International Space Station

Research Overview

No place on Earth offers the research opportunities provided by the ISS in its state-of-the-art laboratories. Researchers from government, industry and academia are able to conduct unique experiments in microgravity and in the Earth, space and life sciences. An interactive set of data and video links allows scientists on the ground to have a direct connection with their experiments in microgravity.

Microgravity research focuses on biotechnology, physics, combustion and materials science. In biotechnology, efforts are made to develop more effective medicines with fewer side effects, and to better understand tissue growth in the body.

Life science research seeks improvements in the treatment of diseases of the heart, and maladies such as anemia, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. Scientists also seek to improve plant growth systems and soil, water and energy conservation.

Space science capabilities include the study of the Sun, planets, comets, asteroids, and the galaxies beyond the Milky Way. Studies of the Sun will provide better understanding of its affect on Earth's weather and environment, and greater solar forecasting accuracy.

Earth sciences studies are made of food production alter natives, ocean and fresh water issues, regional and global climate, geology, land use, and the Earth's environmental response to natural and human-induced variables such as pollutants and heat.

Engineering Research and Technology efforts are devoted to several specific areas, including advanced robotics, sensors and energy storage, communication systems and electromagnetic propulsion.

Commercial Product Development is furthered by industry participation in space research designed to create new processes, products and services that provide competitive economic advantages, new jobs and better lives.

Major ISS research facilities include materials and equipment for experiments in:

  • Gravitational biology
  • Human research
  • Biotechnology
  • Fluids and Combustion

Other research facilities include the Space Station Furnace, Centrifuge, and Optical Window.