Photo Gallery (All Days)
The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory 8th annual ISS Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC)—held in coordination with the American Astronautical Society and NASA—was created to connect U.S. government agencies, commercial enterprises, and academic communities in order to foster new innovations, breakthroughs, and discoveries onboard humankind’s unique orbiting laboratory.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
ISS National Laboratory Chief Operating Office Ken Shields welcomed the attendees to the 8th annual ISSRDC with a special message from NASA astronaut Drew Morgan and an update on the ISS from Kirk Shireman, ISS Program Manager.
Researchers are now using the ISS U.S. National Laboratory for innovative stem-cell, 3D-tissue-modeling, and tissue-chip research that cannot be done on Earth. Stem cells are one of the cornerstones for regenerative medicine applications, and studies conducted on the ISS with stem cells are aimed at advancing therapeutics on Earth. Each day, an average of 22 people die waiting to receive life-saving organs. Advancing stem research and 3D tissue models are the first steps in understanding how to grow tissues, and eventually whole organs, for transplantation to enhance patient care on this planet.
Microgravity has profound effects on living organisms, including humans, plants, animals, cells, and even bacteria. Life sciences research conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) provides valuable insights that have the potential to significantly improve life on Earth. In these “Science Talks” presented by Scientific American, ISS National Lab investigators highlighted important scientific progress that could not have been possible without the ISS.
NASA’s Twins Study consisted of a joint effort among 10 research teams across the country to characterize the physiological, molecular, and cognitive changes experienced by humans in response to exposure to spaceflight hazards. For the study, retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and his identical twin brother, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, served as the two test subjects. Scott spent 340 days onboard the ISS while Mark remained on Earth. The results of the Twins Study reveal some interesting, surprising, and positively assuring data of how a single human body adapted to the extreme environment of space.
The ISS platform is not only utilized to improve and enrich the lives of people on Earth, it also serves as a test bed for technological advances required for deep space exploration. This session highlighted recent successes with technologies that close deep space exploration capability gaps. It will also address future plans, including the concurrent utilization of the ISS and the new Gateway platform to enable NASA’s Exploration Campaign.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Jim Bridenstine was sworn in as NASA’s 13th administrator on April 23, 2018. Since Administrator Bridenstine joined NASA, there have been significant gains in commercial engagement on the orbiting laboratory through the joint ISS National Laboratory and NASA partnership. Notably, more than 70 percent of the research payloads flown to the ISS National Lab in fiscal year 2018 had significant private-sector contributions.
This session discussed forecasted economic demand in low Earth orbit over the next 15 years. A panel of experts presented recent data and viewpoints and discuss the evolution of the ISS to support the commercialization of low Earth orbit, the economic implications of commercializing the space sector, and recommendations for the role of government.
Materials and their properties, utility, and production are of increasing interest to the efforts of research and development both on the International Space Station and back on Earth. Panel members summarized different areas of research and application, discuss new technology being developed and how their work is influencing directions in the field of materials science, as well as touch on how these efforts will impact our lives in the future.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Chairwoman, Owner, and President Eren Ozmen addressed a wide range of topics, including her unique personal journey from a childhood in Turkey to lead SNC, one of the most innovative companies in space. Ozmen was joined by former NASA astronaut Steve Lindsey, now vice president of space exploration systems at SNC.
Investor focus on commercial space opportunities has grown in recent years, with close to $3 billion of annual early-stage funding in 2016 through 2018 from an expanding mix of investment firms. We are now seeing signs of increasing public market interest in the space sector as well. With representation from leading capital market participants from across the funding spectrum, this panel discussion shared valuable insights on what is driving space investment and will highlight potential areas of opportunity, as seen by the investment community.
Public-private partnerships for economic development involve the use of public resources or financing capabilities to promote localized economic growth and development that will benefit a large population. Generally, governments participate in projects of high importance to the community, and, in some cases, public resources are required to make such projects feasible.This panel focused on the role and importance of public-private partnerships as a transitional step to the growth and development of a sustainable economy in low Earth orbit and beyond.
In addition to remarks from KBR Senior Vice President Vernon McDonald, Christine Kretz, Vice President of Programs and Partnerships at the National Lab recognizes two important partnerships demonstrating the unique and innovative platform of the ISS.
Thursday, August 1, 2019
You are more like a mouse than you think! Rodents are the most common model organism used in experimental studies of human disease, and extensive rodent research has been conducted onboard the ISS. Space-based rodent research has used multiple strains of mice to investigate a wide array of research questions. Areas of interest include muscle wasting, bone density degradation, neuroscience, and wound healing. This panel discussion focused on the ways in which a diverse cadre of researchers are leveraging the mouse model in microgravity to improve health both on Earth and in space.
The International Space Station is available to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Increasingly, startup companies have been drawn to the unique opportunity to conduct research and development in space. MassChallenge is the largest-ever startup accelerator and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs. Its four-month accelerator program offers world-class mentorship, in-kind support,and other benefits to help startup businesses succeed. A unique collaboration formed in 2014 between MassChallenge, Boeing,and the ISS National Laboratory that has led to numerous research experiments on the space station.
The International Space Station launched a revolution in space education—enabling thousands of students to directly interact with experiments in space. Yet this revolution had a precursor 45 years ago, when high school students designed, built,and operated experiments on Skylab, America’s first operational space station. This panel included some of those Skylab pioneers, now in their sixties, who shared their still vivid memories of that experience and the long-term impact on their lives and career paths. The panel also included some current high school students doing experiments on the ISS, sharing their active work and their own career visions.
The microgravity environment of the ISS allows investigation into materials processes and properties that would otherwise be masked by sedimentation and buoyancy-driven convection on Earth. This session highlighted some of the innovative materials science research being done on the ISS and how space-based research is contributing to our basic understanding of materials properties, generating commercial opportunities and benefiting both exploration programs such as Artemis as well as people back on Earth.
This session focused on how the unique nature of the ISS is enabling exciting content that is viewed by millions of people across the world. Panelists include media and network affiliates that develop content focused on what it is like to live and work in space and the innovative research being done onboard the ISS. Panelists shared why there is a drive to highlight space and how these unique stories can excite the general public and influence future research on the space station.