Performance of the STARS
Life Sciences Habitats in Spaceflight and Ground Controls
BioServe Space Technologies developed a series of miniature habitats housing several different biological specimens and one biochemical experiment to fly aboard Columbia on the STS-107 mission. This effort was in support of an educational program, Space Technology and Research Students (STARS™), sponsored and developed by SPACEHAB Inc. This program was designed to pique the interest of high school and undergraduate students from around the world and give them a chance to design and conduct their own spaceflight experiments. The student experiments supported by the series of miniature habitats included a Japanese Medaka fish experiment; a Chinese silkworm experiment; an American Harvester ant experiment; a Carpenter bee experiment from Liechtenstein, an Australian Orb Weaver spider experiment; and a biochemical crystal growth experiment from Israel. Each experiment was housed in a custom designed enclosure or habitat developed to address each specimen’s individual needs. The habitats for the biological specimens provided passive humidity control, lighting, feeding areas, and containment. The enclosure for the chemical experiment provided containment, lighting, and automated experiment activation and termination. All six experiments were also provided with a means of observing and documenting specimen behavior. Some habitats contained individual temperature and/or humidity sensors specific to that particular habitat while others relied on ambient data taken from sensors mounted within the general experiment volume. The habitats were placed on a common pallet inside BioServe’s Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA). CGBA is a single middeck locker insert that provides temperature control, power, and computer control to the internal experiments. Results from both the flight unit and ground unit will be presented.