At a Glance
- More than $150 million in external, non-NASA funds are now invested in ISS National Lab research following robust growth in FY18.
- The ISS National Lab selected 50 new projects and programs across diverse R&D areas, making FY18 the strongest year to date for portfolio growth.
- ISS National Lab education content reached more than 2 million people.
- Three granted patents complemented 17 new peer-reviewed publications.
- Multiple in-orbit firsts included technical demonstrations in supercomputing and in-orbit manufacturing.
Fiscal year 2018 (FY18) was a record-breaking year for portfolio expansion and private-sector utilization of the ISS National Lab. Third-party funding for spaceflight research and development (R&D) continued to rise, allowing us to leverage ISS National Lab resources for maximum user success—which this year ranged from patents to first-ever technical demonstrations in orbit. Finally, using less than 4% of ISS National Lab grant funds to date, the Space Station Explorers educational consortium has reached more than 3 million people, 2 million in FY18 alone. Below is a snapshot of portfolio activity and success, with additional details found throughout this report.
Private-sector R&D represented more than 70% of the 74 payloads delivered to the ISS National Lab in FY18, including two new commercially operated facilities (see In-orbit Activities Onboard the ISS National Lab). In addition, 50 newly selected projects and programs joined our portfolio in FY18, the most growth to date in a single year. Finally, new ISS National Lab contractual relationships with future potential platform owners and aerospace companies (see Power in Partnership) were yet another step toward enabling a transition from the ISS to commercial LEO platforms.
- $150M+ in external, non-NASA funding supports the portfolio
- $40M+ in grant funding awarded
- 25% of portfolio originated from Sponsored Programs
- 50% of grant funding goes directly to service providers (70%+ in FY18)
- 118 members of the ISS National Lab investor network
- 3.75% of grant funding supports a growing education portfolio
- 3M+ people reached by education initiatives
- 500+ members of the Space Station Ambassador program for educators
More than $150 million in external, non-NASA funding currently supports the full ISS National Lab portfolio—a 50% increase in FY18. Multiyear programs sponsored in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Boeing (see Research Competitions) are a critical part of this funding stream and support new R&D investigations across multiple disciplines, including fields such as regenerative medicine and advanced materials that promise tangible impact on quality of life. More than $19 million in third-party funding was committed through these Sponsored Programs in FY18 alone, nearly equal to all previous years combined. Additionally, the ISS National Lab investor network nearly doubled in membership within FY18, growing to 118 members at year end and driving numerous capital introductions.
- $19M+ in third-party funding through Sponsored Programs (see Power in Partnership)
- ~50% of new projects and programs required no ISS National Lab funding
- ~70% of projects delivered to the ISS National Lab with significant private-sector involvement
- 2M+ people reached by ISS National Lab education content
- 3 patents granted (see Success Stories)
- 17 journal articles published (see Publications)
ISS National Lab educational initiatives reached more than 2 million students, parents, and educators in FY18—nearly double all previous years combined—and the Space Station Ambassador program now consists of more than 500 members, offering educators an opportunity to partner in support of the ISS National Lab portfolio. The Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge with Marvel Entertainment—a nationwide spaceflight research competition—awarded two student investigations, and the ISS National Lab was featured in Lucasfilm’s web series “Science and Star Wars,” designed in collaboration with IBM to engage the public on the science associated with the Star Wars universe.
Projects and Programs Selected by the ISS National Lab*
* These graphs represent projects and programs that were directly selected by the ISS National Lab managing entity or through ISS National Lab Sponsored Programs. They do not include projects managed by commercial service providers and education partner programs that may have been newly manifested for flight to the ISS National Lab in FY18.
Selected FY18 success stories:
One year of operations for Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Spaceborne Computer, the first long-term demonstration onboard the ISS of supercomputing capabilities from a commercial off-the-shelf computer system.
Testing of the first-ever system for production of the optical fiber ZBLAN onboard the ISS by Made In Space, to demonstrate the feasibility of in-orbit manufacturing.
Ultra-high-definition video imagery of Earth released to millions of Apple TV users.
Educational content aired during National Geographic’s “One Strange Rock,” watched by 81 million viewers.
For details on these and other successes, see Success Stories.