Redwire Corporation, a provider of space infrastructure, announced that its 3D BioFabrication Facility (BFF) aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has been recognized with a Popular Science Best of What’s New Award 2023 in the Health category.
In September, Redwire announced that it had succeeded in bioprinting the first human knee meniscus in orbit using the BFF. This milestone could lead to improved treatments for meniscus injuries, one of the most common injuries among US military personnel. The successful printing of complex tissues represents a major step toward developing a repeatable microgravity manufacturing process for reliable bioprinting on a large scale.
“We are proud to be recognized by Popular Science for our groundbreaking bioprinting work happening on the ISS,” said Redwire Executive Vice President John Vellinger. “Redwire is dedicated to using BFF and other Redwire biotech facilities, such as our Pharmaceutical In-Space Laboratory (PIL) drug manufacturing payload, to leverage the unique environment of microgravity to benefit human health on Earth.”
The printed tissue was brought back to Earth for analysis on the SpaceX Crew-6 mission in July after successful printing operations. The printing was part of the BFF Meniscus-2 investigation with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center for Biotechnology (4D Bio3), a biomedical research center that explores promising biotechnologies for military applications. The research was conducted by NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Warren “Woody” Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, and United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi.
“Since 1988, Popular Science has proudly celebrated the groundbreaking innovations changing our world. The Best of What’s New Awards showcase the year’s radical ideas that are improving our everyday lives and our futures. From pioneering disease treatments to inspiring progress in space exploration, and from the electrification of the auto industry to forward-thinking gadgets, this year’s list truly represents the Best of What’s New in 2023,” said Popular Science Editor-in-Chief, Annie Colbert.
On the recent SpaceX-29 mission to the ISS, Redwire launched materials for an investigation that will bioprint heart tissue on the ISS using the award-winning BFF. This technology could be used to develop heart patches that can be applied to damaged hearts and improves the ability to print complex, thick tissues that cannot be produced on Earth.
BFF and PIL are part of Redwire’s extensive portfolio of space biotechnology and microgravity development aimed at harnessing the unique environment in space to improve life on Earth. Redwire has developed 20 research facilities for the ISS, eight of which are currently operating there to deliver world-leading research.