It’s difficult to approach each day as “business as usual” when most of the country—the whole world, really—has been altered by COVID-19. As we all strive to social distance and flatten the curve, International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory Implementation Partners also recognize an opportunity to come together to give back.
A famous quote from beloved children’s public television show host Mr. Rogers comes to mind:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” – Fred Rogers
Help comes in many forms, and several ISS National Lab Implementation Partners are using their skills, facilities, and knowledge to provide aid during this global health crisis.
Made In Space, the first company to 3D print in space and the operator of the Additive Manufacturing Facility on the ISS, is using its facilities and resources to 3D print face shields as personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Made In Space also developed a rapid response ventilator adaptor that allows multiple patients to safely use a single ventilator, helping to address the critical shortage of ventillators for COVID-19 patients.
Tec-Masters, Inc., the company that developed the original Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) furnace for the ISS in 2002 as well as the refurbrished SUBSA currently onboard the ISS, is also contributing much-needed PPE. Tec-Masters shifted its 3D printing efforts from the development of prototype hardware and low-quantity custom components to the production of face shields to protect healthcare workers and first responders from exposure to COVID-19.
The Boeing Company, which supports the MassChallenge “Technology in Space Prize” and the Genes in Space student research competition, used one of their Dreamlifter aircraft to bring PPE to the United States from Hong Kong. Boeing helped to transport 1.5 million medical-grade face masks for healthcare professionals in South Carolina.
Teledyne Brown Engineering, the company that developed the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) Earth observation platform on the ISS, is helping to keep students engaged and learning during the crisis. Teledyne Brown culled through their educational materials to provide fun STEAM learning activities that students can do at home.
Life here on Earth may be quite different from how it was just a few months ago, but one thing is clear: Action that benefits life on Earth is still the goal.
If your space company has been involved in helping out during the COVID-19 pandemic—or you know of other space-related success stories in combating infectious disease—please let us know at media@ISSNationalLab.org. We might be able to work with you!