Crew-4 Payloads April 26, 2022

Crew-4 Payloads

Scheduled to launch on April 27th at 3:52 a.m. EST from NASA Kennedy Space Center, Space Tango partner payloads will be making their departure for the International Space Station on the SpaceX Crew-4 astronaut mission. As we get closer to the final countdown, we invite you to take a look at the amazing science our partners are exploring with us.

Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Protein-Based Artificial Retinas in Microgravity

LambdaVision | Principal Investigator: Nicole Wagner, Ph.D.

This Protein-Based Artificial Retina Manufacturing investigation will demonstrate the feasibility of manufacturing a pilot-scale protein-polymer-based layer-by-layer deposition process to develop artificial retinas in low-Earth orbit. During this flight, the LambdaVision-Space Tango partnership will collect data to optimize processes for science, automated hardware, and a regulatory process that will establish a baseline for future biomedical applications for in-space manufacturing.

LambdaVision and Space Tango’s goal is to leverage microgravity to improve upon layer-by-layer deposition to produce the first protein-based artificial retina to restore meaningful vision for patients who are blind or have lost significant sight due to advanced retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Why microgravity?

The microgravity environment of space can improve the homogeneity and performance of the artificial retina technology compared to prototypes produced on Earth. Microgravity production paradigms have been shown to enhance the three-dimensional assembly of thin films due to decreased solute aggregation, a reduction of intralayer defects, efficient binding between layers, and an increase in the optical clarity of the films.

learn more

Quest NextGen-2

The Quest Institute | Principal Investigator: Howell Ivy, Dan Saldana, Emeka Okekeocha
On Earth, magnets work by lining up to the Earth’s magnetic field – just like a compass. Quest Institute Multi-Experiment, Educational Investigation – NextGen-2 (Quest NextGen-2) is an experimental platform that allows students to explore the scientific principles of magnetism and use magnetism in space applications through five independent investigations that allow students to evaluate magnetism in microgravity:
  • Control of Ferrofluids – In this experiment, students control the duration and intensity of electromagnets surrounding an enclosure containing a ferrofluid and suspension fluid to create unique shapes and movements. By giving the students the ability to control red, green, and blue (RGB) light-emitting diodes (LEDs), they also have the opportunity to create custom space art. A camera is placed to record the results.
  • Observing Magnetic Flux Lines in 3D – A clear enclosure containing free-floating iron fragments surrounded by electromagnets is used for this experiment. By turning on an electromagnet or a combination of electromagnets, the iron fragments align to the flux lines in 3D. A camera captures the formations created.
  • Steel Ball Magnetic Experiment – Students accelerate a steel ball bearing from one end of a plastic tube to another using an electromagnet that is commanded via a ground station. Students analyze data collected from a camera and photogate sensors to determine the acceleration of the ball and determine the differences in results collected for the same experiment conducted on the ground.
  • Radiation in Space – Students analyze data collected from a Geiger counter sensor, magnetometer, accelerometer, and gyroscope along with the telemetry data of the International Space Station (ISS) to learn about radiation and its correlation to the earth’s magnetic field.
  • Heat Transfer – Students evaluate heat and humidity behavior in microgravity through different heating and cooling methods. The experiment investigates heating through the use of resistors and bulbs, cooling through the use of natural convection, forced convection and conduction, and humidity control through passive desiccant exposure.

learn more