitutes, and commercial sexual activities were not part of the ordinary, necessary, and reasonable travel expenses or related expenses for which employees could be reimbursed,” the indictment reads. 

CASIS oversees research on the International Space Station’s National Laboratory. It receives most of its $15 million budget from NASA.

NanoRacks Joins With MBRSC to Fly Student Research in Emirati Astronaut Mission

DUBAI, UAE, 3 April 2019 (NanoRacks PR) — To support its efforts to empower and encourage youth to take an interest in space science, The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) launched the ‘Science in Space’ competition, in coordination with NanoRacks  LLC. This initiative is under the umbrella of the UAE Astronaut Programme, where schools can apply to participate in conducting scientific experiments to study the impact of microgravity.

MBRSC will choose 15 schools based on their efforts to promote the study of STEM fields and the reasons for participating in this competition. The winning schools will be able to nominate students to attend and participate in workshops organised by MBRSC to conduct 15 scientific experiences, where students can learn how to prepare scientific experiments and its phases.

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Designing a Key to Unlock Parkinson’s Disease

HOUSTON (NASA PR)  — Parkinson’s disease affects more than 5 million people on Earth. Research on the International Space Station could provide insight into this chronic neurodegenerative disease and help scientists find ways to treat and prevent it.

The investigation, Crystallization of LRRK2 Under Microgravity Conditions-2 (CASIS PCG 16), grows protein crystals of Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) on the space station. A kinase is an enzyme that adds phosphate groups to other molecules as part of the body’s metabolic processes. People with Parkinson’s disease experience increased function of LLRK2, and genetic studies link mutations in the LRRK2 gene to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Medications that inhibit LRRK2 are in development, but without knowing the precise structure of this enzyme, such work is like making a key without knowing the shape of the keyhole it must fit.

Growing LRRK2 crystals on Earth is difficult and does not produce samples with high enough quality for researchers to determine the protein’s shape and structure –the keyhole. Protein crystals grow larger and more uniformly in space, though. Scientists can analyze the larger space-grown crystals to get a better idea of how the disease works and develop drugs – or keys – that target the condition more effectively and with fewer side effects.

This investigation builds on a previous experiment, CASIS PCG 7. For CASIS PCG 16, the crew used larger sample wells, filled the wells during flight, and monitored the LRRK2 crystals as they grew. In this video, NASA astronaut Serena Auñon-Chancellor narrates as European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Alexander Gerst uses a microscope to examine and photograph the LRRK2 crystals. Gerst interacted in real time with investigators on the ground, including scientists at the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany, and University of California San Diego in La Jolla, California.

This space station research may bring those working to treat and prevent Parkinson’s disease one step closer to finding the right key.

This investigation was sponsored by the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. For daily updates on the science happening aboard the space station, follow @ISS_ResearchSpace Station Research and Technology News, or our Facebook. For opportunities to see the space station pass over your town, check out Spot the Station.

ESA’s Fly Your Thesis Program Takes to the Air

Video Caption: The Fly Your Thesis! programme gives master and PhD candidates the opportunity to fly their scientific experiment or technological research in microgravity conditions. The experiments can be related to fluid physics, chemistry, biology, material sciences, heat transfer and astrophysics.

The parabolic flight campaign takes place on the Airbus A310 Zero-G, which is operated by Novespace from Bordeaux, France. Each campaign consists of a series of three flights of 30 parabolas each. These will provide about 20s of microgravity each.

EXOS Aerospace Launches SARGE Suborbital Rocket From Spaceport America

The reusable, suborbital rocket landed back in the desert under a parachute. No information yet on altitude.

Flight programs and associated payloads on the flight included:

SPACEedu… Help your school fund, build, fly and reuse CubeSat projects for their S.T.E.M research programs. Having already flown for many schools, Exos is literally taking education to a higher level.  P1. Arete’ Greater Nanticoke Area Trojans (space thermal energy transfer experiment).

SPACEbuild… Test or manufacture in space aboard an Exos vehicle for premium exposure to space flight conditions. The reduced cost of suborbital flights makes it a preferred risk mitigation step for qualifying orbital payloads. P2. NASA (Vibration Damper – TRL advancement),  P3. University of Central Florida (Dust Aggregation experiment – SPACE-2 NASA REDDI Payload), P4. Agronautics, LLC (Space hops & grain), P5. SOLGW  (memorabilia)

SPACEaid… Perform breakthrough medical research by leveraging the ability to test in the microgravity and vacuum of space.  With Exos we can return your payload within minutes of landing.  Our soft (5G) launch and fin stabilization means a gentle ride for your payload requiring less effort in payload design over other commercial launch options.  P6. Center for Applied Space Technologies (Sponsoring Mayo Clinic for two “BRIC66” payloads performing cell research)

SPACEship… Launch from Spaceport American in New Mexico and we’ll deliver your payload to space and eject it to perform your test outside our vehicle.*  (LEO target aboard our reusable (first stage) Jaguar vehicle – late 2022).