A Closer Look At GeneBox

SpaceRef has a bit more about the NASA GeneBox I posted about last week, that’s on board Robert Bigelow’s Genesis I spacecraft. Including a tiny little photograph.

GeneBoxNamed "GeneBox", this small payload was developed by NASA Ames Research Center to test out new ways to perform in-flight genomic analysis of living systems. Indeed, much of what is being flown aboard this satellite is cutting edge biotech – the likes of which have yet to fly aboard the International Space Station. Future versions will be even more capable.

NASA developed the GeneBox payload and Bigelow Aerospace integrated and launched GeneBox – at no cost to NASA. ARC estimates that GeneBox cost approximately $1 million to fabricate, test, and prepare for flight. GeneBox is an adaptation of the "GeneSat" free flyer nanosatellite. NASA ARC expects GeneSat to cost approximately $6 million to develop.

GeneBox was funded entirely by NASA. This effort began with the (now disbanded) NASA Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), then by the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), and currently with NASA ARC internal R&D funds.

Of course, NASA’s collaboration with Bigelow is even more interesting in light of news that the agency is thinking about canning its space station research.