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Russia to deliver 3D-bioprinter to orbital outpost in next space launch

The initial plans to deliver the bioprinter’s first copy failed after the aborted launch of the Soyuz-FG booster

MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. A copy of the Organ-Avt bioprinter devised to grow living tissue will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) during the next launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the press office of Invitro, the project’s investor, told TASS on Wednesday.

The plans to deliver the bioprinter’s first copy failed after the aborted launch of the Soyuz-FG booster from the Baikonur spaceport on October 11. The magnetic 3D-bioprinter is devised to grow living tissues and eventually organs and it can also be used to study the influence of outer space conditions on living organisms during lengthy flights.

The experiment has been devised by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, a bio-technical research laboratory, which is a Russian start-up and a subsidiary of Invitro company.

The bioprinter’s second copy "will fly to orbit as soon as new launches are announced," the company’s press office said.

The experiment will be carried out either by the next space crew that will arrive at the ISS or by cosmonaut Sergei Prokopyev who is currently working on the orbital outpost. For this purpose, he will have to undergo remote training.

"We are working out a detailed action plan together with Energia Space Rocket Corporation and Roscosmos [Russia’s State Space Corporation]. Already now the crew staying on the ISS has confirmed its readiness to participate in distance training to learn to operate the bioprinter. In the near future, we will adapt the experiment’s cyclogram for a flight aboard a Progress resupply ship to be ready to deliver the bioprinter both aboard the next Soyuz and the Progress space vehicle. The appropriate decision will later be made in Roscosmos," said Yusef Khesuani, managing partner of 3D Bioprinting Solutions that has devised the bioprinter.

As Invitro said, the experiment’s cyclogram will be adjusted, if a Progress space vehicle is used because the faulty Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft was launched using a shortened delivery scheme stipulating its docking with the ISS already six hours after the blastoff. Soyuz spacecraft Commander Alexei Ovchinin was due to have carried out the experiment after docking with the orbital outpost.

The degree of damage done to the bioprinter’s first copy will be determined in several days, after the completion of the work to inspect the habitation module of the Soyuz MS-10 where it stayed.

The Invitro press office rejected media reports that the bioprinter had burnt out in the atmosphere.