Status Report

Northrop Grumman CRS-17 Mission Overview

By SpaceRef Editor
February 17, 2022
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Northrop Grumman’s 17th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) is slated for launch no earlier than February 19 at 12:39 p.m. ET from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The ISS National Laboratory is sponsoring more than 15 payloads on this mission that will bring value to our nation and drive a sustainable market in low Earth orbit.

Below are highlights of ISS National Lab-sponsored research and technology demonstrations that are part of the Northrop Grumman CRS-17 mission to the space station.

Effects of Microgravity on Oxygen Output Regarding Chlorella Vulgaris
Higher Orbits
Principal Investigator: Michelle Lucas

This project was developed by Team Lotus, the winning team of the Higher Orbits Go for Launch student competition. The student team hypothesizes that the rate of oxygen production in the algal cultures of Chlorella vulgaris will be greater in the microgravity environment when compared with algal cultures on Earth.

Implementation Partner: Space Tango

Impact of Nanostructure Geometry on Photo-Thermal Evaporation
University of Notre Dame
PI: Dr. Tengfei Luo

This investigation aims to better understand bubble dynamics on nanostructured surfaces. The project involves heating metal substrates with nanostructured patterns submerged in a liquid to study the resulting bubble dynamics and observe how the bubbles interact with the surface. Specifically, the research team will examine how the bubbles form, grow, and detach from surfaces that have different nanoscale features. In microgravity, where gravity-driven buoyancy is absent, the team can study these heat-generated bubbles in ways not possible on Earth. Results could lead to improved medical diagnostics and potential new methods for water purification.

Implementation Partner: Space Tango

Intelligent Space Systems Interface
SkyCorp Incorporated
PI: Dennis Wingo

This project is a technology demonstration designed to raise the technology readiness level (TRL) of the Intelligent Space Systems Interface (iSSI). The iSSI is an integrated structural interface designed to provide mechanical coupling, power, and heat and data transfer as part of a modular satellite infrastructure enabling satellite servicing in orbit.

Implementation Partner: SkyCorp Incorporated

Investigation of Key Signaling Cascades Involved in Tumorigensis
PI: Dr. Scott Robinson

MicroQuin’s investigation will use 3D cell culture to characterize the three-dimensional development of breast and prostate tumor cell lines compared with healthy cells. In microgravity, cells form into 3D structures that more closely resemble cell growth and behavior in the human body. Results could help MicroQuin refine its cancer therapeutic and develop additional drugs for targeted treatment of breast and prostate cancer. This project originated from the Technology in Space Prize awarded by CASIS and Boeing through the MassChallege startup accelerator program.

Implementation Partner: BioServe Space Technologies

Microgravity Effects on Skin Aging and Health
Colgate-Palmolive Company
Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Laurence Du-Thumm

Last year, consumer goods company Colgate-Palmolive launched the first private-sector oral health care investigation to the ISS. Now, on this mission, the company’s skincare brand PCA Skin, will launch an investigation to collect data on the changes to skin health biomarkers that occur in the stressful environment of microgravity. Exposure to microgravity has been shown to cause skin to thin and become dry, mimicking the skin aging process on Earth. Results from this experiment could help better identify areas for early intervention in skin health and help guide the development of groundbreaking skin care innovations across all of Colgate-Palmolive’s skin care brands, such as PCA Skin, eltaMD, and Filorga.

Implementation Partner: BioServe Space Technologies

Axiom Space
PI: Dr. Amrit De

Universal Intelligent Glass Optics (UNIGLO) tests the effects of microgravity on a glass optics module capable of processing various types of complex glasses. The module uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help adapt materials processing techniques to the microgravity environment. It uses a sensor based on laser-doppler interferometry to measure the effects of microgravity on processing complex glasses for a variety of applications in space and on Earth.

Implementation Partner: Axiom Space

SpaceRef staff editor.