Israel launches space satellite with lab to conduct scientific experiments

Dido III took off on Wednesday night on reached its destination this morning


Israel has made history by launching a satellite into space carrying a tiny laboratory in which four medical scientific experiments to test drug resistance will be conducted under conditions of micro-gravity.

Dido III, manufactured by the Israeli SpacePharma company and also involving Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre, took off on Wednesday night.

The Jerusalem Post reports that it was launched by Arianespace on the Flight VV16 mission and reached its destination in space around 4:51am on Thursday morning.

The launch will include four experiments over a two-month period in the fields of medicine, biology and chemistry, with each study being led by an Israeli and an Italian researcher. 

Israel’s Ministry of Science explained that space is an optimal environment for conducting biological and chemical experiments and that because of the special environmental conditions there bacteria develop rapid resistance to the drug.

The tiny laboratory, which is the size of a shoe box and weighs 2.3 kg, will carry a total of 53 micro- and nano-satellites from 13 different countries, covering Earth observation, telecommunications, science, technology and education.

The director of the Israeli Space Agency at the Ministry of Science and Technology, Avi Blasberger, explained that this is a "miniature satellite developed by SpacePharma, which conducts laboratory experiments in space under micro-gravity conditions."

Mr Blasberger said the system was running autonomously. "Such experiments are usually performed by astronauts, hence the importance of launching.

"Space Pharma is currently the only commercial company, except for NASA, with a space research laboratory."



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