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We designed, built, tested, space-qualified, launched, and downlinked bioanalytical data from a fully autonomous free-flying space satellite that supports microorganism growth in multiple fluidic wells and monitors gene expression via fluorescence. GeneSat-1 (total mass: 4.4 kg) includes solar cells, integrated spacecraft "bus" module (power/batteries/control/bi-directional communications), and an insulated pressure vessel housing the biofluidic, optical, thermal, and sensor subsystems. Data were obtained over ~ 100 hr following nutrient introduction that re-animated two strains of E. coli, with culture growth tracked via light scattering and green fluorescent protein expression monitored in each of nine bacteria-containing fluidic wells. Stability of temperature, pressure, and relative humidity were monitored by multiple sensors, as were radiation events and acceleration in three axes. Data were telemetered to Earth over the course of several weeks during and after the biological growth-and-analysis process.
Date of Conference: 10-14 June 2007