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Mini lab allows for the automated study of astronaut bone loss in space


Kingston, ON – Millenium Biologix says it has been awarded a Canadian Space Agency contract to develop an automated osteoporosis mini lab for space missions. This is the first in a series of contracts expected over the course of 2005 and 2006.

The mini lab has been used in two earlier manned NASA space missions (STS-95 and STS-107), and is now being redesigned for use in unmanned missions. The enhanced mini lab uses Millenium’s own technology, which the company says is an ideal medium for growing bone cells in research studies related to osteoporosis and bone loss.

The first flight with the enhanced mini lab is scheduled for launch in October 2006. The Russian unmanned 12-day Foton 3 mission is expected to carry two mini lab payloads; one containing Canadian-based science, the other containing European Space Agency science.

This first contract takes the enhanced mini lab through the Canadian Space Agency-driven preliminary design phase. Subsequent contracts are expected to move the program through detailed design, fight hardware manufacture, science and mission support.