Germany-based company Yuri proves that research in microgravity can truly help understand the inner workings of biological and physical systems. These discoveries could then boost advancements in pharmaceutical development, agriculture, or even space exploration. Microgravity can also enable better manufacturing of certain materials, such as more efficient fiber cables. In other words, Yuri uses the microgravity environment of space in order to develop and manufacture biotech products. The company works on modular bioreactors and incubators for cell cultures or protein crystals or plants, and launches them for scientists worldwide to the ISS and other spacecraft.
Concretely, Yuri’s team provides a seamless end-to-end service, helping their customers through diverse services: definition of the experiment, hardware selection, test & train on ground, mission execution, samples analysis. On the one hand, for space experiments, Yuri is working on their ScienceTaxi facility, a middeck-locker size incubator that fits all platforms beyond the International Space Station (ISS), such as orbital or suborbital spacecraft or parabolic flights. On the other hand, the company offers an easy-to-use device Clinostat, which enables the study of the influence of gravity on biological systems. Yuri for instance supported the mission CellBox-1, which aimed at studying changes in exosome release in thyroid cancer cells after prolonged exposure to real microgravity in space.
“Humans are the only species on earth that knows life on earth will come to an end. Space exploration is a moral duty and will need a long-term plan to prepare for life on other worlds” – Daniela Bezdan, Yuri Chief Scientific Officer
Beside commercial missions, Yuri is also invested in research and development. It participated in NASA’s Twin Study, a 340-day study aiming at understanding the long-term effects of spaceflight on the human body – on physical, molecular and cognitive levels. The experiment was performed on identical twin astronauts – Scott Kelly & Mark Kelly – and one of them (Mark) spent a year on the ISS. Scientists discovered three main changes regarding gene expression, immune system, and telomeres (ends of each strand of DNA). The Twins Study improved the understanding of the way spaceflight stressors alter a human’s cognitive metabolism, immune system, gastrointestinal flora, or genetics.
The results can hence help develop new treatments and preventive measures for stress-related health risks on Earth. This demonstrates that such missions can definitely enhance research and understanding for both educational and improvement purposes. Life and physical sciences have the clear potential to pave the way for future health and technological developments, so as to support the space or the health industries, among many others.
This is the subject that Chief Scientific Officer and Author of NASA twin study Daniela Bezdan presented during NewSpace Europe, occurring on October 27-28.