Accommodating Life Sciences on the Space Station 871412
The productivity of life sciences research on the Space Station and the contribution of life sciences research to the success of Space Station and future space missions depend on two primary factors: 1) how well the Space Station accommodates life sciences research needs, and 2) how astutely the developers of life sciences experiments and laboratory equipment respond to the Space Station opportunity. There is a significant challenge to Space Station users in the development of experiment equipment, protocols, and supporting infrastructure, due to the revolutionary way in which the Station will operate. Experiments will typically flow in a continuous series of 90 day cycles. The advantages of continuous human operator presence will be partially offset by numerous other demands on crew time. Limited logistics re-supply support, concerns about long-term equipment maintenance, the integration of equipment and experimental operations across international modules, and concern about the long-term buildup of chemical and biological contaminants place additional demands on users for innovative concepts. New hardware and management approaches to experimental specimen housing and handling will be required to facilitate selection, development, and changeout of experiments, and ensure efficient operation of the life sciences laboratory facilities.