Advancing Research Knowledge 1 (ARK-1) marks the initial increments of the ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads being sent to the International Space Station. The projects launching during ARK-1 represent a significant milestone in microgravity research and space news in general. To date, the ISS National Lab has launched 3 payloads consisting of student experiments developed through our partnership with the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
Historically, space station research has been facilitated by NASA. The inception of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory and the development of a strategic research and development portfolio and partnerships have positioned the ISS National Lab to judiciously manage the National Lab, with the primary focus of facilitating and promoting space station research.
ARK-1 signifies the progress the ISS National Lab has achieved in just two years. Our organization has fastidiously worked to identify research pathways that will yield beneficial outcomes for Earth-based applications. In addition, our Operations team has diligently worked with NASA to create an infrastructure that can accommodate an expanding pipeline of the ISS National Lab flight projects. We have executed numerous preliminary steps to ensure that our model will maximize National Lab utilization. And with next week’s Orbital Sciences Cygnus launch, we take the next step toward realizing these utilization goals.
On December 18, 2013, the ISS National Lab will send 4 additional payloads via Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus vehicle. These payloads are detailed below.
Story Time from Space
Story Time from Space is an advocacy STEM project that combines STEM literacy with simple science demonstrations. The project includes videotapes of astronauts reading selected stories from the cupola of the ISS and conducting simple physics demonstrations that complement the STEM concepts in the books. As part of the project, award-winning author Dr. Jeffrey Bennett and Astronaut Alvin Drew have written a children’s book based on the ISS, Max Goes to the Space Station.
Ants in Space
This STEM-based research project will study foraging behavior of ants. Students will conduct ground-based experiments and compare results to those from the spaceflight experiment. The experiment is accompanied by standards-based curriculum for teachers to utilize in the classroom.
Binary Colloidal Alloy Test – Low Gravity Phase Kinetics
The BCAT-KP module will provide a platform for material and industrial scientists to investigate colloid phase changes, in solid/liquid mixtures, to help develop new colloidal materials and formulations with unique properties. These properties will provide new applications from new liquid crystals to consumer goods having longer shelf life and uses. Examples of colloids are detergent/fabric softener to milk.
Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space-1 (AES-1)
Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space-1 (AES-1) investigates the decreased effectiveness of antibiotics during exposure to microgravity environment. Drug-resistant bacteria cause 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths in the US every year, and ISS research may reveal the molecular mechanisms involved in resistance and susceptibility.
Every payload that is sent to the space station is an opportunity. For ARK-1 it is an opportunity to expand the walls of the classroom to the stars above. Students don’t have to just read about the ISS anymore; they can send their own research to space! It is also an opportunity to improve life on Earth. Researchers have multiple avenues to conduct microgravity research via the the ISS National Lab model. ARK-1 is the first milestone of a new paradigm for microgravity research. The ISS National Lab has unlocked the door of opportunity and is launching spaceflight research into the new age.
For more information on ARK-1 visit: ark1.issnationallab.org.