The Centrifuge is providing efficient on-orbit substance seperation

The Centrifuge developed, owned, and operated by BioServe Space Technoloiges supports a wide variety of investigations in the life, physical, and material sciences, focusing on research on biological systems and processes. The Centrifuge is capable of holding up to 12 microcentrifuge tubes ranging in several standard sizes from 0.2 ml to 2.0 ml each or -using an exchangeable rotor- up to 16 PCR tubes (0.2 ml each) arranged in two 8-tube strips. The non-refrigerated centrifuge is based on the COTS Eppendorf’s MiniSpin centrifuge and can provide speeds from 800 to 13,400 rpm at an accuracy better than 3% which equals a centrifugal force between 100 and 12,100 g. The user can manually set spin duration between 15 s and 30 min and speed in steps of 100 rpm via the front panel. The time for both acceleration and deceleration at full speed is below 15 s. The Centrifuge is a portable device that operates with 120V AC power. Due to its small size and minimal setup time, the Centrifuge can be used directly at the experiment workspace such as the Maintenance Work Area (MWA), Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG), or Life Science Glovebox (LSG) avoiding the transport of sterile samples between workspaces.

The range of research made possible using the Centrifuge is limited only by the imagination of researchers and by the various investigation-specific hardware housed inside the Centrifgue. BioServe has an extensive array of investigation-specific hardware: Group Activation Packs (GAPs); Fluids Processing Apparatuses (FPAs); single well, 6-well, and 12-well BioCells; Plate Habitats (PHabs); insect habitats and plant growth habitats; camera modules; and more hardware fully compatible with the Centrifuge. In addition, other payload organizations can use the Centrifuge for centrifugation and overall experiment support. This functionality opens the door to many future analytical tools used on board the ISS to reduce or eliminate the need to return samples to the ground for analysis.

The Centrifuge is a mechanical device used to separate substances of differing densities for research purposes. The Centrifuge can be used for cell separation for example for splitting cells from their preservative or media, microfiltration of samples, or pelleting samples to increase the cell population density. Samples can also range from DNA, protein, blood or other samples all the way to sedimentation samples in physical science experiments. The Centrifuge will support a wide variety of space flight research experiments and enhance the scientific capabilities onboard the International Space Station.

Key Features

  • Centrifugation can be set between 100 and 12,100 g.
  • Spin duration between 15 s and 30 min
  • Capacity of up to 12 microcentrifuge tubes (0.2 ml to 2.0 ml each) or 16 PCR tubes (0.2 ml each)
  • Used directly at the experiment workspace such as the Maintenance Work Area (MWA), Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG), or Life Science Glovebox (LSG)