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New Glovebox Facility Heads to Space for Biological Research

New Glovebox Facility Heads to Space for Biological Research

The Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency H-IIB
rocket is zooming toward the International
Space Station carrying NASA’s Life
Sciences Glovebox, a state-of-the-art microgravity research
facility.

image

JAXA’s HTV3, taken during Expedition 32

NASA’s Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and their partners around the
world are excited to initiate new, high-value biological research in low-Earth
orbit.

The Japanese rocket, hauling the
research facility and other cargo via the HTV-7 transfer vehicle, successfully
lifted off at

1:52 p.m. EDT

from Tanegashima Space Center off the coast of
Japan.

image

Its launch marks a first for hauling
bulky equipment to space. Roughly the size of a large fish
tank, the Life Sciences Glovebox comes
in at 26 inches high, 35 inches wide and 24 inches deep, with 15 cubic feet of
available workspace.

image

“The Life Sciences Glovebox
is on its way to the space station to enable a host of biological and
physiological studies, including new research into microgravity’s
long-term impact on the human body,” said Yancy Young, project manager at Marshall. “This
versatile facility not only will help us better protect human explorers on long
voyages into deep space, but it could aid medical and scientific advances
benefiting the whole world.”

image

Boeing engineers at Marshall modified a
refrigerator-freezer rack to house the core facility, using state-of-the-art,
3D-printing technology to custom design key pieces of the rack to secure the
unit in its protective foam clamshell.

image

NASA is now determining the roster of science
investigations lined up to make use of the facility, beginning as early as late
2018. “We’ve already got more than a dozen glovebox experiments scheduled
in 2019, with many more to follow,” said Chris Butler, payload integration manager for the glovebox at
Marshall.

The Life Sciences Glovebox will
be transferred to a zero-gravity stowage rack in the station’s Kibo
module, where up to two crew members can conduct experiments simultaneously,
overseen in real-time by project researchers on Earth.

Check out more pictures of the
Glovebox HERE!

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