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?

SpaceX CRS 28 at Launch Complex 39A at the NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 5, 2023

The ISS National Lab held its first prelaunch science briefing.

Broadcast over Zoom, the briefing connected members of the media with ISS National Lab researchers to learn more about the exciting investigations launching on SpaceX CRS-29.

spx29 ucsb gaucho lung patch wide

What can mucus-like fluids in microgravity teach us about drug delivery?

Researchers from UC Santa Barbara are conducting an ISS National Lab-sponsored investigation using gel-coated tubes to study how mucus in the lungs affects the transportation of medication.

Liver regeneration to the rescue

Liver regeneration to the rescue!

Building on previous research, researchers at UC San Francisco are leveraging the ISS National Lab to study how microgravity affects the regenerative properties of stem cell-derived liver cells. Results will shed light on the mechanisms behind the decline of liver regeneration in the elderly.

This image shows projections of neurons (yellow) and astrocytes (blue) from human brain organoids.

Scientists seek to unlock secrets of the aging brain.

A research team from UC San Diego is studying microgravity’s effects on stem-cell derived brain organoids to better understand how cognitive decline happens in the human brain. Results from this ISS National Lab-sponsored research could provide insight on the mechanisms behind neurological conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Partner News

Redwire Space launched a new pharmaceutical manufacturing platform. The Pharmaceutical In-space Laboratory (PIL) Bio-crystal Optimization eXperiment (BOX) aims to crystallize small organic molecules in microgravity. Essentially a “lab-in-a-box,” the facility will enable pharmaceutical companies and researchers to grow small-batch crystals for protein-based pharmaceuticals to treat a wide range of conditions.

Sierra Space shows its Tenacity. The Colorado-based company revealed that its first shuttle-like Dream Chaser space plane, called Tenacity, is ready for testing. The space plane is set to take its first flight sometime in 2024.

Funding Opportunities

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, Expedition 40 flight engineer.

NSF funds solicitations for research leveraging the ISS National Lab. Two research opportunities opened this month seeking proposals to conduct fundamental science investigations on the space station:

  • Transport Phenomena: NSF will provide up to $3.6 million for projects that seek to study fluid dynamics, particulate and multiphase processes, thermal transport processes, combustion and fire systems, and nanoscale interactions in space. Interested investigators must submit a Feasibility Review Form by January 10, 2024. See the full details here.
  • Tissue Engineering in Space: NSF will provide up to $1.6 million in funding for projects seeking to utilize the ISS to advance tissue engineering. Interested investigators must submit a Feasibility Review Form for consideration by January 15, 2024. Visit our solicitation page to learn more.


The latest issue of Upward, official magazine of the ISS National Lab, is online. Delve into exciting results from space-based R&D—download the current issue and past issues here.

Read the Upward feature “A Small Drop With a Big Impact to see how studying spherical drops of liquid protein in microgravity could lead to valuable improvements in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Published paper showcases a potential new osteoporosis treatment. A new paper published in npj Microgravity details results from ISS National Lab-sponsored research conducted by UCLA. Find out how the team’s space-based R&D helped demonstrate the effectiveness of a new osteoporosis therapeutic in preventing bone loss.

ESA astronaut Lt. Samantha Cristoforetti installing the Ring Sheared Drop system.

Workforce Development and STEM Education

‘Bacteria Boys’ From Brevard County Middle School Launch Their Experiment to Spaceteam

STARWard STEM helps students reach for the stars. RTI and Nanoracks helped facilitate student-designed research investigations that launched to station. Dozens of students gathered at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to present their research flying on SpaceX CRS-29.

“Bacteria Boys” launch research to space. A group of students from Pinecrest Academy Space Coast launched an investigation on SpaceX CRS-29 that will test whether a component in horseshoe crab blood can be used to detect bacterial contamination in space.

Make a Stellar Impact With a Donation to the ISS National Lab

Want to make an impact and support science in space for the benefit of humanity? Click here to donate online, make a gift of crypto or stock, or contribute through your donor-advised fund.

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