Fact Sheet

Text Size

Scientists and payload developers can get more information on International Space Station research facilities by contacting the ISS Payloads Office or at 281-244-6187.

Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA)


Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

Facility Overview

This content was provided by Louis S. Stodieck, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Brief Facility Summary

The Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) provides programmable, accurate temperature control for applications ranging from cold stowage to customizable incubation. The CGBA is used for experiments on cells, microbes, and plants.

Facility Manager(s)

  • Louis S. Stodieck, Ph.D., University of Colorado, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States
  • Co-Facility Manager(s)

    Information Pending

    Facility Developer(s)

    University of Colorado at Boulder, BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States

    Sponsoring Agency

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Expeditions Assigned


    Previous ISS Missions

    The Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) has been used on International Space Station Expeditions 0, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15.

    ^ back to top

    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    • The CGBA provides termperature control for a variety of applications ranging from cold stowage to customizable incubation.

    • The CGBA can be used in a variety of biological studies, such as protein crystal growth, small insect habitat, plant development, antibiotic-producing bacteria, and cell culture studies.


    The Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) provides automated processing for biological experiments. The CGBA is designed to be installed in the EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack for on-orbit operation. During Expedition 0, the CGBA facility was a sortie payload that did not operate on the International Space Station (ISS); it operated onboard the space shuttle Atlantis during STS-106 while the shuttle was docked with the ISS. The CGBA was launched on STS-100 for its first ISS operations and was initially installed in EXPRESS rack 4 on the ISS during Expedition 2. The CGBA remained operational on the ISS for 96 days before returning to Earth on STS-104. The CGBA was next launched to the ISS on STS-110 and remained onboard and fully functional for 72 days. The CGBA was launched for its third stint on the ISS on STS-112 and remained onboard the ISS for almost 5 years, returning to Earth on STS-118. Two additional CGBAs have been launched to the ISS, one on STS-116 and the second on STS-118; both are fully functional units.

    The CGBA can be fitted with a customizable insert: Isothermal Containment Module (ICM) v.4 and 5 provide highly accurate temperature control between -10 and 37 C. Eight areas with individual temperature control are available inside; the surrounding container controls the temperature gradients. ICM v.4 and 5 are fully equipped with data, video, and telemetry electronics to allow remote operation. ICM v.4 and 5 can be equipped with several bioprocessing inserts, such as the Multiple Orbital Bioreactor with Instrumentation and Automated Sampling (MOBIAS), the Gas Exchange - Group Activation Packs (GE-GAPs), and small habitats called CGBA Science Inserts (CSI).

    • MOBIAS consists of stackable trays, each of which provides an appropriately controlled, sterile sample-processing environment with passive gas exchange, automated sampling, and waste removal. Each tray contains its own array of sample, culture, media, waste bags, and connectors.

    • GE-GAPs have an aluminum shell that enables heat transfer and a gas-permeable membrane that covers the openings in the wall to allow passive gas exchange for the experimental samples located in the GAPs inside BioServe's fluid processing apparatus, a piece of hardware similar to a small test tube that can activate, mix, grow, and terminate biological experiments.

    • The CSI is a package of experiments that usually contains several smaller habitats to be launched on the space shuttle and inserted into the CGBA onboard the ISS. These inserts have the ability to support small plant, animal, and protein crystal growth experiments. The CSI is fully equipped with video and still imaging capabilities that can be monitored from BioServe's Payload Operations Control Center in near real time.
    The CBGA can support temperatures ranging from -10 to 37 C. Thus, CGBA can be used for cold storage of samples that were processed in a different facility as well as for incubation of samples.

    ^ back to top


    Facility Operations

    A variety of payloads can operate in the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) regardless of their temperature needs. CGBA provides independent temperature control in a range of -10 and 37 C. Most payloads that use the CGBA require minimal crew time due to the facility's automated design.

    ^ back to top

    Results/More Information

    ^ back to top


  • Operated on ISS
  • ^ back to top

    Results Publications

      Klaus DM, Hoehn A, Stodieck LS.  A Modular Suite of Hardware Enabling Space Flight Cell Culture Research. Journal of Gravitational Physiology. 2004; 11(1): 39-50.

    ^ back to top

    Ground Based Results Publications

    ^ back to top

    ISS Patents

    ^ back to top

    Related Publications

    ^ back to top

    Related Websites
  • BioServe Space Technology
  • ^ back to top


    image NASA Image: ISS004E11048 - Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) Isothermal Containment Module (ICM) v.3, installed in EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments to Space Station (EXPRESS) rack 4 just above Expedition 4 flight engineer Dan Bursch's extended left arm.
    + View Larger Image

    image Postflight image of the CGBA-APS investigation shows a MOBIAS tray with viable culture in bag (large bag at the top of the image), waste and sample bags (located at the right of the image).
    + View Larger Image

    image NASA Image: ISS015E08361- Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) container and the Isothermal Containment Module (ICM), which provides automated processing for biological experiments, in the U.S. Laboratory, Destiny, during Expedition 15.
    + View Larger Image

    image NASA Image: ISS021E029871 - Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk, Expedition 21 flight engineer, works with Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) Science Insert 03 (CSI-03) assembly in the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station. CSI-03 is flying two butterfly habitats during this mission and will examine the complete life cycle of the butterflies as they eat, grow and undergo metamorphosis in space.
    + View Larger Image

    image NASA Image: S130E008317 - NASA astronaut Nicholas Patrick, STS-130 mission specialist, works with CGBA on the middeck of space shuttle Endeavour while docked with the International Space Station.
    + View Larger Image

    image NASA Commander Mark Kelly with CGBA and GAP/FPA hardware containing NLP-Vaccine 10 during Increment 27/28.
    + View Larger Image

    image Ground processing image of the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA) hardware.
    + View Larger Image

    image Photograph of CGBA during Increment 33 showing open containment volume and sample canisters. Image courtesy of NASA.
    + View Larger Image

    Information provided by the investigation team to the ISS Program Scientist's Office.
    If updates are needed to the summary please contact JSC-ISS-Program-Science-Group. For other general questions regarding space station research and technology, please feel free to call our help line at 281-244-6187 or e-mail at JSC-ISS-Payloads-Helpline.