They always say that New York is the city that never sleeps, and after last week, outreach teams from the ISS National Lab and NASA can confirm that firsthand. As part of the NASA-developed “Destination Station,” team ISS descended upon tri-city area to promote awareness for the orbiting laboratory and discuss research opportunities with potential station users.
Over the past two years, Destination Station has emerged as a collaborative partnership between the ISS National Laboratory and NASA, and it has translated into a terrific business development tool for the ISS National Lab. Each Destination Station tour has been strategically coordinated between NASA and the ISS National Lab (Team ISS) with the intention to educate and ultimately secure flight projects destined for the ISS. To date, six flight projects have been manifested, by the ISS National Lab, through Destination Station events. This year, Destination Station has visited the Bay Area, a thriving hi-tech innovation hub and now New York, with future pit stops in Philadelphia and Boston to come.
Over the course of this past week, Destination Station held several industry day events throughout New York City. The industry days featured NASA astronauts Rex Walheim and Joe Acaba detailing their time in space, NASA’s Driven to Explore mobile exhibit, and active brainstorming sessions with R&D experts and the ISS National Lab and NASA personnel to discuss the benefits of space station research in a variety of focus areas.
Destination Station kicked off at BASF’s North American headquarters, which is just north of New York City. BASF is considered one of the leading chemical and materials companies in the world, and their team was eager to learn more about the space station, meet astronaut Rex Walheim and brainstorm ideas. In fact, BASF was so excited to learn about research in a microgravity environment, that they live streamed the event on the company interweb and had over 1,000 viewers!
After spending an entire day at BASF, Team ISS moved back into the city and spent Wednesday at New York’s Civic Hall, where the Destination Station group met with over 50 researchers and space enthusiasts ranging from entrepreneurs, to representatives from Microsoft and Google.
Thursday marked an incredibly busy day in the tri-state area, and boasted one of the largest attendances Destination Station has seen to date. Merck Research Laboratories in Kenilworth, NJ has conducted two investigations on the ISS, through the ISS National Lab and the Merck team was eager to host a Destination Station industry day. Merck invited nearly 400 employees to learn about the company’s research investigations conducted on the space station and to discuss how other research initiatives could be advanced by utilizing the ISS National Lab.
A key objective for the ISS National Lab is to sustain a pipeline of innovative users who are looking to build on their research via repeat flights to the space station. While a microgravity environment is unique, it might not always be capable of answering all of the scientist’s questions in a single investigation. As with research on the ground, sometimes there is the need to further evaluate and build on previous experiences through repeat experiments. While Merck has already leveraged the ISS National Lab, there is still much more that our collective teams felt was possible, which made this industry day an intriguing opportunity.
Courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of NASA
What trip to New York City wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the financial sector? After Merck, that is exactly where the Destination Station team headed, having the privilege to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange! the ISS National Lab executives joined NASA, Boeing, Orbital/ATK and SpaceX leadership in an effort to showcase the power of commercialization through low-Earth orbit.
Courtesy of NYSE/Valerie Caviness
Friday ultimately concluded the outreach as NASA, the ISS National Lab and astronaut Joe Acaba met with nearly 50 local legislative members and staffers to discuss the ISS, what has been done on station to date, and why the orbiting laboratory remains a critical innovative platform capable of enhancing life on Earth, and exploring new horizons.
Destination Station demonstrates a terrific partnership between NASA and the ISS National Lab. While our missions might be different, our ultimate goals remain the same: utilize the International Space Station with as much incredible research as possible, and educate those who can use this platform so they can be next in line. Joint outreach events like this will only further strengthen the collaboration between #TeamISS, and while the ISS National Lab continues to enhance its own brand image within the commercial sector, it can work with NASA, and its storied brand, to bring awareness for what is capable on our nation’s only orbiting laboratory.