25th January 2023 --
Sydney, Australia -- Saber Astronautics is proud to announce the first set of projects selected for development at the International Space Station (ISS). Saber’s Australian Astronaut Program, announced last July, aims to bring Australian industry and researchers into the spaceflight community and benefit from the trillion dollar station.
Saber accepted this first round of projects based on their manufacturing potential and longer term capabilities in various fields such as health, food production, and future sustainable space access:
- The ARC Centre of Excellence for Plants for Space (P4S) and University of Adelaide is developing sustainable, productive space crops.
- A project to study the impacts of the space environment on frozen mice embryos, eggs and sperm by IVF Australia, Virtus Health, 23strands, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Technology Sydney.
- NSW engineering company TITOMIC Pty Ltd is developing a method to repair solid state metals, crucial for long term, sustainable repair of large space objects.
- Vostok Space Beer, a joint venture between Saber Astronautics and the 4-Pines Brewery, will fly the world’s first beer you can drink in space, with a 0-g beer bottle.
Project teams will participate in a series of workshops starting in February at Wolfpack Space Hub, in order to get ‘’flight ready’’ for Axiom’s flights to the ISS in 2024 and 2025.
Saber’s Australian Astronaut Program is part of the most recent push for commercially funded astronauts. This program is opening the door for projects to access the laboratory aboard the ISS, with an undiscovered potential for return. Successful projects are aiming to build new products in a diverse range of industries and research using the unique environment of space. The ISS offers unparalleled advanced manufacturing and research opportunities. Project teams will also create advancements in areas such as human reproduction, plant growth and materials science. ‘’We are impressed by the innovation and creativity in the proposals and are excited to see the potential they can have on the future of space exploration and on Earth. There are more projects signing up and we want to give the best opportunity for industry to make the most of this exciting opportunity. ’’ said Saber CEO Dr. Jason Held. Saber plans additional project proposal rounds and workshops on a bi-annual basis.
More details about the projects and their researchers are as follows:
- ‘’Investigating the possible impacts of space radiation and microgravity on frozen mice embryos, eggs and sperm’’
Gavin Sacks (IVFAustralia, UNSW), David Gardner (Virtus Health, University of Melbourne), Luk Rombauts (Monash IVF), Majid Warkiani (University of Technology Sydney), Dale Goss (IVFAustralia, University of Technology Sydney), Steven Vasilescu (University of Technology Sydney), Mark Grosser (23strands)
This project concerns the future of human exploration of distant planets, and the possible effects of space radiation and microgravity on frozen mice embryos, eggs and sperm will be explored. The project will require the development of new systems for stable longterm storage of embryos, eggs and sperm, and we hope that this will be a crucial benefit to all those undergoing fertility treatment now on earth.
- ‘’On demand food and pharmaceutical production for Space Applications’’
Professor Matthew Gilliham and Associate Professor Jenny Mortimer (University of Adelaide) in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence Plants For Space (P4S) team (Australian Research Council)
The goal of P4S is to enable humans to thrive in Space by developing new plant forms, which will provide food, pharmaceuticals and materials on demand. This project will test the growth of the potential Space crop, Australian duckweed, in the challenging conditions of the ISS. This will support the development of sustainable, productive crops both for Space, and also for controlled environment and remote agriculture here on Earth.
- ‘’Development and Testing of a Self-Contained, Miniaturised Device for On-Orbit Solid Metal Repair using Supersonic Particle Deposition (Cold Spray)’’
Peter Lockett, Max Osborne, Dominic Parsonson - TITOMIC Ltd)
As spaceflight and astronautic applications grow in importance and extend in mission duration, the ability to provide in-service repairs will become critical to ongoing space mission capability. This project will develop and show the feasibility of a self-contained, miniaturised cold spray device to produce on-orbit solid state metal repairs. This approach will avoid prohibitive heat exposure issues caused by traditional methods, while producing long-term repair capability.
- ‘’Vostok Space Beer for Astronauts’’
Dr Jason Held, Jaron Mitchell
A joint venture between the 4-Pines Brewing company and Saber Astronautics to bring the first beer in the world that can be used in space.