NASA Nanosatellite to Study Antifungal Drug Effectiveness in Space
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif.,
PharmaSat weighs approximately 10 pounds. It contains a controlled environment micro-laboratory packed with sensors and optical systems that can detect the growth, density and health of yeast cells and transmit that data to scientists for analysis on Earth. PharmaSat also will monitor the levels of pressure, temperature and acceleration the yeast and the satellite experience while circling Earth at 17,000 miles per hour. Scientists will study how the yeast responds during and after an antifungal treatment is administered at three distinct dosage levels to learn more about drug action in space, the satellite’s primary goal.
The Minotaur 1 rocket is on the launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport located at
“Secondary payload nanosatellites expand the number of opportunities available to conduct research in microgravity by providing an alternative to the International Space Station or space shuttle conducted investigations,” said
After PharmaSat separates from the Minotaur 1 rocket and successfully enters low Earth orbit at approximately 285 miles above Earth, it will activate and begin transmitting radio signals to two ground control stations. The primary ground station at SRI International in
When NASA spaceflight engineers make contact with PharmaSat, which could happen as soon as one hour after launch, the satellite will receive a command to initiate its experiment, which will last 96 hours. Once the experiment begins, PharmaSat will relay data in near real-time to mission managers, engineers and project scientists for further analysis. The nanosatellite could transmit data for as long as six months.
“PharmaSat is an important experiment that will yield new information about the susceptibility of microbes to antibiotics in the space environment,” said
As with NASA’s previous small satellite missions, such as the GeneSat-1, which launched in 2006 and continues to transmit a beacon to Earth,
For more information and instructions about how to contact PharmaSat, visit:
To view the launch via webcast, visit:
For the more information about PharmaSat and other small satellite missions, visit: