Rodent Research Facility (Rodent Research Facility) - 10.14.15

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Rodent Research Facility provides rodent housing on board the International Space Station (ISS). 

Animal research is essential for understanding the impacts of space flight on the systems of the human body, and for development of potential therapies that will ease harmful responses to space flight. The advisory panel for Animal and Human Biology appointed by the Committee for the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences in Space was unanimous in its recommendation that an animal habitat be incorporated as soon as possible into the ISS.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Cecilia L. Wigley, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details

OpNom: Rodent Research

Facility Manager(s)
Cecilia L. Wigley, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Facility Representative(s)
Marla M. Smithwick, Lockheed Maritn, Moffett Field, CA, United States

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

ISS Expedition Duration 1
September 2014 - March 2016

Expeditions Assigned

Previous ISS Missions

This hardware is based on the Animal Enclosure Module, which flew numerous times on Shuttle missions. 


  • Onboard
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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    The Rodent Research hardware system includes the Transporter, Rodent Habitat, Life Support, and Access Unit.  The Transporter houses rodents during ascent to the ISS, and continues to house rodents on the ISS for long-duration missions. The Access Unit interfaces with either the Transporter or Habitat to allow handling and transfer of animals. 


    Exposure to spaceflight conditions has been shown to result in alterations to many physiological systems of humans and animals. Ground-based and space flight studies by many investigators demonstrate that the mouse species is a good model for studying the changes in physiological systems in response to space flight. As a result there is a wealth of literature on the physiological impact of space flight and altered gravity on mice that can be compared with future flight data.


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    Facility Operations

    • Houses up to 10 mice for up to 30 days per unit and additional testing in work to increase this to up to 90 days
    • Units can be used serially to extend duration of experiment.
    • The crew transfers the mice from the Transporter to the Habitats shortly after docking with the ISS. 
    • The crew conducts experiment-specific operations in accordance with the Principal Investigator’s requirements. 
    • These operations will include:
      • Dissections
      • Tissue preservation
      • Blood collection and centrifugation
      • Bone densitometry. 
    • At the end of all experiment operations, the hardware and samples are packed for return. 
    • The samples are turned over to the Principal Investigators after splashdown, and the hardware is refurbished for use on another flight.

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    Decadal Survey Recommendations

    Information Pending

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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