NIH-Funded Tissue Chip Investigations to Fly on SpaceX CRS-25 Mission to the ISS

Tissue chips for a UCSF investigation are prepared for launch to the ISS onboard Space CRS-25. (Credit: Sonja Schrepfer, University of California, San Francisco)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) – In the absence of effective countermeasures, prolonged spaceflight can result in many of the same physiological changes associated with aging—bone loss, muscle deterioration, and altered immune system function—only at a much quicker rate. This makes the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) a valuable platform for research on conditions associated with the aging process.

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SpaceX CRS-25 to Launch Stem Cells From Cedars-Sinai Scientists to Space

Cedars-Sinai Scientists Will Test Whether it is Possible to Produce Large Batches of Stem Cells in a Low Gravity Environment

LOS ANGELES (Cedars-Sinai PR) — Cedars-Sinai and Space Tango are launching pilot-scale systems for the in-space production of stem cells to see if they can elevate the next generation of stem cell and gene therapies by harnessing the near-zero gravity conditions of spaceflight .Cedars-Sinai SpaceX CRS-25 Mission Patch.This mission, funded by a NASA Research Announcement award, will help researchers explore the effects of microgravity on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The work can potentially lead to better ways to manufacture large numbers of cells in the absence of gravity. 

Microgravity has become of great interest to stem cell scientists due to unique properties it grants to biological tissues and processes that could potentially help mass-produce cells or other products in a way that is not possible to do on Earth.

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NASA Funds Research to Improve Health of Astronauts

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding a pair of research and development (R&D) projects by Sachi Bioworks and Soterix Medical aimed at improving the health of astronauts flying to the International Space Station and on deep-space missions.

Each company received a Phase II award worth up to $750,000 under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. NASA previously provided smaller Phase I awards for the companies to begin R&D work.

Sachi Bioworks, which is located in Boulder, Colo., is working on pharmaceutical counter measures to protect astronauts on deep space missions from the harmful effects of radiation, which include the suppression of the immune system.

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Emulate Brain-Chip to Study the Effects of Microgravity on Human Brain Physiology at the International Space Station

BOSTON, December 21, 2021 (Emulate PR) – Emulate, Inc., a leading provider of next-generation in vitro models, today announced that the Brain-Chip was sent to the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory (ISS National Lab) to study the effects of microgravity on human brain physiology as part of the Tissue-Chips in Space initiative sponsored by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the International Space Station National Lab (ISS-NL). The ISS provides an environment where researchers can study human health in microgravity, allowing them to isolate the effects of gravity from other factors that can impact brain cell function. 

The Emulate Brain-Chip is the most comprehensive in vitro model of the human neurovascular unit, including the blood-brain barrier (BBB), for preclinical research. It contains five cell types in a dynamic and tunable microenvironment, resulting in in vivo-like gene expression and phenotypic response. Each chip is about the size of a USB thumb drive and contains two fluidic channels separated by a porous membrane. The vascular channel is lined with brain microvascular endothelial cells, while the brain channel contains cortical neurons, astrocytes, pericytes, and microglia. This allows researchers to study BBB function, the ability of drugs to cross the BBB, and the complex cell-cell interactions involved in brain physiology, disease, and drug response.

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SpaceX CRS-24 Launching Multiple Life Science Investigations to International Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., December 15, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS) has a profound impact on cells and tissues, allowing researchers to conduct life sciences research in ways not possible on the ground. SpaceX’s 24th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting laboratory will deliver a variety of life science payloads sponsored by the ISS National Lab. From stem cell research on neurodegenerative diseases to a tissue chip experiment studying the blood-brain barrier and an investigation testing the use of bacteria to protect DNA from the stresses of spaceflight—the research launching on this mission is helping to improve the quality of life for people on Earth.

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Sierra Space and Space Tango to Revolutionize Manufacturing for New Low-Earth Orbit Economy and Create Space Business Opportunities

LOUISVILLE, Colo., and LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sierra Space/Space Tango PR) — Sierra Space and Space Tango are joining forces to make manufacturing more accessible and available in space, opening up new market opportunities in low-Earth orbit (LEO). The new space economy will include partners from several sectors, including technology, materials and biomedical industries. This key work can help humanity and the medical field on Earth by opening more opportunities for scientific and technical breakthroughs. 

Sierra Space is a new commercial, independent company that is transforming the way humans live and work in space, creating a new space station concept with its Dream Chaser spaceplane and LIFE Habitat, making space more accessible and affordable. Space Tango is an aerospace company dedicated to creating transformational solutions in manufacturing by utilizing the unique environment of space.   

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Several Technology Development Payloads Sponsored by the ISS National Lab Launching on Northrop Grumman CRS-15

The S.S. Kalpana Chawla begins the second phase of its mission after leaving the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., February 17, 2021 (CASIS PR) – On Saturday, February 20, no earlier than 12:36 p.m. EST, Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket to the International Space Station (ISS), marking its 15th mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program.

The launch, which will take place from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, will deliver thousands of pounds of critical supplies and research to the space station. Moreover, many of the payloads on this mission showcase the diversity of research sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, with investigations in the physical and life sciences, materials research, and the validation of new facilities that further research and development in low Earth orbit.

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Research Investigations on CRS-21 Sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) — SpaceX’s 21st commercial resupply mission (CRS-21) to the International Space Station (ISS) is slated for launch on December 5 at 11:39 a.m. EST from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The ISS U.S. National Laboratory is sponsoring more than 15 payloads on this mission that will bring value to our nation and further enable a sustainable market in low Earth orbit.

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Space Tango Welcomes Director of Strategic Engagement and External Affairs

LEXINGTON, Ky., April 30, 2020 (Space Tango PR) — Space Tango today announced the hiring of Cindy Martin-Brennan as the Director of Strategic Engagement and External Affairs. Martin-Brennan is a leader in government relations and stakeholder communications with 35 years of professional experience in the aerospace industry.

Martin-Brennan will lead stakeholder engagement and strategic communications, including the provision of high-quality and responsive information for Space Tango partners. She will also develop and implement collaborative stakeholder engagement plans from strategic, tactical, and operational perspectives. In addition, Martin-Brennan will advise the alignment of programs and initiatives to ensure the execution of the Space Tango vision.

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LambdaVision Wins NASA Award to Further Development of Artificial Retina to Help Patients Regain Sight

FARMINGTON, Conn. (LambdaVision PR)–LambdaVision, an innovative biotech developing a novel treatment to help patients regain sight, along with implementation partner, Space Tango, has been selected by NASA for an award of five million dollars.

This new funding will support LambdaVision’s development of the first protein-based artificial retina to restore meaningful vision for patients who are blind or have lost significant sight due to advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP), with follow-on applications in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness for adults over 55 years old.

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NASA Selects Proposals for In-Space Development of Optical Fibers, Stem Cells and More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Removing the force of gravity from development processes can lead to products that are higher quality, have fewer defects, and are more effective than when developed on Earth. Companies are demonstrating these improved results can be achieved in the unique microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS), which orbits about 250 miles above the planet.

The research opportunities that have demonstrated the unique market value of in-space manufacturing, technology advancement and drug development have come through NASA’s investment in dedicating transportation and research time for ISS National Lab investigations.

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Producing Human Tissue in Space

Space Tango CubeLab on board the International Space Station ISS. (Credit: Space Tango)

ZURICH (University of Zurich PR) — The University of Zurich has sent adult human stem cells to the International Space Station (ISS). Researchers from UZH Space Hub will explore the production of human tissue in weightlessness.

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SpaceX Dragon Supply Ship Attached to Space Station

Dragon CRS-18 cargo ship at the end of the space station’s robotic arm. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two days after its launch from Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 12:01 p.m. EDT.

The 18th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-18) delivers more than 5,000 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory.

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Space Tango Announces ISS Flow Chemistry Collaboration with Boston University Beeler Research Group

Joint Development of Automated, Modular Flow Chemistry Platform for Use On-Orbit

LEXINGTON, Ky., June 12, 2019 (Space Tango PR) — Space Tango announced today a collaboration with the Beeler Research Group from the Boston University Department of Chemistry to develop a fully-automated system to support chemical reactions on-orbit. The Beeler Research Group was selected by the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory to develop reactor systems for flow chemistry in space earlier this year. This work expands on existing liquid-liquid separation capabilities demonstrated last year by Mass Challenge Winner Zaiput Flow Technologies and Space Tango, on the International Space Station.

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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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