In FY23, the ISS National Lab achieved significant success in reaching broader, more diverse audiences through strategic efforts to increase website traffic, social media engagement, and media coverage. The ISS National Lab engaged stakeholders through a variety of high-quality content, including press releases, Upward (official magazine of the ISS National Lab), ISS360 articles, and a new monthly newsletter, Space Station Spotlight. The newsletter was developed to serve as a hub for the space community to stay informed about ISS National Lab activities, funding opportunities, R&D on station, successful results, Implementation Partner news, the state of the industry, and workforce development efforts.
This year, the ISS National Lab revitalized Upward, releasing three new issues showcasing results that demonstrate how investments in space-based R&D translate into groundbreaking discoveries with real-world applications. This results-driven digital storytelling coupled with marketing campaigns to ensure the magazine reaches its target audience led to nearly 50,000 online page views, more than 18,000 downloads of Upward content, and nearly 4,000 new subscribers.
Marketing campaigns and other strategic efforts to expand awareness of ISS National Lab activities also led to an 11 percent increase in ISS National Lab social media followers from FY22, with more than 593,000 followers across all social media platforms.
In FY23, a significant expansion of public relations efforts and targeted press releases resulted in more than 17,000 media pickups, a 475-percent increase over last year. High-profile media coverage highlighted how researchers are leveraging the ISS National Lab to advance R&D in ways not possible on Earth. Examples include the following:
- An article published by the Wall Street Journal that discussed how biomedical research in space is helping patients on Earth was featured in the journal’s health section.
- An ISS National Lab Axiom Mission 2 video featuring astronauts Peggy Whitson and John Shoffner that explored the importance of making space accessible for private citizens led to coverage in Gizmodo and Yahoo, among several other media outlets.
- ISS National Lab public relations outreach on CRS launches earned media coverage in the Boston Business Journal, United Press International, Atlanta News First, 7News WHDH Boston, Cardiac Vascular News, Fierce Biotech, R&D World, and many others.
- An ISS National Lab collaboration with Redwire, Microsoft, and Marvel Studios to promote an education outreach initiative inspired by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” resulted in national media coverage, including Gizmodo and Fast Company
This year marked the 12th annual ISS Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC), held July 31-August 3 in Seattle. The conference, hosted by CASIS, NASA, and the American Astronautical Society (AAS), was attended by nearly 900 people, including new conference sponsors and exhibit hall participants. With the theme “Innovating in the New Space Age: Accelerating Commercialization and Science in Space Through 2030,” ISSRDC 2023 included several notable sessions. A panel session on the future of R&D in LEO discussed national strategy and policy objectives to successfully transition from the ISS to CLDs of the future. In a keynote address, Susan Margulies, who leads NSF’s Directorate for Engineering, spoke about the value of fundamental research in space and discussed examples of NSF-funded investigations leveraging the ISS National Lab. The conference also featured science communicator Maynard Okereke, known as the Hip Hop M.D., who moderated a panel discussion on the future space workforce and how to fill gaps in the industry.
“This year, Privateer proudly announced a data and information sharing partnership with the ISS National Lab, expanding Wayfinder’s reach as a tracking and information tool. Working with the ISS National Lab and its target audiences furthers our goal of keeping space safe and sustainable for both satellites and humans—and making it more accessible to problem-solvers everywhere.”
– Alex Fielding, CEO of Privateer Space
During the conference, the ISS National Lab announced a partnership with Privateer Space to host a white label version of the company’s Wayfinder tool on the ISS National Lab website. Wayfinder provides real-time data and visualization of satellites and space debris in Earth’s orbit, making space traffic information more readily available to ISS National Lab users and the expanding LEO economy.
ISS National Lab representatives participated in more than 40 speaking engagements to highlight the valuable R&D platform available through the orbiting laboratory and increase awareness of research funding opportunities.
Examples of FY23 key speaking engagements include the following:
- ISS National Lab Chief Scientific Officer Michael Roberts led a panel session at the 2022 American Society for Gravitational and Space Research (ASGSR) Annual Meeting discussing the current role of the ISS National Lab and the transition from the ISS to future CLDs.
- The ISS National Lab co-organized a symposium on materials testing in space at the Materials Research Society’s Spring Meeting with NASA, JAXA, and Aegis Aerospace.
- The ISS National Lab organized and sponsored a workshop on stem cells in space at the International Society for Stem Cell Research Conference.
- ISS National Lab staff participated in several workshops funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing USA Technology Roadmap Program, including a workshop on in-space manufacturing of semiconductors and a series of workshops on in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing.
- The ISS National Lab and NASA hosted a live downlink at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the largest technology conference in the world. ISS National Lab staff also facilitated a panel session moderated by CNN’s Jackie Wattles, including Commercial Service Provider Redwire and ISS National Lab user Procter & Gamble.
- ISS National Lab staff presented at several key industry conferences, including the 38th annual Space Symposium, ASCEND, SelectBio’s Space Summit, the Biomanufacturing World Summit, the World Stem Cell Summit, the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo, the National Academies Space Science Week 2023, the 2023 International Conference on Biofabrication, and the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference.