SpaceX CRS-22 will initiate technology development and fundamental science investigations on the International Space Station

SpaceX CRS-22 will initiate technology development and fundamental science investigations on the International Space Station

Press release From: Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
Posted: Friday May 28th 2021

Several payloads are ready to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX’s 22n/a Commercial replenishment services (CRS) to the orbital laboratory. The launch, under contract with NASA, is scheduled for no earlier than June 3 at 1:29 p.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. This mission includes more than a dozen surveys sponsored by the ISS US National Laboratory.

Several research focuses on the areas of basic science and technology development, including multiple projects funded by other government agencies. Research in these strategic areas deepens fundamental knowledge that can enhance future investigations and advance technologies to bring value to our country and drive a robust low Earth orbit market. Below are some of the fundamental investigations into the science and technology development of SpaceX CRS-22.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, one of 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health, continues to work with the ISS National Lab to fund projects under the Tissue chips in space initiative. Tissue chips contain human cells grown on an artificial scaffold to model the structure and function of human tissue. This mission includes a second Investigating Tissue Chips in Space from the University of Washington. the the research team uses tissue chip systems that model the human kidney to better understand kidney stone formation, the body’s use of vitamin D, and a condition in which a person’s urine contains abnormally high amounts of protein. The results of this investigation could lead to new treatment options for patients on Earth.

Another investigation into this mission was funded by a national science foundation solicitation centered on transport phenomena and fluid dynamics. In this project, researchers at the University of Delaware will examine self-assembly of colloidal particles in fluid systems, a critical phenomenon for the development of advanced electronics and nanotechnology. The number of advanced materials made by the assembly of colloidal particles is growing. The assembly can be controlled by applying external fields, such as a magnetic field, which affect the movement of the particles and their organization during assembly. Researching self-assembly in microgravity is advantageous because on Earth particles settle out of liquid due to gravity with a rate of sedimentation that increases as they form large and complicated structures. The colloidal particles examined in this experiment could serve as building blocks for advanced materials that control the propagation of sound and heat in electronics.

Also on this mission is a survey of the Notre Dame University which aims to study the fundamental physics of transport phenomena at small scales. The experience will examine how metallic nanostructures interact with light to create a high degree of local heating and evaporation of the surrounding liquid. Specifically, the research team will examine the relationship between nanostructure geometry (i.e. particle size and shape and inter-particle spacing) and the process of bubble formation when nanoparticles are excited by light. In microgravity, buoyancy-induced convection is eliminated, allowing the team to observe bubble dynamics in detail and with unprecedented clarity. A better understanding of the evaporation process could lead to several important applications, such as the development of new, highly selective cancer therapies and new methods of water desalination and purification.

For more information on the launch of all ISS National Laboratory-sponsored research on SpaceX CRS-22, please visit our mission overview page. To learn about the latest science and technology advancements aboard the ISS, register to attend the 2021 ISS Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC), taking place virtually from August 3-5. . To register for free, go to

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About the US National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS): The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technological development not possible on Earth. As a public service company, the ISS National Laboratory enables researchers to leverage this multi-user facility to improve life on Earth, evolve space business models, advance the science culture of the future workforce and develop a sustainable and scalable market in low earth orbit. Through this in-orbit National Laboratory, ISS research resources are available to support non-NASA science, technology, and educational initiatives of U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) operates the ISS National Laboratory, under a 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 Laboratory, visit

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