Space Tango is facilitating the understanding of flow chemistry in space and exploring the potential benefits of small molecules and materials under microgravity.
Flow chemistry — chemical reactions performed in a tube or pipe — allows for faster, safer reactions, cleaner products, and easier scale-up. Reactions can be performed safely without sacrificing the quality, purity, or cycle time when starting materials are limited and scalable applications are necessary.
Now more prominent in the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries, continuous flow chemistry is revolutionizing Earth-based operations like active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturing for drug development and the catalytic reactions used to manufacture propellants and fuels.
On-demand synthesis of organic chemicals yields similar manufacturing benefits that could impact space-based operations and long-duration missions where storage and stability are a challenge.