Astronauts have been conducting experiments on the International Space Station for the past 20 years. Science in low Earth orbit is not only hugely important in preparation for further space exploration, the research is also benefiting life on Earth. We’ve seen discoveries that have improved Earth-bound medicine, engineering and agriculture, and starting this weekend, microgravity will help us in our fight against COVID-19, with European commercial experiments launching to the International Space Station on the 21st. SpaceX cargo mission.
Drug for covid-19
Scientists will use the European commercial ICE Cubes Service to test a COVID-19 drug in microgravity to better understand how remdesivir interacts with its delivery agent cyclodextrin so that the drug’s efficiency can be improved. It is the first time that COVID-19-related research is taking place on the International Space Station.
The experiment represents collaboration at its best: the customers, InnoStudio and Cyclolab, are using the High Quality Protein Crystal Growth Service Kirara, operated by the Japan Manned Space Systems Corporation (JAMSS), to conduct an experiment in the ICE Cubes Facility , operated by Space Application Systems, in ESA’s Columbus laboratory.
The University of Edinburgh’s BioAsteroid mission will use the Bioreactor Express Service to investigate how gravity affects the interaction between microbes and rock in a fluid with reduced gravity, with support from the UK Space Agency. BioAsteroid builds on recently published research from the BioRock experiment that examined how microbes performed under different gravitational conditions to extract resources from rocks. These microbes can give us important insights on the way to colonization of the Moon and Mars.
The BioAsteroid project is a great example of how working with commercial partners can dramatically speed up research. It took its predecessor BioRock about a decade to get from conception to the International Space Station and back, while BioAsteroid will travel to space within a year of conception.
Traditionally, research in orbit has been managed by government space agencies, which work with scientists on the ground while the astronauts conduct experiments on the International Space Station. But as the space industry grows, more commercial partners are getting involved.
These experiments demonstrate the benefits of collaboration with commercial partners. Researchers don’t have to wait for a call for ideas or enter a selection process to be considered for an experiment aboard the International Space Station. This is an advantage for companies who want to be the first to market to present their results.
Increased access, market benefits for commercial companies, and shorter execution times all continue to increase the amount of space research and can therefore lead to new, faster discoveries. Discoveries that will help us explore deeper into space, while at the same time bringing benefits to people here on Earth, are good news for everyone.
Human and Robotic Exploration at ESA
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SpaceX to transport heart tissue, fiber optic lab to the space station
Washington DC (UPI) December 4, 2020
SpaceX plans to launch cargo to the International Space Station Saturday morning, including simulated heart tissue for a medical experiment, a holiday meal and the first private airlock. A Falcon 9 rocket is prepared for launch at 11:39 a.m. EST from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. According to a forecast by the US Space Force, thick clouds could delay the launch attempt by a day. The heart experiment involves 192 pieces of tissue made from blood cells … read more