Kiwi research a first for the International Space Station

Published: 22 March 2024

In a first for New Zealand, research hardware is on its way to the International Space Station.

Developed by Dr Sarah Kessans from the University of Canterbury in collaboration with teams from Arizona State University and Christchurch companies Asteria Engineering Consultancy and Intranel, the research facility hardware is designed to operate autonomously in orbit.

It will allow scientists on Earth to study the ways proteins crystallise in microgravity and use their insights to develop more effective medicines and vaccines among other applications.

The research facility was launched on a rocket from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA on Friday 22 March 2024 (New Zealand time) and was accompanied by protein experiments from Canterbury, Otago, Victoria, and Waikato universities that will be the first to run on-board.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has an agreement with US commercial space company Axiom Space to help New Zealand researchers advance world-leading space science and technology.

The research was one of 2 projects selected for initial feasibility studies in 2022.

New Zealand research to fly on International Space Station

MBIE media contact