Next Mission to Space Station Carries Research on Vision Loss Treatments and Earth-Viewing Technology

ReachMD Healthcare Image


Cartilage repair, retinal gene therapies, neurological disease treatments, and technology testing on external platforms among investigations flying on NASA's SpaceX CRS-30

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The next resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will carry more than 40 payloads sponsored by the ISS National Laboratory®, including in-space production applications projects, technology demonstrations, life science experiments, and student-led inquiries. These investigations, launching on SpaceX's 30th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission, funded by NASA, aim to improve life on Earth through space-based research and foster a sustainable economy in low Earth orbit (LEO).

Below highlights a sample of those payloads, and findings could lead to advances in technology for future spaceflight and the development of novel therapeutics for use both on Earth and in space.

  • Redwire Corporation is partnering with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Company and Butler University for two investigations leveraging Redwire's Pharmaceutical In-space Laboratory (PIL-BOX), a platform to crystallize organic molecules in microgravity. Results from this research could lead to improved therapeutics to treat an array of conditions. This research continues Eli Lilly's space journey, as the company has launched a variety of investigations to the orbiting laboratory over the years for the benefit of patient care on Earth.
  • A collaboration between Boeing and CSIRO (an Australian government agency responsible for scientific research) will test the ability of a Multi-Resolution Scanner to create 3D maps of the space station. To do this, the project will use Astrobee, an autonomous free-flying robotic system on station. This scanner technology could be useful in future exploration efforts and in remote environments for manufacturing and maintenance tasks, such as identifying leaks or checking for damage to systems.
  • The National Stem Cell Foundation will continue to examine the mechanisms behind neuroinflammation, a common feature of neurodegenerative diseases. To carry out this study, the research team created3D brain models derived from induced pluripotent stem cells of patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases as well as primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
  • Airbus U.S. Space & Defense is launching an enhancement to the station's Bartolomeo platform. Called ArgUS, the external mechanical platform has added capabilities for hosting payloads in LEO. Once ArgUS is installed, it will host multiple payloads on this mission, including SpaceTV-1, an optical video system designed to livestream high-definition views of Earth and the space station.
  • A project from the University of Connecticut will examine the feasibility of producing Janus base nanomaterials in microgravity that could help repair cartilage and reduce joint inflammation. Through this project, researchers aim to advance in-space manufacturing concepts for these materials, which could significantly improve patient care for orthopedic injuries and degenerative joint diseases like arthritis, as there is currently no way to repair damaged cartilage.

Additionally, two investigations flying on NASA's SpaceX CRS-30 mission were selected through the Technology in Space Prize, funded by Boeing and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™), manager of the ISS National Lab, as part of the MassChallenge startup accelerator program.

  • An investigation from biopharmaceutical company Oculogenex will use the space station to test a novel gene therapy to prevent and possibly even reverse vision loss from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Findings will help advance the company's therapeutic, which can potentially treat AMD-related symptoms in millions of Americans.
  • A project from biomedical startup Encapsulate aims to leverage the microgravity environment of the space station to validate an automated tumor-on-a-chip system that grows patient-derived cancer cells to test chemotherapy drugs. The company seeks to use precision diagnostics for personalized cancer treatments.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will launch these investigations and more no earlier than Thursday, March 21, 2024, at 4:55 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Researchers briefed media on select payloads during a recent webinar, and the recording can be viewed on our launch page.

To download a high-resolution image for this release, click here.

About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory:
The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Laboratory® allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve quality of life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology, and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit our website.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, CASIS accepts corporate and individual donations to help advance science in space for the benefit of humanity. For more information, visit our donations page.

International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory

Managed by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS)

6905 N. Wickham Rd., Suite 500, Melbourne, FL 32940 • 321.253.5101 •

SOURCE International Space Station National Lab

Facebook Comments


We’re glad to see you’re enjoying Global Women's Health Academy…
but how about a more personalized experience?

Register for free