KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), February 6, 2024 – Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) marked a banner year for the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory, with a record number of payloads flown to the orbiting outpost and increasing private-sector demand for access to low Earth orbit. These successes and many others are highlighted in the ISS National Lab Annual Report for FY23 released today by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™).
CASIS has served as manager of the ISS National Lab for 12 years through a Cooperative Agreement with NASA. The agreement continues through 2027, with the goal of the ISS National Lab to facilitate access to the orbiting laboratory to benefit humanity and stimulate a robust economy in low Earth orbit (LEO). The ISS National Lab continues to play a crucial role in demonstrating the value of space-based research and technology development (R&D) and in laying the foundation for the transition to future commercial LEO destinations (CLDs).
Some highlights of FY23 accomplishments:
- Last year, 113 ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads were delivered to the space station—the most ever in a single fiscal year. Of these, more than 80 percent were from commercial entities, demonstrating the private sector’s continued interest in, and growing demand for, space-based R&D.
- Nearly 40 peer-reviewed publications related to ISS National Lab-sponsored research were published last year. Of those, more than half were from investigations funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance fundamental science. This brings the total number of peer-reviewed articles related to ISS National Lab R&D to more than 350.
- Five patents related to ISS National Lab-sponsored research were identified in FY23. These include patents filed for a new osteoporosis treatment and a tissue chip system to culture and electrically stimulate human skeletal muscle cells. adidas also has a pending patent for a strategically weighted ball that can induce a spin flip.
- To further enable multiphase research and address the goals of the President’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, the ISS National Lab partnered with NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division for the first time on a new solicitation to advance critical research on cancer and other diseases.
- Nearly 70 percent of the projects selected for flight in FY23 were from new-to-space users, demonstrating the ability of ISS National Lab solicitations to successfully draw in new research communities. Of the 42 newly selected projects, more than 60 percent were through ISS National Lab Research Announcements (NLRAs) in the strategic focus areas of technology advancement, in-space production applications in advanced materials and biomanufacturing, and education and workforce development.
- This year, $26 million in external, non-NASA funding was committed to support specific R&D projects sponsored by the ISS National Lab (a 44% increase over last year), bringing the total amount of such funding committed to date to more than $285 million. Furthermore, CASIS funding for newly selected projects was matched 5:1 by committed funding from non-NASA, third-party entities and the selected institutions themselves—an increase over last year’s ratio of 4:1.
- Three new issues of Upward, official magazine of the ISS National Lab, resulted in nearly 50,000 online page views and more than 18,000 downloads of content. Nearly 4,000 new subscribers signed up to read about results that demonstrate how investments in space-based R&D translated into valuable discoveries with real-world applications.
“Fiscal year 2023 has been a remarkable year for our organization, marked by exceptional performance, groundbreaking achievements, and continued growth in managing this incredible national treasure. I am exceedingly proud of the team’s dedication and resilience, which have been instrumental in driving success,” said CASIS Chief Executive Officer Ramon (Ray) Lugo. “We are excited about the future of our organization and are confident we can achieve even greater accomplishments in the years to come as we continue to enable innovative space-based research for the benefit of humanity while building a robust market economy in low Earth orbit.”
These are only a few highlights outlined in the FY23 Annual Report, now available online.
Download a high-resolution for this release: September’s 2023 Harvest Moon
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About the International Space Station (ISS) 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 Laboratory® allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve quality of 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 our website.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, CASIS accepts corporate and individual donations to help advance science in space for the benefit of humanity. For more information, visit our donations page.