During experiment missions in space and microgravity, all the necessary tasks have to be mastered within a short time frame. They include hardware development and testing, the development and standardization of the biological pre-flight and post-flight procedures, mission scenario tests and the very demanding logistics. Often, these challenges have to be solved within the frame of international cooperations, which are characterized by a variety of styles and procedures in planning, organization, communication and decision making. Our philosophy is that the “team spirit”, the dedication and the enthusiasm of all project partners are the key for a successful execution of a research mission.
Pre-flight tests and developments include biocompatibility tests, chemical stability tests, cell culture adaptation and optimization (e.g. buffer systems, supplements), fixation tests, establishment and testing of cell and sample transport scenarios, amongst others. All procedures have to be completely standardized and tested in advance, all margins have to be established and experimentally validated.
Further risks result from logistical and administrative difficulties during transport and experiment preparation. They include procedures and restriction fixed by the different custom regulations, import and export regulations, air carriers, courier services, supply companies, etc. Therefore, detailed planning with redundant and alternative logistical and administrative procedures is an indispensable requirement for the success of a mission.
Logistic, technical and biological procedures need to be planned with a tested and validated secondary or tertiary protocol. Logistic transport procedures should be redundant. Extensive training of all team members, including training in alternative procedures, is one of the key conditions for success. Due to flexible and redundant planning, consideration of alternatives and sufficient reserves, it is possible to compensate in case of off-nominal events on ground.
Based on our vast experience with parabolic flights, suborbital and orbital projects, we offer expert services for research and development projects in the life sciences:
– Design and tests of upload and download scenarios
– Biocompatibility tests, stability tests, cell culture tests and developments
– Pre-flight cell transport scenarios
– Testing and validation of “margins”
– Post-flight procedures tests and standardization
– Mission scenario tests