HOUSTON — Advances in the fight against food poisoning, new methods
for delivering medicine to cancer cells, and better materials for
future spacecraft are among the results published in a NASA report
detailing scientific research accomplishments made aboard the
International Space Station during its first eight years.
The report includes more than 100 science experiments ranging from
bone studies to materials’ research.
“This report represents a record of science accomplishments during
assembly and summarizes peer-reviewed publications to date,” said
Julie Robinson, program scientist for the station at NASA’s Johnson
Space Center in Houston. “As we enter the final year of station
assembly, this report highlights the capabilities and opportunities
for space station research after assembly is complete.”
One of the most compelling results reported is the confirmation that
the ability of common germs to cause disease increases during
spaceflight, but that changing the growth environment of the bacteria
can control this virulence. The Effect of Spaceflight on Microbial
Gene Expression and Virulence experiment identified increased
virulence of space-flown Salmonella typhimurium, a leading cause of
food poisoning. New research on subsequent station missions will
target development of a vaccine for this widespread malady.
Another experiment produced a potential medical advance, demonstrating
a new and powerful method for delivering drugs to targets in the
human body. Microgravity research on the station was vital to
development of miniature, liquid-filled balloons the size of blood
cells that can deliver medicine directly to cancer cells. The
research was conducted for the Microencapsulation Electrostatic
Processing System experiment.
One of the most prolific series of investigations aboard the station
tests how spacecraft materials withstand the harsh space environment.
The results of the Materials International Space Station Experiment
already have been used to develop solar cells for future commercial
station cargo ships. This experiment has significantly reduced the
time needed to develop new satellite systems, such as solar cells and
insulation materials, and paved the way for materials to be used in
new NASA spacecraft such as the Orion crew capsule.
The report compiles experiment results collected from the first 15
station missions, or expeditions, from 2000 to 2008. Results of some
of the summarized investigations are complete. Preliminary results
are available from other continuing investigations.
NASA’s research activities on the station span several scientific
areas, including exploration technology development; microgravity
research in the physical and biological sciences; human physiology
research; Earth science and education.
The report details 22 different technology demonstrations; 33 physical
science experiments; 27 biological experiments; 32 experiments
focused on the human body; Earth observations and educational
activities. In addition to science important to long-duration human
spaceflights, most findings also offer new understanding of methods
or applications relevant to life on Earth.
In 2008, station laboratory space and research facilities tripled with
the addition of the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory and
the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s three Kibo scientific
modules, adding to the capabilities already provided in NASA’s
Destiny Laboratory. In 2009, the number of crew members increased
from three to six, greatly increasing crew time available for
The stage is set for increased station scientific return when assembly
and outfitting of the research facility is completed in 2010 and its
full potential as a national and international laboratory is
realized. Engineers and scientists from around the world are working
together to refine operational relationships and build on experiences
to ensure maximum use of the expanded capabilities.
The International Space Station Program Scientist Office at NASA’s
Johnson Space Center published the report. A link to the full NASA
Technical Publication, which provides an archival record of
U.S.-sponsored research through Expedition 15, is available at:
For more information about the space station, visit:
WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Canadian Space
Agency President Steve MacLean signed a framework agreement Wednesday
for cooperative activities in the exploration and use of outer space
for peaceful purposes. Canadian Ambassador to the United States
Michael Wilson hosted the signing at the Canadian Embassy in
“NASA is very proud of its long and outstanding relationship with
Canada, one that has been nurtured during the past four decades with
increasing collaboration in a wide range of space science and
exploration activities,” NASA’s Bolden said. “As NASA continues to
enhance the scientific observation of our planet and the solar
system, we are looking to Canada and our other international partners
to play key roles in our future exploration plans.”
Commenting on the significance of the signing, MacLean said, “The
United States has been a critical partner for Canada ever since the
launch of the Alouette-1 satellite in 1962. From these early
beginnings, we have worked together to forge a space alliance that
has become a catalyst, driving generations of space expertise,
innovation, science, and technological excellence through our
participation in space projects that continue to serve the interests
of both our nations.”
The framework agreement is an important step in an evolving process
toward a coordinated and comprehensive approach to exploration and
use of outer space. It sets forth general terms and conditions that
will be applied to future cooperative projects and facilitates
expanded cooperation between the U.S. and Canada on a range of
activities related to human spaceflight, exploration, space science
and Earth science.
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
WASHINGTON — NASA has awarded a contract modification to L-3
Communications Integrated Systems, L.P., of Waco, Texas, for further
developmental engineering in support of the Stratospheric Observatory
for Infrared Astronomy mission, known as SOFIA.
This option modification under the base contract L-3 currently holds
extends the period of performance through Dec. 31, 2009. The option
is valued at approximately $8.7 million, bringing the total value of
the contract to about $37.7 million.
The initial cost-plus-award-fee contract took effect Feb. 9, 2007,
with a 23-month base period extending through Dec. 31, 2008, with
three one-year options. Two additional one-year option periods yet to
be exercised could extend the agreement through Dec. 31, 2011.
Under the base contract, L-3 Communications is responsible for
completing development and testing of the SOFIA Airborne System,
including modification, fabrication, installation, integration, and
verification of various systems to meet mission requirements. Option
1 of the contract covers completion of the SOFIA subsystems, such as
the mission control and communication system. The option also
includes engineering and flight test support for the telescope cavity
door-open flight tests and early science flight programs, and support
of reviews leading to NASA public aircraft certification.
The SOFIA program includes a high-altitude airborne observatory
consisting of a German-built 2.5-meter (100 inch) infrared telescope
mounted in a cavity in the rear fuselage of a highly modified Boeing
747SP jetliner. Scientific instruments housed in the observatory will
be capable of celestial observations ranging from visible light
through the sub-millimeter far-infrared spectrum. NASA and the German
Aerospace Center are developing SOFIA jointly.
For more details about SOFIA and its mission, visit:
HOUSTON — NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy Capt. Heidemarie M.
Stefanyshyn-Piper has left NASA to return to the Navy.
Stefanyshyn-Piper is a veteran of two space shuttle flights and five
“Heide has been an outstanding astronaut, contributing significantly
to the space shuttle and space station programs,” said Steve Lindsey,
chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in
Houston. “In particular, her superb leadership as lead spacewalker
during the STS-126 mission resulted in restoring full power
generation capability to the International Space Station. We wish her
the best of luck back in the Navy — she will be missed.”
NASA selected Stefanyshyn-Piper as an astronaut in April 1996. She
flew on the STS-115 mission in 2006 and STS-126 in 2008, logging more
than 27 days in space and more than 33 hours spacewalking. Her
flights to the space station helped install a truss segment and
expanded the living quarters for additional crew members to live at
For Stefanyshyn-Piper’s complete biography, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
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