The 2017 ISS Research and Development Conference brought together a record-breaking number of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, commercial developers, and investors—many of them new to space—who are interested in using the ISS and its unique research capabilities.
Several featured attendees spoke to the more than 1,000 conference participants about cutting-edge science and space exploration. Elon Musk, known for his companies SpaceX, Tesla, and the Boring Company, outlined his plans to increase the number of reusable rocket components, his hopes for interesting new destinations for the first SpaceX manned craft, and his thoughts on artificial intelligence. Kate Rubins, NASA astronaut and molecular biologist, talked about the extraordinary science conducted during her first spaceflight (completed in 2016 on Expedition 48/49) and discussed ISS opportunities available to current and future users. Robert Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace, used the ISSR&D conference platform to talk about his vision for the future, the construction of a commercial stand-alone space station (the B330), and the importance of lunar exploration.
Additionally, technical paper sessions provided researchers with opportunities to share their latest findings with their peers. Session discussions covered biomedical research, ISS technology and facilities, new education platforms and initiatives, commercial opportunities on the ISS, and other diverse topics.
The ISS National Lab also announced several new collaborations with widely recognized companies and foundations: Target Corporation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation are embracing space as an arena for solving big challenges (cotton sustainability and Parkinson’s disease treatment, respectively). In another nontraditional collaboration, ISS National Lab service provider, Techshot, Inc., announced an initiative with Tupperware Brands Corp. to improve the design of containers used to grow plants on the ISS.
This year’s conference confirms that low Earth orbit is a destination within reach for research and innovation that can accelerate exploration in space and discovery on Earth, and next year’s conference will continue to offer unique opportunities for collaboration on space-based R&D to users across the commercial, government, academia, and private research communities.
SAVE THE DATE for ISSR&D 2018:
July 23–26, 2018, in San Francisco, California.