Biotechnology System (BTS) Facility Operations

BTS Cell Culture Module BTS Facility


In order to conduct Risk Mitigation for the BioTechnology Facility on the ISS, the BTS was designed and flown on the Mir Space Station. The purpose of the BTS was multi-fold and included: (1) demonstration of technology and systems to support biotechnology investigations, (2) validation of BTF concepts and systems through long-duration operations, (3) verification of BTF operational and training procedures, (4) verification of the launch and transfer of operating experiments between orbiting spacecraft, and (5) Fundamental Science investigations.

Shuttle-Mir Missions

The table seen below is a summary of the BTS facility components that went through diagnostic testing. The purpose of the testing was to determine the possible risks involved with data acquisition from the BTS facility.

Mission Location Duration Facility Components
Pre-2 Spektr Module 105 days Passive PCMCIA Card
2 Priroda BTS Facility 156 days Powered DACS
3 Priroda BTS Facility 130 days Powered DACS with Bioreactor
4 & 5 Priroda BTS Facility 263 days Powered DACS
6 Priroda BTS Facility 140 days Bioreactor
7 Priroda BTS Facility 142 days Powered DACS and
Powered DACS with Bioreactor

This table is a summary of the activities that were completed during each science mission. In addition to hardware testing, the BTS facility was used to support cell cultures in the bioreactor.

Mission Facility Hardware Activity Summary
Pre-2 Passive PCMCIA Card SRAM cards in stowage are susceptible to radiation induced SEU corruption.
Unpowered FLash PC-Cards in stowage are immune to SEU corruption at Mir radiation levels.
2 Powered DACS Powered FLash PC-Cards are immune to SEU corruption at Mir radiation levels.
Verified DACS integrated operation.
3 Powered DACS with Bioreactor Verified DACS control of experiment specific hardware.
Verified operations of DACS RRS.
4 & 5 Powered DACS Extended previous results for larger capacity flashcards and longer duration operations.
Detection of DRAM SEUs.
7 Powered DACS and
Powered DACS with Bioreactor
Verified capability of DACS RRS to repair, monitor and protect SRAM PC-Cards in flight.
Extended and reinforced previous results.

The BTS Operations experiment results was two-fold in the sense that it evaluated the operations of hardware and it was used to support on-board investigations. The major accomplishments included technology and systems demonstration in these areas:

· Data Acquisition and Control System (ECC, Flashcards, recovery software)
· Gas Supply Module
· System performance, maintenance and extended operation
· Evaluation of monitoring (video, microscope) systems
· Experiment change-out procedures
· Data Acquisition, storage and downlink
· Bioreactor design and operations
· Bioreactor sensors and automation control systems
· Cell culture operations
· Media preparation and storage

Conclusions are pending completion of analysis in FY99.

Earth Benefits
Biological processes can be altered as a result of microgravity. The unique qualities of the microgravity environment could lead to new discoveries in biotechnology which could ultimately result in improvements in medicine, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals. NASA's biotechnology facility provides a tool to conduct biotechnology experiments while in the microgravity environment. Advances made in hardware development have application for designing better instrumentation on the ground.

None available at this time

Principal Investigators
Steven R. Gonda, Ph.D.
NASA/Johnson Space Center

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Page last updated: 07/16/1999