Space Tango Provides Updates from OA-9 Mission

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Space Tango Provides Updates from OA-9 Mission

Imagery from Data Downlinks Provides Insight on Fluids in Microgravity

 The official Space Tango OA-9 mission patch.

The official Space Tango OA-9 mission patch.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 13, 2018) – Space Tango today shared data downlinks and images from experiments being conducted on the International Space Station for a variety of commercial and educational payloads. NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Scott Tingle successfully installed Space Tango research payloads onboard the International Space Station (ISS) on May 25th at approximately 5:00 AM EST after the successful docking of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus Commercial Resupply Services-9 (OA-9) cargo spacecraft. 

One of the payloads launched on OA-9 seeks to test a new liquid separation system developed by Zaiput Flow Technologies. Liquid separation is a critical step in chemical synthesis, and Zaiput’s new system could lead to significant improvements in drug development and production.  While common methods to separate liquids rely on liquid sedimentation, Zaiput’s system relies on surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid extraction. 

“We designed and engineered flight hardware that allows Zaiput to evaluate separation based on surface tension, a method thought to be independent of gravity but never tested before,” explained TangoLab program manager Gentry Barnett. “The CubeLab system maintains separation of liquids and accommodates the unpredictable ways liquid moves when gravity is removed as a variable so that the physics of the process can be better understood.” 

A video of the data from research in microgravity is provided below:

The top line features a white oil and orange-dyed water mixture before entering the Zaiput liquid separation system. Once entering the system, the water and oil will separate. This can be seen in the bottom two lines where the liquids are now flowing independently and have been successfully separated in microgravity. 

“Zaiput proprietary technology enables one of the critical steps for chemical synthesis and this investigation may pave the way for additional complex chemistry projects in microgravity,” added Space Tango CEO Twyman Clements recently selected as #25 on Fast Company’s list of 100 Most Creative People in Business.  “We are pleased to lend our expertise in working in microgravity to the testing and validating of tools that allow this team and others to further the exploration of chemistry in space. We are also pleased to be supporting a number of educational STEM payloads on this mission that continues to inspire the next generation through research on the ISS.” 
 
Space Tango works alongside principal investigators and student teams, conducting a variety of research in microgravity, from design to implementation to develop CubeLabs that are internally unique to the research being conducted in microgravity.
 
During the remainder of the approximate month-long stay aboard the ISS, Space Tango will continue to monitor the progression of research payloads and collect data from their autonomous TangoLab facilities. 
 
Space Tango payloads recently delivered and installed for the OA-9 mission, along with images from data downlinks include:

PAYLOADS
ZAIPUT FLOW TECHNOLOGIES
PI: Andrea Adamo
The Continuous Liquid-Liquid Separation in Microgravity investigation will use a unique liquid separation system of relying on surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid extraction.  While common separation methods rely on liquid sedimentation, the Zaiput Liquid-Liquid Separation system has the unique characteristic of relying on surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid extraction. Besides having significant scientific value, the information gained from this work will be critical to define in detail the physics of the process and it would empower a scale-up of the systems to flow rates suitable for chemical production.

HIGHER ORBITS
PI: Michelle Lucas

The Biological Nitrogen Fixation in Microgravity via Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis (Biological Nitrogen Fixation) experiment led by the Higher Orbits Go For Launch!program examines how the low gravity conditions of space affect the nitrogen fixation process during growth of a well-known legume –microclover. Automated laboratory modules maintain germination and growth conditions while atmospheric nitrogen is measured throughout the mission. Gaining a better understanding of the BNF process in a microgravity environment could be valuable in advancing technology which aims to progress the field of commercial BNF soil nutrition.

CRAFT ACADEMY
PI: Michael Fultz

The Contractile Properties of Smooth Muscle in Microgravity project is a research/educational venture led by the Craft Academy in collaboration with its partner - Morehead St. University (Morehead, KY). This project is the second of a two-part experiment with the purpose of evaluating the involuntary cell contractions of aortic
smooth muscle cells in a microgravity environment.  This research could produce new understanding of the contractile mechanism that operates within these cells to control blood pressure, and, in turn, could lead to novel hypertension treatment options.

This payload will also be the first payload to fly with power inside the MERLIN refrigerator facility. Successful demonstration of this capability could significantly improve how cell culture research is maintained until reaching the ISS.  

THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE SCHOOL EDUCATIONAL TRUST
PI: Julie Keeble

The International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) Multi-Experimental Module is a set of educational experiments to be performed and evaluated in a microgravity environment. Students are investigating the effects of the space environment on both life science and physical science experiments. The ISSET Multi-Experimental Module will contain three independent investigations: 

  1. The Immiscible Liquid Separation experiment will observe the mixing and unmixing of oil and water in microgravity. 
  2. The Effect of Hydropriming on the Growth of Basil experiment will examine the growth rates of microbasil seeds that have been hydroprimed prior to launch and those that have not .
  3. The Movement of Polar Liquids Across Electric Fields experiment will observe the effects of microgravity on the movement of a polar liquid in the presence of an electric field. 

QUEST INSTITUTE
PI’s: Howell Ivy and Dan Saldana

Quest Institute Multi-Experiment, Educational Investigation #2 is a multi-experimental payload that encompasses 14 independent life science and physical science mission objectives: 

  1. Maranatha rice decomposition in microgravity
  2. Copper crystal growth in microgravity
  3. Characterizing copper and bronze electroplating in microgravity
  4. Lactococcus fermentation in space
  5. The effect of microgravity on the magnetic qualities of magnetorheological fluids over time
  6. Slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) growth in patterned structure under microgravity
  7. Observation of slime mold inside 3D maze in microgravity
  8. Characterizing magnetorheological fluid in space
  9. Prevention of biofilm formation in microgravity using an antimicrobial copper paint
  10. Effects of microgravity on the electrochemical characteristics of a microbial fuel cell
  11. Efficacy of sharklet material in preventing growth of E. coli in microgravity
  12. Ferrofluid, light pressure, and radiation measurements in microgravity
  13. The effects of BAM-FX nutrient solution on plants in microgravity
  14. The effects of BAM-FX nutrient solution on plants (with endophyte) in microgravity

SPACE TANGO
PI: Gentry Barnett

The Space Tango Microgravity Thermal Investigation will examine the thermal effects of heating and cooling methods in microgravity in the absence of convection. The payload will include thermal imaging and a grid of temperature sensors to map how active temperature disturbances are transferred within a sealed container.

ABOUT SPACE TANGO
Space Tango designs, develops, and operates systems for bioengineering and manufacturing in the microgravity environment. Founded in 2014, Space Tango established their first operational TangoLab facility on the International Space Station in 2016 and a second facility in 2017. To date, Space Tango has flown nearly 50 diverse commercial, academic, and STEM payloads. As a recognized leader in the development of fully automated, remote-controlled systems for research and manufacturing in orbit, Space Tango continues to provide expertise in technology and scientific consulting related to working in microgravity for industry and academic partners.  Space Tango envisions a future where the next important breakthroughs in both technology and healthcare will occur off the planet creating a new global market 250 miles up in low Earth orbit. For more information, visit www.spacetango.com.


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Space Tango Successfully Installs Payloads on ISS

Researchers to Begin Receiving CRS-14 Mission Data Next Week

ST 14 Mission Patch.jpg

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 5, 2018) – Space Tango, Inc. installed customer research payloads onboard the International Space Station (ISS) on April 5th at 1:00 PM EST after the successful docking of the SpaceX Dragon Commercial Resupply Services-14 (CRS-14) cargo spacecraft.  These payloads will autonomously run microgravity experiments until their return to Earth in May.

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Scott Tingle removed the eight customer research payloads from the docked Dragon module, and installed them in the TangoLab facilities. These facilities will allow Space Tango’s ground station to collect data and images in near real-time while allowing researchers to monitor their payloads’ progress during it’s approximate month-long stay aboard the ISS.

“The Space Tango team is extremely happy with the installations on Thursday,” said co-founder and CEO Twyman Clements.  “While this wraps up a busy week here we’ll begin downlinking data for our customers to see their science in progress early next week.  We are pleased to continue developing new designs and methods that make using microgravity easier for research and manufacturing.”

Space Tango payloads recently delivered and installed for the CRS-14 mission include:

PAYLOADS

QUEST INSTITUTE

The Effect of BAM-FX Nutrient Solution on Plant Growth in Microgravity is one of four independent experiments within this payload led by the Quest Institute.  This experiment will examine the effect of microgravity on plant growth properties using the Bio-Available Mineral Formula-X medium. The second experiment - the Effects of an Electric Field on Plant Growth in Microgravity - will observe the seed germination and tolerance after exposure to an electric field in microgravity. The third and fourth experiment will assess the Behavior of Heat and Humidity in Microgravity  based on different heating and cooling methods.


PRINCETON INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE

The primary purpose of this payload - led by the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science - is to measure the time dilation effect according to Einstein’s theories. The experiment will illustrate the performance of a nanosecond precise clock design. The secondary payload’s scientific purpose is to determine the mutation rate of isolated plasmid DNA over an extended period of time on the ISS. The DNA sample will be sequenced before and after going to space, and the number of mutations will be compared to a terrestrial control.
 

HIGHER ORBITS

In this educational venture led by the Higher Orbits Go For Launch! program, the effectiveness of lactobacillus probiotics in the space environment will be analyzed. The yeast involved in the study, Candida Albicans, is known to be responsible for a variety of systemic and superficial infections in immune-weakened systems. The intent of this study is to develop a more complete understanding of the process by which lactobacillus is able to control Candida growth.

MAGNITUDE.IO

The Life Cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity project is an educational/research venture led by the Magnitude.io (Berkeley, CA). The purpose of this project is to study how different growth phases of Arabidopsis thaliana are affected by a microgravity environment, specifically investigating plant germination and early growth stages.  

ANHEUSER-BUSCH

Barley is a versatile grain equipped with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals essential to health. This project, led by Anheuser-Busch - evaluates the germination and seedling phases of barley seeds that are grown in a microgravity environment. Morphological and genetic effects of the environment are assessed during orbit and return. By furthering the knowledge of barley’s response to microgravity, investigators find ways to adapt the grain for long-duration spaceflight.

SPACE TANGO

The Space Tango Fan investigation is designed to verify the Fan Module’s ability to take air coming into the facility and direct it towards specific elements to keep them internally cooler. Successful demonstration of the Tango Fan Module makes more, and different, scientific investigations possible aboard the space station.

ABOUT SPACE TANGO

Space Tango facilitates research and manufacturing in the microgravity environment from design to implementation. The microgravity environment is a new frontier for discovery and innovation. By exploring it with industries of all kinds, we can improve life on Earth. For more information, visit www.spacetango.com.

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Space Tango Facilitates Budweiser Payload on CRS-13 Launch

Microgravity Research Payloads Yield Data to Improve Life on Earth

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space Tango, Inc. launched an Anheuser-Busch research payload on December 15th at approximately 10:36 AM EST aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 for NASA Commercial Resupply Services-13 (CRS-13) mission. Additional payloads from Zaiput and Biorasis, Inc., as well as two experiments from Space Tango, will yield data that could improve life on Earth.

Anheuser-Busch, Zaiput, and Biorasis, Inc. each present a unique application and use of the microgravity environment to yield data that can be proven beneficial on Earth. In addition to working towards the goal of becoming the first beer brewed on Mars, Anheuser-Busch’s barley seed experimentation will provide valuable information on the production of barley for the agricultural community here on Earth.

  The official Space Tango CRS-13 mission patch.

The official Space Tango CRS-13 mission patch.

Similarly, Zaiput will be able explore the role of microgravity to further develop and refine their unique process of liquid-liquid extraction that relies on surface forces. Biorasis, Inc. will use the simplistic test environment provided by microgravity to help monitor the role of diffusion in glucose transport. This may allow Biorasis to improve the accuracy of medically implantable glucose biosensors (Glucowizzard™) and provide a more reliable product for the diabetic community.

“These use-cases highlight the opportunity for companies to drive innovation with Space Tango’s expanding capabilities on station,” commented Space Tango CEO Twyman Clements. “Thanks to the continuing support from CASIS, we not only make microgravity research accessible, but we make it easy.”

Among the commercial research flown on CRS-13, Space Tango will also be conducting experiments on Chaos carolinensis and E. coli to support future commercial research opportunities.

The SpaceX CRS-13 mission is Space Tango’s fourth customer flight to the International Space Station in 2017. Used across a variety of research areas, over two dozen CubeLab modules have flown to the International Space Station throughout this past year.

PAYLOADS

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ANHEUSER-BUSCH CO.
> Germination of ABI Voyager Barley Seeds in Microgravity

The Germination of ABI Voyager Barley Seeds in Microgravity project is led by the Anheuser-Busch Company (St. Louis, MO).  With the long-term goal of being the first beer brewed on Mars, this series of initial experiments - studying spaceflight environment effects on barley seed exposure, seed germination, and the malting process - will pave the way.  This mission includes payloads to achieve two of three initial experimental phases: seed exposure and seed germination.

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ZAIPUT FLOW TECHNOLOGIES
> Evaluation of a Continuous Liquid-Liquid Separation Process based on Surface Tension in a Microgravity Environment

The Evaluation of a Continuous Liquid-Liquid Separation Process based on Surface Tension in a Microgravity Environment project is a commercial venture led by Zaiput Flow Technologies (Cambridge, MA).  While common immiscible liquid separation methods rely on liquid sedimentation, the Zaiput system has the unique characteristic of relying on surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid extraction. By exploring the role of gravity (or lack thereof) on the process, the system can be further developed and refined for use in chemical production.

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BIORASIS, INC.
> Deconvolution of Biosensor Glucose Diffusion Contributions in Microgravity

The Deconvolution of Biosensor Glucose Diffusion Contributions in Microgravity project is a commercial venture led by Biorasis, Inc. (Storrs/Mansfield, CT). The goal of the investigation is to improve the accuracy of medically implantable glucose biosensors (Glucowizzard™) for use primarily in day-to-day diabetes management. Microgravity will allow for a more simplistic test environment to monitor the role of diffusion in glucose transport and potentially improve the accuracy of the sensor - which may provide a more reliable product for the diabetic community.

SPACE TANGO, INC.
> Chaos carolinensis Behavior and Locomotion in Microgravity

The Chaos carolinensis Behaivor and Locomotion in Microgravity is an internal experiment led by Space Tango, Inc.  This payload will investigate the behavior and locomotion of a many-nucleated amoeboid -  Chaos carolinensis - in a microgravity environment.  Experimental outcomes could have terrestrial impacts on stem cell function, cytoskeletal alignment, regeneration, and cellular communication.   

> Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance of E. Coli

The Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance of E. Coli is an internal experiment led by Space Tango, Inc.  This payload will investigate the effects of microgravity on the evolution of E. coli resistance to antibiotics in increasing amounts.  Via a 45° ampicillin gradient, mutant isolation and genetic evolution can be observed on an accelerated time scale.  This may provide valuable insight into the damaging effects of the space environment on the immune system as well as the evolutionary mechanism of resistance in bacteria.

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ABOUT SPACE TANGO

Space Tango streamlines and simplifies the unique environment that microgravity offers to design, build, and operate integrated systems that facilitate microgravity R&D and manufacturing for applications that improve life on Earth. Space Tango allows users to focus on their work while they manage the complexities of traveling to and operating in microgravity. They are committed to the standardization of processes to provide a seamless experience. Space Tango is developing an entire pipeline of products to increase the variety, volume and ease of using this new frontier. They strive to diversify the use of microgravity as we invite industries of any kind to reach beyond in hope of improving life on Earth.

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Orbital ATK OA-8

Space Tango to Host Experiment in Orbital ATK’s Cygnus Module

Increased Data Collection in Microgravity

 Photo Courtesy: Orbital ATK | Thom Baur

Photo Courtesy: Orbital ATK | Thom Baur

WATTSVILLE, Va. – Space Tango, Inc. will use Orbital ATK’s Cygnus Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM), launched on November 12th at 7:19 AM EST, to host a radiation experiment once berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) for Orbital Sciences Commercial Resupply Service Flight 8 (OA-8).

Once the Cygnus spacecraft is unloaded, the TangoLab-1 facility along with an experiment conducted by DASA, a team of student winners from the Virginia Based non-profit Higher Orbits Go For Launch!, will be moved from the Japanese Experiment Module into the PCM.

“As a bonus, this will give better science to the Higher Orbits’ winners,” stated the Space Tango CEO Twyman Clements. Team DASA’s experiment utilizes the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment to measure the radiation flux while on ISS – and in Cygnus – and the effect of different shielding materials. “Radiation sensors will get data from two areas of the ISS,” added Clements. “And will serve as a pathfinder for moving ISS-based facilities within visiting vehicles to expand capabilities aboard the ISS.”

In addition to hosting the Higher Orbits’ experiment and the TangoLab pathfinder work, the OA-8 mission will also be delivering an additional four payloads to be housed in TangoLab-2 that was installed on the ISS in the US Lab in August 2017.

Cygnus is expected to arrive at the International Space Station November 14th. Space Tango successfully continues to commercialize microgravity thanks to the continued support from the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

PAYLOADS

> Life Cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana in Microgravity

The Arabidopsis thaliana flight experiment is an educational experiment led by Magnitude.io. The purpose of this experiment is to study how the life cycle of Arabidopsis thaliana is affected by a microgravity environment. Specifically, the educational goals of this experiment include: 1) to successfully grow Arabidopsis thaliana in microgravity; 2) to evaluate the differences between microgravity and parallel terrestrial growth systems in classrooms; and 3) to preserve the seeds for future multi-generational microgravity growth studies.

> Biological Nitrogen Fixation Via Rhizobium-Legume Symbiosis

The Biological Nitrogen Fixation project is an educational/research venture led by the Higher Orbits Foundation (Leesburg, VA) and the Orbital ATK Division Winner - Team Saguaro Snakes (Gilbert, AZ) with the intent of establishing a baseline for plant growth on extra-terrestrial colonies. Microclover, a resilient and drought tolerant legume, will be grown in microgravity to determine the effect of the space environment on the nitrogen-fixation process and microgreen growth.

> Effects of Microgravity on the Life Cycle of Tenebrio molitor

The Life Cycle of the Mealworm project is an educational/research venture led by the Higher Orbits Foundation (Leesburg, VA) and the AIAA Division Winner - Team Operation Galaxy X (Herndon, VA) with the intent of studying the growth phases and reproductive cycle of mealworms in microgravity. Development of baseline data for larvae morphology and reproduction could have implications for both long-term manned space expeditions and earth based nutrition resourcing.

 

For more information, contact us at press@spacetango.com.

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SpaceX CRS-12

Second Facility Delivered to ISS

 

TangoLab-2 after installation in the US Lab on the International Space Station (August 2017).

 

SpaceX CRS-12 Delivers Start-Up’s Microgravity Research Facility to International Space Station

Space Tango’s Available Customer Research Capacity Doubles

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space Tango, Inc. launches a second TangoLab facility on August 14th at approximately 12:31 PM EDT aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Service-12 (CRS-12) mission.  The additional facility doubles the company’s available capacity on the International Space Station (ISS).  The facility, accompanied by twelve payloads, will be installed on the ISS and controlled autonomouslyfor the duration of the approximate 28-day mission from Space Tango’s headquarters in Lexington, KY. 

  TangoLab-1 position within the Japanese Experiment Module on the International Space Station (July 2017).

TangoLab-1 position within the Japanese Experiment Module on the International Space Station (July 2017).

The TangoLab-1 facility, installed on the ISS in August 2016, allows Space Tango clients and partners to build high-performance and reliable experiments that can be designed and tested in microgravity.  The addition of the second facility on the ISS is instrumental in expanding Space Tango’s commercialization pathways.

“The installation of TangoLab-2 not only doubles the capacity of that product line but allows longer duration and more complex configurations,” explained Space Tango CEO Twyman Clements. “This is required for the ever more complex R&D and pilot manufacturing Space Tango’s customers are undertaking.”

Space Tango provides exclusive microgravity experimentation services to its increasing portfolio of customers and partners.  For the CRS-12 mission, the two TangoLab facilities will house and control twelve research payloads that include a wide range of engineering, life science, exomedicine and research and design (R&D).

“These payloads could unlock advancements in plant biotechnology, long-term radiation shielding, carbon dioxide regulation, and bacterial antibiotic sensitivity that only occur within a microgravity environment,” described TangoLab Program Manager Gentry Barnett.

The Dragon capsule carrying Space Tango payloads and TangoLab facility are expected to arrive at the International Space Station the morning of Wednesday, August 16th. Space Tango successfully continues to commercialize microgravity as a result of continued support from the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

PAYLOADS

> Evolution of Radiation Deterrent Materials

  TangoLab-2 after installation showing multiple CubeLab modules (August 2017).

TangoLab-2 after installation showing multiple CubeLab modules (August 2017).

Passive radiation-shielding materials will be evaluated based on density, cost, and on-orbit radiation deterrent effect to determine the most advantageous material for long-term space travel.  The Higher Orbits Foundation and the 2016 Andromeda Award Winning Team DASA from Deerfield High School in Deerfield, IL lead this investigation.

> Cactus-Mediated Carbon Dioxide Removal in Microgravity

Oxygen output and carbon dioxide intake of a cactus sempervivum will be measured and evaluated to provide information on how to improve the efficiency of carbon dioxide regulation of long-term space travel.  The International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) in partnership with King’s College in London lead this endeavor. 

> Activity of Mutated Drosophila in Microgravity

Visible differences in flight between normal and mutant Drosophila flies will be monitored to identify if there are any positive differences in movement by placing the flies in a microgravity environment.  The International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) in partnership with King’s College in London lead this endeavor.

> Seed Germination and Plant Growth in Microgravity

A series of four payloads will explore the process of seed germination and initial plant growth of three different plant species.  The enclosed payloads will simulate all environmental conditions necessary for proper growth.  Successful implementation could uncover novel genetic expressions, plant morphologies, and biotechnologies relating to the specific plants.

> Microgravity Effects on Antibiotic Sensitivity of Escherichia coli

Bacteria growth of E. coli in the presence of two antibiotics will be evaluated to investigate if microgravity could affect cellular and/or systemic responses in comparison to terrestrial control models.

> Space Tango Internal Experiments

The CRS-12 mission includes three additional payloads whose purpose is internal to the Space Tango team with the intention of substantial technical and/or scientific advancement.  Space Tango provides an work environment that encourages the pursuit of answers - on this planet and elsewhere.

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