LOUISVILLE — Aerospace manufacturer Sierra Space Corp. and Florida-based Redwire Corp. (NYSE: RDW) are teaming up to build a platform for commercial pharmaceutical and biotech research and development and manufacturing in low-Earth orbit.
“Redwire is delivering state-of-the-art, flight-proven biotechnology and manufacturing technologies that will be integrated into Sierra Space’s Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) habitat platform, making them available to customers and enabling commercial breakthroughs for pharmaceutical drug development and human health research,” the companies said in a news release.
SSC’s LIFE platform is set for a full-scale test this fall in advance of a future launch.
“The most significant industrial revolution is underway in space, as we build the first microgravity factories that will benefit humanity with breakthrough innovations and solutions to our toughest problems here on Earth,” Sierra Space CEO Tom Vice said in the release. “In Redwire, we have a partner that has a proven history of innovation across in-space manufacturing and biotech facilities. Together we will enable discoveries in human healthcare, biopharma and across the widest range of the industrials sector as we extend research facilities and factories off-world in the Orbital Age.”
For the biotech platform, Redwire will provide “a suite of space hardware and ground-based equipment, including biotechnology for large molecule crystallization for pharmaceutical structure determination and formulation, thermally conditioned stowage lockers, manufacturing facilities for industrial crystals, and a gradient-temperature furnace,” the release said.
Redwire has a Boulder County connection. In 2020, the company, which at the time was recently formed, acquired Roccor LLC, a Longmont-based aerospace technology and small satellite maker.
The partnership with Redwire appears to solidify SSC’s commitment to advancing life-sciences activity in space.
A few weeks ago, Sierra and BioServe Space Technologies, a research center at the University of Colorado Boulder, launched a partnership to conduct an experiment aimed at growing stem cells in space.
The investigation seeks to “grow hematopoietic stem cells in microgravity to better help patients on Earth undergoing treatment for blood cancer,” SSC said in a news release in early August. “… For the in-space experiment, Sierra Space, BioServe and the study team sent stem cell samples from multiple umbilical cord blood donors to look for beneficial differences during the cell growth experiment.”