DreamUp, the leading provider space-based educational opportunities, and sister-company Nanoracks, the leading provider of commercial access to space, today have announced a joint effort with Oklahoma Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Langston University, to fly their research to the International Space Station. These efforts will contribute to ongoing microgravity research that will help expand human presence forward to the Moon, and eventually Mars. DreamUp, Nanoracks, and Langston University announced this program today in a signing ceremony, alongside NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine.

Langston University has partnered with Johnson Space Center to develop natural countermeasures — through extracts from plants — that they predict will help to restore astronauts’ immune system in spaceflight conditions. This research, led by biochemist Dr. Byron Quinn, is funded by the NASA Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Institutional Research Opportunity (MIRO). 

Immune system dysregulation has been found to reactivate multiple latent viruses in astronauts during space shuttle missions and the researchers at Langston University believe they have found a way to naturally treat this through the use of medicinal phytochemicals found in plant extracts.

DreamUp, via Nanoracks, has brought over 400 student experiments to the International Space Station to date. 

 “Our mission at DreamUp is to inspire more students to research in microgravity and to build the next generation workforce in a space-faring nation,” says DreamUp Manager of Partnerships and Outreach, Lauren Milord. “Increasing access to space-based educational research and opportunities for more learners, including those not traditionally represented in Space Station research, is a key part of our mission, and will be what helps us get to the Moon by 2024!”

Langston University researchers will aim to design a research payload for the Space Station after an initial study phase with Nanoracks, assessing feasibility and providing spaceflight options for the biology research being conducted. The payload has the potential to be the largest sized research payload that Nanoracks has flown to stay inside the Space Station (4U x 2U – or about 40 cm x 20 cm).

“Thank you to everyone at Langston University, the NASA MUREP office, and to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine for celebrating this historic moment with DreamUp and Nanoracks. We can’t wait to bring your dreams to space,” adds Milord.