- Case Studies
- Techshot, Inc.
Contributing to regenerative medicine experiments in microgravity.
Techshot research equipment sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for the MVP Cell-03 experiment and our small peristaltic pump used in the equipment.
Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor loading experiment modules into a Techshot MVP
Techshot Inc., is a company that designs, develops and commercially operates its own research and manufacturing equipment in space. Its customers include NASA and several universities and commercial companies. The small peristaltic pumps, RP-Q Series sold by Takasago, have been adopted as one of the key components in experiment modules used inside the Techshot Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform (MVP) payload aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Experiment modules containing the pumps were first launched to the ISS on SpaceX mission CRS-20 in early March 2020.
Challenges and Solutions
The MVP Cell-03 experiment is a study aimed at understanding the increased growth rate that cardiomyocyte cells experience in microgravity. During the experiment, the cardiomyocyte cells were grown in specially designed Techshot cell culturing experiment modules, allowing researchers to investigate whether the growth process occurs differently in microgravity and in the spaceflight environment as a whole.
In the MVP-CELL-03 experiment, the growth process of the cardiomyocyte cells inside the experiment modules was monitored using the MVP payload, which was mounted inside the space station’s Japanese laboratory called Kibo. The RP-Q series pump is used inside each of the 12 experiment modules to send nutrients to the cardiomyocyte cells.
One of the difficulties faced by Techshot in developing microgravity laboratory equipment was the miniaturization of the equipment. Due to the limited space inside the ISS, they needed a small pump that could deliver a constant flow of around 3 ml/min. The RP-Q series pumps are small enough to be placed on your fingertips, but can deliver the 3 ml/min required by Techshot, more than other products with similar size. One reason Techshot used the RP-Q series pumps was because the simple structure of the tube pump decreased the possibility of leakage. In addition, since the pump head can be removed and replaced, the sterility can be maintained and the flow path can be easily assembled.
Founded more than 30 years ago, Techshot is the one of the world’s leading commercial space companies. We are pleased that Takasago's small pumps can contribute to the advancement of science, together with Techshot.