SENER puts the FixBox equipment in orbit, destination ISS05/06/2017
The engineering and technology group SENER is part of the mission Space X Dragon, which has been launched successfully yesterday from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral (USA).
Boarded on the space vehicle Space X and with the assistance of our SENER colleagues in Barcelona, the biology experiment for which the company has developed the fixation equipment (FixBox) has been launched to the International Space Station (ISS). It is the third experiment Seeding Growth-3, the latest in a series initiated in 2013.
This purpose of this project, awarded to SENER by the European Space Agency and developed in collaboration with the North American Space Agency (NASA), is to conduct research on the growth of Arabidopsis Thaliana seeds and to study the effects of microgravity and light on their development. This project is the result of an international scientific collaboration led by professor Javier Medina from the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB-CSIC). Once they have germinated, the seeds will be treated with fixatives to preserve them until they return to Earth.
During this phase, the FixBox device is essential in providing this chemical fixation. This device's complexity lies in the fact that it must integrate five cartridges with seeds within a very small space, while also including an automatic system for the injection of the fixative, which is all confined inside three containment barriers.
The aforementioned project falls within the scope SENER's space activities with airborne equipment for microgravity and life support experiments, whcih includes over 28 years of work in missions with NASA's Space Shuttle, the Russian station MIR, the FOTON M3 capsule and, particularly, the International Space Station (ISS). At the latter, experiments have been recently conducted on the amount of muscular atrophy suffered by astronauts in microgravity with MARES equipment.