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Nov. 7, 2002

Victoria Steiner
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Phone: 650/604-0176 or 650/604-9000

NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: News media representatives are invited to interview leading NASA Ames Research Center scientists about NASA Ames’ hardware and experiments flying aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Experts in hardware design and biological research will discuss NASA Ames’ contributions to the ISS and their accomplishments. To arrange interviews, please contact Victoria Steiner at (650) 604-0176.


This week, NASA celebrates the two-year anniversary of a most extraordinary laboratory - the International Space Station (ISS). Researchers and scientists from NASA Ames Research Center in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley will observe these two years of contributions to the ISS with several significant accomplishments in hardware design and fundamental biology research.

The ISS is a unique tool used to conduct research in an extended microgravity environment that enables scientists to benefit people on Earth while protecting the lives of astronauts in space. NASA began significant microgravity research aboard the space shuttle in the 1980s. With the ISS, researchers from around the world now can conduct experiments that last for months, instead of the two weeks allowed on the space shuttle.

“The International Space Station represents the next step in the critical research we are doing to enable understanding how life responds to microgravity,” said Dr. Gary Jahns, deputy for flight for the fundamental space biology program at NASA Ames.

“Here at Ames, we are responsible for building the life science research facility on the ISS, which consists of many pieces of hardware, including the centrifuge, life sciences glove box and habitats for biological experiments,” said Dr. George Sarver, program manager for the Space Station Biological Research Program (SSBRP).

During the early phases of ISS construction, NASA Ames supplied a suite of radiation-measuring dosimeters known as the Passive Dosimeter System (PDS), which serves as a flexible and easy-to-use radiation monitor inside the ISS.

“Monitoring radiation exposure is important, both to crew health and to future scientific research on the ISS,” said Dr. Charles Wade, project scientist for the SSBRP, which is managed by NASA Ames. “Understanding the radiation environment will help scientists explain experimental results that otherwise might be unaccounted for.”

Another NASA Ames contribution to the ISS was the successful test flight of the Biomass Production System (BPS). BPS is an engineering development unit that was designed as a precursor for a future ISS plant habitat capable of supporting long-term plant growth and botanical experimentation in space.

“BPS was an important step in both understanding the effects of microgravity on plant organisms and testing the design of the plant growth habitat that will be used for future biological research,” said Wade.

NASA Ames’ fundamental biology research is supported by NASA’s Office of Biological and Physical Research, which promotes basic and applied research to support human exploration of space and utilize the space environment as a laboratory. More information is available at:

“ISS is a truly unique collaborative effort by the United States space agency and its international partners to conduct the best science possible, regardless of the nationality of the investigator,” said Jahns. “We at Ames are very proud to be part of it.”

For more information about Ames fundamental biology projects on the ISS, visit:



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