NSF-Funded Research to Improve Manufacturing of Everyday Products and Medicines Will Launch on SpaceX CRS-25

A SpaceX Cargo Dragon resupply ship departs the space station during a previous mission in July 2021. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (CASIS PR) – From salad dressing to foam body wash, many everyday products could get an eco-friendly upgrade thanks to microgravity research. The City College of New York (CCNY) is launching an investigation to the International Space Station (ISS) on SpaceX’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to test more eco-friendly ways to create foam products (which consist of gas bubbles dispersed in liquids or solids) and products made through emulsion (when tiny droplets of one liquid are dispersed in another fluid).

However, this is not the only investigation on SpaceX CRS-25 aiming to improve products used by millions of people worldwide. Researchers from Arizona State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) are leveraging the ISS National Laboratory to improve the mass production of pharmaceuticals like vaccines. These investigations are funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and seek to use the unique space environment to help answer scientific questions that have been challenging to address on the ground.

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AFRL Sponsorship Recipient Wins NASA Space Manufacturing Contract

United Semiconductors, LLC facility in Los Alamitos, Calif. (Credit: United Semiconductors)

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OH. (AFRL PR) — Air Force Research Laboratory research sponsorship recipient, United Semiconductors, LLC (USLLC), is one of eight companies selected to work on a three-year, $21 million NASA contract to manufacture tools in space.

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Caltech Names Laurie Leshin Director of JPL

Laurie Leshin formally assumes her roles as director of NASA JPL and vice president of Caltech in May. (Credits: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

The distinguished geochemist and space scientist brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in academic and government service to JPL.

PASADENA, Calif. (Caltech PR) — Laurie Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has been appointed director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and vice president of Caltech. Leshin will formally assume her position on May 16, 2022, succeeding Michael Watkins, who retired in August 2021, and Lt. Gen. Larry D. James USAF (Ret.), who currently serves as JPL interim director.

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After Successful Parabolic Flight Testing, Ring-Sheared Drop Experiment Arrives at the International Space Station

European Space Agency Astronaut Thomas Pesquet works on the Ring-Sheared Drop experiment inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module’s Microgravity Science Glovebox on the International Space Station. (Credit: International Space Station National Laboratory)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Following successful Flight Opportunities-supported parabolic flight testing on Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE aircraft in April and May, 2021, the Ring-Sheared Drop (RSD) experiment from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center arrived at the International Space Station on Northrop Grumman’s NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft on August 12, 2021.

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Image-Based Navigation Could Help Spacecraft Safely Land on The Moon

Nova-C lander on the lunar surface. (Credit: Intuitive Machines)

Research demonstrates how a series of lunar images could provide key navigational data

TROY, NY (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute PR) — In order for future lunar exploration missions to be successful and land more precisely, engineers must equip spacecraft with technologies that allow them to “see” where they are and travel to where they need to be. Finding specific locations amid the moon’s complicated topography is not a simple task.

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Three Tissue Engineering Projects Awarded From Joint NSF, CASIS Solicitation to Leverage the Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., October 19, 2020 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the  National Science Foundation (NSF) announced three flight projects that were selected as part of a joint solicitation focused on leveraging the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to further knowledge in the fields of tissue engineering and mechanobiology.

Through this collaboration, CASIS, manager of the ISS National Lab, will facilitate hardware implementation, in-orbit access, and astronaut crew time on the orbiting laboratory. NSF invested $1.2 million in the selected projects, which are seeking to advance fundamental science and engineering knowledge for the benefit of life on Earth.

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NIAC Award: StarNAV Architecture for Autonomous Spacecraft Navigation

Illustration of the StarNAV concept (Credits: John Christian)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award
Amount: $125,000

StarNAV: An Architecture for Autonomous Spacecraft Navigation by the Relativistic Perturbation of Starlight

John Christian
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

StarNAV is a novel architecture for navigating anywhere in the Solar System or beyond using the relativistic perturbation of starlight. The proposed StarNAV technique measures the change in inter-star angle due to stellar aberration to estimate vehicle velocity. These velocity estimates may be used for navigation.

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Technique Offers Path for Biomanufacturing Medicines During Space Flights

Credit: Richard Bonocora

TROY, NY (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute PR) — An instrument currently aboard the International Space Station could grow E.coli bacteria in space, opening a new path to bio-manufacturing drugs during long term space flights. Research published today in Nature Microgravity used an Earth-bound simulator of the space station instrument to grow E.coli, demonstrating that it can be nurtured with methods that promise to be more suitable for space travel than existing alternatives.

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NASA is Part of COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium

WASHINGTON (Trump Administration PR) — The White House announced the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to provide COVID-19 researchers worldwide with access to the world’s most powerful high performance computing resources that can significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus.

“America is coming together to fight COVID-19, and that means unleashing the full capacity of our world-class supercomputers to rapidly advance scientific research for treatments and a vaccine. We thank the private sector and academic leaders who are joining the federal government as part of the Trump Administration’s whole-of-America response,” said Michael Kratsios, U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

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NASA Selects Early Stage Innovations from US Universities for Multi-Year Research, Development

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — Universities help propel NASA technology forward, researching everything from unique rocket engine designs to how landers interact with surfaces on other worlds. NASA has selected 14 university-led research proposals to study early-stage technologies relevant to these topics and more. The grants will fund ambitious projects to mature technologies for future NASA missions.

“There are talented researchers outside of NASA, working at universities across the country, who are poised to help us look at challenging aspects of space exploration in new ways,” said Walt Engelund, deputy associate administrator of programs within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “With the help of these institutions and principal investigators, NASA will accelerate innovation for critical space technologies.”

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NASA, Industry Partner for Space-based Study of Potential Alzheimer’s Key

The Ring-Sheared Drop experiment hardware, installed inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox, will help investigators understand protein aggregation associated with devastating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (Credits: NASA/Kevin Depew)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — An innovative experiment underway on the International Space Station could help researchers make new progress in the fight against aggressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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NASA Flight Opportunities Program Selects 15 Space Technologies for Tests

New Shepard booster over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 15 promising space technologies to be tested on commercial low-gravity simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons and suborbital rockets. These flights will help advance technologies for future spaceflight, taking them from the laboratory to a relevant flight environment.

During an Aug. 28 visit to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, where the Flight Opportunities program is managed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency will focus on funding more of these payload flights in the future.

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