September 25, 2020

Space Tango Partners with Alpha Space for International Companion Study on the ISS

University of Adelaide, Australia to Collect Pharmaceutical Excipient Stability Data from Conditions Inside and Outside the ISS National

LEXINGTON, Ky. (September 25, 2020) — Space Tango is partnering with Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, LLC (Alpha Space) to conduct an international companion study with the University of Adelaide on the International Space Station (ISS). Both Space Tango’s automated CubeLab hardware inside the ISS and Alpha Space’s MISSE platform installed outside the ISS will be used by researchers from the University of Adelaide, Australia, to study how exposure to microgravity and space radiation may affect the stability of tablet formulations and their excipient ingredients.

The tablets formulated by the University of Adelaide flying to the ISS include Ibuprofen as a pharmaceutical active ingredient, Vitamin C, and excipients abundant in the lunar surface such as silica, magnesium silicate, calcium phosphate, and others that could be used for stability of pharmaceutical formulations. In addition to understanding how the space environment may affect the stability of medicines, this mission provides an opportunity for the University of Adelaide to learn more about spaceflight logistics related to future microgravity studies on the production of both health and technology products, and in support of exploration.

Principal Investigator Professor Volker Hessel of the University of Adelaide with tablet samples. Photo Courtesy: University of Adelaide

“As our first study on the ISS, we are excited to have the opportunity to work with strong and experienced partners like Space Tango and Alpha Space to support our science. We look forward to working together on future studies on these internal and external platforms to further advance our space initiatives across both medicine and technology applications,” said Prof. Volker Hessel, Deputy Dean of Research and Research Director of Centre for Sustainable and Planetary Resources (CSPSR), at the University of Adelaide.

In the long-term, researchers from the University of Adelaide are working to develop micro-flow ‘spacelabs,’ which will use flow chemistry for on-demand production of pharmaceuticals, mineral extraction, advanced materials production, and chemical conversions. Researchers at the University of Adelaide are also focusing on crop and food production in remote locations. Alpha Space is also capable of supporting future external studies for the University of Adelaide team that addresses a broad scope of materials stability in space.

“It is excellent to see collaborations with international partners, and between implementation partners, taking shape,” commented Alpha Space President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Gittleman. “These partnerships allow us to leverage the multiple environments on the ISS and accelerate science and discovery. We look forward to supporting the University of Adelaide in future initiatives where access to our external platform can accelerate their ongoing space efforts.”

The first payload of this companion study will be launched on Northrop Grumman’s 14th Commercial Resupply Service (NG-14) mission, currently scheduled for September 30th at 10:26 p.m. ET, and will remain inside the International Space Station for six months. The second payload of the companion study will be launched on a future flight and will remain outside the ISS National Laboratory on the MISSE platform.

University of Adelaide flight samples are loaded into a Space Tango CubeLab. The CubeLab is affixed with two radiation sensor cards that will provide exposure data. Upon return to Earth, the radiation data gathered for these samples will be compared to a ground control study. Photo Courtesy: Space Tango

“Space Tango is pleased to coordinate with Alpha Space on this companion study as we support the University of Adelaide’s initial mission to the ISS,” commented Space Tango CEO and Co-Founder Twyman Clements.  “This investigation highlights the true spirit of cooperation that is at the foundation of advancing ISS capabilities and the future of the commercial space economy.”

Space Tango’s mission is to manufacture health and technology products in space that create value and transformational solutions. As a leader in automated systems, Space Tango pursues pathways to on-orbit production with a diverse partner-base. Our vision is to inspire, innovate and create a better future for humanity by utilizing the environment of space. Since 2017 through a NASA Space Act Agreement, Space Tango provides facilities on the International Space Station to support iterative R&D and pilot manufacturing. Space Tango is headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky with offices in Texas, Florida, California, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Alpha Space is an ISS National Laboratory Implementation Partner and Commercialization Partner, working through a cooperative agreement with NASA and a user agreement with the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory.  Alpha Space owns the MISSE facility, which is permanently installed on the exterior of ISS and houses up to twelve experiment carriers for conducting orbital research and development on technologies directly exposed to the low Earth orbit environment. For more information, visit

The University of Adelaide is a world-class research and teaching institution, centered on discovering new knowledge, pursuing innovation and preparing the educated leaders of tomorrow. Australia’s third oldest university, the University of Adelaide is proudly ranked in the top one percent of universities in the world. Adelaide has more than 100 Rhodes Scholars among its distinguished alumni and is associated with five Nobel Laureates. We attract academic staff who are global leaders in their fields, along with the best and brightest students. For more information, visit