The final flight of the U.S. Space Shuttle program is carrying a scientific research project from Kentucky.
The shuttle launched today with a medical experiment organized by the Kentucky Space consortium. The project tests how malignant brain cancer cells behave in low gravity. Kentucky Space president Kris Kimel (chris kimmel) says the research is part of a larger project studying various diseases in space.
“Understanding in a deep way some of these reactions, what they are, how things are restructured in space could lead to some breakthrough new thinking for cures for some of these conditions,” he says.
Kentucky Space has sent several experiments to the International Space Station prior to this one. Kimel says the end of the shuttle program will not significantly affect the organization’s research, as unmanned, private and foreign space flights will continue regularly.
Also, three companies with operations in Louisville released a statement celebrating the launch. The companies produced rubber and chemicals used in the manufacture of the shuttle’s booster rockets.