Space Cargo Unlimited completes second in-space agriculture experiment designed to change life on Earth
After sending red wine to the International Space Station a month ago, Space Cargo Unlimited successfully launched ALPHA, a payload that uses vine calluses to test its research methodology named “Self-Guided Evolution” aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle. ALPHA is the second of six experiments of Mission WISE (Vitis Vinum in Spatium Experimentia).
Texas (Van Horn) – December 11, 2019 – Today at 11:53 am CST (GMT-6): Space Cargo Unlimited (SCU), one-of-a-kind European “New Space” start-up, successfully realized its second experiment, ALPHA, as part of its Mission WISE program. The payload, containing vine calluses, flew on Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle from West Texas, USA. It experienced several minutes of weightlessness in suborbital space before returning to Earth. This mission validates Space Cargo Unlimited’s test apparatus and “Self-Guided Evolution” methodology for future space missions and collected important research data.
Space Cargo Unlimited’s mission WISE program is developing new models and technology to tackle the future of agriculture and food by leveraging the effect of microgravity on complex biological systems. Mission WISE is the first comprehensive, privately led applied research program in space, aimed at reinventing the future of agriculture.
“The microgravity environment is a new frontier for discovery and innovation. Our ALPHA experiment acts as the proof-of-concept and the validation of the new “Self-Guided Evolution” methodology we will use to conduct the six experiments of Mission WISE.” Says Nicolas Gaume, Co-Founder and CEO of Space Cargo Unlimited.
Plants can mobilize their defenses when under attack and in response transform to their changing environmental conditions. The ALPHA experiment consists of three different bio-containers exposed to microgravity for five minutes to establish the specific impact of space on plants:
● Petit Verdot Sauvignon callus
● Cabernet Sauvignon callus
● Cabernet Sauvignon callus with particular salinization stress
In the context of Mission WISE, the ALPHA experiment serves a dual purpose. First, as a proof-of-concept for future experiments. The second purpose is to establish the necessary workflow to understand the effects of space on agriculture. WISE requires the identification and selection of adapted strains and the identification of underlying changes to stabilize the adapted strains. ALPHA will lay the groundwork for this process, finally.
Space Cargo Unlimited appoints Chief Scientist Officer, announces Scientific Advisory Board
Space Cargo Unlimited is also proud to announce that PD Dr. Michael Lebert, Department of Cell Biology, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg University in Germany has accepted to join as Chief Scientist Officer. He will lead the global Mission WISE effort and coordinate two research teams in Bordeaux, France (ISVV) and Erlangen, Germany (FAU). In his position, he will work closely with the newly announced Scientific Advisory Board he constituted. The latter is gathering nine diverse, high-profile international scientists from a renowned botanist to life science experts. Altogether, they will carefully monitor results and methodology, while furthering the progress of science.
“I am thrilled to join Space Cargo Unlimited and to contribute to the effort of redefining the future of agriculture to change life on Earth,” remarks Michael Lebert. “Unlike what has been done in space research so far, all Mission WISE experiments are designed in the context of “Self-Guided Evolution,” a unique scientific process which yields more tangible outcomes for Earth applications,” comments Lebert. “My beliefs and involvement with Space Cargo Unlimited in the past two years led me to work on a scientific publication: “ Exploration of Space to Attain Scientific Breakthroughs in Biology for a Sustainable Future; Space for Revolutionizing Perspective of Biological Research. ” It will be released in a scientific journal in the near future; the abstract is already available here .”
“ Space Cargo Unlimited envisions to discover compelling opportunities to tackle the challenge of feeding humanity in the future. Resources are depleting and the Earth may not be able to sustain itself by 2050. Space Cargo Unlimited believes there is no Plan B, and that applied research options leveraging space can unlock the future of agriculture and food for humanity .” Concludes Gaume.
About Space Cargo Unlimited
Founded in 2014, Space Cargo Unlimited is a European startup founded by highly regarded private investors and space-enthusiast entrepreneurs. Fostered by the new space dynamic, with technological advances and falling costs of access to space, leveraging the high level of European space industry expertise, Space Cargo Unlimited is dedicated to seizing the potential of microgravity research and manufacturing for commercial applications on Earth. Building strategic partnerships with space operators, Space Cargo Unlimited develops comprehensive expertise in complex microgravity project management to nurture innovative and useful initiatives. Targeted applied microgravity work will help envision how to face the challenge of new Agriculture, Health and Food. Space Cargo Unlimited with its subsidiary Space Biology Unlimited, aims to be a catalyst for new commercial dynamics in Europe and the US to create momentum to attract private companies and entrepreneurs to invest massively into microgravity research. Headquartered in Luxembourg, Space Cargo Unlimited operates with teams and partners in Bordeaux and Toulouse (France), Erlangen Nuremberg (Germany), Torino (Italy), Houston & Seattle (USA). Partners include Thales-Alenia Space, Nanoracks, Blue Origin, FAU (Erlangen, Germany) and ISVV (Bordeaux, France) Universities. For more information www.mission-wise.com
About Blue Origin
Blue Origin was established by Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos with a bold vision to seed an enduring human presence in space. In November 2015, Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket became the first to fly to space and return to Earth via vertical landing. Less than two months later, the very same rocket launched and landed again, demonstrating reuse – a key enabler to a future in which millions of people are living and working in space.
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