The International Space Station (ISS) has hosted hundreds of Redwire experiments throughout the decades, providing new insights into the multi-physical properties of materials and improving patient care on Earth, while driving commercial activity in low-Earth orbit (LEO). We’re launching three more investigations onboard Northrop Grumman’s 19th commercial resupply mission to the ISS, set to launch on August 1, 2023, at 8:30 p.m. EDT from Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.
The Key to Your Heart
The Redwire Cardiac Bioprinting Investigation (BFF-Cardiac) seeks to explore how 3D printing cardiac tissue samples in space could alleviate organ shortages on Earth by bioprinting replacement organs and tissues for transplant, drug discovery, and therapeutics. The investigation uses Redwire’s BioFabrication Facility (BFF), America’s first bioprinter to operate on the ISS. The BFF-Cardiac investigation will use an upgraded BFF, which was launched and installed to the ISS in early 2023, to bioprint human cardiac (heart) tissue samples. After printing with BFF, the samples will incubate in Redwire’s ADvanced Space Experiment Processor (ADSEP) for 14 days before returning to Earth. By bioprinting in space, the printed materials maintain their form and stay in a three-dimensional shape. BFF previously printed human heart cells after its launch to the ISS in 2020.
Although full organ production is one goal, there are many other aspects of the program that lead to medical advancements and therapeutics that will have value in pharmaceutical product development, stem cell research and approaches to tissue therapies along the way.
Learn more about Redwire’s bioprinting capabilities from Redwire’s Chief Scientist Dr. Ken Savin at this link.
Another Redwire experiment heading to the ISS is the Experimental Evolution of Bacillus subtilis Populations in Space: Mutation, Selection and Population Dynamics investigation, or MVP-CELL-02. This investigation studies how organisms adapt to spaceflight using Redwire’s Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform (MVP) and the bacterium Bacillus subtilis. This bacterium grows rapidly and allows scientists to study thousands of generations of bacterium after just a few weeks of growth, and in a small surface area. By studying the bacteria, scientists may discover how life on Earth adapts to long-term spaceflight.
Applications for this research include long-duration deep space missions, but also advancing our understanding of the evolutionary processes of Earth organisms in a model bacterium.
An Upgraded Aerogel
Aerogels can be used for power storage, environmental protection, and chemical sensing – and the Examination of the Multi-physical Properties of Microgravity-synthesized Graphene Aerogels (SUBSA-ugGA) investigation will work to develop a graphene aerogel in space. It will use Redwire’s Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA) facility located inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox on ISS.
Using the microgravity environment, researchers expect to alleviate some of the effects of Earth’s gravity, like agglomeration, sedimentation, and thermal convection. This could enable the production of a better, more uniform material structure. An improved aerogel has uses both in space and on Earth, for power and energy storage and sensing.
With the launch of NG-19, Redwire technology is continuing to enable people to explore, live, and work in space, for the benefit of humanity. Redwire is looking to increase production of critical technologies for human spaceflight missions and commercial microgravity research and development in LEO, and it recently announced its plan to open a 30,000 square foot microgravity payload development facility and mission operations center in Floyd County, Indiana. Learn more here.
Stay up to date on the NG-19 launch and operations on the ISS in Redwire’s Newsroom and social media channels.