ISS National Lab Spotlight Newsletter

Welcome to Space Station Spotlight, a new 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 12th annual ISS Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) is set to kick off in Seattle, running July 31-August 3, 2023.

This year’s event includes a dynamic range of topics and speakers, providing an opportunity to network with the trailblazers in space-based R&D and learn how to take your research to new heights.

NG16 Launch Pad

Northrup Grumman’s 19th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission is scheduled to launch in early August.

The mission will include four investigations funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), along with several additional ISS National Lab-sponsored investigations. Among these payloads are biomedical investigations, research from companies to enhance their products, and projects to validate new capabilities for space-based research.

SpaceX Dragon

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft returned to Earth on June 30, bringing the SpaceX CRS-28 mission to an end.

See some of the ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads that returned on this mission in our SpaceX CRS-28 photo essay.

SpaceX 23 Falcon 9

The space station crew worked on multiple ISS National Lab-sponsored investigations this past month.

One of these investigations is the ring-sheared drop experiment from a team of researchers at Arizona State University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The project, which was funded by NSF, aims to understand fluid forces that can lead to protein aggregation (clustering) during drug development.

Partner News

In June, Redwire Space, an ISS National Lab Commercial Service Provider (CSP), was awarded a follow-on contract from Boeing to develop two additional Roll-Out Solar Arrays (iROSA) for the ISS. The iROSAs augment the space station’s power supply to support critical research and space operations. Redwire previously developed and delivered six iROSA wings, with the sixth installed by NASA astronauts on June 15.

Leidos, an ISS National Lab Implementation Partner, jumped to number 115 on Forbes’ sixth annual ranking of America’s Best Employers for Diversity, climbing 372 places from its previous spot.

ISS National Lab Commercial Service Provider BioServe Space Technologies launched a new facility called the BioServe Centrifuge, a mechanical device used to separate substances of differing densities (ranging from DNA to sedimentation samples) for use in several fields of research. Multiple forthcoming investigations will utilize the BioServe Centrifuge.

The ISS National Lab collaborated with Redwire, Microsoft, and Marvel Studios to promote an education outreach initiative inspired by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” Redwire will 3D print a Zune on station as part of the initiative, which will include accompanying STEM education materials.

LEO Market Update

While the economic backdrop remains a source of uncertainty, there are many developments in the space economy to be excited about. Read more in an investment perspective from ISS National Lab Director of Investment and Economic Analysis Sven Eenmaa.

iss external exp66

Funding Opportunities

ISS038 E 044889 (11 Feb. 2014) The Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (SSOD), in the grasp of the Kibo laboratory robotic arm, is photographed by an Expedition 38 crew member on the International Space Station as it deploys a set of NanoRacks CubeSats. The CubeSats program contains a variety of experiments such as Earth observations and advanced electronics testing.

An ISS National Lab research announcement for technology development leveraging the space station is open for concept submission. Through this research announcement, offerors may propose to use the unique ISS environment to develop, test, or mature products and processes that have a demonstrated potential to produce near-term and positive economic impact. Concept Summaries are due August 7, 2023. Learn more here.


The latest issue of Upward, official magazine of the ISS National Lab, delves into exciting results from space-based R&D. Download the issue here.

In this issue’s cover story, “Going Cool to Go Green,” learn how cool flames—which burn at temperatures much lower than traditional hot flames—could be the key to improving internal combustion engine efficiency and reducing the emission of harmful pollutants.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins working on the cool flames investigation preparation.

Workforce Development and STEM Education

Team Seagrass at Kennedy Space Center in November 2022, when they presented their experiment. From left to right: Maya Cohen, Enzo Cosio, Teya Brandes, Sadie Halvorsen, Caydin Brandes, Jersey Holeman, Naya Berman, and Peyton Pelletier

A student investigation from the Genes in Space program launched on SpaceX CRS-28. High school student Pristine Onuoha designed an experiment to measure the lengthening of telomeres (sections of DNA that protect the chromosomes from damage) in space. Telomeres typically shorten as we age but are known to lengthen during spaceflight and shrink back when astronauts return to Earth. Results could have implications for health care on Earth—read more here.

In two ISS360 articles, students from iLEAD Schools, a network of charter schools in California, discuss their plant science experiments that were done on station. One student team studied the germination of Yuca glauca seeds in space, and the other explored microgravity’s effects on the growth of seagrass. Read these student-authored articles to see how they prepared their research for space and the impact the experience had on them.

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