NASA promotes research tools for local business


SUMMERVILLE, S.C. – Local businesses and major companies with hubs in South Carolina are exploring ways to help space research get off the ground.

NASA scientists on Tuesday asked local researchers, entrepreneurs and companies to collaborate with the International Space Station (ISS) and use it as a lab to test the latest innovations on medicine, technology, and manufacturing.

The space station is used to investigate areas of science at zero gravity, allowing breakthroughs in orbit that aren’t necessarily available on earth. Leaders gathered at the South Carolina Research Authority, known as SCRA, a public, non-profit corporation to discuss how best to collaborate.

Astronaut Douglas Wheelock has participated in two international space station missions. He’s traveled more than 178 days and understands how flying through the cosmos leads to scientific innovations.

“All the science we’re doing on board the station is trying to develop innovation and breakthroughs to bring it back to earth to make people’s lives better,” said Wheelock.

Known as “Wheels” by his friends at NASA, Wheellock often explains to people he meets what it’s like in space.

“It’s actually kind of a euphoric feeling,” said Wheelock. “It’s three dimension, yes, instead of two-dimensional like here.”

The space station orbits the earth every 90 minutes, allowing it to take pictures of locations the human eye couldn’t otherwise see.

“The businesses want to be the first to get this kind of new knowledge and leverage it in their designs that they can then bring back to you,” said Dr. Tara Ruttley, an associate program scientist for the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

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