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Research Competition Winners Headed to ISS on Dragon

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 21, 2014
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iss-research-competitionKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (Space Florida PR) — On Sunday, the remaining five of seven International Space Station Research Competition winners launched their research payloads to space aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The mission, titled CRS-4 (“Commercial Resupply Mission #4”), launched at 1:52 a.m. aboard a Dragon resupply ship.

Projects that were launched included:

  • SABOL – a microgravity-based study into Alzheimer’s Disease
  • SyNRGE3 – studying plant-microbe interactions to improve crop yields and increase knowledge of beneficial bacteria and plants
  • EGAHEP (“Egypt Against Hepatitis C Virus”) seeking to develop Hepatitis C protein crystals in space that will further research into a vaccine
  • Micro-gRX – measuring fluorescence to gauge changes in the speed of molecular rotation of an antibody binding to a vitamin in microgravity
  • ISS NanoRocks – observing the collision of dust particles in the absence of Earth’s gravity

The SyNRGE3  experiment was prepared at Space Florida’s Space Life Sciences Lab (SLSL) at Kennedy Space Center.

In March, two ISSRC winners flew their projects to the Space Station. Today, HEART FLIES and Project MERCCURI have reported initial results of their research. The HEART FLIES team (studying the effects of spaceflight on the function, morphology and gene expression in fruit fly hearts) – reports visible changes in fly heart function following spaceflight and expect to publish initial findings in a peer reviewed science journal in the coming year.

Project MERCURRI launched public venue microbial samples to space to view growth/behavior of these microbes versus those in Earth-based labs. They also requested microbe swabs from the ISS to study on Earth. The project team reports that astronauts have completed swabbing of their own environment on the ISS and that those samples are being studied in Earth based labs right now.

To learn more about the ISSRC, click here.