Space Station Spotlight Newsletter

Welcome to Space Station Spotlight, a monthly newsletter from the ISS National Laboratory. Here’s where you can find all the latest R&D happenings on the space station, see what our partners are up to, and learn how you can elevate your research to new heights by leveraging the unique space environment.

What's new at the ISS National Lab?

The ISS pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around following its undocking on Nov. 8, 2021.

Two startups were awarded the Technology in Space prize.

Symphony Bio and FluxWorks were collectively awarded more than $630,000 in funding to harness the microgravity environment of the space station to further their research and technology development efforts.
GITAI's S2 robotic arm system

A pair of robotic arms heads to space.

In partnership with Nanoracks, a part of Voyager Space’s Exploration segment, space robotic startup GITAI aims to evaluate how well a pair of robotic arms can operate in microgravity.

Partner News

Axiom Space’s latest crew of astronauts returned to Earth. Four private citizens returned to Earth following 22 days in space. Michael López-Alegría (U.S./Spain), Walter Villadei (Italy), Alper Gezeravci (Türkiye), and Marcus Wandt (Sweden) performed more than 30 research experiments while on the ISS.

NASA’s newest robot surgeon gets to work. Launched on NG-20, NASA’s spaceMIRA robotic surgeon successfully simulated surgical procedures in space. The small robot practiced on rubber bands, which simulated human tissue.

LEO Market Update

The SmallSat Symposium offered investment insights. The recent symposium was a source of valuable conversations and industry updates. Read more on the most recent activities and market outlook in the small satellite sector.

The ISS is pictured from inside a window aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony modules space facing port on Nov. 8, 2021. Date Created: 2021 11 08

Funding Opportunities

Space Station Ambassador and educator, Laura Tomlin participating in a reduced gravity flight as part of the Embedded Teachers Program

The ISS National Lab seeks proposals that leverage the space station for education and workforce development. The ISS National Lab announced a new research opportunity for projects aiming to prepare the next generation of space industry leaders. Concept summaries will be accepted until April 24, 2024. Learn more here.

Results

A Flawless Photonics experiment aims to improve optical fiber manufacturing. The company launched an investigation  to validate its own method for manufacturing various glass materials, like ZBLAN optical fiber, in space. Preliminary results indicate that Flawless Photonics has surpassed previous records for continuous fiber draws in space. The fiber will be returned to Earth for analysis.
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, heads to the ISS for the 20th Northrop Grumman resupply mission on Jan. 30, 2024.

STEM and Workforce Development

Isabel Jiang is the 2023 winner of the Genes in Space competition.

The ISS National Lab highlighted women in STEM. Two new Q&A articles provide a behind-the-scenes look at research in space. First, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins detailed what it was like watching heart cells beat in space. Next, Isabel Jiang, the 2023 winner of the Genes in Space™ student research competition, discussed what it’s like to design an experiment to fly to the ISS.

Ham radio celebrates 40 years in space. Ham radio has a storied history in space, dating back to the shuttle program. Its use continues on the ISS, with astronauts making 60 to 100 contacts each year with students across the globe through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. The program celebrated its 40th anniversary at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Feb. 22.

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