Over 2400 experiments have been performed on ISS since it became operational. This article provides high-level insights into the experiments.
Overview of ISS Experiments
At any given time on board the space station, a large array of different experiments are underway within a wide range of disciplines. These experiments are selected by each space station partner to meet the goals of each respective agency.
Biology and Biotechnology
In microgravity, controls on the directionality and geometry of cell and tissue growth can be dramatically different to those on Earth. Various experiments have used the culture of cells, tissues and small organisms on orbit as a tool to increase our understanding of biological processes in microgravity.
Earth and Space Science
The presence of the space station in low-Earth orbit provides a unique vantage point for collecting Earth and space science data. From an average altitude of about 400 km, details in such features as glaciers, agricultural fields, cities, and coral reefs taken from the ISS can be layered with other sources of data, such as orbiting satellites, to compile the most comprehensive information available.
The space station provides a unique platform for inspiring students to excel in mathematics and science. Station educational activities have had a positive impact on thousands of students by involving them in station research, and by using the station to teach them the science and engineering that are behind space exploration.
The space station is being used to study the risks to human health that are inherent in space exploration. Focal research questions address the mechanisms of the risks and develop test countermeasures to reduce these risks. Research on space station addresses the major risks to human health from residence in a long- duration microgravity environment. Results from this research are key enablers for future long-duration missions beyond low Earth orbit.
The space station provides the only place to study long-term physical effects in the absence of gravity. This unique microgravity environment allows different physical properties to dominate systems, and these have been harnessed for a wide variety of physical sciences.
Studies on the space station can test a variety of technologies, systems, and materials that will be needed for future long-duration exploration missions.
Current Statistics on ISS Experiments
Interactive summary key statistics charts are provided below. The charts are based upon an October 8, 2022 database snapshot. The top insights include:
- 27% of experiments are biology and biotechnology
- 57% of all experiments are sponsored by NASA