ISS National Lab-Sponsored Investigations Ready for Northrop Grumman CRS-16 Flight to Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., August 6, 2021 (CASIS PR) – A variety of research investigations sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory are launching onboard Northrop Grumman’s 16th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbiting outpost. The mission will launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia no earlier than August 10, 2021, and a five-minute window for launch begins at 5:56 p.m. EDT.

ISS National Lab-sponsored research launching on this mission includes life sciences studies, technology development projects, and student experiments. Below highlights some of the investigations sponsored by the ISS National Lab launching on Northrop Grumman CRS-16.

  • Genes in Space is an educational program in which students from around the country propose pioneering DNA experiments to be performed on the space station. The program, founded by Boeing and miniPCR bio and supported by the ISS National Lab, holds an annual competition, and the winning student experiment is sent to the ISS. This marks the 8th Genes in Space project to launch to station, and the experiment is focused on evaluating the gene expression of liver proteins in space. Results could help lead to the development of therapeutics both for patients on Earth and for astronauts on deep space missions.
  • Northrop Grumman is not only serving as the launch provider for this mission but also launching a technology development investigation of its own. The Prototype InfraRed Payload (PIRPL) will use multispectral detectors to characterize Earth’s atmosphere from the vantage point of low Earth orbit. A better understanding of the spectrum of Earth’s atmosphere may help improve communications between Earth and satellites, imaging of Earth’s surface from space, and tracking of space objects.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) has collaborated with the ISS National Lab on numerous investigations, and this marks the NSF-funded first tissue engineering payload to launch to station as part of this collaboration. The investigation, from researchers at Stanford University and the Palo Alto Veterans Research Institute, seeks to leverage microgravity conditions to develop a tissue engineered model of sarcopenia (muscle loss due to aging). If validated, the model could be used to study the progression of muscle deterioration and could serve as a valuable platform to test potential treatments for conditions that cause muscle wasting.

These are just a few of the many investigations launching to the ISS on Northrop Grumman CRS-16. Over the coming days, more focused press releases will provide additional information on specific investigations launching on this mission.

These projects join the thousands of investigations that have been conducted onboard humankind’s only space-based research and technology development platform. Investigations sponsored by the ISS National Lab seek to bring value to our nation and drive a robust and sustainable market in low Earth orbit. To learn more about how the ISS National Lab is supporting research on Northrop Grumman CRS-16, please visit our mission overview page.  

About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory

The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under cooperative agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit