Bioculture System Validation (Bioculture System Validation) - 10.29.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Understanding how life adapts to space requires comparing cells cultured in microgravity with cells cultured on Earth, but specialized equipment and laboratory practices are necessary to grow and maintain cells for these experiments conducted in the space flight environment. The Bioculture System provides a unique cell incubation system for long-duration cell and microbiology studies in space. This on-orbit validation ensures that automated capabilities and manual operations function properly.

Science Results for Everyone
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Experiment Details

OpNom Cell Science-01

Principal Investigator(s)
Information Pending
Information Pending
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration

Expeditions Assigned
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Previous ISS Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview

• Expand the utilization of ISS with a space biosciences research facility that provides the scientific community with the freedom to conduct cell biology and microbiology experiments of any duration, especially for a long-duration
• Provide crew access to the specimens to conduct manual procedures to start cultures on-orbit, propagate cells, and sample and process specimens in a manner that is similar to how scientist perform experiments in their own laboratory
• Enable scientists with a facility that provides the ability to feed cells by perfusion while protecting the cells from fluid shear forces that can negate microgravity effects
• Provide a facility that can culture all types of cells, tissue cultures, 3-D cultures, microbes (eukaryotic and prokaryotic) with capabilities to automatically inject solutions and withdraw samples.
• Validation of the engineering performance of the Bioculture System to maintain a cell culture on ISS
• Validation of manual operation capabilities to expand the types of on-orbit experiments that can be conducted
• Enable scientists with the capability to design and conduct experiments that will be similar to how experiments are conducted in their laboratories
• Provision of a biological incubator system that provides a stable environment that will allow long-duration experiments on ISS, which will not disturb the microgravity conditions and requirements of the study
• Ability to initiate cell culture experiments on-orbit to eliminate gravity and launch effects on specimens that are actively being cultured during launch
• Bioculture System will provide pharmaceutical and biotech companies with a platform for drug discovery and validation studies on-orbit
• US National and international scientists can conduct studies on-orbit with cell specimens that will complement similar studies with animals
• Long-duration studies to investigate and discover microgravity and space flight environment effects that are transient and permanent
• Allow scientists to take samples from the space-flight animals on ISS and then immediately transfer the sample to the Bioculture System
• Enable a cell culturing facility to address medically relevant research that require the microgravity environment to investigate biological questions and hypotheses


Scientific research will not be conducted for the Bioculture System Validation.

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Space Applications

The Bioculture System is the first equipment enabling scientists to conduct cell biology experiments in space using procedures similar to those used on the ground. Adding new cell food, subculturing cells, stowing cell specimens, and maintaining sterility are all possible with the cartridge system, which uses automated and manual crew operations. Enabling scientists to maintain similar lab practices in space and on the ground improves studies examining the effects of microgravity. The Bioculture System allows scientists to conduct long-term experiments, which are important for understanding the difference between transient and long-term effects of living in the space environment.

Earth Applications

The Bioculture System allows scientists to conduct experiments that require microgravity, addressing questions and hypotheses that can’t be tested on Earth. The space shuttle program enabled several medical discoveries relevant to people on Earth, and the Bioculture System will allow these studies to be re-tested for further validation, as well as expanding the types of experiments that are conducted. Long-term cellular studies help scientists understand the molecular processes involved in disease and infection both in space and on Earth.

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Operational Requirements

Data downlink is required along with ground commanding. Power is also required for ascent, on-orbit operations, and descent. Ambient stowage is required for the Gas Supply and Assembly and sample bag kit stowage. After on-orbit operations are complete, samples must be kept at -80˚C or lower in on-orbit and descent stowage. The MSG and its accessories for biology use are needed; however, the crew may be able to use another glove box or glove bag if and only if the interior can be sterilized and will fit into the Cassette. The crew is required to complete manual operations. There is also video requirements for footage to be taken of the sample bag removal operations.

Operational Protocols

Gas Canister Assembly Change out: Crew removes the replacement assembly from ambient stowage. The spent canister assembly is removed from the Bioculture System and then the replacement canister assembly is slid into and connected to the Bioculture System.  The spent canister assembly is placed into ambient stow for return.

Sample Bag Removal:  the MSG is cleaned and sterilized.  The crew takes out the sample kit bag and then completes the setup of the MSG.  Crew removes a Cassette from the Bioculture System and then transfers it to the MSG, The Cassette is opened in the MSG, and then the crew removes the cell-filled sample bag by using the PD-provided crimp cutting tool to cut the tubing at the aluminum crimp cut sleeve.  The sample bag is placed into a ziplock bag.  The Cassette is closed up and then placed back into the Bioculture System.  The sample bag removal is repeated for 3 more Cassettes.

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Results/More Information
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Related Websites

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