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International Space Life Science
Working Group
Space Life Sciences
Flight Experiments Information Package
A Companion Document to
Agency Solicitations in Space Life Science
Table of Contents
Introduction ..........................................................................................................................3
1.0 Anticipated Flight Opportunities for Space Life Sciences ...........................................5
Flight Experiments .......................................................................................6
Pre- and Post-mission Studies ......................................................................8
Transportation ..............................................................................................8
Difficult Experimental Requirements to Implement on the ISS ..................8
International Teams ...................................................................................10
2.0 Flight Research Capabilities .......................................................................................10
Research Involving Human Subjects .........................................................10
Research Involving Nonhuman Subjects (Biology and Exobiology) ........25
3.0 General Support Capabilities .....................................................................................74
Temperature-Controlled Storage ...............................................................74
Chemical Fixation ......................................................................................76
Mass Measurement ....................................................................................76
Computers ..................................................................................................76
Radiation Monitoring .................................................................................77
Video Imaging ...........................................................................................78
Centrifuges .................................................................................................78
Gloveboxes and Specimen Manipulation ..................................................78
Microscopes ...............................................................................................81
4.0 Flight Proposal Evaluation Process ............................................................................83
Scientific Merit Review .............................................................................83
Flight Feasibility Review ...........................................................................84
Evaluation of Programmatic Relevance and Cost .....................................85
Recommendation for Selection for Further Definition ..............................86
Flight Experiment Implementation ............................................................86
5.0 International Application Forms and Instructions for Proposal Preparation ..............89
Notice of Intent ..........................................................................................89
General Instructions for Proposal Preparation ...........................................90
Online Submissions Forms ........................................................................92
Project Description.....................................................................................92
Management Approach ..............................................................................93
Personnel/Biographical Sketches ...............................................................93
Special Matters...........................................................................................93
Letters of Collaboration .............................................................................93
5.10 Space Flight Experiment Requirements Summary ....................................94
Form: Flight Experiment Requirements Summary ............................................................95
Table 1.
Table 2.
Table 3.
Table 4.
Table 5.
Table 6.
Table 7.
Table 8.
Table 9.
Hardware Available to Support Human Subject Research ........................23
Hardware Available to Support Biology & Exobiology Research ............71
Hardware Available for Temperature-Controlled Storage ........................75
Hardware Available for Chemical Fixation ...............................................76
Hardware Available to Measure Mass .......................................................76
Radiation Monitoring Tools .......................................................................77
Video Imaging ...........................................................................................78
Centrifuges .................................................................................................78
Gloveboxes and Specimen Manipulation ..................................................81
Experiment Implementation and Selection Process Figures
Flight Experiment Implementation Flow .....................................................7
Experiment Definition and Selection for Flight Process ...........................88
This supplement is a companion to the 2014 research solicitations released by agency members
of the International Space Life Sciences Working Group (ISLSWG): the Italian Agenzia Spaziale
Italiana (ASI), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), France’s Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
(CNES), Germany’s Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR), the European Space
Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the United States’
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The various sections of this
supplement provide a common basis for proposal preparation and submission by any eligible
scientist, regardless of the country of origin.
Interested persons who do not have a copy of the appropriate agency research solicitation should
contact one of the following persons for more information.
Italian Space Agency (ASI)
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Mr. Salvatore Pignataro
Italian Space Agency
Microgravity Office
Via del Politecnico s.n.c.
00133 Rome
Phone: +39.(06) 8567.310
Fax: + 39. (06) 8567.
[email protected]
Dr. Perry Johnson-Green
Canadian Space Agency
6767 Route de l’aeroport
St-Hubert, QC, J3Y 8Y9
Phone: (450) 926-4780
Fax: (450) 926-4766
[email protected]
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und
Raumfahrt (DLR)
Dr. Guillemette Gauquelin-Koch
2 place Maurice-Quentin
75001 Paris
Dr. Günter Ruyters
Life and Microgravity Sciences Program
Koenigswinterer Str. 522
Postfach 300364
53183 Bonn
Phone: 49-228-447-214
Fax: 49-228-447-739
[email protected]
Phone: +33 (0)1 44 76 78 87
[email protected]
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
For ESA Biology and Exobiology
Ms. Sayaka Umemura
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
Tsukuba Space Center
Sengen, 2-1-1
Tsukuba –City
Ibaraki 305-8505
Phone: 81-50-3362-2150
Fax: 81-298-68-3950
[email protected]
Dr Jason Hatton
European Space Agency ESTEC (HSOUSB)
Keplerlaan 1
2200AG Noordwijk
The Netherlands
[email protected]
For ESA Human Physiology
Jennifer Ngo-Anh, MD, Ph.D
Head of the Human Physiology
UnitDirectorate of Human Spaceflight and
Operations (HSO-USH)
European Space Agency
P.O. Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk
The Netherlands
phone: +31 (0) 71 565 8609
fax: +31 (0) 71 565 3661
[email protected]
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA)
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration (NASA)
Dr. David Tomko (Space Biology)
Space Life and Physical Science Division
Human Exploration and Operations Mission
NASA Headquarters
300 E Street SW
Washington, DC 20546
Phone (Tomko): 202-358-2211
Fax: 202-358-3091
[email protected]
Mark J. Shelhamer, Sc.D.
Chief Scientist
Human Research Program
NASA Johnson Space Center
Mail Code SA2
Houston, TX 77058
Telephone: 281-244-7330
Fax: 281-483-6089
[email protected]
Individuals submitting responses to agency solicitations should follow the directions in the
appropriate agency solicitation. In general, a Notice of Intent (NOI) to propose, or Step-1
Proposal for NASA, is requested by March 28, 2014, and the final proposal submission deadline
for the International Life Sciences Research Announcement 2014 is May 23, 2014. For JAXA,
NOIs are requested by March 26, 2014 and final proposals by May 9, 2014. Please see available
links to the appropriate agency solicitation for specific directions concerning NOI and proposal
submission at or contact the appropriate representative as listed
Anticipated Flight Opportunities for Space Life Sciences
The International Space Station (ISS) US Operating Segment (USOS) assembly is complete with
emphasis on the full utilization of the ISS platform. As a result a wide range of facilities and
equipment are available with as many as 6-7 crew members (up to four USOS and three Russian
crew) operating the ISS. Nevertheless, resources such as crew time, electrical power, and
refrigeration/freezing remain limited. Furthermore, transport of experiment related samples
and/or hardware to and from the station will be accommodated using a fleet of vehicles with
finite transport capacity. It is anticipated that transportation of the crew to and from the ISS will
be via the Russian Soyuz vehicle until NASA’s Commercial Crew capability becomes available.
Flight experiment opportunities are limited and constrained in a number of ways.
Proposals that require resources beyond the capabilities described in this document should
not be submitted.
Flight experiment proposals must represent mature studies strongly anchored in previous or
current ground-based or flight research. Ground-based research may, and usually must, represent
one component of a flight experiment proposal. For a flight experiment proposal, ground-based
research should be limited to activities that are essential for the final development of an
experiment for flight, such as definition of flight procedures, testing of experiment hardware and
control activities for the flight experiment. In this case, only one (flight) proposal needs to be
Flight experiment proposals must clearly define the actual experiment duration and all
requirements and conditions required to successfully complete the experiment. The investigator
should allow for flexibility in the selection of the best hardware to be used to accomplish the
experimental goals. Descriptions and websites of the functional capabilities of hardware
available to support human and nonhuman (biology) experiments are included in Sections 2 and
3 of this document. This information should be used to develop an understanding of the available
capabilities. Investigators should use this information as a guide for developing experiment
requirements and procedures rather than selecting specific hardware items.
Some experiment proposal requirements may result in the need to develop specialized
experiment-unique equipment (EUE) to work in conjunction with the facilities and functional
capabilities of existing hardware. Development of (EUE) will require additional funding, and
individual agencies will factor this into their overall assessment of the feasibility of a proposal.
Design, construction, and flight of major EUE hardware items or facilities usually require the
commitment of large quantities of resources (power, crew time, volume). In the event that such
items are proposed, they should be clearly identified.
Flight experiment definition and development generally require one to three years. It is
anticipated that flight assignments for experiments selected will occur no earlier than 2016/2017
with planning for the flight experiment occurring in 2015.
It is expected that the experiments selected from proposals in response to this announcement will
mainly be performed on the ISS. Pre- and post-mission studies that involve tests of the astronaut
crew before launch and upon return from their space flight may also be submitted (see Section
1.2 and 1.3 for specific constraints on pre- and post-flight astronaut participation).
Flight Experiments
Research activities will be accomplished during ISS operational increments when the ISS crew
will act as experiment operators and, if necessary, as subjects. The duration of microgravity
exposure can, in theory, be indefinite, with periodic disturbances at intervals caused by U.S.,
Russian, European and Japanese transportation vehicle docking activities, re-boosting, and some
crew activities (e.g. exercise). Flight experiment durations depend on the schedule of launch and
return of transport vehicles to/from the ISS. In principle there is no firm upper limit for the
maximum duration of an experiment, since ISS is planned to continue to operate continuously at
least until 2020.
The primary opportunities to transport scientific equipment, supplies, and samples will be on
HTV, Orbital and SpaceX vehicles for launch and on SpaceX for return from ISS. The transport
frequency, power during transport, conditioned temperature stowage and mass of transported
items are constrained. In addition there may be very limited opportunities for launch and return
on Russian transport vehicles (Soyuz and Progress). Refrigerated and frozen transport of samples
on Soyuz is not available. There is a minimum delay between handing over an experiment for
launch and either starting or storing an experiment onboard ISS, since transfer vehicles must
travel to and dock at the ISS (see Figure 1 below). This handover-transportation period typically
varies between several hours and several weeks depending on the characteristics of the transport
vehicle and operational constraints. The requirements necessary to preserve the integrity of an
experiment during these storage periods shall be described on the Space Flight Experiment
Requirements Summary).
If sample return to Earth is required, it needs to be scheduled with a return vehicle. Depending
upon the duration of the active phase of the experiment, storage of samples for several months
must be possible due to the limited frequency and capability of return vehicles. The currently
foreseen schedule for SpaceX Dragon missions is approximately one every three to four months.
Dragon vehicles are berthed to ISS typically for only 2-4 weeks. While it may be possible to
perform some investigations entirely during the docked phase of a Dragon, potentially permitting
upload & download on the same vehicle, there are often significant limitations on available
resources such as crew time and scheduling of activities during the docked phase. The currently
foreseen schedule of Soyuz rotations (subject to change) is 2 and 4 month increments – i.e. the
minimum period between upload on Soyuz and download on a Soyuz is between 2-4 months.
Therefore, experiments should be designed to survive a minimum of several months inflight.
Detailed consideration should be given to both active and passive phases of the proposed
experiment (e.g., reagent and specimen storage time and conditions) in order to define
adequately the experiment requirements, procedures, and flexibility. Proposers need to
understand that they won't be getting their samples back in a matter of hours after landing, and
that the current capability does not include live animal return.
The availability of the crew for specifically timed science operations and as subjects of research
is also constrained. On average, a total of approximately 70 crew hours per week will be
available for all research, of which 50% is allocated to the Russian segment. A subset of this
crew time will be available to support life sciences research. However, ISS crewmembers have
indicated an interest in science tasks that can be performed on a time-available basis and
proposers are strongly encouraged to identify objectives that can be achieved in this manner.
Estimates of crew time required to complete the experiment must include the time required for
crewmembers to both operate an experiment and serve as subjects. Moreover, crew time for data
collection after flight is extremely limited and consideration of current exercise countermeasure
protocols is strongly recommended (see Section 2.1.3). There is no assurance that all
crewmembers will agree to participate as subjects in experiments. See section 2.1 for more
information regarding the use of crewmembers as subjects and the assumptions to be made in
planning these types of experiments.
Pre- and Post-mission Studies with astronauts as subjects
Opportunities will be available to perform experiments, collect samples, and take physiological
measurements of the astronaut crew both before their space mission and following their return to
Earth. Such proposals are considered flight experiments and should specify the desired activities,
and the timeframe in which these activities must be performed prior to and following the
mission. There is no assurance that all crewmembers will agree to participate as subjects in
experiments. Access to the crew immediately before and upon return is extremely limited
(availability of astronauts for research tests on the day of return to Earth, or the day after, may be
as little as one hour per day total. See Section 1.4).
Within the timeframe identified in this document, Soyuz launch capabilities for crew
transportation will be augmented by additional cargo launch vehicles such as the NASAprovided SpaceX and Orbital vehicles, the JAXA-provided H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), and
Russia’s Progress vehicle. Progress, HTV and Orbital vehicles provide logistics support to the
ISS but no return capability. SpaceX provides logistics support to the ISS as well as return
Appropriate transportation for each selected investigation will be arranged as required.
Therefore, investigators should take care when anticipating and specifying such requirements as
electrical power and temperature constraints during transit from Earth to ISS, and time
constraints for pre-launch delivery and post-landing retrieval of experiment equipment and
Difficult Experiment Requirements to Implement on the ISS
There are certain experimental procedures that, while not impossible to perform, are difficult to
implement during ISS operations. Those requirements that may be difficult to accommodate
(a) Human Physiology Experiments
1. Any experiment requiring new flight hardware development / qualification. The extent of
how difficult this development will be is dependent on how much design and development is
required for custom made equipment and how extensively off-the-shelf equipment will have
to be modified.
2. Return of hardware for refurbishment or data retrieval. Down mass resources will be
protected for critical science samples; data should be planned to be down linked and
hardware will likely be discarded.
3. Requirements for conditioned stowage (i.e. other than ambient temperature) that exceed the
capabilities (ie. Temperature ranges, volume) of the equipment identified on the conditioned
stowage web site. EUE refrigerators or freezers will not be developed.
4. Studies requiring more than 12 human subjects.
5. Studies requiring overly invasive or complicated procedures that may hinder crew consent.
6. Total pre-flight BDC requirements of more than 10 hours.
7. Single BDC sessions requiring more than 2 hours.
8. More than 2 hours of BDC required within 3 months of launch.
9. BDC testing requirements within two months of launch.
10. In-flight procedures that require a high degree of proficiency and training prior to
crewmember launch (e.g. requires more than three, 2 hour sessions for one unique
procedure/skill; requires refresher session within 60 days of launch).
11. Two or more hours of testing required within the first three days of landing.
12. More than three hours of total testing in the first week post-flight.
13. Strenuous or provocative sessions on R+0 or R+1. Any activity that could be considered
strenuous or provocative for a healthy normal subject may not be feasible for crewmembers
in this time frame.
14. Complicated in-flight sessions before the second week in-flight (e.g. requires set-up of
multiple pieces of equipment, followed by testing session of more than an hour; sessions that
require privatized voice or video)
15. More than five complicated in-flight sessions involving multiple pieces of equipment. (e.g.,
requires set-up of multiple pieces of equipment, followed by testing of more than 2-3 hours,
requires extensive privatized resources).
16. A single session with one crewmember requiring 4 hours in one day.
17. Crew activity that must be performed daily or more than once a week.
18. Very precise/inflexible timing requirements for sessions (e.g., +/- window for testing of less
than one week, multiple timed blood draws, sessions that are linked to other crew activities
like meals, EVA’s, etc.) Note that occasional fasting data collections upon crew wake up are
not difficult to implement.
19. Extended, continuous activities over multiple days that could interfere with other operations.
(b) Biology Experiments:
20. Requirements for cold stowage that either exceed the capabilities (ie. Temperature ranges,
volume) of the equipment identified on the cold stowage web site or require a significant
portion of available cold stowage capability. Experiment unique refrigerators or freezers will
not be developed.
21. Snap freezing to -180 is not currently possible.
22. Experiments requiring new dedicated experiment hardware development that has significant
complexity and / or low technology readiness for flight implementation.
23. Generally experiments requiring significant crew intervention, especially specialized training
will be more challenging to implement. However, for research projects with rodents it is
assumed that the crew would perform general animal experiment handling and procedures
24. Experiments requiring a large number of samples and experiment runs
25. Limitations on frozen downmass
26. Environmental controls not available on all vehicles during launch and free flight to ISS.
27. Operations requiring crew intervention that require precise timing, especially with a series of
events or activities that require operations outside of the normal crew day.
28. Currently available launch vehicles may offer limited opportunities to load experiments on
the spacecraft close to the time of launch
29. The time that astronauts have available after space craft docking with ISS is limited because
of space craft tasks that must be performed, and therefore experiments should be designed so
that they can be activated no earlier than 48-72 hours after docking with ISS without
negatively impacting the experiment.
30. For the next 1-3 years, routine post-flight return of experimental specimens or samples to
investigators after landing may take as anywhere from 48-72 hours to 2 weeks since the
present return capsules will land in the ocean and be transported to shore by boat
31. Operations requiring crew intervention that require precise timing, especially with a series of
events or activities which require operations outside of the normal crew day.
International Teams
Due to the limited resources (e.g., crew time, on-orbit experimental supplies, temperaturecontrolled sample storage) available for the conduct of ISS research, ISLSWG is pursuing the
intentional formation of International teams of investigators whose experiments will leverage
resources by addressing different facets of the same question. ISLSWG anticipates that such
intentional teaming arrangements will result in better utilization of available resources to resolve
specific questions. ISLSWG strongly encourages individual investigators submitting applications
in response to this solicitation to consider identifying such International collaborations or teams
and to identify this pre-coordination in their submissions. Please note that investigators can only
receive funding from the agency associated with their country of origin. Therefore, it is required
that each member of an International team submit a letter that acknowledges awareness from
their associated funding agency with their proposal. This is critical because, one of the criteria
peer review panels use to evaluate proposals is the expertise and technical capabilities of the
proposed investigator team, so the funding agencies need to be sure that all investigators on an
international team will be able to participate in the experiment if it is selected.
Flight Research Capabilities
Research Involving Human Subjects
The amount of time it takes to complete a study is based on the required number of subjects and
crewmember participation. Investigations selected under this solicitation will be flown while
there are up to six crew members on board the ISS, and it should be assumed that two Increment
(six month periods) crews will be flown every year for a total of 6 potential subjects a year.
However, six of these potential subjects are crewmembers in the US Operating Segment (USOS,
which includes American, Canadian, Japanese, and European crewmembers), and six are
crewmembers in the Russian Operating Segment. Access to Russian OS crew must be negotiated
with the Russian Federal Agency (this is not done at the proposal stage). In order to account for
variations in subject participation and suitability, it should be assumed that two subjects per
Increment will participate, for a total of four subjects per year. Therefore, if an investigation
requires a minimum of six crewmember subjects, it will take a minimum of three ISS Increments
(1.5 years) to complete the in-flight data collections.
All use of human subjects for research must comply with the national requirements for the
ethical treatment of human subjects (see agency-specific announcements for details). Informed
consent of human subjects must be obtained before carrying out any study in space, and potential
applicants should be aware that obtaining such informed consent will involve a uniform process
regardless of the country of origin of the applicants. The availability of consenting subjects may
affect the probability of achieving experiment objectives within the expected timeframe.
There are many research tools available to investigators who wish to conduct human
physiological research on the ISS. The ISS Human Research Facility (HRF) is a suite of
hardware that provides core capabilities to enable research on human subjects. HRF consists of
instruments mounted in two racks, as well as separate equipment kept in stowage and brought
out as needed.
A complementary set of hardware is provided via the European Physiology Modules Facility
(EPM), a multi-user facility supporting human studies. The EPM rack is outfitted with an initial
complement of instruments. Due to the modular design, this initial configuration can be easily
complemented and/or modified with instruments still under development or to be developed,
according to the scientific needs.
HRF 1 and 2 and EPM are located in the Columbus laboratory to allow for combined
A new platform of integrated medical systems with various equipment is on the Kibo module.
This platform supports various medical and biological researches.
A complete list of hardware in the HRF, EPM inventories, and Kibo, and a web site reference for
design details is provided in Table 1. General description of HRF and EPM core capabilities is
provided below.
In addition to HRF and EPM equipment specifically intended for research, the Health
Maintenance System (HMS) is also potentially available to ISS researchers. HMS is a suite of
hardware used to maintain and monitor the crew’s health onboard the ISS. HMS hardware can be
used for research but this must be closely coordinated with the flight surgeons and cannot
interfere with planned operational use. A partial list of HMS hardware is included in Table 1 and
a general description of HMS capabilities is provided below.
Data collected by Medical Operations, related to maintaining and monitoring of crew health, is in
principle also available for scientific use, however again close coordination with crew surgeons
is key. The NASA Lifetime Surveillance of Astronaut Health (LSAH) Data Base consists of
archived medical data collected previously in a standardized way, and is available to researchers
in order to complement flight experiments or to be used in separate studies. How to access this
data is described in detail in the URL above.
2.1.1 Human Research Facility (HRF)
Two NASA Human Research Facility (HRF) racks are currently on board ISS. These racks
contain a variety of instruments (rack mounted and stowed) available to investigators for human
life sciences research. The racks provide power, data, and cooling to components in the rack,
and each rack has a dedicated laptop computer to facilitate downlink of experiment data to the
ground. HRF racks 1 and 2 are located in the Columbus module on board ISS.
Blood Pressure: The Continuous Blood Pressure Device (CBPD) provides continuous beatto-beat finger arterial blood pressure measurement of systolic and diastolic measurements
between 10 and 300 mm Hg. A basic three-lead electrocardiograph (ECG) is also provided
for measurement of ECG data from the subject. The CBPD requires rack power and therefore
is not considered an ambulatory device. Data are downloaded to one of the HRF laptop
computers for transmission to the ground.
Figure: Continuous Blood Pressure Device
Holter Monitor: The Holter Monitor 2 (HM2) is a modified commercial device, the H12+
from Mortara Instrument Inc. The HM2 is housed in a custom belt, designed to have a fully
adjustable waist size suitable for the 90% American male to 10% Japanese female with
quick-release buckle providing quick attachment or removal. The HM2 provides ambulatory
electrocardiograph (ECG) which accurately and non-invasively measures the electrical
activity of the heart over an extended period of time (up to 24 hours continuously). Data is
downloaded to one of the HRF laptop computers for transmission to the ground. It is able to
support continuous, uninterrupted, non-invasive data collection of the following parameters
for an ambulatory subject:
 Heart rate
 ECG waveforms
 Time stamps for each data record
 Event markers input by the user
Figure: Holter Monitor 2
Pulmonary Function System: The Pulmonary Function Module/Photoacoustic Analyzer
Module (PFM/PAM) consists of a set of photoacoustic analyzers and a laser-based Oxigraf®
oxygen analyzer for the compositional analysis of respiratory gases. The PFM/PAM is a
NASA-ESA collaborative piece of hardware consisting of an active 8-panel unit (8PU)
Standard Interface Rack (SIR) compatible drawer with front and rear data, power, and gas
connections. The PFM/PAM is used in conjunction with the Gas Delivery System (GDS) to
measure and analyze inspired and expired breath of subjects. It is currently located in the
HRF Rack 1 in the Columbus Module. ESA has developed a portable version of this device,
the Portable Pulmonary Function System (PPFS).
Combined with ancillary equipment, including gas supplies for supplying special respiratory
gas mixtures, the following measurements are possible:
1. Breath-by-breath measurements of VO2, VCO2, and VE
2. Diffusing capacity of the lung for CO
3. Expiratory reserve volume
4. Forced expired spirometry
5. Functional residual capacity
6. Respiratory exchange ratio
7. Residual volume
8. Total lung capacity
9. Tidal volume
10. Alveolar ventilation
11. Vital capacity
12. Volume of pulmonary capillary blood
13. Dead-space ventilation
14. Cardiac output
15. Fractional inspiratory and expiratory volumes, FIO2 and FEO2, FICO2, and FECO2
16. Numerous other specialized tests of pulmonary function
Figure: Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield using the PFS
Ultrasound 2: The Ultrasound 2 is a modified Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) system
that includes the General Electric (GE) Medical Systems Vivid-qTM model ultrasound unit,
a Video Power Converter (VPC), probes, and an ECG cable. This system replaces the
original HRF Ultrasound (launched in March 2001) and includes additional features that
allow for panoramic image construction to estimate muscle volume changes, speckle tracking
functions to analyze cardiac stress-strain, and dynamic morphology. The Ultrasound 2 can be
used for a variety of experiments for cardiac, muscle, vessel, and blood flow analysis. Each
application utilizes either a curved, phased, or linear array probe. The Ultrasound 2 can
support real-time downlink of Ultrasound images via the HRF Rack or an EXPRESS rack to
facilitate remote guidance from investigator teams.
Figure: The Ultrasound 2 unit on board ISS with US astronaut Mike Fossum as the operator and JAXA
astronaut Satoshi Furukawa as the subject.
Mass Measurement: The Space Linear Acceleration Mass Measurement Device
(SLAMMD) follows Newton's Second Law of Motion by having two springs generate a
known force against a crewmember mounted on an extension arm, the resulting acceleration
being used to calculate the subject's mass. The device is accurate to 0.5 pounds over a range
from 90 pounds to 240 pounds. This device can measure mass from 95 to 240 pounds (40 to
108 kg) by using the known force generated by two springs located inside of the SLAMMD
drawer. The resultant acceleration of the attached crewmember is measured and the mass
then calculated.
Figure: US Astronaut Bill McArthur performs a body mass measurement on board the ISS using the
Centrifuge: The Refrigerated Centrifuge (RC), located in the Human Research Facility rack
2 is a device that is used to separate biological substances of varying densities by spinning at
a high rate. The RC was designed to provide refrigeration with temperatures that range from
ambient ISS temperature to 4 degrees C, but currently, the on-orbit unit is not cooling so this
feature is not available to investigators. The six chamber RC rotor chamber can hold samples
sized from 2 to 50-ml. The twenty-four chamber RC rotor can hold samples sized from 0.5 to
2.2 ml. The speed can be selected from 500 to 5000 revolutions per minute (rpm) for 1 to 99
minute durations, or it can be set to run continuously.
Figure: US Astronaut Clayton Anderson working with samples in the Refrigerated Centrifuge on
board ISS.
Sample Collection and Storage
Blood, urine, and saliva samples may be collected from crew subjects before, during, and after
flight. Blood, urine, and saliva collection kits for the collection, preservation, and storage of
samples are available. Unique experiment requirements will be discussed with investigators
during the definition of the experiment to determine if existing supplies will meet the study
requirements. Currently during spaceflight, individual urine voids are collected into urine
collection devices (UCD) containing a known concentration of lithium chloride (see photo). The
UCD is mixed and a sample taken and returned to Earth. The remainder of the urine is disposed
of as trash. Determination of the lithium in the sample is conducted and the volume of the
original urine void is calculated by the dilution method.
Figure: Urine Collection Device (w/female adapter) and Frozen Urine Syringes
Activity Monitoring: The Actiwatch Spectrum System is a modified commercial-off-the-shelf
(COTS) system consisting of the Actiwatch Spectrum Kit, Actiwatch Spectrum, Actiwatch
Spectrum Dock, Actiwatch Spectrum Universal Serial Bus (USB) Cable, and Actiware Software
(version 5.52 or later). The Actiwatch Spectrum is a small, battery-powered, limb-worn device
that simultaneously detects body movement and light intensity. The unit can be used to
investigate a number of activities such as sleep quality, sleep onset, hyperactivity and other daily
routines. The Actiwatch Spectrum can be programmed to collect data in a variety of modes
including activity, photopic light, red-green-blue (RGB) light or several combinations thereof.
Data is sampled by the Actiwatch sensors at a frequency of 32 Hz and may be recorded at a
variety of epochs: 15 and 30 seconds and 1, 2 and 5 minutes. Total recording time is limited by
the data collection mode and epoch setting. Data from the Actiwatch Spectrum is downloaded to
one of the HRF laptop computers for transmission to the ground.
Figure: Actiwatch Spectrum
2.1.2 Exercise
The primary suite of equipment from the HMS inventory available to researchers is the crew
exercise equipment. Several exercise devices are/will be available for research including a cycle
ergometer, an Advanced Resistive Exercise device (ARED), and two treadmills.
For description, see the following web site:
Use of this equipment will require coordination with Flight Medicine to ensure appropriate and
proper usage. Use of HMS hardware, including exercise devices, must be coordinated and
approved by Space Medicine so that impacts to crew health care, standard countermeasures, and
exercise prescriptions can be assessed. Under certain circumstances, use of exercise devices for
research purposes may replace nominal exercise protocols.
The cycle ergometer provides workload, driven by the hands or feet, that is controlled by manual
or computer adjustment. It operates with the subject seated or supine, and provides timesynchronized data compatible with other complementary analyses. The data output consists of
work rates in watts and pedal speed (rpm) for use with a data acquisition system.
The Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) functions to maintain crew health in space.
Crew members exercise daily on ARED to maintain their pre-flight muscle and bone strength
and endurance. EVA, IVA, re-entry, and emergency egress necessitate the crew members'
continued strength and endurance.
The ARED has the capability to exercise all major muscle groups while focusing on the primary
resistive exercise: squats, deadlifts and calf raises. It accommodates all crew members, from the
5th percentile female to the 95th percentile male. An informative NASA technical report
describing the characteristics of the ARED is at:
The treadmills may be used for walking and running exercise. The devices employ various
strategies to simulate, as closely as possible, 1 g skeletal loading during exercise bouts. The
treadmill will measure and display the loads exerted on the subject by restraint harnesses before,
during, and after the exercise bout. The restraint system provides stabilization of the user and
load distribution on the body in a weightless environment. One of the treadmills will also provide
foot impact forces, with high accuracy, allowing investigations in the area of locomotion. The
treadmill can be motor-driven or passively operated. As with the cycle ergometer, the treadmill
provides data compatible with other complementary analyses.
2.1.3 Evaluation of Muscle Strength and Exercise Capacity
A Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System (MARES) can also be used to evaluate muscle
strength and exercise capacity. The MARES provides active resistance (concentric and eccentric)
that can be fully programmed as motion profiles.
MARES supports the following capabilities:
 Measurement of the (bidirectional) torque, position, and velocity generated during
programmable tests on the agonist and antagonist muscle groups of the trunk and extremity
joints including ankle, knee, hip, wrist, elbow, shoulder, whole leg, and whole arm
 Measurement of these parameters during submaximal and maximal exercises throughout the
entire range of motion (except for shoulder) in the isometric, isokinetic (concentric and
eccentric), and isotonic (concentric and eccentric) modes
 Simulation of ideal elements: spring, friction and inertia
 Parameter control following predefined pattern: position control, velocity control,
torque/force control, power control
 Quick release of free motion
 Complex combinations of the previous modes
 Bilateral torque and angular position/velocity measurements and training on the flexion and
extension of the knee, ankle, trunk, hip, shoulder, elbow and wrist, and on the
supination/pronation, radial/ulnar deviation of the wrist
 Bilateral force and linear position/velocity measurements and training on the following
multi-joint linear movements:
 Arm press (front, overhead and intermediate trajectories)
 Leg press (front, down and intermediate trajectories)
 The displays available to the subject are highly programmable, i.e., display of peak torque vs.
joint angles, and average torque at specific joint angles as well as torque-velocity throughout
the entire range of motion).
 The motion and experiment profiles are highly programmable (e.g., programming of variable
and quantifiable velocities and resistances during training exercises, assessment of fatigue
over serial contractions)
Currently, there are already several additional instruments available for:
 Measurement of hand grip strength or pinch strength as a function of time
 Local noninvasive muscle stimulation on human subjects using a high current stimulator that
provides trains of pulses up to 0.8 amps, according to pre-programmed protocols. It can be
connected to MARES.
 Portable measurement of full range of motion in either 1 or 2 degrees of freedom in selected
2.1.4 Movements
A Codamotion system, that tracks body movements is being developed for use on ISS. This
system can be combined with a handheld Manipulandum that measures pinch force, friction and
acceleration. This H/W is developed for an experiment that investigates dexterous manipulation
in weightlessness, but would be available for other purposes as well.
ELaboratore Immagini TElevisive for Space, second generation (ELITE-S2): Elite-S2 is a
system to observe body motor control during long-term exposure to microgravity. Elite-S2 is an
EXPRESS Rack drawer-type payload requiring data and video downlink. Video from the
cameras is displayed on the EXPRESS Laptop Computer (ELC) for crew quick look in addition
to being downlinked.
Four cameras are positioned in the US Lab. Cables are routed from the cameras to the Elite-S2
Interface Management Unit (IMU) located in the EXPRESS Rack. Cables, once installed for
each EXPRESS Rack, remain installed until completion of all test objectives.
One crewmember is required for set up, execution of tests, and stow.
During tests, near real-time science data is continuously downlinked through the EXPRESS
Ethernet LAN.
Hand Posture Analyser (HPA): A complete HPA system is composed of two sets of
instruments which can be used separately to acquire data on the upper limb posture and on the
ability to produce isometric grip force. The two subsystems are respectively the Handgrip
Dynamometer / Pinch Force Dynamometer (HGD/PFD) for the acquisition of hand and pinch
force and the Posture Acquisition Glove (PAG) and Inertial Tracking System (ITS) for the
measurement of fingers position and upper limb kinematics.
This system comprises also an Interface Box (IBOX) where instruments connect through
dedicated cables. The IBOX is connected to a PCMCIA card of a Laptop PC for data acquisition
and a dedicated software application manages the execution of experimental protocols.
2.1.5 European Physiology Modules Facility (EPM)
The initial instrument complement to be accommodated includes:
The MEEMM (Multi-Electrode EEG Mapping Module) is designed to support brain and
muscle activity studies by measuring EEG/EMG and evoked potentials. The main features of the
MEEMM are:
Supporting acquisition of up to 128 EEG channels (maximum sampling frequency 2.2
kHz, 0.01-580 Hz maximum bandwidth)
Supporting acquisition of up to 32 EEG channels (maximum sampling frequency 40 kHz,
1.5 Hz-10 kHz maximum bandwidth)
Supporting acquisition of up to 32 surface EMG channels (64 electrodes) (maximum
sampling frequency 40 kHz, 1 Hz-10 kHz maximum bandwidth)
External triggering digital signal acquisition (8 bit digital interface)
PORTEEM (Portable EEG).Modular instrument for ambulatory/sleep EEG measurements.
Initial configuration :
12 EEG channels (0.3-70 Hz maximum bandwidth)
2 EMG channels (1-150 Hz maximum bandwidth)
1 ECG channel (1-150 Hz maximum bandwidth)
1 strain gauge respiratory signal (0.3-30 Hz maximum bandwidth)
CARDIOLAB. (Cardiovascular Laboratory). CARDIOLAB consists of a central data
management system providing services to a complement of instruments (sensors and stressors),
including :
CARDIOPRES: Continuous acquisition of blood pressure (finger and arm cuffs), ECG
from 1 to 7 leads derivations, thoracic and abdominal breathing patterns
HLTE: ECG Holter (24 hours ECG full stripes recording)
HLTA: Arm-cuff blood pressure Holter (Systolic, Diastolic and Mean Blood Pressure
PDOP: Portable ultrasound doppler instrument (Main arteries blood velocities
measurements up to three channels at a time with 2Mhz, 4Mhz and 8Mhz pulsed wave
APLT: Air plethysmography, providing limb volume variations against venous occlusion
LVMD: Limb Volume Measurement Device; reconfigurable for body position
determination via spine geometry measurements (continuously up to 48 h)
HEMO: Hemoglobinometer; measurement of hemoglobin by azide methemoglobine
method; control of the status of whole blood
HEMC: Hematocrit Centrifuge (determination of the whole blood hematocrit by
centrifugal separation of blood cells from plasma)
CMAS: Continous Measurement Ambulatory Device for medium term (up to 8 h)
ambulatory acquisition and recording of physiological signals, such as ECG, EMG, EEG,
breathing patterns, body movements and activity
LACS: Leg/arm occlusion cuff system. Application at the level of the limbs of an
occlusive stress in a range from 0mm of Hg to 300 mmHg (two different level/profiles of
pressure on the arms and on the legs).
In addition to the devices existing on ISS, CNES and DLR as the developers of CARDIOLAB
are considering to provide further modules, if required from the scientific community, such as:
 EIT: Electrical Impedance Tomography, providing non-invasive dynamic on-line
registration of regional air and fluid distribution in a thoracal cross-section for analysing
lung function (ventilation, perfusion, air and fluid distribution); method requires only
measurements by 16 normal ECG electrodes attached around the thorax to calculate
tomographic images from inside the thorax.
Portable Echograph : Portable laptop based echocardiograph approx 7 - 9Kg, Battery self
powered Device or 28v power Supply, Sector scan probe (3-5MHz) for deep organs and
vessels (Cardiac, abdomen, pelvis, etc), Linear probe (5-12Mhz) for superficial structures
and vessels: Peripheral vessels, muscle, Ultrasound modes: B mode, Time motion, Pulsed
1) System fully tele-operated from the ground (Gain, depth, Doppler, recording.. )
2) Deliver Radio-frequency (RF= raw ultrasound signal) => Higher accuracy =>
other parameter (attenuation, propagation velocity…)
3) Include IMT auto-measurement software (Vessel wall thickness)
4) PW Doppler output for skin probe (monitoring during LBNP, Ex)
5) T skin echo probe for superficial Vein/artery monitoring (LBNP, Bracelets, Ex)
Laser Doppler: Local microcirculation, and particularly vasomotor functions of the
arterioles have a real impact on blood pressure regulation. A Laser Doppler instrument
will allow the study of microcirculation through the measurement of the skin blood flow.
The instrument can use 3 Laser Doppler probes in parallel, with the following
characteristics: multifiber laser probes (780nm), room for the probe to receive the drug,
application of an electric current (ex. 100µA over 20s) for an application on the skin of
the drug by iontophoresis, local skin heating(up to 44°C), measurement of the
temperature by a themocouple for the regulation of temperature
SCK (Sample Collection Kit). Stowage of medical and clinical equipment for blood, saliva and
urine sample collection and disposal and management of used medical/biohazard items.
2.1.6 Head Mounted Displays (HMD) (ESA)
HMD used for neuro-sensory and cognitive research is available, further developments with
more advanced features, like eye- and head-tracking, could be considered if selected experiments
require those capabilities.
2.1.7 Eye Movements
A 3-dimensional Eye Tracking Device (ETD) for the recording of eye movements will be
available. This device may be used to measure horizontal, vertical and/or torsional eye positions
by means of digital processing of the recorded eye image sequences. Furthermore, head
movements will be measured by means of three orthogonally arranged angular rate sensors and
three orthogonally arranged linear accelerometers. This encompasses all three degrees of
freedom of eye movement (in the head) and all six degrees of freedom of head movement in
space. Therefore, gaze can be reconstructed.
2.1.8 Instruments for investigation of skin physiology (SKIN B H/W Kit):
SKIN B is a system for non-invasive examinations of three skin physiological parameters by
using two measurement probes (Corneometer and Tewameter) and a special video camera
– Corneometer: measurement of the hydration grade of the skin
– Tewameter: measurement of transepidermal water loss through the skin (TEWL)
– Visioscan (UVA-light camera): provision of very sharp and non-glossy images from skin
surface  skin structure analysis
A laptop (crew laptop on board ISS) is used for data visualization . The software for Visioscan
and both Tewameter and Corneometer is installed on and booted from an external HDD Ultrabay
(incl. adapter, part of SKIN B H/W kit), which is inserted in the crew latop.
The Visioscan camera is connected to the laptop directly, while Tewameter and Corneometer are
connected to MPA 2 (Multiprobe Adapter 2), an interface and DC-DC converter between laptop
and probes. Data are stored on a PCMCIA card and transferred to the downlink station.
2.1.9 Measurements of Core Temperature
The THERMOLAB experiment hardware is used to record astronauts’ core temperature changes
during exercises and rest with a frequent sampling rate.
A newly developed thermo-sensor (Double Sensor, Draegerwerk AG) for core temperature is
applied. The Double Sensor records core temperature by using heat flux recordings. The sensors
are placed on the forehead and chest (sternum).
The THERMOLAB Control Unit performs automatically the calculation of the body core
temperatures according to the heat flux formula, displays and stores both measured values. Data
storage is realized on a flash disk (SD card) which is securely fixed in the Thermolab Control
Unit. The system is battery buffered and powered by 3 Volt (two AA-batteries). The display of
Thermolab Control Unit will allow the operator to check the current temperature recordings,
battery power, time etc. online. Data download to PFS (Pulmonary Function System or a Laptop)
via standard USB data interface.
Table 1: Hardware Available to Support Human Subject Research
For further details and other ISS facilities see the below ISS link.
ISS facilities by Hardware Type, grouped by Discipline/Category:
Hardware Available to Support
Human Subject Research
Physiological Monitoring
Blood Pressure/Electrocardiograph
Automatic Blood Pressure Cuff
Continuous Blood Pressure Device
Pulmonary Function System
Sally Davis, CheCS Hardware,
[email protected]
Sally Davis, CheCS Hardware,
[email protected]
Hardware Available to Support
Human Subject Research
Portable Pulmonary Function System
ECG Holter Monitor
JAXA Onboard Diagnostic Kit
Ultrasound 2 Doppler
Space Linear Acceleration Mass
Measurement Device
Sample Collection and Stowage
Human Sample Collection Kits
Refrigerated* Centrifuge
*refrigeration function is failed
Cycle Ergometer
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device
Muscle Strength, Torque, and Joint
Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise
Percutaneous Electrical Muscle
Hand Grip/Pinch Force Dynamometer
NASA/ESA flight/Human_Spaceflight_Research/Muscle_Atr
NASA/ESA flight/Human_Spaceflight_Research/Percutaneou
Activity Monitoring
Armband monitoring
Hardware Available to Support
Human Subject Research
Eye Tracking Device (ETD)
European Physiology Modules
Multi Electrode EEG Mapping Module
Sample Collection Kit (SCK)
Research Involving Non-Human Subjects (Biology and Exobiology)
The ISS now has a full complement of research facilities in the US, European and Japanese
laboratory modules. These facilities potentially permit sophisticated experimentation to be
performed inflight. However, the scope of any investigation is limited by the resources available
to perform the experiment including launch and return capability, condition temperature stowage
and crew time limitations. Therefore, experiments designed for use of these facilities will have to
fit within limitations of the resource envelope.
A complete list of hardware for biological research and a web site reference for design details is
provided in Table 2. A general description of the facilities and capabilities is provided below.
ESA Columbus facilities: The ESA Columbus module has three main facilities for biological
research, KUBIK, EMCS and Biolab each of which has different capabilities
KUBIK consists of a small controlled temperature volume, which can function both as an
incubator or cooler (+6°C to +38°C temperature range). Additionally, self-contained automatic
experiments can be performed using power provided by the facility.
Experiments interface with KUBIK by a variety of removable inserts. A centrifuge insert (CI)
permits simultaneous 1g control or intermediate g-level samples to be run in parallel with
microgravity samples. Experiments interface with the centrifuge insert via a set of small
standardized containers. Therefore experiments need to be designed to fit inside these containers.
Alternatively, larger dedicated experiment hardware can be installed via a KUBIK Interface
Plate (KIP). Both the CI and KIP inserts can provide limited electrical power to the experiments.
In addition a passive insert (PI) can be used for storing standard experiment containers at
controlled temperature, while the rack insert (RI) can accommodate sample vials. The PI and RI
inserts do not provide electrical power
There are currently no data or command communication possibilities between the experiments
and KUBIK, which only provides controlled temperature and electrical power to the
experiments. Basic facility data (temperature, operating modes etc) are recorded, which can be
retrieved after experiment completion via a datacard. Therefore, the experiment hardware needs
to be designed to operate either automatically (with autonomous control at the experiment level).
Alternatively, it is possible to use manually operated experiment hardware which the crew
removes from the incubator for operations.
A planned enhancement of the KUBIK capability (KUBIK-2) will provide some capability for
facility telemetry downlink and the possibility of pre-programmed operation (eg. Incubator
temperature change, switch on/off electrical bus). However, it is expected that experiment
specific hardware will continue to operate autonomously.
Figure: KUBIK Incubators
External dimension: 366 mm X 366 mm X 366 mm
Internal dimension 260 mm X 260 mm X 138 mm
Temperature settings: +6 oC to +38 oC (in increments of 1 oC)
Standard cabin atmosphere, no humidity or gas composition control
Experiment must operate autononmously or be manually opered No data, commanding,
or video interfaces to experiment
Interface to dedicated inserts, including a Centrifuge Insert (CI), KUBIK Interface Plate
(KIP), Passive Insert (PI) and Rack Insert
12V & 5V DC Electric power to CI and KIP
Centrifuge Insert details
• Accomodation of standardized experiment containers;
• 16 standard containers or 4 extended containers in static positions
• 8 standard or extended containers on centrifuge
• Centrifuge Gravity settings: 0.2 g to 2 g (in increments of 0.1 g)
• 5V and 12V D.C. power to experiment containers.
• The CI insert is compatible with a variety of small containers which typically provide
21x40x78mm internal dimensions or 31x40x78mm internal dimensions
More information is available at the following link, including examples of experiment specific
experiment containers for KUBIK:
2.2.2 EMCS
The European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) is a biology experiment facility which
permits more complex operations than is possible with KUBIK. The facility consists of an
incubator (18°C – 40°C range), which contains two centrifuge rotors which can provide g-levels
in the 0.001g to 2.0g range, as well as microgravity (non-centrifuged). This configuration allows
the scientist to simultaneously perform a micro-g or intermediate g-level experiment on one
(static) rotor and a 1-g reference experiment on the second rotor.
Experiments interface with the facility by dedicated experiment containers (EC) with a
transparent cover (for observation and illumination), 4 containers can be accommodated per
rotor. Each EC can provide power and data /command connections to the experiment & the
facility can provide a controlled atmosphere (defined O2, CO2, N2 gas composition, humidity,
ethylene removal, different gas flow rates etc) as well as water. Additionally white light and
infrared illumination of the containers is possible, as well as video observation. Furthermore
commands can be sent from the ground to the EMCS facility and experiment containers, data
and video downlinked from the experiment. The basic specifications for the EMCS and
experiment container, rotor and supply module are shown in Figure 1 below.
Experiment Containers are generic to the EMCS. Although EMCS was primarily designed for
long term plant biology experiments, it is also well adapted for small cell biology, biotechnology
and small animal (eg. C. elegans, fruit flies, amphibian tadpoles) experiments. One example of
ECs with Seed Cassette inserts are shown in Figure 2 below. The experiment containers are 60
mm x 60 mm x 160 mm in dimension, with a growth volume of 0.58 liters.
More information on EMCS is available from the following link:
Figure 1: EMCS Hardware Overview and Capabilities
Figure 2: Experiment Container (EC) with Experiment Unique Equipment (EUE) for seedling growth
experiment. The EUE contains seed cassettes, a hydration system (pump, bellows), air circulation system
(air fan), LED lighting (white, red, blue) and circuit boards to control the fan, lights and pump.
2.2.3 Biolab
Biolab is a self contained, biology experiment facility that provides an incubator, variable gcentrifuges, cooler, freezer and glovebox capabilities for biology experiments. Experiments
interface with the facility through dedicated experiment containers and can be placed on the two
centrifuge rotors which can provide microgravity (not spinning) or g-levels in the 0.001g to 2g
range. Like the EMCS facility it is possible to provide a controlled atmosphere (eg. 02, CO2, set
humidity, ethylene removal), as well as video observation and illumination (white light and
infrared) of samples. Furthermore, the facility can be operated remotely from the ground with
commanding and reception of from the experiment containers. In addition commands can be sent
from the Biolab laptop computer.
Two types of experiment containers are available; the IEC container with a 60x60x100mm
volume available for experiment unique equipment and the larger AEC with a 125x175x147mm
internal volume. 6x IEC and 2x AEC container can be accommodated on each of the centrifuges
A glovebox is included in the facility for manual operations. This can also be reconfigured as a
work bench (eg. For performing photography). Additionally a robotic handling mechanism can
be used to automatically transfer liquids to/from the experiment containers or actuate experiment
hardware in the container by a push/pull/turn tool. A simple light microscope can be used to
examine liquid samples transferred via the handling mechanism. Finally, refrigerator and cooler
space is provided in separate compartment of the Biolab
Figure: Astronaut Chris Hadfield inspecting one of the Biolab rotors. Individual IEC experiment containers
(transparent) can be seen attached to the outer edge of the rotor.
The BIOKON Container is designed to accommodate a broad variety of Life Science
experiments in a “routine” container, limited in size and weight, and easy to accommodate in
free volumes of the transportation spacecraft.
The BIOKON provides a dedicated environment for the execution of life science experiments in
microgravity. BIOKON complements all types of biological Experiment Units (EU) regardless
the fact that they could require electrical power or not. It can operate in a twofold manner:
 as passive container in the case the experiment does not need external power supply (i.e.
not powered EU, or EU powered by battery pack inside the BIOKON).
 providing power supply by an external battery pack (e.g. accommodated in another
BIOKON) or directly supplied by the spacecraft through an electric interface.
The BIOKON has been initially qualified for hard mounted launch with Soyuz launcher into
FOTON capsule, for a 3 kg total mass (1 kg for the BIOKON itself and 2 kg for the internal
hardware). This mass limit can be exceeded in case of soft stowed launch. BIOKON could be
provided in sealed (max 1 bar differential pressure) or vented version. BIOKON (in both sealed
and vented versions) can withstand pressurization/de-pressurization environment specified for
Soyuz, Foton, and International Space Station (ISS).
Cell Biology Equipment Facility (CBEF)
The Cell Biology Experiment Facility (CBEF) is integrated in JEM. It has been developed and
utilized for various life science experiments such as cell biology, radiation biology, animal
biology (nematodes) and plant biology. The CBEF has a microgravity compartment and a
centrifuge compartment that provides artificial gravity between 0.2 g and 2.0 g. The CBEF
incubator can control temperature, humidity and CO2 concentration for experiments.
Experiment samples can be accommodated in CBEF special canisters. The canisters are attached
to CBEF, 6 in microgravity compartment and 4 in centrifuge compartment. JAXA has developed
and utilized 4 kinds of canisters to perform experiments in CBEF. Plant Experiment Unit (PEU)
is used to grow plants from seeds to seeds for around 60 days using Arabidopsis. Cell
Experiment Unit (CEU) is used to culture adherent cells with automated medium exchange for
A6 cells (from amphibian). Measurement Experiment Unit (MEU) is used to accommodate
various passive bags for floating cells or disposable chambers for adherent cells, nematodes and
plants seedlings. Video Measurement Experiment Unit (V-MEU) is used to grow plant seedlings
with video observation for cucumber and Arabidopsis. JAXA has also developed disposable cell
culture chamber (DCC) with treated cell culture plate and air exchangeable membrane which has
septa system for medium exchange and fixation using JAXA solution exchanger. The DCC has
15 cm2 of culture area with 4.5 ml medium and accommodates adherent cells such as L6 cells
(from rat), mice primary cells and A6 cells.
Artificial gravity
Figure: Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa is installing MEUs (black square boxes) to CBEF centrifugal rotor
(artificial gravity compartment) on the ground. MEUs are also installed in the microgravity compartment.
Figure: JAXA experiment tools using with CBEF for Plant biology and Cell biology experiments.
eOSTEO cell culture system
The OSTEO-X system is a space flight payload which represents an upgade of eOSTEO payload
(Foton M3) which is now designed to operate on the ISS. The payload is comprised of 3 trays in
which bone cells are automatically fed and grown through a network of syringes, pathways and
valves. Grown cells are then fixed and analyzed once returned to Earth. It is derived from the
first generation OSTEO system, a turnkey cell culture and support system for use in terrestrial
and microgravity experiments involving bone cell activity, originally designed for short-term
Shuttle experiments and flown on STS-95 and STS-107.
Upgrades required to automate the hardware and produce the eOSTEO system (Figure eOSTEO)
includes automated syringe fluid delivery (5x60 mL) through CPU controlled motors, automated
fluid valves, through CPU controlled pinch valves, automated sampling of bioreactor waste
during the experiment, temperature control of the tray, waste samples and bioreactors as well as
cooling of waste samples and bioreactors. Bioreactors can host conventional slides for cell
culture or osteogenic slides equipped with a 3D scaffold optimized to grow bone cells. This
hardware version supported experiments in the FOTON-M3 satellite and will be qualified for
operation on-board the ISS. Summary of previous investigations using eOSTEO can be found
using the link below:
Aquatic Habitat (AQH)
The Aquatic Habitat (AQH) is a sub-rack facility that accommodates small freshwater fish (such
as Medaka fish and Zebrafish) installed in Multi-purpose Small Payload Rack (MSPR) inside the
Kibo module environment. The facility is designed to accommodate experiments for up to 90
days, making it possible to investigate long-term effects on vertebrate in a microgravity
environment. The AQH is composed of two aquariums that contain automatic feeding systems,
day/night cycle LED lighting, Charge-coupled device (CCD) cameras and a bacteria based water
quality control system.
Figure: Astronaut Akihiko Hoshide transferring Medaka fish into the Aquatic Habitat in Multi-purpose
Small Payload Rack in Kibo
Figure: Medaka fish in the Aquatic Habitat in the Kibo Module are fed by the automatic feeder. Photo is the
55th day after the experiment starts in space.
Figure: Zebrafish in AQH Aquarium (ground test)
2.2.8 JAXA Onboard Diagnostic Kit (ODK) is a non-invasive, health-monitoring system
capable of measuring, storing, and analyzing crew member medical data while onboard the ISS.
The medical data collected onboard can be sent to the ground immediately, whereby doctors can
quickly diagnose crewmember health. The ODK contains Digital Holter ECG, Electric
Sphygmomanometer, Thermomete, Myodynamometer and Actiwatch.
2.2.9 BRIC-Petri Dish Fixation Unit (BRIC -PDFU) Hardware
This is a passive payload with no on-orbit power or communications available. Selected
investigators will provide biological specimens of their choosing (plated onto/into petri dishes
pre-flight), which will be loaded into the selected space flight platform (TBD) and the biological
specimens subsequently returned to earth for post-flight processing. Crew members will perform
up to two in-flight operations per petri dish to either expose the biology to liquid treatments (to
be determined by the selected investigators) and/or chemically fix the tissues on-orbit prior to
return (using Glutaraldehyde, RNAlater, Formaldehyde or other options). It is anticipated that
there will be a diverse range of investigations undertaken, including but not limited to plant
seedlings, callus cultures, Caenorhabditis elegans, microbes, and others.
A different version of this hardware flew on STS-87 and STS-107. The unpowered version
available for this opportunity has flown on STS-131 and STS-135 and is described below. As
mentioned above, biological specimens will be placed either onto (or into) 60 mm petri dishes
containing agar-solidified media (although alternative approaches will be considered). Each
petri dish will be placed inside its own Petri Dish Fixation Unit (PDFU). The PDFUs will be
assembled and loaded with either one or two fluids in the syringe compartment (as specified by
the selected investigators). Five PDFUs plus one temperature data logger will be loaded into
each BRIC-PDFU canister. A TBD number of BRIC-PDFUs (most likely two per selected PI)
will be flown along with actuator equipment that the crew will use for the injections. The PDFU
canisters will remain contained within the BRIC-PDFU canisters during all phases of flight
operations. Pre-flight turn-over will be between 24 hours and 14 days prior to launch (payload
specific). In the event of a launch scrub, the entire assembly can be replaced with an identical
back-up unit with freshly loaded specimens.
On-orbit, there will be an opportunity for either one or two crew-facilitated injections into the
PDFUs. After landing, the BRIC-PDFU canisters assembly will be handed over to the
investigator teams for processing. The delay involved and the site of post-flight processing are
TBD (depending upon flight platform and recovery options available).
The baseline utilization plan is to assign two BRIC-PDFU canisters to each selected investigator.
This will provide each investigator the option of flying up ten PDFUs, each containing one petri
dish. Temperature data loggers will be placed within each BRIC-PDFU (occupying the sixth
PDFU location).
Figure: (A) View of an assembled Petri Dish Fixation Unit (PDFU). (B) Callus culture on petri dish within a
PDFU prior to closure (see Paul et. al., 2012).
Figure: (A) View of a PDFU on its side (launch position). (B) Five PDFUs plus one temperature logger within
a BRIC-PDFU canister prior to closure. (C) BRIC-PDFU canister with two pin guards attached. (D) Eight
BRIC-PDFU canisters stowed within a half middeck locker (as flown on STS-131).
Figure: Tools used for injection of fluids into PDFU petri dishes. (A) Actuator Rod Kit and Actuator Tool.
(B) Partially depressed Actuator Tool attached to BRIC-PDFU canister.
Figure: Injection of fluids into PDFU petri dishes. (A) Actuator Tool prior to attachment to BRIC-PDFU.
(B) Actuator partially depressed to deliver Liquid #1. (C) Completion of actuation allows Liquid #2 to be
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C.E. Amalfitano and R.J. Ferl. 2012. Spaceflight Transcriptomes: Unique Responses to a Novel
Environment. Astrobiology 12(1): 40-56.
Nakashima, J., F. Liao, J.A. Sparks, Y. Tang and E.B. Blancaflor. 2013. The Actin Cytoskeleton
is a Suppressor of the Endogenous Skewing Behaviour of Arabidopsis Primary Roots in
Microgravity. Plant Biology doi:10.1111/plb.12062.
2.2.10 Vegetable Production System (VEGGIE) Hardware
The Vegetable Production Unit (VEGGIE) is an easily stowable, low resource plant growth
system designed to produce fresh vegetables on ISS. It will also have near term psychological
benefits for the crew as a source of recreation. It provides a relatively large growing area (0.17
m2), but can be stowed in 10% of its deployed volume. Once on ISS, VEGGIE will remain onorbit for multiple crop rotations, producing fresh vegetables and offering a source of
recreation/aesthetics for the crew. VEGGIE can function as: (1) a plant cultivation device for
investigating horticultural variables for vegetable production under microgravity conditions, (2)
a test bed for plant surface microflora investigations, and (3) a basis for conducting
education/outreach activities on Earth.
The current baseline configuration for VEGGIE is to grow plants on one of 6 independent
rooting “pillows” that contains the planting media and fertilizer pellets to support plant growth.
Seeds are launched dry either preloaded in the pillows or attached to various substrates that can
be inserted into the pillows by the crew. The pillows will be hydrated on orbit by the crew and
there will be a replenishment of the water within by passive wicking from the VEGGIE reservoir
located below the pillow. The pillows are designed for single use and are to be disposed of after
harvest (reducing sanitation requirements).
Vegetables successfully grown in VEGGIE at Kennedy Space Center include: Lettuce, Radish,
Cherry Tomato, Dwarf Pea, Swiss Chard, Dwarf Chinese Cabbage. Ornamental and model
research plants can also be grown.
VEGGIE is currently scheduled to launch in 2014 and a series of plantings will be conducted on
this maiden flight to: (1) Assess ease of set-up and operation of the VEGGIE hardware. (2)
Assess the capacity for the VEGGIE hardware and pillows to effectively germinate seeds. (3)
Assess the capacity for the VEGGIE hardware and pillows to effectively sustain plant growth
and adequate media moisture. (4) Compare growth in different media combinations. (5)
Demonstrate growth of different types of plants within a single VEGGIE unit. (6) Assess crew
handling aspects of VEGGIE (planting, daily maintenance, harvesting, pillow disposal,
sanitation) and determine effectiveness of established crew procedures. (7) Assess crew
psychological benefits of plant growth and crew acceptance of VEGGIE operations.
Massa, G.D., G. Newsham, M.E. Hummerick, J.L. Caro, G.W. Stutte, R.C. Morrow and R.M.
Wheeler. In Press. Preliminary Species and Media Selection for the Veggie Space Hardware.
Gravitational and Space Research.
Stutte, G.W., G. Newsham, R.M. Morrow and R.M. Wheeler. 2011. Concept for Sustained Plant
Production on ISS Using VEGGIE Capillary Mat Rooting System. AIAA Tech. Paper No.
AIAA 2011-5263.
Morrow, R.C., R.W. Remiker, M.J. Mischnick, L.K. Tuominen, M.C. Lee and T.M. Crabb.
2005. A Low Equivalent System Mass Plant Growth Unit for Space Exploration. Soc. Auto.
Eng. Tech. Paper No. 2005-01-2843.
2.2.11 Lada-2 Hardware
Lada is a plant growth chamber originally launched by the Russian Space Agency in 2002 and
situated in the Zvezda module on the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS).
It has been in nearly continuous use since that time. It is a wall-mounted system that provides
light and root zone control but relies on the ISS environmental control systems for humidity, gas
composition and temperature control. Cabin air is pulled into the plant chamber, flows over the
plants and vents back out to the cabin through the light bank to provide both plant gas exchange
and light bank cooling. Plants that have been cultivated in Lada include Mizuna, tomatoes, peas,
radishes and wheat. The original Lada system included a control module, two independent
vegetation modules and two water reservoirs.
Figure 1. A. Top down view of a Lada-2 root module showing four water injection tubes nominally
surrounded by wicking material to increase the substrate wetting area and provide the seed planting area.
Sensors for temperature, moisture content (thermal pulse) and matric potential (tensiometers) can be
mounted anywhere in the grid. Three sensor lengths (short, medium, long) are available for profile
measurements. B. Side view of a root module completely packed with substrate, wicks and cover. The
module contains two pumps, one to control water content, the other to prime the tensiometers. Pump control
switches are visible in lower portion of the root module.
Most Lada experiments employ root modules (Figure 1 above) that are typically used for one
experiment only. Seeds can be inserted into the root modules on Earth or in space, and the
modules launched on Russian Progress rockets and attached to Lada on-orbit. Crew members
initiate the experiment by activating computer controlled watering of the seeds and subsequently
perform plant maintenance operations. Once experiments are initiated, water is automatically
added to the root zone based upon feedback from moisture sensors embedded in the substrate.
The crew can harvest plant samples and transfer them to the MELFI ISS freezer or fix them
within Kennedy Fixation Tubes (KFTs) for subsequent return and post-flight analysis. They can
also package and stow spent root modules (wet and under ambient temperatures) if they are to be
returned for study (Figure 2 below).
Figure 2. A. Original Lada as deployed on ISS. B. Dwarf Pea plants within Lada chamber. C. Removed root
module with Mizuna and Super Dwarf Wheat plants. D. Two root modules packed up for return after a duel
chamber on-orbit experiment.
Figure 3: Under Development Lada-2 Design.
Lada-2 is currently under development as an upgrade of the original Lada chamber (Figure 3
above). It contains a new LED light block (LB) that includes a touchscreen controller and an
updated power supply. A listing of its specifications is provided below (Figure 4 below).
Figure 4. Light spectrum provided by LEDs in Lada-2. Intensity can be adjusted on-orbit. Spectrum is
adjustable by replacement of the light module. PPF = Photosynthetic Photon Flux. YPF = Yield Photon
Flux. Colors on left show integrated PPF in each spectral band. [Note: Photosynthesis is fundamentally
driven by photon flux rather than energy flux, but not all absorbed photons yield equal amounts of
photosynthesis, resulting in two measures of photosynthetically active radiation: photosynthetic photon flux
(PPF), which values all photons from 400 to 700 nm equally, and yield photon flux (YPF), which weights
photons in the range from 360 to 760 nm according to plant photosynthetic response (Barnes et. al., 1993)].
LADA-2 Specifications
Total Growth Area:
Maximum Shoot Height:
Root Zone Growth Volume:
Internal Temperature:
Internal Temp Control:
Internal Rel. Humidity:
Internal Light Level:
Internal Light Control:
Internal Light Sensing:
Light Isolation:
Nutrient Delivery:
Water Delivery:
Water Delivery:
Internal CO2:
CO2 & Ethylene Control:
Imaging Capabilities:
Image Downlink:
550 cubic inches (8 ¾” x 6 ¼” x 10” vegetation chamber)
140 cubic inches (7” width x 5.75” depth x 3.5” height)
ISS cabin range 18-28° C
Chamber air vented to the ISS cabin & temperature controlled by
ISS life support systems
ISS cabin range 30-70% (controlled by ISS life support systems)
225 micromoles light at chamber bottom
Programmable daily light cycles.
Available channels for automatic light intensity controls.
Calibrated silicon photodiode sensor.
Downward looking from chamber top to integrate reflected
Light is contained within a rigid aluminum leaf chamber with
reflective inner surfaces
Timed release water soluble fertilizer is packed into each root
module within the provided substrate
Water is pumped from a refillable water tank and injected into the
root media through a set of four stainless steel tubes with multiple
outlets. Water is then distributed to the substrate by capillary
forces using a fabric wick material.
Water is pumped using a medical grade peristaltic pump with a
revolution counter to meter pump volumes in increments of 0.119
mL. Instantaneous water levels are measured at up to 8 locations
within the root media using heat pulsed moisture probes (0-100%
saturation levels +/-5% accuracy, 0.5% resolution).
Measured 0-10,000 ppm +/-30 ppm and 10% of measured value.
None. Growth chamber vented to cabin air & dependent on ISS
life support systems.
A 640 x 480 pixel integrated color camera takes automatic
scheduled photos of the leaf chamber from the top center
Photos are stored in a compressed format on a removable compact
flash card that can be removed and read by a station laptop for inflight downlink of photos or returned to earth post-experiment for
analysis. Max photo rate ~1 per minute.
Barnes, C., T. Tibbitts, J. Sager, G. Deitzer, D. Bubenheim, G. Koerner and B. Bugbee. 1993.
Accuracy of Quantum Sensors Measuring Yield Photon Flux and Photosynthetic Photon Flux.
HortScience 28:1197-1200.
Shagimardanova, E.I., O.A. Gusev, V.N. Sychev, M.A. Levinskikh, M.R. Sharipova, O.N.
Il’inskaya, G. Bingham, M. Sugimoto. 2010. Expression of Stress Response Genes in Barley
Hordeum vulgare in a Spaceflight Environment. Molecular Biology 44(5):734–740.
Sugimoto, M., M. Ishii, I.C. Mori, E. Shagimardanova E., O.A. Gusev, M. Kihara, T. Hoki, V.N.
Sychev, M.A. Levinskikh, N.D. Novikova, A.I. Grigoriev. 2011. Viability of Barley Seeds after
Long-Term Exposure to Outer Side of International Space Station. Advances in Space Research
2.2.12 Rodent Research Habitat
The Rodent Research (RR) system is being developed to provide the capability to perform
animal biology research on the ISS using rodent models including both rats and mice. Early
flights of RR will be for mice only and allow for mission durations of 30-60 days. Future flights
will have increased duration of up to 180 days and will also include the capability to support rats.
For the purposes of this solicitation, only mice should be considered and proposed experiment
duration may not exceed 30 days. The RR hardware system is based upon the Animal Enclosure
Module (AEM) used aboard Space Shuttle. The RR hardware system consists of a Transporter
used to transport animals to ISS on Space-X Dragon supply flights and a Habitat which is used to
house animals on the ISS (Figure 1 below). A generic concept of operations for the early animal
flights is shown in Figure 2 below.
Figure 1: Rodent Habitat for ISS
Early flights (2014-2015) for the Rodent Research hardware system will allow for the following:
Preparation and Transportation to ISS
 Laboratories and facilities for receiving animals, housing animals and preparing animals
prior to launch from the Kennedy Space Center will be available; but special equipment,
procedures or other experiment-unique considerations must be provided by the PI team.
 Animals will be loaded into the Space X Dragon capsule approximately 12 hours prior to
Transportation of up to 40 total mice (nominally 30g/mouse) to ISS using the
Animals may be divided into two separate Transporter units (maximum of 20 mice per
unit); and within each Transporter the animals may be divided into two separate cages
(maximum of 10 mice per cage).
Transportation to ISS is anticipated to take 3-4 days but may take as long as 7 days.
There will be no video or real-time environmental data available during transportation to
ISS; however, recorded environmental data will be available as data for downlink from
ISS after animals are delivered.
Visual assessment of food and water will be available after docking with ISS.
Once delivered to ISS, the animals will be removed from Transporter units and placed in
Habitat units and housed as described below.
Housing Onboard ISS
 A single Habitat unit will house up to 10 mice for early flights. Each Habitat can be
divided into two separate cages that can hold up to five animals per cage.
 Although animals may be separated into two cages within one Habitat, the air and waste
handling systems are not separated. For fully-separated animals, two Habitat units must
be used.
 Temperature and Habitat monitoring will be available but no active thermal control will
be provided. The air temperature and the Habitat RH for the animals will correspond with
the conditions in the ISS cabin.
 Visual assessment of food & water will be done at regular intervals
 In order to achieve studies with longer durations than the Habitat can support, animals
can be transferred to a second Habitat.
 Limited real-time video monitoring for health and status will be available for downlink
and scientific analysis. Scheduling of video periods may be done from the ground.
 Light and dark cycles may be scheduled and changed during the mission.
 IR lighting is available for video monitoring during the dark cycle.
Capabilities Onboard ISS
 The Microgravity Sciences Glovebox (MSG) will support dissections and other
biological procedures requiring containment..
 Generic kits such as a general dissection kit, an injection kit (with anesthetics for nonterminal procedures and materials to euthanize animals) and an animal health kit to
monitor animal health will be available.
 Bone densitometer capability will be available for whole-body measurements
 Experimental procedures will be conducted within the MSG; however, any experimental
procedure performed on live animals must take into consideration the limited working
environment within the MSG and the challenges and constraints of performing
experiments in a microgravity environment.
 Euthanasia and general dissection capabilities will be possible onboard ISS; however, any
dissection procedure performed on animals post-euthanasia must take into consideration
the limited working environment within the MSG and the challenges and constraints of
performing experiments in a microgravity environment.
Chemical fixation and preservation of tissues after euthanasia will be available onboard
Cold stowage resources for frozen tissues will be available onboard ISS.
Sample Return
 No live animals will be available for return to Earth from early ISS/Dragon flight
experiments. Live animal return capability will be available on later flights which may
occur as early as 2016.
 Animal tissues will be returned in frozen or fixed form.
 Animal tissues will nominally be available to the PI as early as 2 days after landing of the
Dragon capsule.
Ground Control Experiments
 Synchronous ground control experiments (housed in flight hardware on the ground) will
be supported at NASA.
 If appropriate, ground control experiments may be performed on a time delay to allow for
temperature and other parameters to be controlled to closely follow actual flight
 Ground control experiments in normal vivarium conditions will be supported by NASA.
Figure 2: Generic Concept of Operations for Early Rodent Research Aboard ISS
2.2.13 Mice Drawer System
The Mice Drawer System (MDS) is a facility able to support mice onboard the International
Space Station during long-duration exploration missions (up to 180 days) by providing living
space, food, water, ventilation and lighting.
Mice can be accommodated either individually (maximum 6) or in groups (4 pairs). MDS has
been designed to be integrated in the Space Shuttle middeck during transportation (ascent and
descent) to the ISS and in an EXPRESS Rack in Destiny, US Laboratory during experiment
execution. Modifications are being designed to adapt MDS to the Space-X transportation system.
Onboard the ISS, MDS is relatively self-sufficient; a crewmember will check the health status of
the rodents on a daily basis, by assessing them through the viewing window. Water levels will be
assessed by the crew daily and refilled as needed. Replacement of the food bars and replacement
of the waste filters will be conducted inflight by crewmembers periodically.
Following return of the specimen to Earth, the investigators can perform tissue and molecular
analysis on mice after prolonged exposure to microgravity conditions.
MDS has flown on 2009 to ISS for a 91-day mission. Possible re-flights are subject to
international co-operations among the ISS IP/Ps.
2.2.14 Bone Densitometer
Quantitative measures of bone and muscle loss in mice during orbital space flight are needed for
Space Biology studies as well as for the development of countermeasures for crew members by
NASA and for bone-loss syndromes on Earth by commercial entities.
The “gold standard” of bone density measurement is Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry
(DEXA) in which the absorption of X-rays is quantified at two key
X-ray energies. This method is used to calculate absolute bone density, in g/cm2, in humans,
mice and other laboratory animals.
The Bone Densitometer (BD) (Figure 1 below) built by Techshot for NASA to install and use on
the ISS measures X-ray absorption by bone and soft tissue and reports bone density in mice. It
can also determine soft-tissue density, lean/fat ratio and total animal mass (i.e., weighing mice in
Figure 1: Bone Densitometer for ISS
The system is a spaceflight qualified version of GE Medical’s Lunar PIXImus. A small x-ray
source exposes the entire animal to a cone shaped beam of both high (80kV) and low (35kV)
energy x-rays. A high-resolution digital picture (0.18 x 0.18mm) is taken of an image of the xrays hitting a luminescent panel. The ratio of attenuation of the high and low energies allows the
BD to separate bone from tissue and, from within the tissue samples, the lean and fat. It provides
bone mineral and body composition results from total body imaging in approximately three
minutes. Fast imaging allows faster access to important data and is safer on animals.
The system allows automated, accurate and precise measurement of bone and tissue for small
animals weighing 10-40 g. Bone, fat and lean measurements exhibit excellent correlation to total
ashed or chemical extraction weights. The BD uses a lower x-ray energy than that used for
peripheral densitometry in humans in order to achieve contrast in the extremely low density
bone. Excellent precision of BMD and %Fat makes it ideal for longitudinal studies.
With an image area of 80 mm x 65 mm, the PIXImus can image the entire body of most mice
and the subcranial region of large ob\ob mice. Regions of interest (ROIs), such as spine and
femur, are manually selectable. The system is compact and provides high-resolution images in
addition to quantitative measurements in real time. The user can trace a ROI interactively on the
screen. A screen capture depicting output data resulting from a scan is shown in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: screen capture depicting output data resulting from a scan
Validation of PIXImus
Precision and Accuracy of in Vivo Bone Mineral Measurements of Mouse Femurs Using DXA.
Tim R. Nagy, Ph.D., and D. Wharton J Bone Miner Res, (1999) 14(Suppl. 1): S493
Application to bone less studies
McManus MM, Grill RJ. 2011. Longitudinal evaluation of mouse hind limb bone loss after
spinal cord injury using novel, in vivo, methodology. J Vis Exp.7 (58) 3246. doi: 10.3791/3246.
J. S. Willey, E.W. Livingston, M.E. Robbins, J. D. Bourland, L. Tirado-Lee, H. Smith-Sielicki,
and T. A. Bateman. 2010. Risedronate Prevents Early Radiation-Induced Osteoporosis in Mice
at Multiple Skeletal Locations. Bone. 46(1): 101.
The Anabolic Actions of Estrogen and PTH on the Murine Skeleton Are Additive. Abigail
Samuels, Mark J. Perry, Rachel L. Gibson, Jonathan H. Tobias. J Bone Miner Res, (1999)
14(Suppl. 1): S452
Lin, C., Jiang, X., Dai, Z., Guo, X., Weng, T., Wang, J., Li, Y., Feng, G., Gao, X. and He, L.
(2009), Sclerostin Mediates Bone Response to Mechanical Unloading Through Antagonizing
Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling. J Bone Miner Res, 24: 1651–1661. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.090411
V. E. DeMambro, D. R. Clemmons, L. G. Horton, M. L. Bouxsein, T. L. Wood, W. G. Beamer,
E. Canalis, and C. J. Rosen Gender-Specific Changes in Bone Turnover and Skeletal
Architecture in Igfbp-2-Null Mice
Endocrinology. 2008 May; 149(5): 2051–2061. Published online 2008 February 14. doi:
10.1210/en.2007-1068 PMCID: PMC2329262
Application to soft tissue measurements
Validation of Body Composition Measurements of Mice Using DXA. Tim R. Nagy and AnneLaure Clair. Dept. Obesity Research, Vol. 7 Suppl. 1, Nov 1999, 27S
Evaluation of a New Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry Technique for In Vivo Body
Composition Measurements in mice. M. Punyanitya, R.L. Leibel, S.B. Heymsfield and C.N.
Boozer FASEB (2000) Vol. 14, No. 4:A4
2.2.15 Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) and Accompanying
Hardware Inserts that Support Cell Biology
Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA)
CGBA is a temperature-controlled microgravity research
platform, developed by BioServe Space Technologies, that has
hosted a variety of experiments on numerous Space Shuttle,
MIR and International Space Station flights. CGBA provides
power, data and video capabilities that enable automated
operations of “smart” experiments housed inside the CGBA
facilities. An array of automated life sciences experiments
have been carried out inside CGBA over the past decade and a
half. CGBA’s computer system and custom developed
software have enabled remote monitoring and control of
experiments on the ISS from BioServe’s Payload Operations
and Control Center (POCC).
Currently there are two CGBA units available to support life
science experiments on board the ISS and additional units
available to provide temperature control during transport to and from the station. CGBA has two
configurations: the freezer unit which controls temperature from -16°C to +40°C and the
refrigeration unit that controls temperature from 4°C to +40°C. The internal volume of the
freezer unit is somewhat smaller than the internal volume of the refrigeration unit. All CGBAs
offer a high level of autonomous operation, but also allow for remote real-time experiment
control as well as real-time data downlink. CGBA also offers HD video capability as well as
high resolution image capture of experiments while inside
CGBA. CGBA is able to run an entire experiment from cell
culture incubation at +37°C to sample fixation and storage at
+4°C, all with or without crew interaction.
BioServe has an extensive array of experiment-specific
(customizable) hardware (group activation packs (GAPs),
Fluids Processing Apparatuses (FPAs), Opticell Processing Modules (OPMs), Cell Culture
Habitats (CHabs), and Multi-well plates that are fully compatible with CGBA. All have been
used to support a wide variety of biological experiments in space.
Group Activation Pack (GAP) and Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA)
The FPA is a test tube that allows controlled,
sequential mixing of two to four fluids in
microgravity while maintaining appropriate levels
of containment for safety purposes. A total of 6.5ml of fluid is contained inside a glass barrel (1.35
cm inner diameter x 11.7 cm). The fluids or
cultures are isolated from each other by a rubber
septum. A bypass in the glass barrel allows fluid to
flow into an adjacent chamber as a plunger
mechanism pushes the septum forward. The FPA provides limited gas
exchange. However, gas permeable membranes can be utilized with the FPA which increases
gas exchange to some degree. The FPA can be flown individually or in sets of eight housed in a
single GAP. The FPA and GAP configuration together
provides three levels of containment and can support
BSL 2 organisms or fluids. If temperature control is
required, the CGBA units can hold 9 GAPs in the freezer
configuration and up to 16 GAPs in the refrigeration
Opticell Processing Module (OPM)
The OPM was designed to safely handle biological fluids
in microgravity on board the International Space Station
(ISS). The design utilizes three commercially available OpticellsTM. The OpticellTM is a cell
culture format for growing, monitoring, and transporting cells and has two parallel gaspermeable, cell culture treated polystyrene membranes attached to a standard microtiter platesized frame. Each side has a growth area of 50 cm², total 100 cm². Two resealing access ports
provide closed growth environment with sterile fluid path, thereby reducing risk of
contamination. Using the OPM fluids and suspended cells can be passed between the
OpticellsTM via a 3 way distribution valve and a 3ml syringe. The syringe can be used as a pump
to ensure complete fluid mixing, for example during cell inoculation. An OPM experiment can
be processed from 4-40ºC. The syringe can be removed, inside a glovebox, so that samples can
be transferred from the Opticells™ to a sample vial for refrigeration, freezing or further
Culture Habitat (CHAB)
The CHAB can hold up to six OpticellTM
culture chambers which can be inoculated
sequentially for an extended growth period
or concurrently to increase replication of
experiment samples.
The CHAB can
utilize one or two syringes for sample activation or fixation through the use of up to 3 dual-tube
peristaltic pumps. Passive gas exchange occurs utilizing ISS cabin air. The unit contains
temperature, pH and experiment specific sensors for environmental monitoring. The unit
provides up to 3 levels of containment yet has windows for microscopy, still and video imaging.
Microscopy is attainable in up to four of the six OpticellsTM. While macro-video imaging can be
attained in up to two of the OpticellsTM. The CHAB offers automated, configurable experiment
Multi-well Plate
The Multi-well Plate is being designed to fly in 2013 and
utilize the plate reader now on board the ISS. The multiwell plate will utilize FEP (fluorinated ethylene
propylene) clear Teflon film to form wells within the plate
frame. BioServe has developed methods to seal this film
to a custom frame in a micro-plate format. FEP Teflon
has a number of advantages for this design, including
supporting high levels of O2 and CO2 gas exchange yet
having a relatively low water vapor loss. In addition, FEP
Teflon can be autoclaved for sterilization procedures.
Finally, the film has light transmission properties consistent with the needs of investigators who
might require imaging, spectroscopy or fluorescence-based assays from the cell cultures. The
Multi-well Plate has a septum seal that enables injections through dual ports into each of the six
wells. This design, currently being developed for a custom payload application, will be further
developed into a stand-alone format that can be loaded with reagents or inoculated with cells on
orbit, processed inside CGBA for temperature control and imaging, if required, or placed in the
ISS plate reader to enable a wide variety of assays.
More information and specifications regarding BioServe’s CGBA and associated hardware can
be found at the following links:
“Suspension culture assay of bacterial virulence using Caenorhabditis Elegans: Optimization for
space flight studies”, Hammond, TG, Becker, JL, Stodieck, LS, Koenig, P, Johnson, A,
Hammond, JS, Gunter, MA and Allen, PL, J Gravitational Physiol, in press.
“Remote automated multi-generational growth and observation of an animal in low Earth orbit”,
Oczypok, EA, Etherridge, T, Freeman, J, Stodieck, L, Johnsen, R, Bailie, D, Szewczyk, NJ, J R
Soc Interface, 2012, 9(68):596-599
“Changes in Gene Expression of HepG2 Cells Exposed to Microgravity”, Khairul-Bariah, AAN,
Then, SM, Rageshwary, R, Fazlina, N, Wan-Zurinah, WN Roslan, H, Klaus, DM, Stodieck, LS
and Jamal, R, Grav Space Biology Bull, 2010, 23(2): 91-92.
“The effects of space flight and microgravity on the growth and differentiation of PICM-19 pig
liver stem cells”, Talbot NC, Caperna TJ, Blomberg L, Graninger PG, Stodieck LS, In Vitro Cell
Dev Biol Anim. 2010 46(6):502-15.
“Novel Sfp1 transcriptional regulation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene expression changes
during spaceflight”, Coleman CB, Allen PL, Rupert M, Goulart C, Hoehn A, Stodieck LS,
Hammond TG, 2008, Astrobiology. 8(6):1071-8.
“Space flight alters bacterial gene expression and virulence and reveals a role for global regulator
Hfq”, JS Wilson, CM Ott, KH Zu Bentrup, R Ramamurthy, L Quick, S Porwollik, P Cheng , M
McClelland, G Tsaprailis, T Radabaugh, A Hunt, D Fernandez, E Richter, M Shah, M Kilcoyne,
L Joshi, M Nelman-Gonzalez, S Hing, M Parra, P Dumars, K Norwood, R Bober, J Devich, A
Ruggles, C Goulart, M Rupert, L Stodieck, P Stafford, L Catella, MJ Schurr, K Buchanan, L
Morici, K McCracken, P Allen, C Baker-Coleman, T Hammond, J Vogel, R Nelson, DL Pierson,
HM Stefanyshyn-Piper, CA Nickerson, 2007, Proc Natl Acad Sci, 104(41):16299-304.
2.2.16 Bioculture System (BIOS) Hardware Description
The NASA Bioculture System is an advanced space bioscience culturing system capable of
supporting variable duration and long duration experiments on ISS. Based on its technological
heritage to the Space Shuttle-era Cell Culture Module (CCM), the Bioculture System is capable
of supporting a variety of primary and established mammalian and non-mammalian cells and cell
lines, respectively, including 3D tissue cultures and microbiological cultures. In addition
experiments that require co-culturing of different specimen types (e.g. cell and cell or cell and
microbe) can be conducted in this system. The Bioculture System is designed to conduct a wide
range of experiments to investigate the fundamental and biomedical impacts of microgravity and
the space flight environment on cellular, tissue, and microbial specimens and systems.
Furthermore, the Bioculture System provides capabilities for biopharmaceutical investigations
for discovery biology, drug discovery, and pharmaceutics testing. The Bioculture System
provides ten independent incubation chambers (Cassettes) that allows the scientist the capability
to pre-program environmental set points, and automated sampling and injection timelines while
providing Crew access for manual operations, such as on-orbit culture initiation and
subculturing. The Bioculture System is compatible technology for delivering medium perfusion
to cultures using with hollow fiber technology, which eliminates exposure of the cells to
mechanical and fluid shear forces.
The Bioculture System supports both academic and biotechnology/pharmaceutical company
goals and objectives for utilizing the unique space flight environment provided by ISS. The
Systems supports cell biology studies such as the following:
Cell physiology
Omics studies
Cell cycle
Cell differentiation
3D tissue culture
Tissue biology
Host-pathogen (bacteria and virus) interaction via co-culture
Cell to Cell interactions via co-culture
Immune cell function
Latent virus activation
Cancer-related, radiation, biotech/ commercial pharmaceutical discovery biology, drug
discovery, and drug compound and countermeasure analyses and testing.
Microbiology studies supported such as the following:
Basic microbe physiology and molecular analyses
Omics studies
Microbial pathogenesis
Long duration growth for genetics and evolution
Biofilm research.
Biotech / commercial pharmaceutical discovery biology, drug discovery, and drug
compound and countermeasure analyses and testing.
The Bioculture System supports on-orbit experiment design flexibility and automated and
manual capabilities to conduct the study:
Conduct variable duration and long duration experiments up to 60 days using nominal
supplies; longer duration experiments are possible but will require resupply of
Incubation of biological samples
On-orbit initiation of cultures and subculture
Cold chamber for containing heat labile media, additive solutions, preservatives and
fixative solutions, and samples
Media circulation for perfused feeding of the cultures; amenable to use with hollow fiber
media delivery systems to protect cells from media flow forces
Programmable automated specimen sampling from the biochamber
Programmable automated solution injection
Manual Crew activities for on-orbit initiation of cultures, subculturing, sampling and
injections, and removal/change-out of bags and biochamber
Manual change out of Cassettes and flow path assemblies for initiation of new
experiments on-orbit
Near-real time data downlink
Change pre-programmed set points or automated activity timelines, per Cassette, by
commanding from the ground
Resupply Cassette consumable supplies, including the Gas Supply Assembly
Crew operations can be performed in the Microgravity Glovebox or ISS Disposable
Bioculture System Specifications:
The Bioculture System is made up of two components: 1) docking station and 2) 10
Docking Station
o Removable Gas Supply Assembly – PI selected gas mixture
o Power Module
o Power and gas supply connectors for the ten Cassettes
Cassette assemblies
o Support the simultaneous but independent operations of ten Cassettes
o ISS ExPRESS Locker equivalent in size
o Weight 61lbs without ISS Locker
o Weight 72 lbs when hosed in the ISS ExPRESS Locker
o Operating Power: 140W to 150W
Per Each Cassette Assembly - Base, cover, and Disposable flow path assembly
o Cassette Base
 Carries cold chamber, incubation chamber, and PC controller board
 Two independent O-rings for 2 levels of containment for fluid and
particles when the cover is attached
o Cassette Cover
 Gorefilter, which provides air exchange blocks fluids and particles; safety
considered infinite level of containment
o Disposable Flow Path Assembly
 Media bag
 Up to 16 accessory solution bags for additives, fixatives, preservatives,
and samples
 Fluidics tubing
 Oxygenation system
 Media warming system
 Biochamber (Compatible with hollow fiber bioreactor technology)
 Media pump
 Up to 16 solenoid valves for automated sampling and fluid injection
 Provides one level of additional containment
Each Cassette provides experiment selectable temperature settings and flow rate control
that is independent of the other Cassettes
o Cold Chamber: temperature set point selection from ambient to +5 C
o Incubated Chamber: temperature set point selection from ambient to +42 C
o Pump: selectable rate and mode (intermittent, pulsed, or continuous)
o Environmental gas supply is shared between all of the Cassettes
Figure: Bioculture System in an EXPRESS Locker
Figure: Cassette Assembly. The Experiment Insert carries the biochamber, solenoids, pump, and controllers
(section over the incubation zone) and the solution bags (section over the cold zone). The flow path tubing
between the bags and the other subsystems are not shown.
2.2.17 JAXA microbial monitoring tools
JAXA has developed small tools to sampling for microbial monitoring such as wet wipe,
microbial detection sheet (for fungi), sampling sheet (dry sampling) and a particle counter using
laser detector. The particle counter is modified from COTS product (Rion Co. Ldt. KR-12A: to measure particle from 0.5 m to 10m.
Figure: FJAXA microbial sampling tools and particle counter
2.2.18 NanoLabs
NanoLab is a box in the CubeSat form factor, measuring 10 cm by 10 cm by 10 cm. Every
NanoLab has a circuit board that activates the experiment, turns it off and can be functioned for
other activities. Customers have also deployed video cameras and a wide range of sensors inside
NanoLabs are plugged into the NanoRack research platforms via a normal USB port, allowing
data and power to flow. A single NanoLab is 1U in size; we can also handle 2U, or 4U or 2 by
4U for example–and we charge by the size of the NanoLab.
Included in the management of NanoLabs payloads is full experiment development from
transportation to data retrieval.
 10cm cube modules
 Power from ISS (5V dc)
 Standard USB connection
 Easy data downloads
 Repeatable missions
 Returnable payloads
NanoRacks offers complete in-house capabilities for payload integration, payload design and
development and interfacing with NASA and foreign space agencies. NR Research Platforms 1
and 2 hold the basic NanoLab. NR Research Platform-3 holds our SuperLab, which is 4U in size
and allows for more sophisticated payloads with more power and capabilities. For more
information about NanoLabs capabilities please visit the NanoRacks website;
Figure: Example of NanoLab CubeLab built by Valley Christian High School for life sciences research.
2.2.19 Nanoracks Facilities
NanoRacks provides microgravity research facilities aboard ISS allowing small standardized
payloads to be plugged into any of the NanoRack platforms, providing interface with the
International Space Station power and data capabilities. The Nanoracks U.S. National Lab
facilities provide turnkey opportunities to conduct experiments and currently includes two
NanoLab Platforms, NanoRacks Plate Reader, NanoRacks Microscope and NanoRacks MixStix,
providing repeatable microgravity research opportunities onboard the ISS. A passive centrifuge
facility is available and may be used to provide variable-gravity environments for a variety of
research applications. The facilities are described briefly below with links to the NanoRacks
website for more information.
Overview of NanoRacks Laboratory Inside International Space Station
 Three research platforms in
CubeSat form factor with USB
standard interface
 Two microscopes;
 Centrifuge (With Astrium)
 Spectrophotometer microplate
Reader (Molecular Devices Spectra
Max M5e) allowing sophisticated
on-orbit analysis:
 UV-Visible Absorbance
 Fluorescence Intensity
 Time-Resolved Fluorescence including CisBio HTRF
 Fluorescence Polarization
 Glow LuminescenceHardware for biological research
 Data returns to customer
 Power
 Return of payloads possible
Two NanoRacks Platforms are
now permanently housed on the
ISS U.S. National Lab, allowing
for 32 payload slots of NanoRacks
research modules, known as
NanoLabs (1U = 4 inches by 4
inches by 4 inches) or any
combination, such as 2U or 3U x
8U and so on. Everything
necessary for a mission is taken
care of by the NanoRacks team.
Through NanoRacks partners and
NanoRacks offers complete inhouse capabilities for payload
Figure 1: Centrifuge and Modified Type I containers
integration, payload design and development and interfacing with NASA and foreign space
The NanoRacks optical microscopes allow on-the-ground researchers to undertake in-situ
microgravity analysis. The USB Microscope plugs into any ISS laptop allowing crewmembers to
adjust the position of the samples on the slide and focus the microscope as well as choose the
magnification from the 5X, 10X or 20X objectives. When the desired images are captured, the
crewmember will copy them from the USB Video Device to the destination file for later
downlink to your team on the ground
The NanoRacks’ MD Plate Reader-1 holds 96 samples allowing veteran space researchers and
those new to space to perform the same state of the art analysis now done in laboratories on the
Earth. The Plate Reader is derived from an off the shelf Molecular Devices M5E
The NanoRacks Centrifuge was developed in collaboration with Astrium. It is a passive facility
that is maintained in the ISS cabin and has no independent temperature, humidity or atmospheric
control. The facility can hold up to 6 ESA Type 1 containers (each one measuring 20 mm x 40
mm x 80 mm).. Hardware for biological research is available for Nanoracks research. ESA
Type I Experiment containers are available for supporting plant growth, small aquatic organisms
and drosophila. A variety of modified Type I containers and the centrifuge system are shown in
Figure 1 above. Other modifications to Type 1 containers are possible and being considered.
Microgravity Microplates/Cuvettes
NanoRacks is
modifying off-theshelf microplate
and cuvette designs
to accommodate
fluids in the
environment for
use in the Plate
Reader. The
following designs
are currently under
d Microplate The
Vented Microplate
is essentially a
standard microplate
with a Mylar seal
over the wells
including Gore-Tex gas permeable membranes. Filling of the Vented Microplate is accomplished
on-orbit by injecting a liquid sample into each well using a hypodermic syringe through a rubber
Reactor Microplate
The Reactor Microplate is a
modified microplate that
contains liquid sample storage
cells that contain pierceable
membranes for mixing the
fluids and thus activating
experimental operations. The
Reactor Microplate is loaded
on the ground and activated
by crew on-orbit. Analysis by
the Plate Reader is unaffected.
Cuvette System
The Plate Reader has a top
port for use with single
cuvette samples or
experimenters can use
CuvettePlate™ by Perfector
Scientific, which is an off the shelf microplate cuvette adaptor that can hold up to 8 screw cap
sealed cuvettes in an adapter tray that is read in the Plate Reader. This permits experimenters to
design and utilize a wide variety of cuvettes for use in microgravity including reactor cuvettes
and miniature flow cytometry systems. Analysis by the Plate Reader is unaffected.
Transmission Microscope
NanoRacks flew a miniature
Celestron Model 44330 USB
transmission microscope to
the ISS on HTV-2. The
system was recently tested
by astronaut Mike Fossum
and this system is ready for
use by experimenters. It
utilizes standard plastic
microscope slides and is
operated with a laptop
computer. It has a maximum
magnification of
approximately 1880X. The
ISS crew takes snapshots
with the laptop and
downlinks the images which
are distributed to
experimenters from a
NanoRacks website.
Reflective Microscope
NanoRacks flew a miniature Celestron
Model 44306 USB reflection microscope
to the ISS on Progress 45. It takes images
directly off of sample surfaces and is
operated with a laptop computer. It has a
maximum magnification of approximately
200X. The ISS crew takes snapshots with
the laptop and downlinks the images
which are distributed to experimenters
from a NanoRacks website.
External Platform:
NanoRacks is also in the process of
designing an external platform that will have access to open space via the JEM Experiment
Airlock. This facility will provide experimenters with the convenience of crew tended
maintenance/replacement of hardware while providing exposure to outer space conditions using
robotic manipulation. In particular, this system will be useful for exobiology experiments.
2.2.20 Fruit Fly Lab
Fruit fly spaceflight experiments have contributed significantly to our understanding of the
effects of microgravity on biological processes that are directly relevant to humans in space. The
Fruit Fly Lab provides a research platform aboard the International Space Station for longduration fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) experiments in space. Such experiments will
examine how microgravity and other aspects of the space environment affect these insects,
providing information relevant to long-term human spaceflight.
NASA’s Ames Research Center developed the Fruit Fly Lab to enable fruit fly research aboard
the space station. This hardware
development project leverages the
experience gained from prior flight
experiments with fruit flies using a
space shuttle-based system.
Advanced capabilities of the new
Fruit Fly Lab include providing
environmental and behavioral
monitoring for long duration studies
that the previous system lacked.
The hardware also supports safe
transport of fruit flies on the
commercial resupply service vehicle
SpaceX Dragon.
Housing Aboard the ISS
The new system has three major components. The first is the Cassette that will safely transport
fruit flies to the space station. The second is the Food Change out Platform that will be used to
change the fruit fly food without breaching containment, and allow extraction of the fruit fly
larvae for preservation. [The third is the Observation System that will be used to record videos
of the flies in orbit. –The Fruit Fly Lab will provide long-term housing for fruit flies aboard the
station at microgravity and a controlled 1g inside an on-orbit centrifuge.
Capabilities Aboard ISS
The Fruit Fly Lab hardware operates in ambient conditions of the ISS atmosphere - no
environmental controls or monitoring are available. There may be opportunities for crew to make
manual changes to the experiment
while aboard ISS. Crew will be
able to provide observation data
during flight.
Sample Return
Fruit Fly samples can be returned
frozen, refrigerated, or ambient.
An inflight fixation method is
currently under development, but
is not likely to be available for the
first experimental runs.
O. Marcu, M. P. Lera, M. E. Sanchez, E. Levic, L. A. Higgins, A. Shmygelska, T. F.Fahlen, H.
Nichol, and S. Bhattacharya (2011). Innate immune responses of Drosophila melanogaster are
altered by spaceflight. PLoS One; 6(1): p. e15361, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015361
O.T.Inan, O.Marcu, M.E.Sanchez, S.Bhattacharya, G.Kovacs (2011). A portable system for
monitoring the behavioral activity of Drosophila. JNeurosci Meth; 202(1):42-52
2.2.21 Microbial Cryogenic Canister Assemblies
The Microbial Cryogenic Canisters provide containment for three 8 ml Cryovials that can be
used for microbial growth. The Cryovials are inserted into aluminum vial jackets to provide
efficient thermal transfer from the canister to the specimens. The canisters containing the
Cryovials can be stored in temperature controlled environments during ascent, on-orbit, and
2.2.22 Advance Plant Habitat Hardware (Under Development)
In 2010 NASA’s Fundamental Space Biology Science Plan, developed to guide research efforts
through 2020 (, strongly
recommended that an Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) be developed to facilitate multigenerational studies with large plants under well-controlled environmental conditions on the
International Space Station (ISS). A Science Requirements Envelope Document (SRED) was
developed to establish the science requirements to conduct plant biology research with a variety
of plants using the APH and associated hardware. Early on the decision was made to target a
quad-locker sized facility with an adjoining ISIS drawer (Figure 1 below) containing one large
“Specimen Chamber” (Figure 2 below) to provide the science community with the largest plant
growth environment ever provided for microgravity experiments. It will be mounted in a
standard EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack in the U.S.
Laboratory (Figure 3 below).
When completed in 2016, APH will provide a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled
chamber designed to support commercial and fundamental plant research onboard ISS. It will
incorporate proven microgravity plant growth technologies with newly developed fault tolerance
and recovery technology to increase overall efficiency, reliability, and robustness. The design is
based on an open architecture concept to allow critical subsystems to be removed and replaced
onboard the ISS. Key requirements for its design are presented below.
Selected Key Requirements:
• Total Shoot Growth Area:
• Total Root Growth Area:
• Maximum Shoot Height:
• Root Module Height:
• Growth Volume:
2,290 cm2
2,052 cm2
43 cm
5 cm
109,933 cm3
Growth Chamber Relative Humidity Range: 50%-86% RH; Set-point definable in 2% RH
increments; maintained within ± 5% RH
Growth Chamber Humidity Condensate Volume: quantified with an accuracy of ±10% (for
the calculation of evapotransporation)
Growth Chamber Leak Rate: ≤10% by volume/day
Growth Chamber Air Velocity: 0.3-0.7 m/s in 0.1 m/s increments (at chamber center)
Growth Chamber Air Flow Direction: in the vertical direction from bottom to top
Growth Chamber Air Velocity Uniformity: uniform over the entire plant growing area to ±
5% of the set-point
Growth Chamber Internal CO2 Levels: 400–5,000 ppm (set-point in 25 ppm increments &
maintained within ± 5%)
Growth Chamber CO2 Measurements: measured to a tolerance of ± 10%
Growth Chamber Air Circulation System: filters out air contaminants ≥ 0.5 m
Growth Chamber Internal Ethylene Levels: ≤ 25 ppb
3 unique cameras for different types of viewing/perspectives
Lighting Control (both intensity and spectrum) up to 1,000 µmol/m2s
Lighting Wavelengths: Red, Blue, Green, Far Red, White, and IR
Remote monitoring and control
Figure 1. Diagrammatic representation of APH showing the Speciment Chamber on right side (see Figure 2
for details), two Environmental Control System (ECS) modules, the Air Filtration Assembly (AFA), and the
ISIS Drawer containing CO2 & GN2 components. All are replaceable on-orbit.
The Science Carrier (Figure 4 below) consists of a structural element, a water delivery
mechanism, and a standard interface plate that will provide instrumentation support as part of the
basic APH capabilities. The Science Carrier will also provide 28 VDC power, additional
instrumentation channels, and video and imaging interface to allow Principal Investigators (PIs)
to extend the APH basic capabilities. It will contain a structural element to separate the root
zone from the shoot zone, as well as imaging, light, O2, temperature, and moisture sensor
interfaces on the structure’s side walls. The water delivery input is located at the top of the
Science Carrier at each quadrant for simple access and manipulation. Power and data outputs
will include integration with the Specimen Chamber and plug into the back of the Carrier.
Baseline Concept of Operations
It is assumed that most experiments will be initiated using seeds launched dry within a “Science
Carrier” (Figure 4 below) that will be inserted into the base of the APH Specimen Chamber
(Figure 2 below). This does not preclude other more challenging approaches that may be
proposed at a later time (e.g. launching pre-initiated seedlings, cuttings, etc. from Earth). Once
the Science Carrier is installed, APH will be activated, and proper operation validated. Water
will then be delivered to the Science Carrier’s root zone (initially baselined as being composed
of 0.5-2.0 mm arcillite with slow release Osmocote fertilizer pellets distributed within) and seed
imbibition initiated. The capability for command of the environmental control parameter set
points will be provided both on-orbit and from the ground. Operating conditions during the
seed germination phase will generally utilize lower light intensities and higher relative humidity
set-points than will be used once the seedlings are established. It is anticipated that in most
instances, light intensities will ramp up as the plants increase in size, reaching a maximum as
canopy closure approaches. The crew will be able to obtain specimen samples at any point
within an experiment (e.g. for pollination, chemical preservation, cold storage, etc.) using the
sleeved access ports (Figure 2 below). They will also be able to manually obtain water samples
both from APH’s internal reservoir and root zone, and gas samples from both the shoot and root
zones. Plant growth, water usage and other physiological parameters will be gauged from noninvasive measurements of chamber CO2, O2, canopy temperature and root zone moisture content.
Direct observation of the plants will be possible at any time via a transparent front panel
(nominally blocked by a light-tight cover), and indirect viewing will be possible (both on-orbit
and on the ground) via the imaging capabilities of APH (enabling assessments of plant growth,
leaf area development, etc.).
Figure 2. Specimen Chamber: Two glove ports are present to permit access to the chamber’s interior during
experiments. The Science Carrier (see Figure 4 for details) can be seen on the bottom. Under normal
operating conditions a light-tight cover blocks light entry from the cabin environment.
Figure 3. APH mounted in a standard EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS)
rack. As shown, the Specimen Chamber slides out 25 cm from the main unit for viewing through the top
window during glove port operations.
Figure 4. Science Carrier: The four substrate quadrants can be independently controlled to different
wetness level setpoints. Two moisture sensors will be located within each quadrant for real-time
measurements of substrate moisture content.
Future Operation Plan
Subject to funding availability, NASA anticipates selecting PIs for APH no earlier than 2015.
Current funding profiles project 1-2 long-duration tests each year through the life of the ISS. A
minimum of two APHs will be fabricated, one for installation within an ISS Express Rack on
ISS, and one ground control unit to be maintained at Kennedy Space Center. A third lower
fidelity unit will be produced for PI operations and for crew training. APH will be capable of
supporting fully powered experiments up to 135 days without disruption, except for
replenishment of planned expendable commodities. If merited by PI requirements, additional
Science Carriers may be developed with alternative capabilities.
2.2.23 Plant Growth Experiment Containers (EC) for the EMCS
The Plant Growth Experiment Containers (EC's) work with the European Modular Cultivation
System (EMCS). Each EC has an internal volume of 60 x 60 x 160 mm with a transparent cover
and up to 8 of these EC's can be integrated into the EMCS. The EC's work with the EMCS to
provide lighting, water, environmental control and monitoring, video, and digitial still image
2.2.24 Kennedy Space Center Fixation Tube (KFT)
The Kennedy Space Center Fixation Tube (KFT) is a system designed to contain small biological
samples during flight and chemically fix and/or stain the tissue samples. Because chemical
fixatives are extremely hazardous to humans, the device is designed to contain its fixative
solution within a triply-redundantly sealed environment.
The KFT is comprised of the following elements: a polycarbonate main tube where fixative is
loaded preflight, the sample tube which is used to keep the plant or other specimen in place
during operations, the expansion plug, top plug, base plug, and the plunger. The KFT contains
approximately 35 ml of fixative solution and provides a usable sample volume of either 25 or 41
ml depending on which of the current two configurations is employed. KFTs have proven to
provide very robust containment. The KFT has been demonstrated to maintain its containment at
ambient temperatures, +4 degrees C refrigeration, and -99 degrees C freezing.
The KFT has been shown to be compatible with many fixative reagents. Some of the tested
reagents are: 100% RNAlater; 0.4% Formaldehyde; 5% formalin, 5% acetic acid, 50% ethanol; 0.5%
Glutaraldehyde, 2% Paraformaldehyde. In flight, in order to perform fixation of the samples, the KFT
system is removed from a storage bag that is inspected prior to opening to ensure there have been
no leaks. After a specimen has been placed into the sample tube, a plunger is locked into place at
the top of the tube and the fully assembled KFT is actuated by turning the plunger handle several
turns to release an internal expansion plug, forcing the fixative through openings located in the
bottom of the sample tube. The fired KFT is then replaced in the plastic bag and restowed in a
locker or transferred to MELFI or other conditioned stowage as required.
Results Publications
Ferl RJ, Zupanska AK, Spinale A, Reed DW, Manning-Roach S, Guerra G, Cox DR, Paul
A. The performance of KSC Fixation Tubes with RNALater for orbital experiments: A case
study in ISS operations for molecular biology. Advances in Space Research. 2011; 48(1): 199206.
2.2.25 Passive Dosimeter System (PDS)
The Passive Dosimeter System (PDS) hardware consists of two kinds of radiation dosimeters and
an electronic "reader." The dosimeters can be placed anywhere in the ISS to provide an accurate
point measurement of the radiation at their locations. One of the radiation dosimeters is a
thermoluminescent detector, or TLD. These detectors are used to measure incident ionizing
radiation (protons, neutrons, electrons, heavy charged particles, gamma and x-rays.) The other
type of dosimeter is a set of Plastic Nuclear Track Detectors (PNTDs). The PNTDs are used to
measure heavy charged ions radiation. This information is used to improve the accuracy of the
radiation dose the TLDs have recorded and to improve the estimate of the biological effects of
the radiation.
2.2.26 EXPOSE
The EXPOSE facility permit exposure of biological and chemical samples to the direct space
environment (incl. vacuum, solar UV, ionizing radiation). Samples are contained in small wells
in a variety of different sample carriers, under a small window. The windows are either made of
MgF2 glass which permits exposure to solar UV radiation down to 110nm or quartz, which only
passes UV longer than 200nm wavelength simulating the Martian UV environment. The sample
wells can be vented to the space vacuum or sealed with an argon or simulated planetary
atmosphere (eg. Mars CO2 atmosphere). Samples can be exposed to the space environment for
over 1 year. A typical EXPOSE experiment passively undergoes its mission in orbit: there are no
telecommanding or telemetry capabilities provided, neither can the experiments be manipulated
by the crew. However, active and passive dosimeters on the facility can record the cosmic and
solar UV radiation flux
2.2.27 ExHAM
The Exposed experiment Handrail Attachment (ExHAM) can deploy small sized samples on the
Exposed area of Kibo. 10cm x 10 cm or 10cm x 20 cm size samples are attached to the ExHAM
inside the ISS. Then the ExHAM with samples is transferred to the exposed area through the
JEM airlock and installed to the handrail on JEM exterior by the JEMRMS Small Fine Arm.
ExHAM provide easier and more frequent opportunities for small sized technical demonstrations
or experiments such as biological/chemical sample exposure, capture of space debris/aerosols
and small device test.
Figure: ExHAM
Figure: Mission Steps for the ExHAM mission
Table 2: Hardware Available to Support Biology & Exobiology Research
For further details and other ISS facilities see the below ISS link.
ISS facilities by Hardware Type, grouped by Discipline/Category:
Hardware Available to Support
Biology & Exobiology Research
Rodent Research Habitat
Bone Densitometer
NanoRacks facilities
Advanced Plant Habitat
Under Development
Fruit Fly Lab
Microbial Cryogenic Canister
JAXA microbiology kit
Under Development
Hardware Available to Support
Biology & Exobiology Research
2.2.28 Biology Experiment Mission Scenarios
Most biology experiments typically require launch and upload of experiment samples & reagents
in a dormant or quiescent state, followed by activation and cultivation of the experiment onboard
ISS. Inflight activities possibly include sampling, real time measurements/ recordings, fixation
then storage of the samples. Data recorded inflight can be downlinked and samples are returned
for postflight analysis. The feasibility of performing an experiment onboard ISS is therefore
driven by the available resources for transport of the experiment to/from the station, conditioned
temperature stowage, crewtime and experiment and/or facility constraints.
The mission phases of a typical biology experiment are the following:
Preflight preparation: There are several scenarios for preflight preparation. If the preparation of
the biological material is not time critical, the experiment can be prepared in the investigators
home laboratory or a user support operation center (USOC). Alternatively, if the experiment
samples have a limited lifetime (eg. live cell cultures) then it may be necessary to perform the
preparation at or near the launch site. In either case the requirements of shipment of the
experiment, samples, reagents and equipment need to be considered (eg. time of transport,
temperature requirements etc). At the launch site a laboratory facility may be required for
experiment preparation, however it is difficult to provide the same level of facilities as in the
investigators laboratory. For example at Baikonur and at Kennedy Space Center laboratory
facilities are available, with tissue culture capabilities (eg. laminar flow hood, incubator,
centrifuge, microscope), but all consumables and specialized equipment needs to be brought to
the site by the investigator. Therefore, the preparation activities should be simplified as much as
possible to minimize the laboratory requirements.
Preflight installation, launch and transfer to ISS (upload phase): The timeline of this phase of the
mission and the conditions available for the experiment vary depending on the launch vehicle. It
is assumed that the baseline upload transport vehicle for transport of time / temperature critical
experiment samples will be the SpaceX Dragon vehicles. The Dragon capsule provides the
possibility for frozen and refrigerated sample transport (see 3.1.2. for details of temperature
ranges). Cargo is exposed to temperature environments similar to vehicles with crew during the
freeflight phase of the mission. If a finer temperature tolerance is required than the ambient
capsule temperature it is possible to package the experiment samples in phase change gels. In
this way temperatures of 23-30°C can be ensured for transport of live cell cultures. Experiments /
samples can be loaded into the Dragon capsule between 24h to 3 days before launch (depending
on the temperature conditioning) and the time from launch to hatch opening at ISS takes between
1 and 5 days. For some small experiments a Soyuz vehicle could be potentially used. For this, the
experiment can be loaded as late as 14h prior to launch if required and typically the flight time
from launch until transfer to the ISS is in the order of 55-60h. During this time the experiment is
exposed to ambient cabin environment (typically in the range of 15-30°Cunless buffered with a
passive phase change materials). Other vehicles without a crew such as Progress, and HTV
typically have late access times of several days before launch and may take several days more to
reach station. Furthermore, the experiment may be subject to wider temperature extremes than in
the Soyuz.
Operations onboard ISS: Following docking of the transport vehicle, the experiment is
transferred to ISS. If the start of the experiment is not time critical, then the experiment
equipment and samples will be transferred to stowage. Conditioned temperature stowage can be
provided for some samples, including refrigerated (+4°C) and frozen stowage (-80°C). In case
the experiment samples have a limited lifetime, the experiment will need to start shortly after
arrival at ISS. However, it is very difficult to perform complex activities on the day the transport
vehicle arrives at ISS, therefore realistically the first major experiment operations usually can
only start the day after docking. The preference is to perform experiment operations with as
much automation as possible (eg. automated experiment hardware, automatic facility operations
controlled from the ground), although manual experiment operations (eg. Glovebox operations)
are also possible. Even with automatic experiment operation some crew activity is required, for
example to transfer experiment containers. It is important to have some flexibility in the timing
of experiment activities requiring the crew, to facilitate fitting the experiment within the general
crew schedule. The current scenario for Soyuz crew rotations foresees a period of 2-4 months
between the upload of experiments and download. Therefore, the experiment must be able to
survive this period of time on orbit including pre-experiment storage, operations and postexperiment storage.
Return from ISS and early retrieval: The current baseline method for sample retrieval is
download in a returning Space X vehicle. Typically the time from transfer of samples to the
vehicle until sample retrieval is 4-5 days. Frozen, refrigerated and ambient stowage is available
during this period as described in section 3.1.2. In the case of Soyuz samples are transferred to
Soyuz 24-36h prior to landing and maintained at ambient temperature (15-30°C). Some limited
passive conditioned temperature stowage (e.g. phase change gels) may be available for small
samples. Following a nominal landing, samples can typically be transferred to conditioned
transport containers within 2-3h and handed over to investigators in Moscow approximately 1218h after landing.
2.2.29 Exobiology experiment mission scenarios
The mission scenarios for exobiology experiments are similar to those for biology experiments,
in terms of preflight preparation, upload and download. Deployment of the samples on orbit will
usually require an EVA and a separate EVA to retrieve the samples. Therefore, the external
exposure time will be less than the total flight time onboard ISS due to the constraints associated
with EVA scheduling.
General Support Capabilities
Temperature-Controlled Storage
3.1.1. Temperature controlled storage onboard ISS
There are a number of hardware systems and methods for the maintenance of specific
temperatures for specimens or preserved samples onboard ISS:
 Ambient Storage (approximately +18°C to +28°C)
 Refrigeration (+4°C)
 Freezing (-20°C to -80°C )
Storage at temperatures outside these ranges can be done, but only for a limited amount of time
(few days) (passive temperature control)
Experiment operational requirements, hardware availability, and sample volumes dictate which
system or combination of systems is used to accommodate specific experiment objectives. It
should be noted that in all cases that the cold stowage volume available for anyone experiment is
limited, as this is a shared resource.
The Minus Eighty-degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) is a cold storage unit that
maintains experiment samples at ultra-cold temperatures on ISS. Each MELFI rack contains
four dewars. Each dewar includes four trays that can be extracted without disturbing the samples
in the other locations. Furthermore, each tray contains a combination of one-quarter size box
modules and one one-half size box modules to hold science samples. Standard accommodation
hardware is provided for the insertion of samples of different sizes and shapes. Although MELFI
is technically capable of operation at any setpoint between 10 degrees C and -99 degrees C, there
are three standard operating modes; -95 degrees C, -35 degrees C and +2 degrees C. The dewar
temperature is continuously monitored and recorded realtime.
The General Laboratory Active Cryogenic International Space Station (ISS) Experiment
Refrigerator (GLACIER) is a rear-breathing or water-cooled cryogenic freezer that provides
cryogenic transportation and preservation of samples requiring temperatures between +4 °C (39
°F) and -160 °C (-301 °F). The cold volume of the unit has a generic design that allows multiple
types of science samples requiring cryogenic thermal storage to use the GLACIER. The
GLACIER is a double-locker-equivalent unit that can be operated in an EXpedite the PRocessing
of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack. The GLACIER incorporates a cold volume
sample storage area of 23.1 cm (10.75 in.) x 27.94 cm (11.00 in.) x 41.91 cm (16.5 in.). It is
capable of supporting 10 kg (22 lb) of experiment samples and has an internal cold volume of 20
L. The GLACIER can maintain a temperature of -160 °C (-256 °F) for 6 to 8 hours without
power if it has been operating at -160 °C (-301 °F) prior to the power outage.
JAXA has developed Freezer-Refrigerator of Stirling Cycle (FROST). FROST is a stirling cooler
that is able to keep up to -70 deg C and to keep cold even in case of power outage for more than
10 hours. The FROST was launched by HTV-4 and placed in JEM. Volume of FROST for
samples is 33.1 x 25.5 x 15cm (12.2L).
Table 3: Hardware Available for Temperature-Controlled Storage
Minus Eighty Degree Life
Sciences Freezer (MELFI)
Temperature Ranges &
3 set points:
+4°C (+0.5°C to +6°C)
-26°C (-37°C to -23°C)
-80°C (below -68°C)
-160°C to +4°C
(in ExPRESS rack on ISS)
-20°C to +10°C (1°C
increments, +/-1°C)
+6°C to +15°C
-70°C to Room temp
3.1.2. Temperature controlled storage during upload and download
A variety of active and passive systems are available for transporting samples to/from ISS,
providing frozen, refrigerated and buffered “room temperature” conditioning. The characteristics
of these systems are described below.
JAXA has developed ISS Cryogenic Experiment Storage Box (ICE Box) and launched it by
HTV-4. The ICE Box is a cool box for delivery made to keep the container cool for 10 days
without the electrical power. Volume of the ICE Box for sample is 31.9 x 26.6 x 8.8cm (7.3L).
The GLACIER freezer provides conditioned storage during transportation to and from ISS as
well as on ISS. See previous section for a description of GLACIER. However with the limited
power and cooling resources provided within the SpaceX Dragon, GLACIER is capable of
providing thermal control between -95o C and + 4o C.
Polar is a Cold Stowage managed facility that provides transport and storage of science samples
at cryogenic temperatures (-80ºC) to and from ISS. Polar operates on 75 W supplied power and
uses air cooling as its heat rejection method. Polar is the size of one middeck locker equivalent
(MLE) can accommodate up to 12.75 liters of sample volume and 20 lbm including sample
support equipment. Polar provides active transport of samples to / from the ISS via the SpaceX
Dragon and to the ISS via Orbital Cygnus, and passive transport of samples to the ISS via the
Dragon, Cygnus, ATV, HTV and Progress vehicles.
Double Cold Bag
Temperature Ranges &
-32°C, -26°C, +4°C
-95°C to +4°C
(in SpaceX, to and from ISS) NASA
Phase change packs in soft
+2°C to +10°C
+23°C to +30°C
+2°C to +6°C for 10days
Chemical Fixation
Several options are available to chemically preserve specimens prior to return to Earth for
Fixation cocktails would need to be tested in the specific hardware for
biocompatibility. Previous flights have allowed chemical fixation with glutaraldehyde- and
formaldehyde-based cocktails, and stabilization with “RNAlater”.
The investigator is
encouraged to suggest less toxic chemical fixatives to decrease the use of hazardous materials.
The EMCS Fixbox has been developed to perform formaladehyde or RNAlater fixation of plant
samples in TROPI Experiment hardware culture cassettes. Other types of samples can be fixed in
either the TROPI culture cassettes or other containers which have the same dimensions (17 x 51
x 18 mm)
JAXA has developed a Chemical Fixation Bag to fix plant sample using RNAlater® or low toxic
Table 4: Hardware Available for Chemical Fixation
KSC Fixation Tube (KFT)
EMCS Fixbox
Chemical Fixation Bag
Mass Measurement
The ISS will have the capability to measure the mass of the human body.
Table 5: Hardware Available to Measure Mass
Body Mass Measurement Device
(human) (SLAMMD)
Laptop computers outfitted with mass storage devices, communication adapters, power supplies
and cables, and custom-built software are available for use. These laptops support software
compatible with a Microsoft Windows operating system.
Radiation Monitoring
A passive dosimeter system will be available on the ISS to determine the space radiation dose
for payloads. It uses thermoluminescent detectors (TLDs) in combination with plastic nuclear
track detectors (PNTDs). The TLDs will be co-located with the PNTDs, and will be distributed
throughout the ISS. Typically, neither the TLDs nor the PNTDs can be read-out on board; they
have to be returned to the ground to be processed and analyzed in a laboratory. The passive
detectors will provide the total radiation dose as absorbed during their stay onboard, as well as
the average linear energy transfer (LET) spectrum. The passive detector can accumulate data for
periods spanning as long as one year.
JAXA has developed a passive dosimeter package, PADLES as the device for monitoring
radiation dose in ISS. The PADLES package consists of two types of passive and integrating
dosimeters, a CR-39 Plastic Nuclear Track Detector (PNTD) and Thermo Luminescence
Dosimeter (TLD). The PADLES is small and light weight; 25 mm square x 4 mm height and 5 g.
Complementing the passive detectors, a number of active dosimeter systems will be available on
the ISS. Featuring time resolution, the active dosimeters can provide the history of irradiation by
cosmic particles. Some active dosimeters deliver real-time or near-real time information.
Examples are a tissue equivalent proportional counter (TEPC), and two charged particle
directional spectrometers (CPDSs). The TEPC will be moved around the pressurized volume of
ISS. The CPDSs have limited real-time data collection capability. One will be housed inside the
Habitation Module, and the other, a triple CPDS with 3-axis sensitivity, is located outside on the
S0 truss. The intravehicular CPDS is moved from module to module to conduct surveys.
Initially, the instruments’ first priority will be to support operational measurements, including
contingencies. Eventually, the data is expected to become available for payload users.
Table 6: Radiation Monitoring Tools
Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter
Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer
Passive Dosimeter System (RAMs)
Passive Dosimeter System (PADLES)
Passive Dosimeter System (CRDP)
Video Imaging
Activities may be documented using video and still cameras. Most habitats for nonhuman
specimens provide both data and video downlink.
Various image data taken by video or digital cameras inside of experiment hardware will be
accepted by the Image Processing Unit (IPU) through the ISS data network. IPU will encode or
edit the image data. NTSC video image inputs will be digitized into MPEG2. Still images will
be compressed to TIFF/LZW format and downlinked. The IPU also has capability to store
images in removable hard disks.
Table 7: Video Imaging
Image Processing Unit
In addition to the centrifuges that are built into various habitats and facilities and the EPM
hematocrit centrifuge, a refrigerated centrifuge will be available for processing of biological
samples such as blood and saliva.
Table 8: Centrifuges
HRF Centrifuge
Gloveboxes and Specimen Manipulation
Gloveboxes provide an enclosed environment to conduct manipulations of specimen, chambers,
other materials, and the science support equipment necessary to conduct experiments in orbit.
These gloveboxes have been designed to isolate the crew from potentially hazardous materials
used during experiment operations (such as fixations, injections, waste removal, and dissections)
while maintaining an internal environment suitable for specimen manipulation. There are also a
large number of tools, surgical instruments, and kits designed for a wide range of applications in
support of on-orbit biomedical and fundamental biology investigations.
Ancillary Hardware and Support Items for Rodent Research Aboard ISS
Rodent research in space requires a variety of operational support hardware that can be used by
crew to perform various scientific operations. Support equipment is designed to be used in the
space environment and allow astronaut crews to perform a wide variety of research tasks
common to rodent science investigations. The support equipment available allows for
replenishment of food and water, general animal husbandry and for procedures such as injection,
euthanasia and dissection/preservation of specific tissues. Not all operations for rodent research
that can be done easily on the ground are readily translatable to the space environment. The list
of ancillary hardware and kits currently available for rodent research aboard ISS are shown
below. Specialized hardware and kits may be developed or assembled by modification of the
existing systems, or by development of completely new systems. In order to design a spaceflight
experiment that can be performed in space, it is important to understand what procedures are
available with the existing kits and only require new on-orbit operations and capabilities if they
are absolutely necessary to achieve the scientific objectives of a specific investigation.
Mouse Transfer Box
The Mouse Transfer Boxes is used to hold the
rodents during transfer operations. (see Figure)
The Mouse Transfer Boxes is placed inside the
AAU, and then the AAU is attached to a Rodent
Habitat or Transporter. When the rodents are
removed from either the Rodent Habitat or
Transporter they are placed in the Mouse Transfer
Box for transfer to the MSG or another Rodent
Fixative Kit
Fixative kits consist of vials containing RNALater,
a fixative solution for preserving tissue samples.
The kit provides the required 2 levels of
containment to safely contain the fixative. RNALater is a Toxicity Hazard Level 1 chemical and
must have 2 levels of containment. Dissection canisters that were flown on Neurolab can
provide one level of containment, O-ring vials
provide another level, and a third level can be
provided using Ziploc bags. Vials with fixative is
flown in dissection canisters. (see Figure)
Cold Block
An aluminum block with holes for cryovials is
used in conjunction with JSC’s Mini-cold Bag and
Ice Bricks to provide a freezing capability in the
Cryo Box
The Cryo Box is modified COTS hardware. Cryo Boxes are used to contain mouse carcasses
after dissection and will be placed in either the glacier or MELFI. The aluminum containers are
modified with Velcro riveted to the lid and base as a means of securing the two items.
Dissection Kit
Dissection kits provide the specialized surgical tools necessary for the tissue dissections. The kit
is a Nomex roll-up pouch with Kevlar sewn in for sharps protection. The kit contains tools such
as hemostat clamps, bone rongeurs, iris scissors, scalpel handle and blades, forceps, dissection
scissors, a bulldog
appropriate sizes
(see Figure). This
kit is stowed in a
are stowed inflight until it is
transferred to the MSG for animal operations. The safety concern with the dissection pouches is
the number of sharp surgical tools contained in the pouch. The pockets in the pouch have three
layers of Kevlar fabric sewn in for each tool to be inserted sharp end first so the tool does not
puncture the pouch. This stowed configuration protects the crew from inadvertent exposure to
sharp edges.
Injection Kit
The Injection Kit contains anesthetics and tools to anesthetize animals for injections or other
non-terminal activities. The kit also contains materials to euthanize animals for dissections or to
euthanize any animals that the NASA Vet has determined distressed and should be euthanized.
provides 3 levels of
containment. The first
level is the syringe with
a locking pin on the
plunger and a silicon
rubber stopper over the
The second
level of containment is
the individual Ziploc
syringe. The syringes
will be in a hard Lexan
protective case.
case will be in the third
level of containment, a
Ziploc bag. (see Figures)
Table 9: Gloveboxes and Specimen Manipulation
Microgravity Science Glovebox
BIOLAB Glovebox
JAXA Clean Bench
3.9.1 NASA Light Microscopy Module (LMM)
Engineers at NASA Glenn Research Center modified a Leica RXA laboratory-grade microscope
by adding 23 micromotors to permit remote control by scientists on the ground and to meet the
demands of space flight and crew-tended operations. As such, it contains all of the necessary
optical components for use as a fully functional microscope. The microscope can house many
different lenses corresponding to magnifications of 2.5X, 4X, 10X, 20X, 40X, 50X, 63X (air),
63X and 100X oil-coupled objectives. Present capabilities include brightfield and epiillumination microscopy. Two cameras can be mounted on the headpiece of the microscope; one
coaxially with the viewing axis of the microscope and one mounted at an angle on the confocal
tube assembly. The two cameras employed are identical Q-Imaging Retiga 1300 units. In
addition to these two cameras, there is a small surveillance camera that can be mounted inside
the AFC (shown on the next image). The surveillance camera has a fixed window size of 640X
480 pixels/frame. The Q-Imaging 1300 cooled monochrome camera (6.7X6.7 μm) has a
maximum window size of 1280X 1024 pixels/frame. A camera upgrade has been initiated for
2015. The LMM is a remotely controllable, automated microscope that gives scientists the ability
to study the effects of the space environment on physics and biology in real time.
Specimens can be studied without the need to return
the samples to Earth. The LMM flight unit features a
modified commercial laboratory Leica RXA
microscope configured to operate in an automated
mode with interaction from the ground support staff.
Its core capabilities include a level of containment,
white light imaging (available now), fluorescence,
confocal microscopy (available in 2016 to 2017), and
an imaging capability from a Q-Imaging Retiga 1300
camera. The LMM operates in the Fluids Integrated
Rack (FIR), which is located in the U.S. Destiny
Laboratory of the ISS. The FIR provides the LMM
with the laboratory infrastructure common to most
investigations, including an optics bench, temperature
control, power control, illumination, imaging and
frame capture, data processing, and other resources.
The FIR also provides isolation from vibrations on the station to allow for a more stable
environment to obtain high-resolution images. The LMM, in conjunction with the FIR, will help
fulfill the vision of a true
laboratory in space, which is
ideal for low-cost payload
development. A stage and
planned for 2015 to provide
transillumination and in-situ
mixing and standard features
such as darkfield and phase
contrast microscopy. In-situ
mixing allows for the
shortly after mixing, and for
samples to be reinitialized at
intervention by the ISS crew.
This will be implemented
using a commercial off-theshelf Leica condenser that
will be modified
for the LMM.
3.9.2 JAXA Microscope
The JAXA Microscope is a remotely controllable
microscope system to perform light field, phase contrast, and
fluorescent observations for various biological experiments.
The system is assembled in Multi-purpose Small Payload
Rack (MSPR) inside the Kibo module. Crew will set a
specimen on the microscope stage and remote observation
operations will be carried out by the commanding from the
The JAXA Microscope is modified from a commercial
fluorescence inverted microscope, Leica DMI6000B.
Objective lenses include 5X(NA 0.12), 10X (NA 0.25), 20X
(NA 0.35), 20X (NA 0.70), 40X (NA 0.50), 40X (NA 0.75).
On the microscope stage, Leica micro-titer plate holder (No.
11531434) is set as a standard specimen holder. The
maximum size of the specimen vessel including frame or
holder is micro-titer plate size (83x127mm).
Flight Proposal Evaluation Process
This section describes the evaluation and selection process that will be used for flight experiment
proposals submitted to any member agency of the International Space Life Sciences Working
Group (ISLSWG) in reply to the coordinated 2014 Space Life Sciences Research
In the event that any instruction to proposers in this section about content or preparation of a
proposal differs from the instruction in the solicitation of the proposer's country, that solicitation
is the instruction that should be followed.
NASA is not soliciting, nor will it fund, any U.S. investigator, either as principal investigator or
as a co-investigator in the areas of astrobiology or exobiology that are submitted in response to
any ISS partner agency's research announcement associated with this ILSRA 2014.
Each research proposal must be a complete response to the appropriate individual space
agency’s official solicitation. In that solicitation, an agency may define a number of critical
constraints that proposals must satisfy to be considered for selection. For example, an
agency may not accept proposals for work in certain discipline areas. Proposals to these
agencies to carry out work that is not responsive to their solicitation will be returned without
further review.
Please note that investigators can only receive funding from the agency
associated with their country of origin. Therefore, it is required that each member of an
International team submit a letter that acknowledges awareness from their associated
funding agency with their proposal. This is critical because, one of the criteria peer review
panels use to evaluate proposals is the expertise and technical capabilities of the proposed
investigator team, so the funding agencies need to be sure that all investigators on an
international team will be able to participate in the experiment if it is selected.
Compliant proposals submitted in response to the Space Life Sciences Research Announcements
will undergo an intrinsic scientific merit review. Proposals that receive a passing score in this
review will then undergo additional review(s) as follows:
Flight feasibility review
Relevance to the programs of the soliciting agencies (Completed by NASA prior to
scientific merit – Step 1 proposal review)
Cost (applicable to proposals submitted to NASA, JAXA, and CSA only)
Proposals will undergo the following three-tiered review process to assess these factors.
Scientific Merit Review
The merit review will be conducted by a panel of international scientific or technical experts.
The number and diversity of experts required will be determined by the response to this research
announcement and by the variety of disciplines represented in the proposals. The merit review
panel will assign a score from 0 to 100 or a designation of “not recommended for further
consideration” based upon the intrinsic scientific or technical merit of the proposal. This score
will reflect the consensus of the panel.
The score assigned by this panel will not be affected by the cost of the proposed work, nor will it
reflect the programmatic relevance of the proposed work. However, the panel will have the
opportunity to include in their critique of each proposal any comments they may have concerning
the proposal’s budget and relevance.
The following will be used to determine the merit score:
Significance: Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the
application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or technology be advanced?
What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, or products that drive
this field?
Approach: Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately
developed, well integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does a flight
proposal build upon a successful foundation of ground studies? Is the proposed approach
likely to yield the desired results? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem
areas and consider alternative tactics?
Investigator: Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this
work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the Principal
Investigator and any Co-investigators? Is the evidence of the investigator’s productivity
Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be performed
contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed experiments take advantage of
unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful collaborative
arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?
Flight Feasibility Review
A second review will be an evaluation of the feasibility of the proposed work using available
facilities on a space platform. The flight feasibility review will be conducted for each flight
experiment proposal that receives a scientific merit score greater than a threshold score agreed
upon by the ISLSWG Steering Committee. An international team of engineers and scientists
experienced in the development, integration and operation of space flight experiments will
conduct this review. For this reason, experimental requirements and procedures should be
clearly and succinctly explained in terms that a layperson can understand.
In addition to the actual proposal, the information requested in the Space Flight Experiment
Requirements Summary form is essential to the flight feasibility review. Flight experiment
proposals submitted without the information requested will not be evaluated.
Of particular concern regarding the feasibility of a proposal is the identification of risk factors
which could affect the implementation of an otherwise meritorious proposal. Therefore, the
feasibility of implementing the proposal and associated risks will be evaluated using the
following technical criteria:
Functional Requirements: Will the planned flight and ground hardware meet the
requirements of the experiment? What experiment-unique hardware will be required, and
can it be developed in time for projected flight opportunities? Are the number of subjects
or specimens required attainable within a reasonable period of time (1-2 years for nonhumans, 2-3 years for human subjects) considering projected flight opportunities and
other competition for those flight opportunities?
Operational Feasibility: How complex are the experimental procedures? Will the crew
have sufficient time to be trained to perform the experiment? Will they have sufficient
time in their schedule to perform the experiment? Are the requirements for launch
vehicle loading and unloading of the experiment specimens compatible with the
capabilities of these vehicles? Can requirements for data collection on human subjects be
accommodated in the preflight and postflight schedules for the astronauts? Has the
experimental protocol taken into account the unavoidable period of time between the
launch of an experiment and the actual initiation of the experiment? Will the experiment
requirements for crew time, experiment volume, mass, power, or other features of onorbit operations (such as temperature-controlled storage) affect the completion of this or
other experiments? What other impacts will the experiment have on activities or
experiments planned for the same mission?
Environmental Health and Safety: Are there elements of the proposed ground or flight
activities that pose concerns for the health and safety of personnel and/or the
environment? For experiments that utilize the crew as research subjects, could the
implementation of these experiments, even if considered safe, lead to an impact on their
performance with respect to their other crew duties? Is it possible that specific
restrictions on the human subjects (such as diet, exercise, etc.) will interfere with their
other activities?
Using the risk factors identified in the evaluation, a score will be assigned to indicate this level of
uncertainty. The risk assessment score categories are:
Low Risk: minimal risk to the successful achievement of objectives
Medium Risk: moderate risk to the successful achievement of objectives
High Risk: extreme risk to the successful achievement of objectives
The Principal Investigators will not be provided the risk assessment score, but in cases where the
decision to not select a proposal is based in part on the technical evaluation, a description of the
identified risk factors will be provided.
Evaluation of Programmatic Relevance and Cost
A third review will evaluate the programmatic relevance and cost of proposals that meet
scientific/technical merit and flight feasibility criteria. Please note, NASA evaluates
programmatic relevance based on a short (5-page) Step-1 proposal. Only those found to be
relevant to the NASA needs will be invited to submit a complete scientific proposal that includes
all information required for the scientific merit, cost and feasibility reviews. This review will be
conducted independently by program scientists and managers from each soliciting agency for
proposals submitted to their specific solicitations. Programmatic relevance is determined by the
contribution of the proposed work to the balance of scientific and technical issues identified by
agencies in their research announcements. Review of cost is applicable to proposals submitted to
only CSA and NASA. Evaluation of cost will also be performed for proposals submitted to other
agencies that include a component requiring only CSA or NASA funding. Evaluation of the cost
of a proposed effort will include consideration of the realism and reasonableness of the proposed
cost and the relationship of the proposed cost to available funds.
Please note that Canadian applicants (PI or Co-I) must submit a Notice of Intent to CSA prior to
submitting Full Proposals to NRESS. This NOI has different structure, content, and due date as
compared to the NASA NOI. The CSA will review the CSA NOI for programmatic relevance
and impact, and will provide a Letter of Support to proposals that pass this CSA review. The
Letter of Support must be included in the Full Proposal submitted to NRESS.
Recommendation for Selection for Further Definition
The results of the three levels of review will be used to prepare a recommendation for selection
for further definition developed by each of the soliciting agencies. This recommendation will be
based on:
1. The numerical merit score from the peer review panel
2. The results of the flight feasibility review
3. The programmatic relevance
4. Cost (applicable as described in Section 5.9)
A high merit score does not guarantee selection. A proposal must also be feasible to implement,
have programmatic relevance, and have reasonable projected costs to be selected. The members
of the ISLSWG will meet to ensure appropriate coordination of all their selections to optimize
science return and resource utilization. For example, the composite selection will not greatly
exceed the projected flight opportunities. In addition, it may be more efficient or effective to
form international teams of researchers requiring similar resources to address overlapping
questions than to have individuals competing for the use of the same specimens or test subjects.
Such teams are best formed at the time of selection and early in the experiment definition period,
rather than later during the flight experiment development process.
Following this coordination meeting of the ISLSWG, each agency will finalize and announce its
own selections.
Flight Experiment Implementation
Applicants should be aware that flight experiment implementation is a multi-step process (Figure
2 below). Following the complete review of flight proposals, successful investigators will
receive a letter informing them that their experiment has been selected for entry into a definition
period. During the definition period, the agency with management responsibility for the
experiment will interact with the investigator to determine specific hardware and operational
requirements needed to achieve the proposed objectives. Identification of issues that will affect
implementation of the space flight experiment and refinement of the funding requirements are
key components of the definition period. After successful completion of the definition period,
the experiment will be selected for flight and will enter a development period, leading eventually
to implementation on a space mission. Detailed budgets will be refined or negotiated for each
flight experiment during each period. The flight experiments selected will be reviewed every
year and may be deselected based on the policy of each agency for deselection. One or more of
the following conditions may warrant deselection:
1. Definition activities have indicated that the experiment is technically infeasible or so high
risk that successful completion is unlikely.
2. Ground-based studies conducted as part of the definition period, or related research in the
field, produce results that demonstrate the hypothesis of the flight experiment to be
3. The projected costs of the experiment, as determined during definition, are significantly
greater than anticipated funding levels will support.
4. The investigator does not maintain a reasonable publication record in peer-reviewed
journals in the specific research area to which the flight experiment is directed or with the
results from previous flight experiments.
5. The experiment has been in the definition period for three or more years, due to either the
lack of flight opportunities or the failure on the part of the investigator to complete
definition activities.
6. Weaknesses identified in the scientific evaluation of the original proposal were not
addressed during the definition period.
7. Funding limitations require reduction in the flight program. In such cases, the original
proposal and critiques, the cost of the investigation, the ongoing publication record, and
the length of time the investigator has been in definition will be considered in
determining which experiments will be deselected.
Figure 2: Experiment Definition and Selection for Flight Process
~ 3-12 months
Concept Definition
•Preliminary science
•Feasibility analysis
•Approach (e.g., hardware,
resources, procedures)
•Assess maturity of approach
•Identify required studies to
ensure feasibility
Requirements Definition
•Experiment requirements
•Risk reduction studies
•Procedures development
•Cost estimates and schedule
Experiment Development
•Design, develop, manufacture
experiment unique hardware
•Mission documentation
•Verify experiment interfaces
and procedures
•Crew training
•Logistics for launch
~12 - 24 months
Operations and Data Analysis
•Pre-, in-, postflight procedures
•Data acquisition
•Data analysis
•Data archiving (after one year)
•Publication of results
•Post-flight symposia
~12-24 months
International Application Forms and Instructions for Proposal
This section contains the general instructions for submission of a Notice of Intent, proposal
preparation, and the specific forms required to agency solicitations for flight experiments in the
Space Life Sciences for 2014. Applicants are referred to Agency specific Announcements for
further instructions.
5.1 Notice of Intent (non-US proposers) and Step-1 proposals (US proposers
Notice of Intent for non-US applicants
A Notice of Intent (NOI, also referred to as a letter of intent) to submit a proposal is requested
for all non-US applicants by March 28, 2014. NOIs should be submitted online either through
NASA’s Proposal System NSPIRES (, or directly to the soliciting
agency (see agency-specific instructions for NOI submission). Applicants from Japan should
submit NOI to JAXA, not NSPIRES, by March 26th, 2014.
To register with the NSPIRES system:
1) Go to and click on the “Registration Information” link in the
Member Login Box on the right side of the page.
2) Click on the yellow “Begin Registration” button on the Registration Information page
and complete the requested information to obtain an account. You are not required to
affiliate with an organization for NOI submission. You will be required to affiliate with
an organization for full proposal submission (see instruction 5.2 below).
3) Activate your account by responding to the instructions provided in an automatic email
sent by the NSPIRES system.
NOIs will be completed and submitted by the Science Team Coordinator / Lead PI. No document
uploads are required for completion of the NOI.
To create an NOI:
1. Log in to NSPIRES
2. Select the “Proposals/NOIs” link
3. Select the “Create NOI” button;
4. Select Research Solicitation “Flight Opportunities for Space Life Sciences (non-US
proposers only)”
5. Follow the online instructions to complete your NOI.
Please refer to the NSPIRES tutorial at for on-line
help. All information entered will remain private until the electronic submission is completed.
NOIs must include the following information:
1) Science Team Coordinator / Lead PI contact details and institution
2) Science Team Members’ contact details and institutions (each team member must also
register for an NSPIRES account in order to be added to the NOI)
3) Project Title
4) Project Summary
For non-US proposers only: The NSPIRES system will by default ask you to provide responses
to business data questions pertaining to international collaboration, environmental impact, and
US Civil Servant applicants. Please answer “no” to any business data question posed with a
yes/no response. These questions only pertain to US investigators.
5.1.b Step-1 proposal for US applicants only
U.S. applicants must submit a Step-1 proposal by March 28, 2014. Step-1 proposals may be
submitted through NASA’s Proposal System NSPIRES ( or through
Step-1 proposals submitted to NASA will include Cover Page elements and a Proposal PDF upload.
Cover Page elements will be collected online through the Step-1 create proposal process via
NSPIRES and include 1) Science Team Coordinator / Lead PI contact details and institution; 2)
Science Team Members’ contact details and institutions; 3) Project Title; and 4) Project
Summary (100-300 words). The Proposal PDF upload will include 1) A clear description of the
research product(s); 2) The type of investigation (ground-based, analog definition, or flight
definition); 3) The specific aims of the proposal; and 4) An outline of the plan to accomplish the
specific aims. The proposal PDF cannot exceed 5 total pages.
To create NASA Step-1 proposal:
1. Log in to NSPIRES;
2. Select the “Proposals/NOIs” link;
3. Select the “Create Proposal” button;
4. Choose Solicitation as the source;
5. Select one of two applicable research solicitations:
a. “Research Opportunities for Flight Experiments in Space Biology,” NRA
NNH14ZTT002N for Space Biology emphasis area proposals
b. “International Life Sciences Research Announcement (ILSRA),” NRA
NNJ13ZSA002N-ILSRA for Human Research Program emphasis area proposal
6. You must submit separate proposals if you are submitting research in response to
emphases under both the Space Biology and the Human Research Program
5.2 General Instructions for Proposal Preparation and submission via the
The information contained in these instructions summarizes the specific guidance provided in
agency specific announcements. Applicants are referred to Agency specific Announcements for
further instructions.
Proposals must be submitted online through the NASA NSPIRES web site
( by May 23, 2014. Applicants from Japan must submit proposals
to JAXA, not NSPIRES, by May 9th, 2014.
The online submission process includes several steps, during which proposers will be asked to
fill in the proposal title, acronym, abstract and science team contact details (proposers will be
asked to fill in online the names and full contact details of the Science Team Coordinator / Lead
PI and all Science Team Members, specifying the members’ institutional affiliations). A
signature version of this form will not be requested.
The information submitted will then be compiled by the system. Proposers will then be required
to upload their proposal, established following participating agencies’ guidelines, as a single
PDF document. The compiled information and the uploaded proposal will then be automatically
merged and forwarded to proposers. This document, stored in the NSPIRES database, will
represent the reference document for future queries.
US proposers must register in the NSPIRES system and affiliate with their submitting US
Non-US proposers must register in NSPIRES using the NSPIRES International Office as their
affiliate. Below are the instructions on how to complete this.
1. Step 1: ONLY if you do not already have an NSPIRES account:
1) To register, go to and click on the “Registration
Information” link in the Member Login Box on the right side of the page
2) Click on the yellow “Begin Registration” button on the Registration Information
page and complete the requested information to obtain an account
3) Activate your account by responding to the instructions provided in an automatic
email sent by the NSPIRES system
2. Step 2: Linking with the NSPIRES International Office organization (Affiliation). It is
your responsibility to request this affiliation at least two weeks in advance of the
proposal due date in order to guarantee an approved affiliation for proposal submission.
Affiliations will be approved by the NSPIRES International Office during regular
business hours: Monday through Friday from 8AM – 6PM US Eastern Time.
1) International proposer logs into NSPIRES (
2) Select the “Account Management” link on the NSPIRES Welcome page
3) Select “Affiliations” on the Account Management page
4) Click on the “Add Affiliations” on the Current Affiliations page
5) Type in “NSPIRES International Office” and click “Search”
6) Select the radio button for “NSPIRES International Office” under the search
results and click the “Select” button
7) Verify that you have selected NSPIRES International Office and click “Continue”
8) Complete the Affiliation Address Book Data.
9) Click “Continue”
10) Click “OK” on the Affiliations page
11) Return to the Affiliations page in the Account Management section of NSPIRES
to confirm that your affiliation request has been approved. Affiliations will be
approved by the NSPIRES International Office, Monday through Friday, 8AM6PM Eastern Time. A status of “confirmed” allows you to link your application to
the NSPIRES International Office.
To create a Proposal:
1. Log in to NSPIRES
2. Select the “Proposals/NOIs” link
3. Select the “Create Proposal” link
4. Select “NOI” as your source to carry over the information you have previously provided
in an NOI
5. If you wish to begin a new proposal or did not submit an NOI via NSPIRES, select
“Solicitation” as your source and then choose solicitation “Flight Opportunities for Space
Life Sciences (non-US proposers only).”
Please refer to the NSPIRES tutorial at for on-line
help. All information entered will remain private until the electronic submission is completed.
All proposals must be contained in one single and non-protected PDF document, and include the
following material, in this order:
1) Project Description (see § 5.4)
2) Management Approach (see § 5.5)
3) Biographical Sketches (see § 5.6)
4) Special Matters: specific information on human subjects protocol approval
required, and/or the use of vertebrate animals, if applicable (see § 5.7)
5) Appendices, if any; reviewers are not required to consider information presented
in appendices (see § 5.9)
6) Space Flight Experiment Information Summary (see § 5.10)
Additional information may be requested by certain agencies. Applicants are referred to
Agency specific Announcements for further instructions.
Online submission forms
Proposers will be asked to fill in online the names and full contact details of the Science Team
Coordinator/Lead PI and all Science Team Members, specifying the members’ institutional
affiliations. Mandatory fields are specified in the forms. A signature version of this form will not
be requested. Furthermore proposers must provide an abstract and proposal acronym, and specify
relevant keywords and research areas. The information requested in this part of the form is
essential to the review of the proposal.
For non-US proposers only: The NSPIRES system may by default ask you to provide
responses to business data questions pertaining to international collaboration, environmental
impact, and US Civil Servant applicants. Please answer “no” to any business data question posed
with a yes/no response. These questions only pertain to US investigators.
Project Description
The length of the Project Description section of the proposal shall not exceed twenty (20) pages
using regular (12 point) type. The proposal should contain sufficient detail to enable a reviewer
to make informed judgments about the overall merit of the proposed research and the probability
that the investigators will be able to accomplish their stated objectives. The proposal should
clearly indicate the relationship between the proposed work and the research emphases defined
in the agency-specific solicitations. The development of a clear hypothesis, along with the
available data evidence, should be emphasized in this section. In addition, the proposal should
provide evidence of completed or planned ground research to justify the flight experiment. In
particular Science Team Coordinators/Lead PIs should refer to agency-specific solicitations for
instructions regarding additional information that should be included in the proposal.
Management Approach
Each proposal must specify a single Science Team Coordinator/Lead PI who is responsible for
carrying out the proposed project and coordinating the work of other personnel involved in the
project. In proposals that designate several senior professionals as key participants in the
research project, the management approach section should define the roles and responsibilities of
each participant and note the proportion of each individual’s time to be devoted to the proposed
research activity. The proposal must clearly and unambiguously state whether these key
personnel have reviewed the proposal and endorsed their participation.
Personnel/Biographical Sketches
The Science Team Coordinator/Lead PI is responsible for direct supervision of the work and
must participate in the conduct of the research regardless of whether or not compensation is
received under the award. A short biographical sketch of the Science Team Coordinator/Lead
PI, including his or her current position title, educational background, a list of major
publications, and a description of any exceptional qualifications, must be included. In
chronological order (concluding with present position), list previous employment, experience,
and honors. Include present membership on any government public advisory committees. List in
chronological order the titles, authors, and complete references to all publications pertinent to
this application. If the list of publications exceeds two pages, select the most pertinent and recent
publications. Do not exceed two pages. Omit personal information that does not merit
consideration in evaluation of the proposal. Complete this part of the application for other senior
professional personnel who will be directly associated with the project. Provide the names and
titles of any other scientists and technical personnel associated substantially with the project in
an advisory capacity. Universities should list the approximate number of students or other
assistants, together with information as to their level of academic attainment. Any special
industry-university cooperative arrangements should be described.
Special Matters
The Special Matters section must contain appropriate statements regarding human subject
provisions and/or the use of vertebrate animals. Investigators should refer to agency-specific
solicitations for instructions on this section.
Letters of Collaboration/Support
Include letters of support from collaborators. Please refer to the individual agency’s Space Life
Sciences Research Announcement about including a Letter of Assurance of Foreign Support.
Appendices may be included, but investigators should be aware that reviewers are not required to
consider information presented in appendices.
Space Flight Experiment Requirements Summary
All applicants proposing space flight research must provide the information requested on this
form. The information on this form is essential for the technical evaluation of the feasibility of
the proposed study. In addition, it should be used by the investigator to determine all required
components of the flight experiment, from preflight preparation and data collection to tests and
data/specimen processing. Before filling out this form, applicants should read Sections 1 and 2
of this document carefully to make certain that they understand the constraints that are associated
with flight experiments. This form is used primarily by a team of technical experts which does
not necessarily have expertise in every area of science. Be sure to clearly and succinctly explain
all experiment requirements, from trivial to grand, in terms that an intelligent non-scientist can
understand. The Science Team Coordinator/Lead PI should contact the appropriate Agency
Point of Contact for questions or clarification before submitting a proposal.
In addition to the actual proposal, this part of the proposal is required for the Flight Feasibility Review. This
form has been designed for a description of all pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight components of the flight
experiment. It consists of two sections:
A section to be completed only for experiments that require human subjects, and
A section to be completed only for experiments that require non-human specimens i.e. biology and/or
exobiology experiments.
If an experiment requires both human and non-human specimens, both forms must be completed. If no
specimens are required (e.g., radiation dosimetry), complete applicable hardware and procedures questions as
required. If the proposal consists of distinct segments with different requirements, fill out multiple forms to
fully describe all segments. This form is mandatory for flight experiments. Flight experiment proposals
submitted without this completed form will not be evaluated.
Please read the questions carefully and keep answers brief but thorough, ensuring that all requested information
has been provided. Expand tables/response space as needed.
Part I: Research Involving Crewmembers as Subjects
Principal Investigator:
Investigation/Activity Title:
Type of Study (check one). Also indicate the minimum number of days on-orbit required:
On-orbit Duration Required (minimum)
Long Duration: Pre/Post-flight only
Long Duration: Pre/In/Post-flight only
Long Duration: In-flight only
How many subjects are required?
a. Long Duration:
b. Ground Duration:
Provide a pre- and post-flight testing schedule for baseline data collection (BDC). Include the name
of the test/activity, dates required (L-X days preflight, R+X days post-flight, R+0 indicating landing
day), and estimated crew time requirements in the table below. Crew time estimates should reflect
the time required for testing of one subject. NOTE: Training sessions should not be included unless
they are considered part of the data set.
E.g., DEXA
L-180 and L-45
Crew Time
R+6 and R+180
Crew Time
Launches and landings of long-duration crewmembers will occur in Russia (via Soyuz) until an
alternate U.S. crew transportation vehicle is available. Crewmembers typically depart the US in the
L-60-45 day timeframe (in addition, some crewmembers also take vacation time or visit their home
country prior to going to Russia) and current plans are to nominally return USOS crewmembers to
JSC within 24 hours of landing. Please address the following:
a. If preflight BDC is required within 45-60 days of launch, please explain why it cannot be moved
earlier so it can be performed at JSC prior to the crew departing for Russia, and explain what
equipment, facilities, and personnel are required to conduct the test.
b. Do you have any unique facility requirements for conducing BDC and/or performing analysis of
data at JSC? If so, please describe below.
Due to current logistical limitations, it is very difficult to gain immediate access to crewmembers
returning via Soyuz on landing day. Currently all USOS crewmembers are directly returned to JSC
within 24 hours of landing. There is some time available after the crew returns to JSC for minimal
testing, which is still considered “R+0”. If you have an R+0 requirement, please describe the nature
of the testing and state whether or not this is a firm requirement; i.e., what are the science impacts of
delaying the session to R+1 and, if this occurs, are the objectives of the experiment compromised.
The amount of time available for BDC in the first week of post-flight is extremely limited. If you
have additional requirements in the R+0 to R+7 day timeframe that are not addressed in #7 above, for
each session please explain any flexibilities in the schedule and provide the impact if the session
cannot be scheduled by R+7 days.
Provide an in-flight testing schedule in the table below. Include the name of the test/activity, dates
required (Flight Day (FD) X days in-flight), and estimated crew time requirements. Crew time
estimates should reflect the time required for testing of one subject; however, if an operator is
required for an in-flight activity, their time should be included as well. Activities that are performed
once regardless of the number of participants (e.g., set-up and stow) should be listed separately.
Please assume a six-month mission in calculating the crew time estimates.
E.g., Experiment Protocol (per subject)
FD 30 and monthly thereafter
Crew time (min)
a. Is real-time data transmittal to the ground either required or highly desirable? (NOTE: “Required”
means that the experiment cannot be performed if downlink is not available; “highly desired” means that
the experiment data will be transmitted if the downlink is available.)
b. How critical is the timing of the in-flight sessions? Please explain any flexibility in the schedule
provided in the table above. Examples of in-flight timing requirements that may be difficult to
implement are: early in-flight (especially during the first 10 days and through the 3rd or 4th week),
late in-flight, any activity that must be performed daily or weekly, and any activity requiring
precisely timed operations.
Please list all of the flight hardware required for in-flight data collection along with the quantity
required (indicate if item is for one subject, one increment, etc.) and the estimated total mass and
volume for the given quantity (N/A for equipment already on board ISS). In the comments, provide
additional explanatory information such as development status, past flight history, assumptions
made when calculating quantities required, etc. If new flight hardware is required, indicate in the
comments if it is Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) or if it will be experiment unique equipment.
Hardware Item
E.g., Urine Collection Kit
5 kits/
3 subj.
New, Previously
Flown, or OnOrbit (specify)
Previously Flown
Flown on ISS Increments 3-6, 8, &
11-12; five kits provide supplies for
three 24 hr urine collections with
three subjects
If flight software is required, please answer the following:
a. Is the software equipment-unique or commercial off-the-shelf?
b. If it is experiment-unique, what is the status of development and who is the developer?
Storage of equipment and samples (for all flight experiments):
Is temperature control of
equipment/supplies needed:
Estimated Volume
(cm3 or x number of y ml vials)
-- for launch?
-- in flight?
-- for return?
Can all of your flight hardware and supplies be stowed for launch at L-2 months?
If "No", list each item that must be late-loaded along with the L-requirement (indicate if units are in
hours or days):
Do any flight hardware or supply items expire in two years or less?
If "Yes", list each item along with estimated shelf life (indicate if units are in days or months):
Return of hardware and samples are limited after Space Shuttle retirement. Does your experiment
require timely return of hardware or samples?
If "Yes", explain the nature of the requirement and the impacts if it cannot be met. Also indicate if
early retrieval of items is required.
Part II: Research: Biology & Exobiology
Science Team Coordinator name:
Proposal title:
Use the table below to list the requirements for non-human specimens. Add more rows if necessary.
/ Treatments / conditions Required g-levels
(eg. (eg. activators, drugs,
species, strain, age etc)
tracers, fixatives)
required for each g-level /
General description of experiment protocol: Describe in general terms the types of procedures required for the
experiment from preparation of the experiment in the lab until postflight handover of the sample to the
Parameters measured: Describe the type of parameters measured inflight, such as realtime / recorded
measurements (eg. temperature, with accuracy & time resolution, timing of experiment steps) and
parameters measured in postflight analysis
– Inflight parameters measured;
– Postflight parameters measured
Imagery requirements: List any requirements for photography or video observation / recording of
– Photography:
– Video
Requirements on telemetry / data downlink / storage: List any potential requirements for telemetry
downlink (e.g. fluorescence measurements, facility housekeeping data, downlink of photo’s)
Requirements on commands uplink: List any potential need for remote command of the experiment &
whether this is dependant on downlink of telemetry from the experiment (eg. modification of experiment
timeline based on results of video observation)
Ground reference experiment(s): Indicated whether a ground control reference experiment
Pre-launch late access: Specify the maximum and preferred period in hours that can be accepted between handover of the experiment and transfer to either ISS stowage or activation on orbit
Early retrieval: Specify the maximum and preferred time in hours between landing & hand-over of the
experiment samples that can be accepted.
Describe the method for delaying experiment activation until it is installed on the ISS (eg. dry unactivated seeds
or cultures, freezing).
Describe the method for preserving samples after the experiment run for up to 365 days, or longer, on the ISS
(eg. chemicals, freezing temperature, refrigeration temperature, dessication).
Hazardous materials and controlled/radioactive substances used in experiment
What is the preferred sample layout for the experiment? (Number of samples per condition) What is the
minimal sample layout?
What is the estimated mass and volume of each sample?
Experiment Steps: Use the table below to list the experiment steps from prelaunch experiment hand-over until
postflight retrieval, with the required environmental parameters & allowable range for each parameter. Add
rows as necessary:
min &
min &
maximum) *2
(eg. micro-g or
1.g control) *3
Humidity &
(eg. CO2,
ethylene) *4
Data, imagery
or other
*1 - Specify duration of experiment step, including margins (i.e preferred time, minimum & maximum
acceptable times if known)
*2 - Specify required temperature of experiment step, including margins (i.e. preferred temperature, minimum
& maximum temperature if known)
*3 - Specify required g-levels (ie. Microgravity, 1.g reference control, intermediate g-level & any requirements
on quality of g-level)
*4 – Specify any requirements for humidity control, (including preferred, maximum and minimum rh if known),
gas composition, including oxygen and CO2 concentrations / pressure. Also indicate if there are any
requirements concerning maximum allowable trace gas concentrations (eg. Ethylene)
*5 – Specify light requirements, flux, quality / spectrum, light dark cycles as applicable. For exobiology
experiments include the solar UV wavelength ranges desired (eg. >110nm, or >200nm to simulate Martian
*6 – Specify data recording requirements, such as temperature logging , imagery requirements, eg. Photo /
video, frequency of imaging, and any additional requirements not covered by the other columns in the table
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