February 23, 2017, Houston, TX — Early this morning, SpaceX’s Dragon successfully berthed to the International Space Station, carrying the next payload, Thermo Fisher Scientific’s “CID,” for the NanoRacks External Platform (NREP). The NREP is a permanent addition to the International Space Station, mounted each mission on the outside of the Space Station on the Japanese Exposed Facility.
CID is studying a specific type of modern camera called a “charge-injection device” (CID), which measures light from individual pixels, which enables pictures of scenes with extremely bright and extremely faint objects. This mission will study the feasibility in space, paving the way for their use in studying planets orbiting around distant stars.
CID was sponsored by the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). CASIS, which manages the U.S. National Lab on the International Space Station, is chartered with facilitating microgravity research with the potential to generates benefits to life on Earth
The self-funded NanoRacks External Platform is the first-ever commercial service – including return—to the extreme environment of space. NREP payloads follow the CubeSat form factor—customers experience the microgravity, radiation and other harsh elements native to the space environment, observe earth, test sensors, materials, and electronics, all while having the opportunity to return the payload back to Earth.
“We’ve got six months of non-stop operations ahead of us,” says NanoRacks Operations Manager Keith Tran. “We’re excited to see how CID reacts to the extreme space environment and to continue testing the full capabilities of NREP. Thank you to our friends at Thermo Fisher Scientific and CASIS for working with us on this program and for choosing our External Platform to conduct their research.“
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NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide commercial hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station via a Space Act Agreement with NASA. NanoRacks’ main office is in Houston, Texas, right alongside the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Business Development office is in Washington, DC. Additional offices are located in Silicon Valley, California and Leiden, Netherlands.
In July 2015, NanoRacks signed a teaming agreement with Blue Origin to offer integration services on their New Shepard space vehicle. NanoRacks, along with partners at ULA and Space Systems Loral was also recently selected by NASA to participate in the NextSTEPs Phase II program to develop commercial habitation systems in low-Earth orbit and beyond.
As of July 2016, over 375 payloads have been launched to the International Space Station via NanoRacks services, and our customer base includes the European Space Agency (ESA) the German Space Agency (DLR,) the American space agency (NASA,) US Government Agencies, Planet Labs, Urthecast, Space Florida, NCESSE, Virgin Galactic, pharmaceutical drug companies, and organizations in Vietnam, UK, Romania and Israel.