Small Tissue Chips in Space a Big Leap Forward for Research

Made of flexible plastic, tissue chips have ports and channels to provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells inside them. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A small device that contains human cells in a 3D matrix represents a giant leap in the ability of scientists to test how those cells respond to stresses, drugs and genetic changes. About the size of a thumb drive, the devices are known as tissue chips or organs on chips.

A series of investigations to test tissue chips in microgravity aboard the International Space Station is planned through a collaboration between the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) in partnership with NASA. The Tissue Chips in Space initiative seeks to better understand the role of microgravity on human health and disease and to translate that understanding to improved human health on Earth.

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Cygnus to Carry Recycling System, Virtual Reality, Simulated Stardust and More Headed to ISS

The Cygnus cargo craft slowly departs the space station after its release from the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply flight 10 (CRS-10) is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in mid-November. The craft’s cargo includes several tons of crew supplies and science experiments ranging from 3D printing and recycling to simulating the creation of celestial bodies from stardust.

Read more about some of the science NG CRS-10 delivers to the space station:
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Human Physiology Projects Selected for International Space Station Research

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., October 24, 2018 (CASIS PR) – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), today announced a series of project awards stemming from a funding opportunity on human physiology and disease onboard the orbiting laboratory. Both NCATS and NIBIB are part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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CASIS, NSF Announce Tissue Engineering & Mechanobiology in Microgravity Funding Opportunity

Kennedy Space Center, Fla., October 23, 2018 (CASIS PR) — The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced a joint solicitation wherein researchers will have the ability to leverage the microgravity environment onboard the orbiting laboratory to support enhancements in the fields of transformative tissue engineering and mechanobiology. Up to $2 million will be awarded for multiple research investigations to support flight projects to the ISS National Lab. This solicitation marks the second funding opportunity between the ISS National Lab and NSF focused on tissue engineering.
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Boeing, ISS National Lab Partner to Award $500,000 for Microgravity Research through MassChallenge

BOSTON, October 18, 2018 (CASIS PR) – The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory and Boeing [NYSE: BA] have partnered for the fifth consecutive year to grant up to $500,000 collectively toward innovative startup research through the MassChallenge (Boston) startup accelerator.

With the latest awards, as part of the MassChallenge “Technology in Space” competition, three new flight projects will have the opportunity to leverage the microgravity environment aboard the ISS National Laboratory to enhance their products and business models on Earth.

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Space Tango, Partners to Conduct Hemp Research on Space Station

Space Tango is team with Atalo Holdings and Anavii Market to conduct research on hemp seeds aboard the International Space Station.

“The venture will explore the various aspects of hemp, but particularly those associated with biomedical and health uses, focusing on enhancing hemp’s applications, efficacy and value,” Anavii Market said in a post on its website.

“When we send plants to the International Space Station, we eliminate one core, constant force, to which plants are well-adapted – gravity,” said Dr. Joe Chappell, a member of the Space Tango Science Advisory Team.

“When plants are ‘stressed,’ they pull from a genetic reservoir to produce compounds that allow them to adapt and survive,” he added. “Understanding how plants react in an environment where the traditional stress of gravity is removed can provide new insights into how adaptations come about and how researchers might take advantage of such changes for the discovery of new characteristics, traits, biomedical applications and efficacy.”

Space Tango is spinning off as yet-unnamed company to conduct microgravity research on hemp and other plants.

5 Hazards of Human Spaceflight

Credit: NASA

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A human journey to Mars, at first glance, offers an inexhaustible amount of complexities. To bring a mission to the Red Planet from fiction to fact, NASA’s Human Research Program has organized hazards astronauts will encounter on a continual basis into five classifications. Pooling the challenges into categories allows for an organized effort to overcome the obstacles that lay before such a mission. However, these hazards do not stand alone. They can feed off one another and exacerbate effects on the human body. These hazards are being studied using ground-based analogs, laboratories, and the International Space Station, which serves as a test bed to evaluate human performance and countermeasures required for the exploration of space.

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AI, Cancer Therapy & Chemical Gardens Aboard SpaceX Dragon ISS Resupply Mission

Mobile Companion artificial intelligence robot inside ISS mockup. (Credit: NASA)

A new batch of science is headed to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX Dragon on the company’s 15th mission for commercial resupply services. The spacecraft will deliver science that studies the use of artificial intelligence, plant water use all over the planet, gut health in space, more efficient drug development and the formation of inorganic structures without the influence of Earth’s gravity.

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Parabolic Flights Advance Space Technologies

G-FORCE-ONE
EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — A recent series of parabolic flights onboard Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE aircraft demonstrated a variety of technologies selected by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. The flight campaign consisted of two successful flights on March 21, 2018, lifting off from Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida.

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Made in Space Eyes Glass Alloy Production & Modular Science Platforms in Orbit

Made in Space (MIS) will develop systems for the production of glass alloys in microgravity, the assembly and refurbishment of modular platforms in orbit, and the in-space manufacturing of large structures for infrared space interferometry missions with the help of NASA funding.

The three projects were among five Made in Space proposals that NASA selected for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I program. Each contract is worth up to $125,000 over 13 months.

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Spinning Science: Multi-use Variable-g Platform Arrives at the Space Station

Seen with its door removed, revealing two carousels, the Techshot Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) is a privately owned and operated research system for the International Space Station. (Credit: Techshot)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Delivered to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX CRS-14, the Multi-use Variable-g Platform (MVP) is a new commercial testbed for centrifuge-based science aboard the orbiting laboratory. Because gravity determines so much of a live organism’s behavior and growth, centrifuge-based experiments have long been a part of biological investigations in space. While the pull of Earth’s gravity makes this type of investigation difficult at home, the space station’s microgravity environment makes it the perfect place for fractional gravity experimentation. MVP greatly expands that testing capability for the space station.

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NASA Seeks Research Proposals for Space Technologies to Flight Test

Carthage College researchers testing their propellant mass gauging experiment in zero gravity. (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities program is seeking research proposals for promising space technologies that benefit future NASA space exploration missions. Selected technologies from industry and academia will be flight-tested on commercial suborbital launch vehicles, reduced gravity aircraft and high-altitude balloon flights.

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NanoRacks Awarded GSA Schedule Contract For In-Space Services

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (NanoRacks PR) – NanoRacks is pleased to announce that the Company has been awarded a contract with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Professional Services Schedule (00CORP). As a services provider under this contract, NanoRacks is able to provide its customer-driven in-space services to federal agencies at a pre-negotiated fixed rate.

NanoRacks, the commercial market leader in low-Earth orbit, is offering its flagship services within the GSA schedule, centered around microgravity research and International Space Station and other launch vehicle-based CubeSat and MicroSat deployment opportunities.

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NASA Selects Variable Gravity ISS Centrifuge for Funding

NASA has selected a proposal from Techshot to develop a variable gravity rodent centrifuge for funding under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The two-year Phase II contract is worth up to $750,000.

“The counter-balanced centrifuge is designed to provide a facility to allow rats and mice to live and be observed in simulated gravity between 0-1 g for up to 90 days,” the company said in its proposal. “This streamlined design is more cost efficient and provides up to five cages. Each cage can accommodate at least six 30 gram mice, three 200 gram rats, or two 400 gram rats per cage.”

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ESA & Airbus Sign Bartolomeo Commercial Payload Platform Partnership Agreement

bartolomeo platform on ISS. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

NOORDWIJK, Netherlands (Airbus PR) – The European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus have signed a commercial partnership (PPP) agreement for construction, launch and operations of the commercial “Bartolomeo” platform. Airbus’ new external payload hosting facility will be attached to the European Columbus module of the International Space Station (ISS) from mid-2019.

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