ISS Research Facilities and Capabilities

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Space Station Research Facilities and Capabilities

The Space Station has a variety of multidisciplinary laboratory facilities and equipment available to support the National Laboratory operations. These capabilities have been built by NASA and its International Partners and can be made available on a time-shared basis to other US government agencies and private entities to pursue their own mission driven research and applications on the space station. Shared utilization of these capabilities will be detailed in negotiated agreements with NASA and/or the sponsoring International Partner agency. Learn more about Research Facilities on ISS.


Facility Updates

With the extension of the space station to 2020 via the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, NASA is constantly evaluating additional state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, including tools to enable on-orbit analysis of biological samples. Check back here regularly for new facility updates.


Space Station Laboratory Layouts

Visit this page for update laboratory maps of the space station's Destiny, Kibo and Columbus research modules, as well as locations of the available research facilities. Coming Soon!

Browse Facilities By

Category | Hardware Type | Facility Name | Partner Agency

Biology and Biotechnology
In microgravity, controls on the directionality and geometry of cell and tissue growth can be dramatically different to those on Earth. Various experiments have used the culture of cells, tissues and small organisms on orbit as a tool to increase our understanding of biological processes in microgravity.

Earth and Space Science
The presence of the space station in low-Earth orbit provides a unique vantage point for collecting Earth and space science data. From an average altitude of about 400 km, details in such features as glaciers, agricultural fields, cities, and coral reefs taken from the ISS can be layered with other sources of data, such as orbiting satellites, to compile the most comprehensive information available.

Educational Activities
The space station provides a unique platform for inspiring students to excel in mathematics and science. Station educational activities have had a positive impact on thousands of students by involving them in station research, and by using the station to teach them the science and engineering that are behind space exploration.

Human Research
The space station is being used to study the risks to human health that are inherent in space exploration. Focal research questions address the mechanisms of the risks and develop test countermeasures to reduce these risks. Research on space station addresses the major risks to human health from residence in a long-duration microgravity environment. Results from this research are key enablers for future long-duration missions beyond low Earth orbit.

From freezers and incubators, to glove boxes and complete racks, standard multi-purpose facilities support a wide range of research on space station.

Physical Sciences
The space station provides the only place to study long-term physical effects in the absence of gravity. This unique microgravity environment allows different physical properties to dominate systems, and these have been harnessed for a wide variety of physical sciences.

Studies on the space station can test a variety of technologies, systems, and materials that will be needed for future long-duration exploration missions.

More About Space Station

Just for Researchers Space Station for Researchers Discover how NASA partners with industry, academia and federal, state, regional and local entities for research and development.
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Space Station for Educators
Are you an educator with ideas for projects or experiments that could be done on ISS? Interested in getting involved in ISS educational programs or need materials for your class?

› Space Station for educators
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Page Last Updated: December 1st, 2014
Page Editor: Kristine Rainey