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Lots of people go to Florida during Spring Break, but how many go there to launch sophisticated hardware into orbit?

Personnel from UAB’s Engineering Innovation and Technology Development (EITD) group traveled to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center this week to assist with the launch of cold-stowage and protein-crystal growth hardware for use on the International Space Station. The units were part of the payload on board the March 14 launch of SpX CRS-27.

The team on site included project leader Dan Connor, as well as systems engineers Robbie Trimble and Emma Schmidt and mechanical engineer Laura Hitchcock. Schmidt (BME) and Hitchcock (ME) are both graduates of the School of Engineering.

According to a press release from the International Space Station National Lab, “Researchers from pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb will use the microgravity environment of the ISS to study the crystallization of biotherapeutic compounds. In space, some protein crystals grow larger and more well-ordered than on Earth, and the research team aims to identify the physical conditions that result in high-quality crystals. The Bristol Myers Squibb team aims to determine how this knowledge could help improve biomanufacturing processes, elucidation of the structure of complex molecules, and convenient delivery of higher doses of therapeutic proteins on Earth. This research builds on a previous International Space Station National Laboratory-sponsored project from the company.”

For more information, visit the EITD home page.