space shuttle xtallography opportunities

rboling at rboling at
Thu Jan 16 19:41:09 EST 2003

This space for rent
 -- SHOT seeks additional customers for space shuttle mission  -- 

GREENVILLE, Ind. (January 16, 2003) -- The only thing missing from the
otherwise well-appointed laboratory "B" at SHOT is a flashing
"vacancy" sign reminiscent of what once must have been a welcome sight
at the shuttered 1930's-era motel across the street.  Inside the
bright modern lab, engineers and scientists are busy preparing
biotechnology research equipment for a 2003 launch of space shuttle
Endeavour.  Although SHOT already is working with several companies
for mission STS-115, the modular design of its hardware means that --
at least for now -- there's still room at the inn.

"That's the beauty of our cassette-based space research equipment,"
said SHOT Vice president and COO John C. Vellinger.  	"While there's
a limited number of customers we can put on a given space shuttle
mission, we can fly several different experiments by inserting and
replacing cassettes in the processing facility while on orbit.  It's
perfect for a company that may not need an entire space shuttle

Known as the Advanced Separations processing facility (ADSEP) because
it was primarily used to conduct cell separations experiments on its
first shuttle mission in 1996, it is owned by SHOT and was designed
and built by the company exclusively for conducting life sciences
research in space.  The facility, into which up to three cassettes at
a time may be inserted, is the size of a single shuttle middeck locker
(approximately 18" x 11"x 21").  It can launch and land with up to
three cassettes inside.  Additional cassettes can be transported to
and from space in a separate storage facility.  During STS-95, Senator
John Glenn performed the cassette swapping services (detailed in his
memoir) for SHOT aboard shuttle Discovery in 1998.

Each cassette is approximately the size of a lunch box. There are
seven different types of experiments that may be conducted in ADSEP
cassettes and SHOT is completing work on designs for others under
three separate NASA contracts.  "Many experiments that can be done in
an Earth-based chemistry lab can be done in our cassettes," said SHOT
Chief Scientist Paul W. Todd, Ph.D.

A participant in research experiments on more than 25 space shuttle
missions, beginning with a payload launched aboard shuttle Columbia on
its third mission in 1982, Todd believes conducting laboratory
experiments in space has several advantages over similar research
carried out on the ground.  

"In space it's possible to combine liquids or liquid-solid
combinations that would separate from each other on Earth due to their
differences in density," said Todd.  "This includes experiments, which
when conducted on Earth are disturbed by temperature gradients due to
the natural convection process that causes warm fluid to rise."
"Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with an interest in
solidification processes, cell and tissue culturing and engineering,
protein crystallization, polymer film and filter formation, chemical
separation methods, and the behavior of phase-changing systems can
benefit from space research using the SHOT ADSEP facility," added

ADSEP has been used on previous missions to perform experiments in
cell culture, drug microencapsulation, biochemical purification and
extraction, protein crystal growth, surface and interfacial-phenomena
and colloid dynamics.

SHOT is one of only four commercial companies in the nation with an
agreement with NASA that permits it to perform experiments aboard the
space shuttle for its own customers.  "Whether the customer is NASA, a
university, or a commercial company, SHOT provides the same
engineering and scientific services before, during and after the
mission," said Vellinger.

"The continued growth of business into low Earth orbit brings the
benefits of space down to Earth," said Mark E. Nall, manager of the
Space Product Development Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Ala.  "NASA encourages companies to seize this
opportunity to conduct commercial research in microgravity.  Previous
commercial space efforts already have resulted in
commercially-available products."

SHOT is a research and technology company, which for nearly 14 years
has provided equipment and services to customers performing research
both in space and in ground-based laboratories.  Several current
contracts are with NASA to develop life sciences research hardware for
flights aboard space shuttles and the International Space Station.
Most recently the company's Avian Development Facility (ADF), launched
aboard Endeavour in December 2001 on mission STS-108/UF-1.

For more information about SHOT space research opportunities during
mission STS-115 contact Rich Boling at 812.923.9591 x246, or via
e-mail at rboling at

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