KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), December 17, 2021 –When SpaceX’s 24th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) takes flight, it will include a new technology demonstration that will support future in-space production in low Earth orbit (LEO). Advancing in-space production applications is a top strategic priority for both NASA and the ISS National Laboratory. By supporting technology demonstrations that further in-space production applications, the ISS National Lab is enabling activities that could lead to sustainable business models in space that provide value to the nation.
Redwire Space, a leading space infrastructure company and ISS National Lab Commercial Service Provider, seeks to accelerate humanity’s expansion in space. Redwire is presently responsible for more than 25 space-based facilities, many of which reside on the ISS. On SpaceX CRS-24, the company will launch a new commercial in-space manufacturing device, the Turbine Superalloy Casting Module (TSCM). The TSCM allows manufacturing of single-piece turbine blisks (blade/disk combination) for turbine engines. Through this technology demonstration, Redwire will test the hypothesis that polycrystalline superalloy parts thermally processed in microgravity have improved microstructure and mechanical properties than those processed on Earth. If successful, the test could show that the superior parts produced in microgravity could improve the performance of turbine engines in industries such as aerospace and power generation. This could open pathways toward space-based production of valuable new commercial products.
Additionally, Redwire recently acquired Techshot, a leader in the development and operation of space biotechnology facilities and also an ISS National Lab Commercial Service Provider. On SpaceX CRS-24, Techshot will support its first investigation since the public announcement of the acquisition. This investigation, from a team of researchers at Clemson University, aims to examine gene expression patterns in cotton plant tissue cultures exposed to spaceflight to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in plant regeneration. A better understanding of plant regeneration could improve plant breeding and seed production for designer cotton varieties that are able to grow in suboptimal conditions and that have improved fiber characteristics.
“The ISS has been an invaluable platform for Redwire to advance new capabilities and support LEO commercialization,” said Andrew Rush, COO and president of Redwire. “The wide range of Redwire science launching on this mission will continue to leverage the ISS to harness unprecedented scientific discovery to build demand for products and services in LEO, improve life on Earth, and advance humanity’s presence in space.”
SpaceX CRS-24 is targeted for launch from Kennedy Space Center no earlier than December 21 at 5:06 a.m. EST. This mission will include more than 15 ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads. To learn more about all ISS National Lab-sponsored research on SpaceX CRS-24, please visit our mission launch page.
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Lab allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) manages the ISS National Lab, under cooperative agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit www.ISSNationalLab.org.
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