ARK3 Mission, CASIS. Advancing Research Knowledge.
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Advancing Research Knowledge 3, or “ARK3”, represents the third calendar year that CASIS-sponsored investigations have been manifested for flight to the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. The mission of CASIS is to manage, promote, and broker research investigations on the ISS National Laboratory intended to benefit life on Earth. ARK3 represents an orbiting laboratory open to researchers from all across the country leveraging the capabilities of the ISS to benefit humanity. Below we will provide an overview of all ISS re-supply missions that include CASIS-sponsored inquiries intended to reach the station during ARK3.
For the benefit of humankind...

Mission Patch Design:
Seth Green

LAUNCH: no earlier than December 3, 5:58pm EST


  • MILLIKEN - Vertical Burn
    Milliken & Company
    Principal Investigator: Jeff Strahan, Ph.D.,

    Through this experiment, Milliken & Company will evaluate flame retardant and/or resistant (FR) textiles as a mode of personal protection from fire-related hazards.

    Studying FR behavior of different materials in microgravity will aid in better designs for future FR textiles and benefit those who wear FR protective apparel such as military personnel and civilian workers in the electrical and energy industries.

  • Zero-G Characterization & OnOrbit Assembly for Cellularized Satellite Tech
    Novawurks, Inc.
    Principal Investigator: Talbot Jaeger

    NovaWurks has developed a Hyper-Integrated Satellite named HISat that provides complete satellite functionality in a nanosatellite scale package. This project will design and demonstrate a technology for on-orbit assembly and deployment of the HISat system from ISS that should substantially reduce costs associated with satellite system development for space-based R&D.

    Principal Investigator: Louis Stodiek, Ph.D.

    The Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL), developed is a single locker-sized facility that will enable a wide variety of life sciences fundamental, applied and commercial research to be done on board the ISS. SABL consists of a temperature controlled chamber that can house a variety of passive experiments or active experiments that can be automated or remotely operated by the flight crew or by personnel in a remote operations center on the ground.

    SABL supports automated collection of experiment data from various sensors and from high-definition video and can display data on a touchscreen interface on the front of the payload or downlink data files and HD video streams to the ground for analysis by scientists anywhere in the world.

    Principal Investigator: Patricia Tribe

    This CASIS education sponsored project includes a variety of instructive stories that will be read by astronauts and videotaped from the cupola of the ISS. Along with these stories include simple physics demonstrations that complement the STEM concepts in each of the books.

*The ISS National Laboratory also sponsors a variety of investigations from NanoRacks, LLC, who through a Space Act Agreement with NASA brokers rack space onboard the station. These projects represent academic and commercial interests from U.S.-based entities. All of these projects fly under the official manifest of the ISS National Laboratory.

LAUNCH: no earlier than April 13, 2015


  • OSTEO-4
    National Institutes of Health Transitioned Payload
    Principal Investigator: Paola Divieti Pajevic, MD, Ph.D.,
    Boston, MA, United States

    Osteocytes and Mechanomechano-transduction (Osteo-4) studies the effects of microgravity on the function of osteocytes, which are the most common cells in bone. These cells reside within the mineralized bone and can sense mechanical forces, or the lack of them, but researchers do not know how. Osteo-4 allows scientists to analyze changes in the physical appearance and genetic expression of mouse bone cells in microgravity.

    Principal Investigator: Dr. Paul Reichert

    Microgravity Growth of Crystalline Monoclonal Antibodies for Pharmaceutical Applications in the Handheld High Density Protein Crystal Growth (HDPCG) hardware focuses on the crystallization of two human monoclonal antibodies.

    Monoclonal antibodies are specialized types of proteins made by immune cells that can bind to target cells or other proteins to perform a specific task. The monoclonal antibodies in this investigation have been developed by the pharmaceutical company Merck Research Laboratories and are being used in drugs designed for the treatment of a variety of human diseases. Merck plans to grow high quality crystals in microgravity to improve drug delivery and purification methods and to determine protein structure.

    Principal Investigator: Dr. Samuel Cadena

    The primary objective of this research is to monitor the effects of the space environment on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems of mice as model organisms of human health and disease.

    Living in microgravity results in significant and rapid effects on the physiology of mice that mimic the process of aging and some diseases in humans on Earth, including muscle atrophy and the loss of bone mineral density.

    This project will help Novartis scientists to discover new molecular targets that can facilitate the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of muscle and bone related diseases. Long-duration exposure to microgravity will also induce changes in gene expression, protein synthesis, metabolism, and eye structure/morphology that will be identifiable as a series of assessable biomarkers for tracking the onset and progression of disease.

    In addition, biological specimens from this experiment will be shared with other researchers seeking to understand the effects of various environmental stressors on human health and fitness.

    RAS Labs
    Principal Investigator: Lenore Rasmussen, Ph.D.
    Boston, MA, United States

    Robots will be of increasing importance on future missions onboard the International Space Station, where they could perform tasks too difficult or too dangerous for humans. Robots built with synthetic muscle would have more human-like capabilities, but the material would have to withstand the rigors of space as well as any metal. This investigation will test radiation resistance of an electroactive polymer called Synthetic Muscle™, developed by Ras Labs, which can contract like real muscle and can also expand. Improvement of durability and function of radiation-hardened and radiation-resistant synthetic muscle will advance robotics, realistic prosthetics, and human-like robotics on Earth.

*This manifest does not include payloads from NanoRacks, or other outside entities whose projects jointly fly under the ISS National Laboratory. Additionally, this list does not include funded educational payloads from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, for which CASIS is a national sponsor. This list of payloads only includes those that have been brokered and sponsored by CASIS.



In 2015 (ARK3), CASIS anticipates an abundance of research payloads will reach the station. Payloads expected to reach the station include life science investigations such as research to test bone density and muscle loss in space and non-embryonic stem cell studies to gain a better understanding of disease, which may lead to the development of new healthcare treatments and therapies. A number of projects will also be dedicated towards enhancing technologies and materials to demonstrate that the ISS is not only a unique laboratory, but a first-class research platform where investigators can conduct experiments not replicable on Earth.

LAUNCH: January 10, 2015


    Kentucky Space
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Mahendra Jain

    Dr. Mahendra Jain, principal investigator for Kentucky Space, has proposed an experiment to study regeneration in planarians, which are flatworms capable of rebuilding body organs and nervous systems after damage.

    In partnership with Dr. Michael Levin of Tufts University, Dr. Jain will examine the effects of the space environment on these enhanced healing abilities. Gravity, and the lack thereof, influences the way cells behave and their ability to rebuild tissue.

    Studying planarians in space may reveal new aspects of how cells rebuild tissue, which could lead to breakthroughs in medical treatments for humans. For example, regenerative medicine has the potential to treat conditions like Parkinson’s, heart disease, or lost limbs.

    San Francisco VA Medical Center, NCIRE
    Principal Investigator: Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford

    Recently it has been discovered that there is altered miRNA expression in spaceflight and Dr. Hughes-Fulford and team hypothesize that altered miRNAs expression may provide new pharmaceutical targets for treatment of immune disease. Their goal is to elucidate the molecular basis of suppression of T-cell activation in microgravity, including identification of regulatory miRNA expression (with gene targets) which cause immunosuppression in astronauts and the elderly.

    This is a project funded by both the National Institutes of Health and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space.

*This manifest does not include payloads from NanoRacks, or other outside entities whose projects jointly fly under the ISS National Laboratory. Additionally, this list does not include funded educational payloads from the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, for which CASIS is a national sponsor. This list of payloads only includes those that have been brokered and sponsored by CASIS.


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