The express road to your discovery

What is Bioreactor Express?

Bioreactor Express is a service which aims to establish an “express” way to perform scientific and/or technological experiments on board the International Space Station (ISS). It exploits the KUBIK incubator facility of the European Space Agency (ESA) which is permanently installed on the Columbus module of the ISS. With this approach several categories of experiments can be performed using available miniaturized “bioreactors” dedicated to biological, biotechnological and biochemistry experiments. A wider typology of experiments (plant physiology, food production, material science, fluid science, educational, etc.) can also be supported inside KUBIK.

In July 2019, ESA and Kayser Italia signed the partnership agreement for the commercial exploitation of the ESA KUBIK facility.

KUBIK based

KUBIK is a small controlled-temperature incubator (volume of the thermal chamber around nine litres) used to perform biological experiments in space. Since 2019, KUBIK has been improved by adding data and command communication capabilities, making it a more versatile facility to the final user.

KUBIK allows experiments to operate in the range of 6°C to 38°C, and can accommodate up to 32 standard experiment containers (less in case of extended size containers). A centrifuge with settable gravity level between 0.2g to 2g is available inside the facility.



Several types of bioreactors (also called Experiment Units or EU) and Experiment Containers have been developed by Kayser Italia in support to investigations of biological systems inside the KUBIK incubator. EUs reduce a laboratory into a hand-sized electromechanical device that allows the autonomous execution of a scientific protocol, being designed to contain the cell culture and all the chemicals (culture medium, wash buffers, fixatives, etc.) required by the experiment. These bioreactors have supported investigations in space on a variety of biological models: human and animal cells and tissues (immune cells, muscle and bone cells, mesenchymal cells, hematopoietic stem cells, breast cancer cells, endothelial cells, retinal epithelial cells), yeast, bacteria, algae, small animals (tardigrades, scorpions, Xenopus laevis, Caenorhabditis elegans and rotifers) and plants (carrot seeds and Arabidopsis thaliana).

Integrated services

Incubation of scientific ideas and grant opportunities

We encourage the incubation and development of your scientific ideas, and support you in the discovery of grant opportunities. Moreover, we will help in fostering collaborations with scientific partners among research centers and university

Feasibility assessment

We evaluate the feasibility of your experiment by analysing your science goals, the experiment scientific requirements and tailor them in order to achieve a successful space experiment

Selection of experiment hardware

We define the bioreactor and the experiment container that will support your experiment during the space flight and in ground control experiments

Training and experiment fine tuning

We train you in order to ensure the proper integration of your sample into the Experiment Hardware, and synergistically work with you during the experiment fine tuning phases of your project

Experiment Simulation Test

We plan and perform with you the Experiment Simulation Test, a rehearsal of the mission at the launch site simulating the experiment integration, in-orbit incubation and stowage phases. A dedicated laboratory is available at our premises

Mission logistic support

We take care of the transportation of the experiment at controlled temperature to the launch site and back from the landing site, to your laboratory

Integration at launch site

We work back to back with you during the integration of your experiment at the launch site, from the arrival in the laboratories to the turnover of the integrated hardware to the launch authority

Transfer to ISS and return

A fleet of dedicated temperature-controlled transportation containers are available for every customer’s need

On orbit operations

Our experiment hardware is very easy to operate by the crew. Astronaut operations on Kubik are driven by our standard procedure and supported by our operators on ground

Ground control

We will follow and support on orbit operations for your experiment through our Payload Operations Control Center

Data and samples delivery to science team

We deliver mission profile data and the experiment in your laboratory, and we support you during sample retrieval

Scientific dissemination

We also support you during scientific dissemination at conferences and publication of your results, if needed

Next launch opportunities

SpX-20 (3 Mar – 2 Apr 2020)

SpX-21 (Aug 2020)

SpX-22 (Jan 2021)

SpX-23 (May-July 2021)

SpX-24 (Nov 2021 - Jan 2022)

Note: opportunities dates may change

Upcoming events

The Bioreactor Express team  at the 7th edition of the Maker Faire – The European Edition, which will be held in Rome from the 18th to the 20th of October 2019, hosted by the stand of the Aeronautica Militare italiana.

More info on the event at


The Bioreactor Express team will be at the IAC , the 70th International Astonautical Congress in Washington from 21th till 25th October 2019. The IAC technical program presents scientific and technological breakthroughs, providing the latest advances in space science, research, technology, exploration, regulation, and education.



October 18th, 2019.Kayser Italia at the 2019 edition of the Maker Faire in Rome, with an exhibition presenting the Bioreactor Express service.


BioAsteroid, Bioreactor Express Service’s first experiment, gets a mention on Nature: "From design to lift-off: blasting experiments into outer space".


The UK Space Agency launched an initiative to fund UK’s start ups and SMEs to test their business ideas, from medicines and innovative materials developed in microgravity, to space-flown consumer products, on the International Space Station using the Bioreactor Express Service:


The Bioreactor Express service has its first experiment: the BioAsteroid experiment from the University of Edinburgh will investigate how gravity affects the interaction between microbes and rock in reduced gravity. The experiment uses the KEU-RK Experiment Units, each featuring two bio-mining reactors (BMR) capable of culturing microbial biofilms on the surface of a flat rock slide. The two BMRs are totally independent and are equipped with reservoirs for chemicals and a culture chamber. The culture chamber allows gas exchange during the experiment. Moreover, the transparency of the culture chamber allows the visual observation of the


On July 2019 ESA and Kayser Italia signed the agreement for the commercial partnership for the exploitation of the KUBIK facility on the International Space Station. The Bioreactor Express service is now open for business and it is possible to apply for the service. Bioreactor Express Service was developed within ESA’s commercial partnership initiative for European industry to propose joint development of new commercial services and applications using the unique conditions that space provides.

The news on ESA website:


The Harwell Space Cluster Showcase took place on Thursday 27 June 2019 at Harwell Campus.

The event had an exhibition format enabling all visitors to directly engage with companies and their products. There were 30 of the 92 Harwell Space Cluster organisations demonstrating new technologies and applications, which will drive future demand for space-derived products and services. More than 200 people attended the exhibition.

Kayser Space presented Bioreactor Express, the new Commercial Partnership Agreement that allows Private Companies and Research Groups to carry out microgravity experiments inside the