Spaceflight Insider

Boeing, CASIS award half million dollars for space station research

International Space Station in orbit above Earth. NASA photo posted on SpaceFlight Insider

Photo Credit: NASA

Boeing and the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) awarded $500,000 to three microgravity experiments to be performed aboard the International Space Station. Three startups – Cellino Biotech, Guardian Technologies, and MakerHealth – are receiving the money. The startup accelerator firm MassChallenge is awarding the money.

The awards will be used to help deliver valuable experiments to the International Space Station.

Cellino Biotech will use its share of the award to investigate the proliferation of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) in the microgravity environment of the ISS. Cellino Biotech will use their proprietary NanoLaze system to edit the genes of the stem cells and then send them to the ISS to investigate their growth in microgravity. Gene editing technology and stem cells have the potential to cure many chronic diseases.

Guardian Technologies is investigating the manufacture of certain 2D nanomaterials to use in miniature radiation detectors. Guardian hopes that the microgravity environment of the ISS will allow the creation of 2D nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubules and graphene sheets with superior crystal structures and less electronic noise for use in their miniaturized radiation detectors. These detectors could aid in the detection of radiological threats and help first responders in detecting radiological dangers.

MakerHealth is the final startup that is being awarded money. They will use their share of the money to investigate fluid flow in microgravity in the context of their proprietary AmpliRx modular synthesis reactor. The MIT-developed AmpliRx system is designed to create an affordable and modular way to synthesize drugs. In addition, the modular system allows for the results of each reaction step to be transferred to the next reaction step with minimal power use. MakerHealth plans to investigate the permeability of membranes in microgravity in order to develop optimal membrane properties and geometries to improve their AmpliRx system.

MassChallenge is a startup accelerator firm that provides money and other assistance to startup firms without acquiring any equity in those firms. MassChallenge focuses on those startups that are likely to have a high impact on future technologies.

CASIS helps operate the U.S. segment of the ISS as a national laboratory and allows American companies, universities, and other organizations take advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by the space station environment.

Boeing is a prime contractor the NASA’s participation in the International Space Station and is developing the Starliner spacecraft to deliver U.S. astronauts to the ISS.




Christopher Paul has had a lifelong interest in spaceflight. He began writing about his interest in the Florida Tech Crimson. His primary areas of interest are in historical space systems and present and past planetary exploration missions. He lives in Kissimmee, Florida, and also enjoys cooking and photography. Paul saw his first Space Shuttle launch in 2005 when he moved to central Florida to attend classes at the Florida Institute of Technology, studying space science, and has closely followed the space program since. Paul is especially interested in the renewed effort to land crewed missions on the Moon and to establish a permanent human presence there. He has covered several launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral for space blogs before joining SpaceFlight Insider in mid-2017.

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