With the declaration of the International Space Station as a national laboratory in 2005, opportunities for researchers to take advantage of the unique microgravity platform expanded in ways that were previously non-existent. The latest video in the Benefits for Humanity series explains how access to space is changing, and how those changes are benefiting everything from medicine to materials developed here on Earth.
“But it wasn’t always easy to get [to space],” said Stephanie Murphy, president of Alpha Space, one of the implementation and hardware providers to the national laboratory.
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) connects investors and researchers, and facilitates a partnership that allows them to take advantage of the orbiting laboratory without having to become space experts themselves.
“Our part of the mission is to help guide these non-traditional, innovative users from their traditional labs here on the ground to a very unusual and important asset in space,” said Greg Johnson, president of CASIS.
The national laboratory offers a unique environment to perform research that allows the development of not just of pharmaceuticals, but also better product development across a wide range of industries that may not have otherwise realized the benefits of using the space station for research. This research could have profound impacts for life on Earth, while driving the growth of a robust commercial marketplace in space.
“It is creating a new economy, a sustainable marketplace that has services, commercial products, competition,” said Jeff Manber, CEO of NanoRacks, another implementation and hardware provider to the national laboratory. “There’s no limit to what we can be doing in a few years.”