KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (January 10, 2015) – The most recent series of payloads sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the ISS National Lab) were successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX) Dragon capsule. The ISS National Lab is tasked with managing and promoting research onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory.
Research onboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule includes a range of experiments sponsored by the ISS National Lab from the life sciences and education fields. Below is an overview of the major payloads sponsored by the ISS National Lab:
Dr. Mahendra Jain, Kentucky Space
Dr. Mahendra Jain, principal investigator for Kentucky Space, has proposed an experiment to study regeneration in planarians, which are flatworms capable of rebuilding body organs and nervous systems after damage. In partnership with Dr. Michael Levin of Tufts University, Dr. Jain will examine the effects of the space environment on these enhanced healing abilities. Gravity, and the lack thereof, influences the way cells behave and their ability to rebuild tissue. Studying planarians in space may reveal new aspects of how cells rebuild tissue, which could lead to breakthroughs in medical treatments for humans. For example, regenerative medicine has the potential to treat conditions like Parkinson’s, heart disease, or lost limbs.
T-Cell Activation in Aging
Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford, San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, NCIRE
Recently it has been discovered that there is altered miRNA expression in spaceflight and Dr. Hughes-Fulford and team hypothesize that altered miRNAs expression may provide new pharmaceutical targets for treatment of immune disease. Their goal is to elucidate the molecular basis of suppression of T-cell activation in microgravity, including identification of regulatory miRNA expression (with gene targets) which cause immunosuppression in astronauts and the elderly. This is a project also funded by both the National Institutes of Health and NASA.
Additionally, the ISS National Lab is a national sponsor of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program and is directly responsible for funding nine of the student payloads. Many of these payloads were originally lost on the Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket, which suffered an anomaly during launch in October.
“Congratulations to our launch partner, SpaceX, on a successful launch to the ISS,” said the ISS National Lab Director of Operations and Education Ken Shields. “The research sent to the station today outlines the role and responsibility of the ISS National Lab to send impactful research capable of benefitting life on Earth, as well as providing access to student researchers and fostering a new era of scientists and engineers.”
For additional information on the research sent to the ISS National Laboratory on the SpaceX Dragon capsule, please visit this video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_y7w-vhLng&feature=youtu.be
To learn more about the ISS National Lab and its role in managing the ISS National Laboratory, visit www.issnationallab.org
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About the ISS National Lab: The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the ISS National Lab) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. the ISS National Lab is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. For more information, visit www.issnationallab.org.
About the ISS National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the International Space Station as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing STEM education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by other U.S. government agencies and by academic and private institutions, providing access to the permanent microgravity setting, vantage point in low Earth orbit, and varied environments of space.
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