Space Qualified Hardware


Microencapsulation Processing System (MEPS)

The Microencapsulation Processing System (MEPS) facility is an automated system used to form liquid-filled micro-balloons that contain medicines for drug delivery to affected organs.

The characteristics of microcapsules formed in microgravity show promise in medical treatment for several diseases, including resistant infections, blood clots, and chemotherapy of vascular tumors. The MEPS system permits a wide range of experiments to be conducted using variables such as (1) variable volumetric proportions of up to six chemical constituents for microcapsule formation, (2) variable rates and bi-directional fluids transfer between six reservoirs and two main chambers, (3) optical parameters for microscopic observation and video recording of capsules, (4) application of variable electrical fields to the mixed liquids, and (5) ability to select porosity of filters or membranes separating the two main chambers. Pressure and temperature measurements of the liquids are provided during the process.

Japanese astronaut Dr. Chiaki Mukai activating the MEPS payload in orbit on STS-95.

The MEPS hardware flew onboard STS-95, where it was operated by Sen. John Glenn and Chiaki Mukai. ITA has a contract with NASA JSC to build, upgrade and fly this hardware. We are now in Phase 2,where we are upgrading it for flight on the International Space Station.

The system is designed to fit within a mid-deck locker and consists of the following modules:


Engineering Specifications:

Dimensions: 43.9 cm x 25.4cm x 49.8 cm
Volume: 55.5 liters
Weight: 30 kg
Power: 108 watts
Data Yield: 5 - 20 ml of microcapsules/liquid
Typical Shuttle (piggyback) payload: - 1 complete MEPS unit plus one additional processing chamber, to obtain multiple data points
Flight history: STS-95 October, 1998


ITA continues to adapt its equipment and develop new hardware based upon customer requirements and needs.


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