At a Glance
- In FY21, a record-setting 85% of total costs for newly selected projects were externally funded.
- More than $240 million in external, non-NASA funding has been committed to date in support of specific ISS National Lab-sponsored R&D projects.
- Of the newly awarded projects this year, nearly 65% represent new-to-space users.
- CASIS received 185 proposals in FY21, the most ever received in a single fiscal year.
The ISS National Lab is a multiuser platform for research, technology development, and educational outreach to improve life on Earth, drive a sustainable and robust market in LEO, and bring value to the nation. Demand for this valuable research facility continues to rise among users from industry, academia, research institutions, and government agencies. In FY21, more than 40 projects were selected for flight opportunities through the ISS National Lab, an increase from last year as we continue to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the total projects selected this year, nearly 65% represent new-to-space users, demonstrating the success of ISS National Lab solicitations in reaching new audiences.
Projects from new-to-space users that were selected this year include the following:
- Nikon Instruments will launch a technology development project seeking to advance tissue chip technology for biomedical research.
- Launchspace Technologies Corporation aims to demonstrate technology for a multilayered structure to be installed outside the ISS for capturing small debris.
- Sandia National Laboratories and SpaceLink Corporation will both fly technology development projects aimed at advancing satellite technology.
- Lehigh University and the University of California, Santa Barbara will conduct fundamental research experiments with applications in virus detection and respiratory illness treatments.
Selected projects from investigators that had previously completed an ISS National Lab-sponsored investigation include the following:
- Bristol Myers Squibb will launch a second ISS National Lab-sponsored investigation on protein crystallization to improve drug delivery methods and treatments for diseases such as cancer.
- The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which has conducted previous research funded through NSF/CASIS solicitations, received a new award for a physical sciences project on flow boiling (a process that plays a critical role in removing heat from energy-intensive systems, with applications in multiple industries).
- The National Stem Cell Foundation will fly a second project that builds on a previous ISS National Lab-sponsored investigation to study neuroinflammation using 3D models of Parkinson’s disease and primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
- LambdaVision, a previous recipient of the Technology in Space Prize in partnership with Boeing and MassChallenge, will launch follow-on R&D to advance the manufacturing process for the company’s artificial retina.
About 60% of the proposals selected in FY21 resulted from four NLRAs targeting ISS National Lab strategic focus areas. Two NLRAs were focused on in-space production applications—one in advanced manufacturing and materials (4 selected projects) and the other in tissue engineering and biomanufacturing (3 selected projects). An additional NLRA was centered on technology advancement and applied research (9 selected projects) and another focused on digital engagement and higher education (9 selected projects).
The multiyear, multiproject collaboration between CASIS and NSF continued this year, leveraging the ISS National Lab to advance fundamental research in both the physical and life sciences. In FY21, 11 projects were selected through NSF/CASIS joint solicitations in the biomedical area of tissue engineering and the physical sciences area of transport phenomena.
In FY21, the trend of significant cost-sharing for newly selected projects continued. This year, CASIS funding was matched at a ratio of 1:10 by committed funding from non-NASA, third-party entities and the selected institutions themselves. To date, more than $240 million in external, non-NASA funds have been committed in support of specific ISS National-Lab sponsored R&D projects. This year also set a new record, with more than 85% of the total costs for newly selected projects externally funded. Furthermore, almost half of the projects selected this year were to academic organizations that found creative funding streams to fund their ISS National Lab-sponsored R&D.