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Rodent Research-3 (SpaceX-8)

Assessment of Myostatin Inhibition to Prevent Skeletal Muscle Atrophy and Weakness

Rodent Research-3 is a life science research mission that launched to the International Space Station aboard NASA’s eighth cargo resupply flight of the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft on April 8, 2016. 

The Habitat module of the Rodent Research Hardware System, shown with both access doors open.
NASA / Dominic Hart

The spaceflight environment is known to cause muscle loss (atrophy), similar to disuse and muscle wasting diseases on Earth. The Rodent Research-3 microgravity study will evaluate a countermeasure against muscle atrophy. Results of the Rodent Research-3 investigation are expected to increase our understanding of diseases, disorders and injuries affecting millions of people globally and to aid in the development of new therapeutics and strategies to treat such conditions. 

The Rodent Research-3 investigation is sponsored by the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. For this investigation, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space formed a commercial partnership with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, IN. NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley developed the Rodent Research hardware system and is responsible for Rodent Research-3 mission integration and operations on the space station. BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder is the Science Integrator for Rodent Research-3. The International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center sponsors this complete mission. 

rodent research-3 mission patch
Rodent Research-3 mission patch

Project manager: Janet Beegle, NASA, Space Biosciences Division, NASA’s Ames Research Center
Deputy project manager: Kevin Stube, Fully Integrated Lifecycle Mission Support Services, Space Biosciences Division, NASA’s Ames Research Center
Project scientist: Ruth Globus Ph.D., NASA, Space Biosciences Division, NASA’s Ames Research Center
Mission scientist: Dennis Leveson Gower, Ph.D., Fully Integrated Lifecycle Mission Support Services, Space Biosciences Division, NASA’s Ames Research Center
Principal investigator: Rosamund Smith, Ph.D., of Eli Lilly and Company

For more information, see the Space Station Research Explorer for the Rodent Research-3 mission.