By Jeffrey Manber – Today we can announce that the on-orbit research capabilities of the NanoRacks’ family of hardware facilities has taken a major leap forward. We have been chosen by NASA to adopt an off-the-shelf research facility known as a Plate Reader for use on the U.S. National Laboratory.
First, we have to thank the folks at NASA for entrusting this work to a young company like ours. At our new shop in Houston Mike Johnson and his team are already working the program.
From a utilization viewpoint, this could not be more exciting. The Plate Reader is an accepted stable of research labs world-wide. It allows samples to be analyzed multiple ways–I’ll keep it simple, but suggest you go Molecular Devices – SpectraMax-M5e web page to fully understand the capabilities. In short, I can say this–having a Plate Reader onboard the U.S. National Lab will reduce the need for researchers to return samples to the Earth. That reduces the time for analysis, reduces possible damage of samples on return, and will allow for more rigorous experimentation.
This was not an easy relationship to negotiate with NASA, and we all sure appreciate how commercial the space agency was in creating this opportunity. NanoRacks’ owns the hardware, in return we have put our capital at risk here to assure the unit works properly, and NASA researchers will have access to the Plate Reader, as well as we having the ability to market the services commercially. A true sign of the new NASA attitude towards commercial space services.
The Plate Reader joins our two existing research Platforms plus our microscope. More hardware facilities are on the way. It’s a wonderfully busy time here at NanoRacks and we will soon announce more developments on helping bring about routine utilization of low-earth orbit for research and education.