The ISS National Lab continued to enhance its ability to communicate R&D progress and results in FY22. A wide variety of content showcased the diversity of ISS National Lab activities through targeted press releases, Upward features, and engaging ISS360 articles. Efforts to expand the ISS National Lab’s social media presence and digital storytelling have led to more than 532,000 followers across all social media platforms, a 15 percent increase in followers from FY21. This year, ISS National Lab representatives participated in more than 60 speaking engagements to highlight impactful ISS National Lab-sponsored R&D and increase awareness of research opportunities available through the orbiting laboratory.
This year marked the 11th annual ISSRDC, held July 23-28 in Washington, D.C., and hosted by CASIS, NASA, and the American Astronautical Society (AAS). The conference, which was held in person for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, was attended by nearly 800 people. With the theme “Decade of Results,” ISSRDC 2022 included several notable sessions, including a live downlink from the ISS with two crew members who discussed the station’s value as a powerful research platform. In a joint panel session, ISS National Lab and NASA leadership discussed the next decade of space station R&D. The conference also featured a STEM education panel on the importance of inspiring students to pursue STEM careers, and Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten gave a keynote address on equality and accessibility in STEM education. Following the conference, a series of ISS360 articles highlighted panels, keynotes, and other activities from ISSRDC 2022.
In FY22, the ISS National Lab continued collaborating with NASA on several outreach events. The ISS National Lab facilitated a media event in Boston focused on STEM education that featured NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, miniPCR and Genes in Space representatives, and local students. The ISS National Lab also worked with NASA to host two virtual Destination Station outreach events, which provided stakeholders and leaders from well-known companies with meaningful information on ISS research capabilities and funding opportunities. One Destination Station event featured NASA astronaut Victor Glover, and the other gathered nearly 600 Starbucks employees to discuss how the ISS can be used to advance science and technology development.
Also, in FY22, the ISS National Lab hosted a virtual event to discuss how the orbiting platform can facilitate plastics alternatives research and to highlight finalists in the ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics. The two projects selected through the challenge, which Estée Lauder funded, were announced at ISSRDC.
Examples of FY22 key speaking engagements include the following:
- ISS National Lab Chief Scientist Michael Roberts was invited to moderate a plenary session at the 2022 American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR) Conference.
- Together with NASA, the ISS National Lab facilitated a live ISS downlink featuring NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren during a main-stage session at BIO International, the largest biomedical conference in the world. The ISS National Lab also facilitated a life sciences session with representatives from several Implementation Partners and companies that have conducted research on the space station. This is the tenth year the ISS National Lab has participated in the conference, which attracts leaders from around the world in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.
- The ISS National Lab participated in the invite-only White House Office of Science and Technology Microgravity R&D Workshop, along with leaders from NASA, industry, academia, and other government agencies. Participants discussed key areas for future space-based research and what is needed to enable a sustainable R&D ecosystem in LEO.
- At the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics ASCEND conference, the ISS National Lab participated in a panel session on private-sector users of the space station.
- At the American Chemical Society’s Fall meeting, the ISS National Lab participated in an invite-only roundtable on the future of in-space chemistry.
In FY22, high-profile media coverage brought visibility to the many ways the ISS National Lab is leveraged to advance research and technology development. Examples include the following:
- The first archaeological experiment in space was covered in CNN, NPR, Smithsonian Magazine, PBS, and Scientific American.
- Colgate-Palmolive’s skin health investigation and the ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics were covered in Smithsonian Magazine, SyFy, Happi, MIT Tech Review, com, Space News, Glossy, and Cosmetics Business.
- ISS National Lab staff were interviewed for an article published by Agritecture on space-based agriculture.