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NASA Highlights Science on 17th SpaceX Resupply Mission to International Space Station

Expedition 58 Flight Engineer Anne McClain of NASA is pictured in the cupola holding biomedical gear for the Marrow experiment.
Expedition 58 Flight Engineer Anne McClain of NASA is pictured in the cupola holding biomedical gear for the Marrow experiment. The study measures fat changes in the bone marrow before, and after exposure to microgravity. In addition, this investigation measures specific changes of red and white blood cell functions. Bone marrow fat is measured using magnetic resonance. Red blood cell function is measured with a breath sample analyzed with a gas chromatograph, and white blood cell function is studied through their genetic expression. Credits: NASA

Editor’s Note: This advisory was updated on April 19 to reflect changes to the targeted launch date.

NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT Monday, April 22, to discuss select science investigations launching on the next SpaceX commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station.

Audio of the teleconference will stream live online at:

SpaceX is targeting 4:22 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 30, for the launch of its Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Participants in the briefing will be:

  • Annmarie Eldering, project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who will discuss how the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3), to be installed on the Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility of the orbiting laboratory, observes the complex dynamics of the Earth’s atmospheric carbon cycle.  
  • Gisela Detrell, head of the Life Support System research group at the Institute of Space Systems – University of Stuttgart, Germany, who will talk about Photobioreactor, an investigation aimed at demonstrating the use of biological processes to create a hybrid life support system. On future long-duration missions, this approach could reduce the amount of food, water, and other essentials that crews have to bring from Earth.
  • Lucie Low of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences at the National Institutes of Health, who will discuss tissue chips, or organs-on-chips. Tissue chips model the detailed physical structure of human tissue using cells grown on an artificial scaffold, enabling higher-accuracy disease modeling and drug testing. 
  • Alan Grodzinsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will discuss his team’s tissue chip investigation that will study the effects of spaceflight on musculoskeletal disease biology.The goal of this research is to treat the root cause of post-traumatic osteoarthritis disease and prevent permanent joint damage, rather than mask the symptoms with painkillers later in life.
  • Puneet Tyagi, senior scientist at the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, will discuss their first of multiple experiments to the station. AstraZeneca seeks to advance a drug delivery technology that uses nanoparticles as drug carriers to provide targeted and controlled-release therapies. A microgravity environment provides researchers a new way to study the properties that are key to effective drug delivery systems. Results from this investigation could lead to the development of targeted and/or controlled release technologies that may provide greater efficacy and patient tolerability.

To participate in the teleconference, media must contact Joshua Finch at 202-358-1100 or by 4 p.m. Friday, April 19, for dial-in information. 

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft also will carry crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory to support the Expedition 59 and 60 crews for the 17th mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

The space station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and enables research not possible on Earth. The orbiting laboratory has been occupied continuously since November 2000. In that time, more than 230 people, and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft, have visited the orbiting laboratory. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in exploration, including future missions to the Moon and eventually to Mars.
For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:


Joshua Finch 
Headquarters, Washington