The International Space Station is a powerful platform for technology development and demonstration. The ISS provides the only long-duration platform to test and validate technologies for satellites and other spacecraft, which is crucial in supporting the commercialization of low Earth orbit (LEO). The ISS also enables testing of materials and components for use in harsh conditions on Earth.
You can find out the latest results from technology development and demonstration research on the space station at the annual ISS Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC). ISSRDC is the place to go to hear thought leaders and subject matter experts discuss the latest R&D taking place in low Earth orbit!
Below are some examples of how the ISS can be used to advance technology development and demonstration:
- Testing and demonstration of new remote sensing technologies, such as hyperspectral and thermal sensors, with a wide range of applications—from atmospheric science research to coastline and ecosystem imaging as well as oil, gas, and mineral exploration
- Optimization of energy systems, such as testing of fuel cells and solar cells not possible on the ground
- Satellite and other spacecraft testing and demonstration, with the ISS serving as both a launch platform for small satellite testing and a long-duration platform for testing components in LEO
- Demonstration of advanced communications technologies, such as laser communications, which could enable both deep-space communication and expanded broadband on Earth
- Optimization of materials, electronics, and robotics for harsh environments—both in space and in harsh conditions on Earth
- Demonstration of in-orbit manufacturing systems for materials whose production can be improved in microgravity, such as optical fibers, as well as space-based additive manufacturing
Read more about ISS National Lab research in the areas of technology development and demonstration:
- Jumpstarting the CubeSat Revolution with Reliable Launch from the ISS
- The New Gold Rush: 3D Printing in Micro-G
- WetLab-2: Transforming the ISS Into a Living Laboratory
- MUSES Gives Users a Unique View of Earth
- Commercial Use of the ISS for Maritime Tracking: An Operational Evaluation
- Scientist Astronaut Leads Research in Space for Life on Earth