Space Flight Research and Hardware Development Expertise

BioServe specializes in conducting microgravity life science research and designing and developing space flight hardware to support that research.  The Center has a full suite of space flight certified hardware available for use by its customers and partners.  The Center is a full-service, turn-key organization that not only provides space flight hardware, but can successfully guide novice and experienced researchers, organizations and commercial companies through the process of conducting life science research on board any launch vehicle as well as the International Space Station (ISS).  BioServe's extensive experience, knowledge, capabilities, space flight assets and experience in the field of microgravity life science research is virtually unmatched.  Our promise to our customers and partners is to make the experience of conducting space life science research with NASA or other space transportation providers transparent and easily navigated. 

BioServe supports the extensive utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) as a National Lab for fundamental and applied research. In early 2008 BioServe completed its first Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA which enables BioServe  to manifest research payloads on all available missions.  BioServe  continues to work closely with NASA and the ISS National Lab to support the conduct of reseach experiments on board the ISS.  Currently, BioServe develops and supports approximately 10-15 unique research experiments per year.  These experiments come from NASA, the ISS National Lab, commercial organizations, other government agencies and academia.  The majority of these experiments are complex and require significant effort in experiment definition, space flight certification and operation. BioServe's ability to develop new space flight certified hardware quickly and efficiently enables a greater variety of experiments or experimental techniques be performed in the microgravity environment on board the ISS. 

Throughout our history, BioServe has supported hundreds of individual ground- and space-based life sciences investigations. Our full suite of flight-certified hardware has supported a wide variety of  experiments including molecular processes, cell and tissue culture, and the development and adaptation of various organisms to microgravity including plants, small organisms, and rodents (rats and mice). Our core competency is enabling the conduct of space life science research in a highly regulated environment in such a way as to make the complicated process completely transparent yet cost efficient to our customers. This enables our partners to focus solely on their research while moving through the NASA process to launch experiments to the ISS.  Other than NASA, no organization in the US, university-based or otherwise, has flown the quantity and diversity of payload hardware as BioServe. Nearly all of the hardware flown in support of BioServe’s partners was designed, built, tested, and flight-qualified within BioServe’s engineering and research organization. Currently, all BioServe ISS payloads are operated by BioServe personnel through a remote Payload Operation and Control Center (POCC) located on site at our facility.

As the US space program's presence in low Earth Orbit has expanded, so have BioServe's available research platforms. After getting our start on the Space Shuttle, we flew hardware that operated on the Russian Space Station Mir. As the ISS evolved, our science operations expanded and adapted and we now have multiple research support facilities on board the ISS. In addition to our ISS presence, BioServe is actively collaborating with government and private industry to enable new research platforms such as commercial space stations in LEO as well as beyond-LEO concepts such as the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) and Artemis 1.

Focus on the Science

Because of our extensive history and in-house expertise, BioServe is a "one-stop-shop". From designing and building space flight hardware in our own machine shop, over conducting crew training, writing and submitting safety packages, launch-site integration, launch, on-orbit operations, and payload recovery once returned to Earth, to sample analysis, BioServe has significant capabilities in all areas of payload integration and operations and research support. This unique combination of engineering and science know-how within the Center is what has made BioServe so successful and one of the premier implementers of meaningful, scientific research onboard the ISS. BioServe's leadership have scientific, engineering and business backgrounds. They are deeply ingrained in the day-to-day activities of the Center including developing and performing scientific research, developing hardware, interfacing with NASA, the ISS National Lab and our other partners, and supporting the conduct of experiments in orbit. Because of this background, one of BioServe's long held philosophies is to always put science and research first. That is, our hardware is designed based upon the science requirements rather than the science being based solely upon hardware limitations.  BioServe makes every effort to accommodate a researcher's experiment up to designing entirely new hardware to support the science, if necessary and time and budget allow.

During the experiment definition phase of a project, spaceflight hardware is provided to researchers as early in the process as possible for training and science testing. This ensures that the researcher is familiar with any limitation that may present itself during the experiment development process. It also enables BioServe to modify hardware configurations or designs, if necessary, in order to successfully support the research and ensure mission success. Since its inception, BioServe's primary goal for all space flight research supported is to maximize science return. This is our mission and our passion.

Supporting the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers

As a university based organization, BioServe supports the education of the next generation of scientists and engineers.  At any given time, BioServe supports between 10-15 undergraduate and graduate students.  Our students are an integral part of all aspects of the Center.  They receive education and training on space flight research and hardware development from the very beginning of a project through the launch of the project and its conduct on board the ISS.  This hands-on education allows our students to gain real world experience not easily found at other Universities.  Many of our graduates are highly sought by well known Aerospace companies but have also gone on to become NASA employees, medical doctors or academicians.  BioServe believes that by educating the next generation of scientists and engineers, its future will remain secure through the coming decades.

Services and Capabilities

  • • Proposal support and advising
  • • Payload manifest negotiations
  • • Payload mission management
  • • PI science support and technical guidance
  • • Feasibility and trade study assistance
  • • Science team hardware training
  • • Engineering integration (understanding and satisfying all NASA documentation requirements)
  • • Ground test facilities
  • • Mission simulations and experiment verification testing
  • • Software/firmware development
  • • Real-time operations - Dedicated 24/7 remote Payload Operations and Control Center
  • • Extensive flight hardware solutions
  • • Flight and ground safety processing
  • • In-house manufacturing, assembly, and testing
  • • Flight qualification expertise
  • • Launch and landing site support
  • • Physical payload integration and deintegration
  • • Flight Readiness Reviews
  • • Crew procedure writing and crew training
  • • Operations planning
  • • Closely allied with industry, government and non-profit organizations especially NASA and the ISS National Lab
  • • International experience (export control capable)
  • • Real-time problem solving