Crew-5 October 1, 2022


Scheduled to launch on October 5th at 4:01 p.m. EST from NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL; A Space Tango partner payload will be making its departure for the International Space Station on the SpaceX Crew-5 astronaut mission. As we get closer to the final countdown, we invite you to take a look at the amazing science our partner is exploring with us in microgravity.

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

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

This investigation’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 with advanced retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). 

This automated Protein-Based Artificial Retina Manufacturing CubeLab 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.

The past flights were successful in achieving a milestone of success by developing 200 layers of protein-based film. This flight aims to optimize the parameters to perfect the layering process. 

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.

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