Price: On request
In Stock

Domains: 2D cell culture 3D cell culture

This Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic 2D cell culturing in microgravity.

This Experiment Unit is a device capable of performing automatic 2D cell culturing in microgravity. It is equipped with reservoirs for chemicals (culture medium, washing buffer, fixatives) and a culture chamber allowing growth of adherent cells on a provided support for coverslips. The scientific protocol is led by the KEU-ST electronics following a predefined timeline. At the end of the experiment the KEU-ST Experiment Unit can be stowed at controlled temperatures, down to -80°C. After stowage and re-entry on Earth, 2D cell cultures can be analyzed by microscopy techniques as well as molecular biology-based approaches for genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies. The KEU-ST design can be also exploited for 3D cell culturing.

  • Fluidic systems: 1
  • Fluidic actuators: 5
  • Fluidic actuators type: PLUNGERS
  • Fluidic reservoirs: 5
  • Culture chambers: 1
  • Levels of Containment (LoC): 1
  • Fluidic System Volume: ask for information
  • Automatic control: YES
  • On-Board Electronic Controller: YES (with internal Clock & Timeline)
  • Experiment Unit size: ≈ 80x39x19 mm
  • Experiment Unit mass: ≈ 105 grams (fully assembled)
  • Fits into: KIC-SL (1 LoC)
  • Compatible Controller: NOT REQUIRED (on-board controller)

So far, the KEU-ST Experiment Unit has been used to study the behavior in microgravity of human immune system cells, endothelial cells, mesenchymal stem cells, breast cancer cells and, rodents thyroid cells, muscular cells, osteoclasts and macrophages.

Each KEU-ST Experiment Unit (EU) is made of a semi-crystalline thermoplastic polymer with excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties, biologically inert. Cross contamination among the chambers is avoided due to proper sealing gaskets. The EU itself provides one Level of Containment (LoC) that is increased to two by using KIC-SL containers class. The experiment is fully autonomous; all the actions are electrically controlled by a predefined timeline uploaded into the on-board microcontroller. Housekeeping data are recorded during the mission and downloaded at re-entry.

On the whole, the actions performed by the fluidic system are led by preloaded spring actuators activated by the control electronics. Such mechanism releases the plungers inward displacing the fluids (Activator or Fixative) contained into the chemicals reservoirs (Activator or Fixative reservoir) towards the Culture Chamber (CC). A manifold channels connect each reservoir to the CCs so that cells are activated or fixed (see figures below).

To guarantee fluid injections within the CC a dedicated inner system of channels and valves leads the exhausted growth medium behind the plunger’s reservoirs.

Qualified for:
Progress – Soyuz – Dragon - Cygnus and Manned Missions (ISS)

  • 2006 STROMA PI: Ranieri Cancedda (University of Genova)
  • 2007 PITS PI: Alberta Zallone (University of Bari)
  • 2007 MYO PI: Stefano Schiaffino (University of Padova)
  • 2010 SPHINX PI: Silvia Bradamante (ISTM CNR)
  • 2015 CYTOSPACE PI: Marco Vukich (KI), Alessandro Palombo (University of Roma)
  • 2015 NATO PI: Livia Visai (INSTM, University of Pavia)
  • 2015 ENDO PI: Debora Angeloni (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa)
  • 2015 SCD PI: Silvia Bradamante (ISTM CNR)



International Space Station



Price estimation

On request

Timeframe estimation

On request