The International Space Station
Science & Exploration

What we do

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Human and Robotic Exploration / Business

You want to perform an R&D experiment or a technology demonstration on the International Space Station (ISS)? The European Space Agency provides access to the ISS and other low gravity platforms to commercial customers and supports them in implementing their R&D and technology demonstration.

The ISS offers sophisticated research facilities, a crew of trained astronauts, regular access by both manned and unmanned spacecraft and an intellectual property regime tailored to the needs of commercial customers.

International Space Station 20 August 2001
International Space Station 20 August 2001

Thanks to the ISS, private customers can finally carry out their own R&D in conditions of weightlessness, or can expose their innovations to the harsh conditions of outer space.

We, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Business Development Office stand ready to help you to make the most of this extraordinary opportunity. Our goal is to support you developing your research or application question into an experiment on the ISS. To realise this, we provide access to scientific expertise if requested, and offer a rich set of services and attractive conditions.

Please take a minute to discover some of the projects that earier clients are already pursuing on board the ISS. You may have a similar need. Or you may have thought of something totally new. If it can be done, we'll help you do it.

Applied research and development

The ISS offers laboratories tailored to carry out cutting-edge research and application in biology, physiology, physics, material sciences and much more. This includes:

  • Biotechnology and biomedical research
    e.g. tissue growth, protein crystallisation
  • Health
    e.g. research into osteoporosis, crew health monitoring devices
  • Process innovation
    e.g. combustion processes with possible applications in the energy and automotive industry
  • New materials
    e.g. metallic foams

Technology demonstration

Space is a unique environment for product testing. Lack of gravity, vacuum, exposure to radiations, large fluctuations in temperatures, and strict mass and safety constraints all encourage industries to continuously improve their technology - with direct benefits for customers on Earth.

Education and educational sponsorship

Increasingly, Europe's economic success depends on a large, educated, scientifically literate workforce. Yet across Europe, enrolment in science courses is dropping.

The ISS lets you claim science back from the dry dust of formulas on a blackboard. Step into a classroom connected to the ISS and feel the wonder of young minds absorbing the majestic glory of science, broadcast from the place beyond the sky.

By its very nature, the ISS illustrates fundamental principles of physics, chemistry, biology and geography. It is science coming off its ivory tower and saying, "Hi, I'm your friend, and I want to grow with you".

Educators and educational institutions are already working with the ISS to boost their pupil's scientific literacy. Join them to see what the ISS can do for your science programmes.

The educational potential of the ISS is also ideal for companies wishing to associate their brands with youth related initiatives. Design your own programme, or sponsor an existing one – and reap the reputational benefits.

Showcasing your most innovative products
Showcasing your most innovative products

Commercial infrastructures and services

The ISS offers a range of dedicated internal laboratories and external mounting sites that can be used to add new infrastructures and services.

Medical equipment, scientific instruments, and devices for environmental monitoring, meteorological observations or navigation services can all be added to the Station on a commercial basis – showcasing your most innovative products to your most discerning customers.