Rodent Research Hardware and Operations Validation (Rodent Research-1) - 03.23.17
The Rodent Research Hardware provides a platform aboard the International Space Station for long-duration rodent experiments in space. Such experiments will examine how microgravity affects the animals, providing information relevant to human spaceflight, discoveries in basic biology, and knowledge that will have direct impact toward human health on Earth. Rodent Research-1 is a test of the operational capabilities of the new hardware system, including the Transporter, Rodent Habitat, and Access Unit.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory (NL)
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - March 2015
This is the first flight of the Transporter and Rodent Habitat hardware. Both units are based on the Animal Enclosure Modules and have modifications which allow them to either transport animals on the SpX vehicle or maintain and house animals on the ISS. The Animal Enclosure Modules supported rodents on 27 space shuttle missions.
The mission objectives of the validation flight are:
The addition of the rodent research system expands the utilization of ISS for research on the effects of microgravity on rodents.
The demonstration of the hardware capability to support rodent research for long-duration missions on ISS is accomplished.
A validation of the operational capabilities of the hardware to support rodent research provides valuable information applicable to future long-term space missions.
Immune system changes
Cardiovascular system changes
Nervous system changes
Validate that the Rodent Habitat Hardware can deliver and maintain healthy animals
Rodent Habitat – provides on-orbit housing for rodents in an EXPRESS rack
Transporter – provides housing for rodents during ascent on Dragon
Animal Access Unit (AAU) – Interfaces with both the Habitat and Transporter for transfer of the animals between the units and access to the animals for science operations
Validate that on-orbit activities to support hardware operations can be performed
Validate that a limited set of generic on-orbit operations can be performed to support future science objectives
This is the first flight of the Rodent Research system for long-duration use on the International Space Station. The validation of the rodent habitat hardware and operations allows for future rodent investigations that will provide invaluable information about changes that occur to the body that are directly relevant to humans in space.
Rodent research may lead to significant results in the field of human aging and disease, as well as in additional research areas where gravity (and the lack thereof) has strong effects on many biological and physical processes. Some of these changes allow scientists to study and develop new drugs to treat diseases on Earth.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Video downlink is required.
Crew installs the Habitat into the Express Rack, connects the power connectors and turns on lights and fans, and installs food bars. The Transporter and Access Unit are de-stowed and animals are transferred from the Transporter to two Habitats using Mouse Transfer Boxes. Half of the animals are used to support CASIS science, the other half support NASA hardware validation. Every 3 days for the first 12 days crewmembers check the water box through the lid and report any obvious signs of leakage or condensation indicating a problem with the water system.
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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Ground Based Results Publications