Second Kentucky-built "plug and play" microlab bound for ISS


What if, in addition to being responsible for micro-controllers and many other everyday technologies that have improved human life, space exploration and microgravity research radically changed our understanding of gene expression or why cancer cells metasticize?

What if Kentucky played a pivotal role in those discoveries?

Following the successful delivery of the first NanoRacks Platform on Discovery last month, the second such unit is manifested aboard Atlantis, designated STS-132, to fly May 14.

Each NanoRacks Platform powers up to 16 individual "CubeLabs," any one of which can host microgravity research experiments. This standard method for doing microgravity research offers many more organizations an opportunity to do repeatable, cost efficient work in the bio-sciences, for example.

This photo shows the Astrotech payload processing facility at Port Canaveral, Fla., where workers dressed in "bunny suits" lift a cargo pallet into the Russian-built Mini-Research Module-1. This is the module that will take the hardware built by Kentucky Space to the International Space Station.

With regularly scheduled trips to the station that will continue after the retirement of the Space Shuttle, Kentucky Space is now working with organizations to put their experimental programs on the ISS.


Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett March 18, 2010