SSEP Mission 14 to ISS: Experiment Log

IMPORTANT NOTES

All information added or updated since this page first went up on July 10, 2019 is in GREEN TEXT below.
Information still to be determined (if any) is in RED TEXT below.
Dates and times that are subject to change at NASA’s discretion are in PURPLE TEXT below.

Last update of this page: January 12, 2021, 10:57 am ET

Quick Jump:
1. Introduction and Nomenclature for the Log
2. Pre-Launch Activities
3. Launch and Berthing
4. Flight Experiment Log, On-Orbit Operations: Mission 14 Apollo Payload
5. Undocking and Landing
6. Return of Experiments to Student Teams

 

1. Introduction and Nomenclature for the Log

This page provides student flight experiment teams a log of all activities associated with the 41 flight experiments comprising the SSEP Mission 14 Apollo payload from the time the mini-laboratories are received in Houston before the flight of SpaceX CRS-21 to the point when the mini-labs are shipped back to the flight teams after return to Earth. While this page will feature general progress reports on the status of the SSEP M14 Apollo payload, its main purpose is to provide updates to the student flight experiment teams as quickly as possible regarding the handling of their mini-labs on station, so that they can effectively conduct their ground truth experiments. Teams are advised to bookmark this page and check it for updates throughout the mission.

As per the SSEP Mission 14 to ISS: Flight Operations page:

Updates to Student Teams on the Progress of Their Experiment
The International Space Station (ISS) crew will interact with the SSEP payload at times of the day that fit best in their overall work schedule. Even though crew interactions with the experiments are to take place on pre-specified Crew Interaction Days, the time of the interaction will vary from one Crew Interaction day to the next.  After the crew has completed handling of the SSEP payload a report is sent from the ISS to mission control in Houston, the report is then forwarded to NanoRacks, who will forward the report to the SSEP flight operations team at NCESSE.  We will then post the details of the report – including the time at which the payload was handled – on this page to make the information available to all student teams as quickly as possible. The report will be posted as soon as it is received, but it may take up to 24 hours for the information from the ISS to make its way to the Log. That means, for example, that the details of an activity conducted by the astronauts on the afternoon of a specified Crew Interaction Day will be posted on the Experiment Log no later than the afternoon of the following day (and likely far sooner than that).

Conducting Your Ground Truth Experiments
Ground truth experiments – the control versions of the experiment conducted on Earth while the microgravity experiment is being conducted in orbit – are an essential part of analyzing the results of the flight experiment. Once the flight experiment returns to Earth, simultaneous harvesting and analysis of both the flight experiment and the ground truth experiment allows the research team to assess the role of gravity in the physical, chemical, or biological system under study. It is hard to imagine how the role of gravity can be determined without ground truth experiments conducted at the same time as the flight experiment.

However, given that it may take up to a day to receive a report on exactly what time a specific activity was conducted with an experiment aboard the ISS, student teams are encouraged to shift activities with their ground truth experiments by 1 day (24 hours). That will allow teams to ensure that the timing of activities they carry out on their ground truth experiments accurately reflects the timing of activities with their experiment aboard the station. This is especially important for experiments that are sensitive to exact timing. For example, if a microbiological experiment is likely to produce different results depending on whether it is active for 40 or 50 hours, the teams will want to match the exact timing of the experiment aboard the station with their ground truth experiment.

Nomenclature: The purpose of this log is to provide the student flight experiment teams information on the handling of their experiment, as well as to provide updates on the progress of the Mission. Each SSEP experiment is assigned a serial number before launch.  This serial number is used by NCESSE, NanoRacks, and NASA to identify individual SSEP experiments. For this log, the individual experiments are identified using a serial number, e.g., NRP-10009-4, S/N, together with the Community and Experiment names (see Section 4 below).

 

2. Pre-Launch Activities

Originally Projected Launch Date: August 5, 2020
SSEP Mission 14 to ISS Apollo Payload
Ferry Vehicle: SpaceX CRS-21 (SpaceX Falcon rocket with Cargo Dragon 2 spacecraft)
Launch Site: SLC-39A Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Rescheduled: to NET October 30, 2020
Rescheduled: to NET November 15, 2020
Rescheduled: to November 22, 2020
Rescheduled: to December 2, 2020
Rescheduled: to December 5, 2020 at 11:39 am ET

Rescheduled: to December 6, 2020 at 11:17 am ET

 

3. Launch and Berthing
December 6, 2020 at 11:17:08 am ET: SpaceX CRS2-21 launched, marking the first SpaceX launch under NASA’s second Commercial Resupply Services contract and the first launch to utilize its new line of upgraded space station cargo ships. 

December 7, 2020 at 1:40 pm ET: Cargo Dragon docked with the Harmony module of the International Space Station marking the first time two Dragon spaceships have been attached to the space station at the same time. 

December 8, 2020 at 4:00 am ET: Nanoracks payload boxes containing the SSEP flight mini-labs were unpacked from Crew Dragon and transferred to the ISS.  At this time refrigeration was halted for all mini-labs that requested refrigeration for the ferry leg to ISS.

 

4. Flight Experiment Log, On-Orbit Operations: Mission 14 Apollo Payload

Interactions Scheduled Prior to Flight (subject to change) CLICK ON TABLE TO ZOOM

Serial Number 1047:

Record of Reported On-Orbit Interactions

NRP-10009-1, S/N 1047 Bellevue, Washington: Effects of Microgravity on Penicillium Chrysogenum’s Ability to Inhibit Cell Wall Synthesis in Staphylococcus Epidermidis
(U-5) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-2, S/N 1047 Buckeye, Arizona: How Will Microgravity Affect the Erosion and Durability of Teeth?
(A+2) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 10 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-3, S/N 1047 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: The Effect of Microgravity on the Early Development of Brine Shrimp Eggs
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-4, S/N 1047 Hayward, Wisconsin: Fish Egg Development in Microgravity
(A=0) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/8/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  5:14 PM ET, 12/8/20
(A+2) Action: Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-14) Action: Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-5) Action: Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 90 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-5, S/N 1047 Knox County, TennesseeEffects of Microgravity on the Efficiency of Lactic Acid Fermentation in the Production of Kimchi
(U-5) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 1o seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 10 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-6, S/N 1047 Moreno Valley, California: Germination of Alfalalfa in Microgravity
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-7, S/N 1047 Pasco County, Florida: How will Microgravity Affect the Efficiency of Amoxicillin on S. Epidermidis
(U-5) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21

 

NRP-10009-8, S/N 1047 Springfield, New Jersey: Pond Microorganism Growth in Microgravity
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

Serial Number 1048:

Record of Reported On-Orbit Interactions

NRP-10009-1, S/N 1048 University of Pittsbugh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: The Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on the Immune Response of Daphnia Magna in Microgravity
(U-5) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

Serial Number 1049:

Record of Reported On-Orbit Interactions

NRP-10009-1, S/N 1049 Anne Arundel County, Maryland: How does microgravity impact the germination of thyme
(A+2) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-14) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20

 

NRP-10009-3, S/N 1049 Bethany, Oklahoma: The Effects of Microgravity on Culicidae Eggs
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-5) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21

 

NRP-10009-4, S/N 1049 Burleson, Texas: The Effects of Microgravity on Lentil Growth
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-5, S/N 1049 Corcoran, California: Red Piranha Venus Flytrap Germination in Microgravity
(A+2) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-6, S/N 1049 Enid, Oklahoma: Pinto Bean Germination Experiment
(A+2) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-7, S/N 1049 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada: The Effects of Microgravity on Activated Carbon Filtration System
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 60 seconds; Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-5) Action: Blue Clamp Closed; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21

 

NRP-10009-8, S/N 1049 Harper Woods, Michigan: The Effects of Microgravity on Tomato Seed Germination
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 45 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-9, S/N 1049 Hillsborough County, Florida: Spinach on the Station
(A+2) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds/Green Clamp Closed; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE: 12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened and Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 20 seconds; Green Clamp Closed; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20

 

Serial Number 1050:

Record of Reported On-Orbit Interactions

NRP-10009-1, S/N 1050 iForward-Grantsburg, Wisconsin:  Do killifish eggs develop and hatch in microgravity
(A=0) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/8/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  5:14 PM ET, 12/8/20
(A+2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20

 

NRP-10009-3, S/N 1050 Lumberton, Texas: Mixing of PVA Fibers with Concrete in Microgravity
(A=0) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 120 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/8/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  5:14 PM ET, 12/8/20

 

NRP-10009-5, S/N 1050 Redlands, CaliforniaMicrogravity’s Effect on the Germination and Early Growth of the Seeds of Cymbopogon citratus
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 120 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 120 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-6, S/N 1050 Sao Paulo, Brazil: The influence of microgravity on the break down of lactose and the development of bacteria in the gut flora 
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 35 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-5) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken vigorously for 35 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21

 

NRP-10009-7, S/N 1050 Shoreham, New York: Can Mung Beans germinate in microgravity? 
(A+2) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-5) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 5 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21

 

NRP-10009-8, S/N 1050 Stockton University – Galloway, New Jersey: The Effects of Nitrogen Fixation in Microgravity 
(A=0) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/8/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  5:14 PM ET, 12/8/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 15 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-9, S/N 1050 Sumter, South Carolina: The Effects of Microgravity on Artemia franciscana’s Growth Rate
(A=0) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 30 seconds/Wait 90 seconds before returning to stowage; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/8/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  5:14 PM ET, 12/8/20
(A+2) Action: Shaken gently for 30 seconds/Wait 90 seconds before returning to stowage; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/10/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE: 12:33 AM ET, 12/11/20
(U-14) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 60 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20

 

Serial Number 1051:

Record of Reported On-Orbit Interactions

NRP-10009-1, S/N 1051 University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Effects of Microgravity on the Oxidation of 3-D Printed Aluminum with Unique Topography
(A=0) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 10 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/8/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  5:14 PM ET, 12/8/20
(U-14) Action: Shaken gently for 10 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 20 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

NRP-10009-2, S/N 1051 Westford, Massachussetts:  How does Brassica napus (rapeseed) Germinate in Microgravity?
(U-14) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:20 AM ET, 12/28/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  12:02 PM ET, 12/28/20
(U-5) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 30 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  10:50 AM ET, 1/6/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  6:45 PM ET, 1/6/21

 

NRP-10009-3, S/N 1051 Winfield, Alabama: What are the Effects of Microgravity on the Germination of Aloe barbadensis Seeds?
(A=0) Action: Green Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 90 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  9:00 AM ET, 12/8/20; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  5:14 PM ET, 12/8/20
(U-2) Action: Blue Clamp Opened/Shaken gently for 20 seconds; When Action Occurred on ISS:  6:55 AM ET, 1/9/21; Time NanoRacks Notified NCESSE:  3:55 PM ET, 1/9/21

 

Images of Payload Box in Cupola of ISS with one of the SSEP Mission 14 Official Mission Patches

 

 

5. Undocking and Landing

January 9, 2021: SSEP Experiment Payload boxes were packed and returned to Cargo Dragon in preparation for undock and return to Earth scheduled for January 11, 2021.

January 11, 2021: The undock and return to Earth of Cargo Dragon was delayed today due to weather conditions off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida.  

January 12, 2021: SpaceX Cargo Dragon undocked from the ISS at 9:05 am today.  Dragon undocked from the International Docking Adapter on the ISS’s space-facing port of the Harmony module, marking the first undocking of a U.S. commercial cargo craft from this complex.  Previously Dragon was attached and removed from the ISS using the robotic Canadarm2. For ~36 hours  Dragon will fire its thrusters to move a safe distance from the ISS before conducting a deorbit burn on Wednesday, January 13th at 7:37 pm to begin reentry.  Splash down off the coast of Florida is anticipated for ~8:27 pm.

 

6. Return of Experiments to Student Teams

Nanoracks anticipates return shipping to communities to occur on Thursday, January 14, 2021.  

 

 


The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with Dream Up, PBC and NanoRacks LLC, working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, International Space Station National Laboratory – managed by Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS)Subaru of America, Inc., and Magellan Aerospace are National Partners on the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.