Press release

SCORPIO-V’s Mobile SpaceLab to Study Human Biology on International Space Station (ISS)

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The Mobile SpaceLab, a fully automated, microfluidic and imaging platform will perform biological experiments on the International Space Station (ISS). SCORPIO-V, the biological sciences division of HNu Photonics, designed the tissue and cell culturing facility, which can perform biology experiments in space without the need for crew operations for as long as a month. SCORPIO-V’s team of scientists will design and execute experiments to test the effects of microgravity on neurons and will control and monitor the experiments from Earth.

On Sunday, February 9, 2020, Northrop Grumman’s 13th commercial resupply mission for NASA, a Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket, is scheduled to launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and carry the Mobile SpaceLab to the ISS.

“As the U.S. and other nations and organizations around the world expand space exploration, it has become imperative to better understand what life in space does to the human body in order to mitigate potential health risks,” SCORPIO-V Principal Investigator Caitlin O’Connell, Ph.D. remarked. “Furthermore, the neuron studies performed on the ISS with the Mobile SpaceLab hope to lend additional insights into our understanding of earth-bound age-related cognition and decline.”

Dr. O’Connell and SCORPIO-V Chief Biologist Devin Ridgley, Ph.D. will discuss the Mobile SpaceLab and mission in a NASA media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 29. Members of the media who wish to join the teleconference may request dial-in information. Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live online at:

In 2019, HNu Photonics was the first instrument builder to successfully be awarded a grant from NASA’s Space Biology Program to use the Mobile SpaceLab for its own biological experimentation during a roundtrip mission to the ISS. HNu Photonics was also previously awarded a grant from NASA to include its instrument on a Blue Origin launch and have a Space Act agreement with NASA.


SCORPIO-V is a division of space technology company HNu Photonics and based in Kahului, Hawaii.