Human tended space biology: Enabling suborbital genomics and gene expression

PI: Rob Ferl, Anna-Lisa Paul (Co-I), University of Florida - Gainesville

The objective of this flight demonstration is to develop operational concepts and deployment tests to enable the genomics and gene expression analyses associated with suborbital flights. The project will conduct the first human tended, suborbital whole genome gene expression experiments, using plants as the test organisms and using the technology of the Kennedy Space Center Fixation Tubes (KFTs) for safety containment and operational effectiveness.

This work is a continuation of T0053.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

This area of science, adaptation processes in response to transitional g loads to and from microgravity, is completely unknown and unapproached. This situation leaves a large gap in knowledge regarding the changes that occur in biology as organisms adapt to and from microgravity. That gap in knowledge can be richly filled using suborbital vehicles, and can best be filled using tools and technologies that can be deployed by humans within the vehicle, thereby keeping the experiment operations similar to earth bound and ISS experiments.

The technology of the KFTs has been well developed for many spaceflight and spaceflight related operational environments, however they have never been deployed in suborbital vehicles nor have the associated operations plans or associated facilities been developed for suborbital deployments.

Technology Maturation

The technology development goal is to examine and test the effectiveness and limitations of deploying KFTs within commercial suborbital vehicles and during typical suborbital flight profiles. The scientific goal is to capture gene expression data from plants at various stages of the flight in order to characterize the rapid and early phases of the adaptation processes that accompany transitions among g-loads.

Future Customers

Biological research community.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    REDDI-F1-17B (Apr 2018)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

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