Cell Biology Tech Demo (SpaceX-2)
NASA is developing new hardware to enable long duration cell biology research in space. The goal of the Cell Biology Tech Demo is to demonstrate critical Bioculture System-component crew operations aboard the ISS and the ability of hardware components to interface with existing laboratory facilities on orbit.
Cell Biology Tech Demo: A critical test of new Bioculture System hardware aboard the International Space Station
Payload Developer: NASA Ames Research Center
Launch Date: March 1, 2013, SpaceX-2
Return Date: March 26, 2013, SpaceX-2
NASA's International Space Station (ISS) Program Office is sponsoring the development of facilities enabling advanced biological research in space to fully utilize the scientific potential of the ISS.
To maximize research capability on the ISS, specific pieces of hardware have been selected for upgrade following many years of successful research aboard the space shuttle. The Cell Culture Module, which flew successfully 21 times on the shuttle, was selected for upgrade to the ISS to meet future needs for scientific research. The new Bioculture System will fulfill critical science needs to support a wide diversity of tissue and microbiological culture methods and cell types for long duration research. The new hardware is being designed by Tissue Genesis, Inc. of Honolulu, Hawaii, who also built the original shuttle based system.
Critical tests and operational checkouts must be completed before launching the Bioculture System in 2014. The Cell Biology Tech Demo payload, managed by NASA Ames Research Center, will do just that.
Equipment for the Cell Biology Tech Demo launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon vehicle. The launch occurred March 1, 2013. The Cell Biology Tech Demo mission duration was 26 days. During the mission, crew aboard the ISS demonstrated critical fluid handling procedures.
The ISS crew demonstrated that the tools and procedures used to transfer liquid samples in or out of special bags used to store nutrients for yeast and cells can be used without contamination. The crew also demonstrated use of a special tube crimper to seal experiment chambers while maintaining sterility. The crew also confirmed that the Cell Biology Tech Demo hardware interfaces with existing ISS laboratory tools.
ARC Cell Bio Tech Demo Team thumbs up
Cell Bio Tech Demo Hardware.
NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn tests the sterile
transfer of a solution containing fluorescence-tagged
beads from a media bag into an OptiCell culture vessel
aboard the International Space Station in March 2013.
Image Credit: NASA
The yeast selected for the Cell Bio Tech Demo express a green
fluorescence protein (GFP) only in the mitrochondria, or the “power plant”
organelle of the cell. These images were taken after the yeast returned to Earth.
Top image: white light phase contrast microscopy. Bottom image: fluorescence
microscopy. The bright green color is the fluorescing GFP-protein,
which shows the location and quantity of mitochondria.
Image credit: NASA, Eduardo Almeida, Ph.D.
Click here to view the ABC7 News story (3/1/2013) on SPACEX-2 payloads, including two payloads from NASA Ames Research Center; "Bay Area students watch SpaceX launch intently"
Click here to read the SpaceRef article (3/4/2013); "SpaceX Carries Two NASA Ames Space Station Experiments"