Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC) - 07.29.14
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The Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC) supported the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Science System (CBOSS) investigations, a series of experiments to refine and further develop bioreactor technology. The BSTC provided the environmental and metabolic support required to grow and maintain mammalian cell cultures in microgravity, which could lead to unprecedented opportunities for breakthroughs in biomedical research and biotechnology.
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Wyle, Integrated Science and Engineering, Houston, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)
ISS Expedition Duration
August 2001 - December 2002
Previous ISS Missions
- The Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC) provided a platform for the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Science System (CBOSS) investigations to study basic cell-to-cell interactions in a microgravity environment and the formation of functional cell aggregates.
- The BSTC was designed to allow multiple experiments studying various types of cells to operate simultaneously. It was a multicomponent cell incubator meant to grow three-dimensional clusters of cells in microgravity.
The CBOSS investigations required a suite of interrelated hardware that also included the following hardware:
- Biotechnology Cell Science Stowage (BCSS) consisted of stowage units designed to safely and efficiently package and transport cellular biotechnology equipment and materials required to conduct experiments on board the ISS.
- The Biotechnology Refrigerator (BTR) was a thermoelectric, temperature-controlled unit that provided 0.53 cubic feet of cold storage at 4 °C (39.2 °F). Temperature-sensitive cell samples and stowage items were carried to the ISS in the BTR.
- The Cellular Biotechnology Cryodewar (CBC) was used to store frozen cell samples until orbit was achieved and the experiments were initiated on the ISS. The CBC was a passive device that employed absorbed liquid nitrogen as the cryogen.
- The Gas Supply Module (GSM) supplied a continuous flow of an air-carbon dioxide mixture to the BSTC to support and maintain the chemical and physiological processes required to sustain cell cultures. The system was mechanical, requiring no electrical power. Two independent supply lines were available to support multiple experiments, and all four of the unit's gas cylinders could be connected to provide a common supply source. The GSM held up to 634 quarts (600 liters) of gas when charged to 2,575 psi (181 kilograms per centimeter).
- The Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC) was connected to the Gas Supply Module (GSM) by the crew. The BSTC was then powered on, and the temperature required by the cells was set.
- After the set temperature was reached, the crew transferred the cryogenically frozen cell samples to room temperature for thawing prior to activating the cell cultures.
- After the cells had thawed, the crew injected the cells into TCMs containing fresh media. The TCMs were placed inside the BSTC for incubation at a temperature indicated in the procedures.
- The TCMs were removed from the BSTC periodically for media changeouts and cell fixations.
During operations on the International Space Station, the crew regularly performed preventive maintenance on the Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (BSTC) components. The BSTC performed nominally during operations.
Ground Based Results Publications
NASA Image: ISS004E8067 - A photo of EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack 4 in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, taken during Expedition Four. EXPRESS rack 4 housed components for the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System experiment: the Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (upper left corner), Gas Supply Module (upper right corner), and Biotechnology Refrigerator (below the Gas Supply Module).
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NASA Image: ISS003E329006 - Expedition Three Mission Commander Frank L. Culbertson, wearing a mask, works with the Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller during the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System experiments in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny.
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NASA Image: ISS009E05444 - EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack 4 in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, during Expedition 9. The following equipment is visible in the EXPRESS rack: Biotechnology Specimen Temperature Controller (upper left corner) and Gas Supply Module (upper right corner).
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