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Space-Based Technology Development, Human Health Research, and STEM Education Highlight Final Day of ISSRDC

Press Release From: Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)
Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The final day of the 9th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) will take place virtually this Thursday, October 22, bringing together researchers, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, and the general public to showcase the benefits of conducting research and technology development onboard our nation’s industrial incubator in low Earth orbit (LEO). Each year, ISSRDC is hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA, and the American Astronautical Society.

Day 3 of the ISSRDC 2020 Online Series will feature three panel sessions, showcasing the wide-ranging research opportunities available through the space-based environment of the orbiting laboratory. The first session will focus on “Development and Testing Materials for the Communications Hardware of the Future.” In this session, attendees will learn how investigators are leveraging external facilities onboard the space station to test materials and components in the extreme environment of space. The session will also discuss how investigators are using the microgravity conditions on the ISS for the fabrication of high-quality optical fibers. Research and development in these areas may help drive business models in the emerging low Earth orbit commercial market.

The “Human Health on a Personal Level” session will feature multiple researchers that have utilized the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to further knowledge and advance potential treatments for diseases affecting millions of people worldwide. During this session, panelists will share their experiences conducting research on the space station and the value such research brings to our nation by improving patient care on Earth.

The final session of the conference will be dedicated to student engagement in research on the space station. For nearly 20 years, humans have lived continuously onboard the orbiting laboratory, and during that time, the ISS has inspired and engaged students all over the world. The “20 Years of STEM Experiments on the ISS” session, moderated by former NASA astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, will include presentations from the lead developers of cutting-edge programs for students to conduct their own experiments on the ISS. Additionally, the session will discuss highlights from a comprehensive STEM report on the significant reach and depth of ISS student experiments over the last two decades, offering policy makers and educators a glimpse into the past, present, and future of STEM education in space.

“Although this year’s ISSRDC has been unlike any in our nine-year history, the level of engagement and support from the space and research communities has been incredible, and we thank those who have shown interest in this exciting conference,” said Ken Shields, chief operating officer of CASIS, which manages the ISS National Lab. “This event brings together a wide range of researchers and potential partners, and we hope that this year’s conference has demonstrated the diversity of ISS research, showcased future opportunities, and validated that through 20 years of continuous human habitation on station, the excitement for leveraging this one-of-a-kind platform has never been higher. We look forward to the final day of the conference and encourage your participation, and we hope to see you in person next year!” 

The ISSRDC Online Series is free to the public, but registration is required to join the webcast. To view the full agenda and register for Day 3, please visit the conference website.

For those that were unable to join Days 1 and 2 of the ISSRDC Online Series, all panel sessions are available on the conference website to watch on demand. Registration is also required to view previous sessions.

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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Lab manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space.

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