Tianzhou-1 Cargo Ship Docks with Chinese Space Station

The Tianzhou-1 cargo ship successfully docked with the unoccupied Tiangong-2 space station on Saturday, Chinese media report.

Launched on Tuesday, the cargo vessel will dock twice more with the station to test different rendezvous and docking techniques. One will involve approaching Tiangong-2 from a different direction. Another will shrinking the docking time from two days to six hours.

Tianzhou-1 will later conduct China’s first refueling of a vehicle in orbit.

The success of the mission is a crucial step in China’s plan to launch a permanent space station. The core module is scheduled to launch next year, with additional modules to follow through the completion of construction in 2022.

Tianzhou-1 is carrying a number of scientific experiments during its five-month stay in orbit. The experiments include:

  • stem cell research to investigate human reproduction in space;
  • how bone cells are affected by microgravity;
  • germ cell differentiation research;
  • fluid evaporation and condensation; and,
  • high-precision electrostatic accelerometer research.

U.S. National Lab Research Payloads Headed for ISS

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (CASIS PR) The Orbital ATK Cygnus vehicle launched on its seventh cargo resupply mission (CRS-7) to the International Space Station (ISS) on April 18 aboard United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V vehicle, carrying more than 40 ISS U.S. National Laboratory sponsored investigations.

The ISS U.S. National Laboratory is chartered to facilitate research in the microgravity environment that benefits life on Earth. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is leading the effort in partnership with NASA, industry, other government organizations, and academia to manage and promote the best use of the ISS National Lab.

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ZERO-G Research Flights Advance Technology for Future Deep-Space Missions


ORLANDO, Fla,
April 6, 2017 (Zero-G PR) – As part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®) recently worked with research groups from University of Florida, Carthage College and University of Maryland to validate technology designed to further humanity’s reach into space. A collection of flights on G-FORCE ONE, ZERO-G’s specially modified Boeing 727, gave researchers the chance to run experiments and test innovative systems in the only FAA-approved, manned microgravity lab on Earth.

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Space Tango’s Takes First Step to Commercializing Microgravity Research

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched Space Tango payloads on Commercial Resupply Services – 10 (CRS-10) on February 19th at approximately 9:39 AM EST. Payloads will be installed in the TangoLab Facility on the International Space Station (ISS). CRS-10 is Space Tango’s first commercial opportunity to begin use of the facility hardware for researchers and customers to utilize microgravity for application on Earth.

“Our focus is not necessarily the six people up there,” explained Space Tango CEO Twyman Clements, “but the 7 billion people down here.”

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The Year in Suborbital Launches

The New Shepard capsule separates from its booster as the abort motor fires. (Credit: Blue Origin)
The New Shepard capsule separates from its booster as the abort motor fires. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Although orbital launch vehicles get all the glory (and infamy when they fail), 2016 was also a busy year for the far less glamorous suborbital launch sector. There were 19 suborbital launches at various sites around the world, and two more sounding rocket launches of note where the payload didn’t go above 100 km.
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Space Florida Approves Terms of Deal With Made in Space

space_florida_logoThe Space Florida Board of Directors has approved a $3.5 million deal with Made in Space to finance the manufacturing of advanced fiber optic cable aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The board gave approval earlier this month to changes in the terms of Project ICE, which members had originally approved in January. Florida Today reports that Made in Space has confirmed it is the partner in the deal.

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CASIS, NSF Announce Joint Solicitation for Space Station Research

casis_new_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., November 30, 2016 (CASIS PR) –  The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced a joint solicitation wherein researchers will have the ability to leverage resources onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory in the fields of combustion and thermal transport. Up to $1.8 million will be awarded for multiple research investigations to support flight projects to the ISS National Laboratory.

Through this partnership, CASIS and NASA will facilitate hardware implementation and on-orbit access to the ISS National Laboratory.  NSF will fund the selected projects to advance fundamental science and engineering knowledge. CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the ISS National Laboratory. 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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CASIS Announces Multiple Awards for ISS Research

iss_national_lab_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (November 17, 2016) The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) today announced it has awarded five research agreements within the fields of life sciences/genetics, materials sciences, Earth observation, and student inquiry that will provide investigators access to the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory and its microgravity environment.

As the manager of the ISS National Laboratory, CASIS collaborates with NASA to make the orbiting facility available to researchers whose work would benefit from a microgravity setting and contribute to the improvement of life on Earth.

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CASIS and Boeing Partner to Fund Three Companies for Space Station Research

casis_new_logoBOSTON, MA. (November 7, 2016) The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and  Boeing  awarded three research companies financial support last week through MassChallenge™. This marks the third year CASIS and Boeing have collaborated on the “Technology in Space” prize through the MassChallenge Boston Accelerator.

CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. Boeing is the ISS prime contractor responsible for sustaining operations, including the successful integration of vehicle and payload hardware and software for the orbiting laboratory. The grant prizes for this collaboration will provide seed funding for the three awarded companies and assist with hardware costs for flight to the ISS National Lab.

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New Research Hardware Delivered to ISS by Cygnus

casis_new_logoWALLOPS ISLAND, VA., October 24, 2016 (CASIS PR) The most recent series of payloads berthed with the International Space Station (ISS)Sunday morning onboard the Orbital ATK Cygnus capsule. Many of the investigations launched from Wallops Island, VA onboard the Antares rocket are sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is tasked by NASA with managing and promoting research onboard the ISS National Laboratory for the benefit of Earth.

Below provides a summary of the ISS National Laboratory-sponsored payloads delivered today:

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Versatile Chemistry for the Red Planet

Experiment sample trays on MISSE-8 attached to the exterior of the International Space Station in 2013. These trays held the ionic liquid epoxy samples that could help build composite cryogenic tanks for future spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)
Experiment sample trays on MISSE-8 attached to the exterior of the International Space Station in 2013. These trays held the ionic liquid epoxy samples that could help build composite cryogenic tanks for future spacecraft. (Credit: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — When you need tools or parts for something you’re working on around the house, you head to the nearest hardware store. Space travelers don’t have that luxury and may have to make their own tools and parts on long duration missions like the journey to Mars. Scientists and engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are using data from International Space Station experiments to study liquids that may be used to help make valuable tools when exploring deep space.

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CASIS, NCATS Announce ISS Funding Opportunities in Human Physiology

casis_new_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., October 5, 2016 (CASIS PR) — The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced a funding opportunity focused on human physiology and disease onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory. Data from this research — which will feature “tissue chips” (or “organs-on-chips”) — will help scientists develop and advance novel technologies to improve human health. This announcement is part of a four-year collaboration through which NCATS will provide up to $12 million in funding to use tissue chip technology for translational research onboard the ISS National Laboratory for the benefit of human health on Earth.

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SpacePharma Expands to United States

spacepharma_logoDELEMONT, Switzerland (SpacePharma PR) — Officials with SpacePharma SA, a world leader in providing simplified, high-value microgravity services, today announced the company recently expanded to the United States. SpacePharma, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SpacePharma SA, will introduce American research and pharmaceutical businesses to their unique “one-stop-shop” approach to accessing and taking advantage of microgravity.

“Microgravity is a disruptive environment that enhances and improves a researcher’s ability to make a discovery,” said Yossi Yamin, founder of SpacePharma SA. “But access to microgravity has been limited and expensive – until now. SpacePharma opens up microgravity to all. Through this new division, American customers can take advantage of affordable, end-to-end microgravity services and solutions, all from the comfort of their office. In the end, we will help researchers turn their ideas into realities, including new drugs, food design innovations, advancements in agricultural chemistry and more.”

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New Heart and DNA Research in Space Benefiting Health

Astronaut Kate Rubins works to set up a new microscope for the Heart Cells study. (Credit: NASA TV)
Astronaut Kate Rubins works to set up a new microscope for the Heart Cells study. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — New science unloaded from the latest SpaceX Dragon to visit the International Space Station is under way. The variety of new and ongoing space research is designed to benefit life on Earth and astronauts on long duration missions.

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.
Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 13 space technology payloads to flight test on parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new technologies. The selections were made through the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington.

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