The International Space Station cosmonauts and astronauts now have a miniature aquarium to study during their long stay on Space Station Alpha. Paragon Space Development Corporation of Tucson, Arizona designed and built the experimental aquatic biosphere now on ISS.

Cosmonauts and astronauts will observe the adaptation of miniature red
shrimp and other inhabitants of the “ISS aquarium” to the microgravity
The experiment uses Paragon’s patented Autonomous Biological
System (ABS) technology, and is the first educational — and among the first
commercial — payloads onboard ISS.

The ABS or “biosphere” was installed on a dedicated panel above the dining
table in the ISS Zvezda Service Module, after launching on a Russian Soyuz
rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Khazakhstan, on February 26th.
For the next
three months the cosmonauts and astronauts will observe the adaptation of the
animals to microgravity, and transmit their observations to students from
around the world.
The ecosystem contains aquatic plants and animals,
including the small red shrimp Halocaridina rubra, snails and several species
of small crustacea.

The biosphere on ISS is an educational experiment conducted by students as
part of Space Media Inc.’s global STARS program.
Students participating in
the program will build their own biospheres in their classrooms.
They will be
able to compare the progress of their own classroom aquatic ecosystem with the
cosmonaut observations and video images of the ISS biosphere available to the
STARS students on the Internet.
The experiment is designed to explore
sustaining human life on other planets and on long-duration space flights.

Paragon has previously designed and built ABS enclosures for a ten-day
Shuttle mission and two 4-month, gravitational biology and ecology experiments
on board the Mir Space Station.
The ABS is a passively controlled, materially
closed, bioregenerative life support system for long duration experiments in
The ABS provides for long term growth and breeding of aquatic plants
and animals, within complete material closure, isolated from the spacecraft
life support system and cabin atmosphere contaminants, and with little need
for astronaut intervention.
Testing of the ABS has marked several firsts: the
first aquatic angiosperms to be grown in space; the first higher organism
(aquatic invertebrate animals) to complete its life cycle in space; the first
completely bioregenerative life support system in space; and, among the first
gravitational ecology experiments.

Founded in 1993, Paragon Space Development Corporation is located in
Tucson, Arizona and provides aerospace engineering services to both the
commercial and non-commercial aerospace sectors.
Paragon also provides a
range of environmental control and life support services and technologies.
For more information go to our web site at, or contact:
Paragon SDC, 520-903-1000, Grant Anderson ext. 12, Jane Poynter ext. 11