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BioSentinel is a 6U (10 x 20 x 30 cm) cubesat mission designed to study these effect of radiation on organisms in deep space. The mission uses two strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the model organisms to understand how high-energy radiation can damage DNA. One of the strains repairs DNA damage much better than the other. Once the cubesat is outside of Earth's protective magnetosphere and in interplanetary space the yeast will be triggered to grow and their metabolic activity will be tracked.

The payload consists of 18 microfluidic cards. Each card has 16 wells to hold yeast, a printedcircuit board holding 3 colors of LED lights, a strip heater, and a printed circuit board containing light snsors. Another sensor tracks the radiation environment at the spacecraft. The growth and metabolic activity of the yeast is optically monitored over time.

BioSentinel launched as a secondary payload on the Artemis 1 mission on 16 November 2022. It was deployed on a lunar fly-by trajectory and into a heliocentric orbit for an 18-month study. BioSentinel is the first interplanetary satellite to study the biological response to space radiation outside low Earth orbit in almost 50 years.

Alternate Names

    Facts in Brief

    Launch Date: 2022-11-16
    Launch Vehicle: SLS Block 1 Crew
    Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
    Mass: 13 kg

    Funding Agency

    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (United States)


    • Life Science

    Additional Information

    Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

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