International Space Station.
Credit: NASA

A Chinese experiment flown onboard the International Space Station is back in Florida, fresh from its trek into Earth orbit.

The Beijing Institute of Technology experiment is aimed at studying the effects of the space radiation environment on DNA and the changes in mutation rate. It is the first-ever Chinese experiment flown to the orbiting complex.

“Everything went according to our plan,” notes Deng Yulin, who led the Chinese experiment. “All the data sent back looks good,” Deng told China’s Xinhua news agency early this week.

The Chinese experiment was brought to the space station under an agreement with Houston-based NanoRacks, which offers services for the commercial utilization of the orbiting complex.

NanoRacks Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Manber (right) signs contract to fly Chinese experiment onboard the International Space Station.
Credit: BIT

Roundtrip stats

Tucked inside the SpaceX CRS-11 Dragon supply ship, China’s experiment was launched on June 3, later linking up with the ISS, roughly 36 hours after liftoff. ISS astronauts conducted studies using the device with data sent back to the Chinese researchers.

Dragon returned to Earth on July 3 with more than 4,000 pounds (1,860 kilograms) of cargo, including the Chinese experiment.

The 8-pound (3.5 kilogram) experiment is keyed to answer questions about space radiation and microgravity-related mutations among antibody-encoding genes and how does it happen?

The Beijing Institute of Technology NanoLab remained confined to the NanoRacks platform on the ISS – and did not interface with the station or NASA’s IT infrastructure and systems. There was no transfer of technology between NASA and China.

Space Life Science Lab (SLSL) in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Credit: Space Florida

Analyze the data

“The Beijing Institute of Technology NanoLab has been delivered to Space Life Science Lab (SLSL) in Cape Canaveral, Florida and all was nominal with the payload return,” reports Abby Dickes, Director of Marketing, Communications & Special Events for NanoRacks LLC.

Mary Murphy, NanoRacks senior Internal Payloads Manager (and the manager of the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) project) with Chinese space research team. The BIT NanoLab was officially checked out and handed over for launch at the Space Life Science Lab (SLSL) in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This handover occurred on the morning of May 31, 2017, prior to the June 3 SpaceX CRS-11 Dragon supply ship launch.
Credit: NanoRacks



The researchers from the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) are currently at the SLSL and will soon begin to analyze the data from their experiment,” Dickes told Inside Outer Space. “NanoRacks will be joining the BIT team on Sunday to commemorate the return.”

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