International Space Station (ISS)
The completion of the construction of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2011 has allowed NASA to move from a dual focus – learning to work in space and conducting scientific research – to a mission that is now more fully focused on supporting scientific experiments. KSC has played and continues to play a critical role in this important endeavor.
As the launch site for the majority of the ISS payloads, including the processing of basic components of the station during the construction phase, KSC has decades of experience and comprehensive resources available for organizations wishing to send a payload to this orbiting scientific laboratory.
The multi-disciplinary staff employs expert skills to provide flight experiment development assistance and problem-solving for ISS payloads. The team also conducts science verification tests, preflight experiment verification tests, payload integration operations, real-time mission monitoring and communications, and post-flight analyses of science payloads. The services related to payload preparation include expertise in: plants, microbial, molecular and cell biology; analytical, biological, and applied chemistry; animal care management; controlled environment testing; environmental contaminant analysis; flight hardware and software engineering; and many others. ISS life science experiments are monitored in the SSPF Experiment Monitoring Area (EMA) and ground controls receive the same experimental treatments as the ISS specimens, including exposure to the ISS environmental conditions (i.e., temperature, humidity) which are mimicked in the SSPF ISS Environmental Simulator (ISSES) chambers.
The KSC team is committed to helping principal investigators integrate their science experiments into payload hardware for research aboard the ISS, and we are recognized as an implementation partner for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the U.S. National Laboratory on the ISS.