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BIOREACTOR EXPRESS

The express road to your discovery
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Microgravity, a peerless innovative tool!

The last 60 years of research and progress in microgravity have created a favourable condition for private investments in Space. Microgravity research offers an infinite horizon of possibilities that do not just lead to new products, but to entirely new categories of products that can fundamentally change the way we live on Earth.
Innovation, either managerial, commercial or technological, is the driving force for companies and research centers. Certainly, you have to be visionary, feel the trends, and catch the opportunities, but you also have to be very good at implementing your innovative idea.
During the last 30 years, Kayser Italia made it possible for a large number of scientists and researchers to perform their creative experimentation in Space.

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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.

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Experiment Containers

Several Experiment Containers have been developed by Kayser Italia to host the experiments Units inside the KUBIK incubator. These containers provide a mechanical, electrical and data interface with the platform. They also provide the Levels of Containment required by the Safety rules to be applied for experiments flying on board the ISS. Different shapes and volumes of containers have been designed and are therefore available to accommodate a variety of different Experiment Hardware. They can host either Experiment Hardware made by Kayser Italia or provided by the Customer.

Bioreactors

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).
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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

Oct 2020 – Mar 2021 (1 opportunity)

Apr 2021 – Sep 2021 (1 opportunity)

Sep 2021 – Feb 2022 (2 opportunities)

Mar 2022 – Aug 2022 (2 opportunities)

 

Note: opportunities dates may change

News

January 18, 2020. Bioreactor Express Service, the partnership between ESA and Kayser Italia, is included among the services provided on board the International Space Station that are eligible for funding under the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP) with the third element, GSTP-Fly. Companies and academia interested in Bioreactor Express Service can now apply to have their technology or product tested in Space:

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November 26, 2019. KISPARC is the Italian database of technical and scientific publications that aims to collect the knowledge and capabilities developed with Space experiments performed on the International Space Station (ISS) and other Low Earth Orbit (LEO) platforms. Updated with the latest results about investigations performed in microgravity, it is now available to everybody interested in Space research.

Visit the KISPARC database at http://kisparc.kayser.it/


 

 

October 21, 2019 – International Astronautical Congress – Washington DC – Kayser Italia and Nanoracks Space Outpost – Europe (Nanoracks IT) have announced today that the organizations have signed an agreement to broaden research opportunities onboard the International Space Station which leverage the Bioreactor Express Service.Kayser Italia, in partnership with the European Space Agency, will have access to the KUBIK Incubator, under the Bioreactor Express Service partnership agreement. KUBIK is a small controlled-temperature incubator or cooler with removable inserts designed for self-contained

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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:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/competition-to-find-business-ideas-that-are-out-of-this-world

https://twitter.com/CSkidmoreUK/status/1181887166772862976

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