HUNTSVILLE — The SpaceX International Space Station cargo resupply mission transported 19 pieces of hardware designed and manufactured by Teledyne Brown Engineering. The equipment is for the ring-sheared drop experiment facility aboard the space station.
The experiment, launched July 14, studies the formation of the amyloid fibrils found in the brain tissues of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
“Our team has contributed countless hours over the last five years to support this effort and its success,” said Scott Hall, president of Teledyne Brown Engineering. “We are dedicated to the mission to support research that one day may lead to advancements in unearthing the mysteries of diseases affecting millions of people across the globe.”
The cargo on SpX-25 will support two ring-sheared drop investigations.
The first is the original experiment samples to form protein aggregates or amyloid fibrils. The second is a new experiment the bioprocessing of pharmaceuticals.
The Teledyne Brown hardware supports 10 frozen sample syringes with protein solution, eight refurbished test cells, and a replacement motor assembly.
The process ensures the syringes remain at precise cold temperatures from laboratory pick-up through launch, on-orbit operations, and their return to the principal investigators in their lab.
Teledyne Brown is working with a science team at Rensselaer Pyrotechnic Institute under a contract to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
In experiments on Earth, scientists have found that the amyloid fibrils can be created by shear flow, which is flow resulting from a difference in flow velocity between adjacent layers of a liquid.
The experiment uses the microgravity of space to suspend a one-inch diameter drop of liquid between two rings. One ring rotates while the other is stationary, creating a shear flow in the liquid drop while retaining uniform fluid structure.
Digital microscopes record the data for downlink to scientists in near-real time. The experiments range from one to four days of continuous operations.