05 Dec LAUNCHED: KIRARA protein crystallisation mission SpX-19
The first Kirara protein crystallisation service mission successfully launched with SpX CRS-19 on 05-Dec. This launch is the culmination of collaboration between the Japan Manned Space Systems Corp. (JAMSS) with Confocal Science and ICE Cubes.
What is the Kirara mission and service?
Kirara is a full end-to-end space protein crystallization mission service. The Kirara proteins incubator will be maintained and operated through ICE Cubes on the ISS. The launch will take place on December 4, 2019 on Space-X Dragon. The Kirara incubator cube will be installed in the ICE Cubes facility on ISS.
The Kirara service is an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies by providing full end-to-end space protein crystallization missions. Due to the microgravity on ISS, the formation of the protein is different than on earth: “Space is an excellent environment to study complex, three-dimensional proteins, because gravity and convective forces do not get in the way of crystal formation, which allows creation of larger and more perfect crystals. With large crystals, scientists on the ground can use X-ray crystallography to determine how the protein is organized. Determining protein structures helps researchers design new drugs” (Source)
During this first Kirara demonstration mission, 7 Asian and European companies ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to small startups are bringing their proteins on-board for crystallisation under space conditions.