KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), October 26, 2020 – When Northrop Grumman launched its Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on October 2, 2020, it was loaded with a multitude of research and technology development investigations to be carried out onboard the orbiting laboratory. Once Cygnus berthed with the space station three days later and its contents were unloaded by the astronauts onboard, it was time to start performing some of the science that flew on Northrop Grumman’s 14th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission.
Before returning to Earth last week from his months-long stay on station, NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy was heavily involved in many of the the investigations sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory on this mission. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who recently arrived on station, is also contributing to multiple ISS National Lab–sponsored investigations that launched on Northrop Grumman CRS-14.
One of the investigations that was performed over the past few weeks and is now complete is a project from startup company Kernal Biologics. The company sought to use microgravity to test candidate messenger RNA molecules to identify which molecules are best able to aid in the identification of cancerous human cells among healthy ones. The results of this project may help in the development of new medications to treat leukemia. Kernal Biologics, a Boeing “Technology In Space Prize” winner, recently announced that the company will be receiving additional capital investment funding for future research and development.
Rhodium Scientific, an ISS National Lab Implementation Partner, is supporting multiple investigations currently being performed on the ISS. One of these projects, in collaboration with researchers from Cornell University and multiple biotech companies, aims to examine how the space environment affects fungal-microbial dynamics impacting soil physical structure and stability to improve agricultural health and food production in space and on Earth. Another project, in collaboration with Clemson University with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, seeks to determine whether exposure to microgravity can provide advantages in bioengineered systems for the production of beneficial chemical products.
The ISS National Lab is supporting a variety of technology development payloads on this mission that seek to advance important new technologies and enhance ISS capabilities for future researchers. Last week, crew members began work on a project from Rhodium Scientific, in collaboration with iButtonLink, to validate the Rhodium Science TempLog-20iB, a miniature flight-certified device providing industry-standard temperature monitoring that will be made available for use by the life sciences research community. In addition, ISS National Lab Implementation Partner Made In Space launched its fifth ISS facility for validation on this mission: a ceramic manufacturing facility for commercial use to produce turbine components with improved performance for use in the aerospace industry.
These investigations are just a few of the payloads sponsored by the ISS National Lab that launched on Northrop Grumman CRS-14. To learn more about all of the ISS National Lab–sponsored payloads on this mission, please visit the ISS National Lab Northrop Grumman CRS-14 mission overview page.
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Lab manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is the non-profit responsible for management of the ISS National Lab.
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