DARPA Program Seeks to Advance Space-Based Bioproduction Study

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a program to investigate basic research questions that are key to the development of biomanufacturing capabilities in space.

The Biomanufacturing: Survival, Utility and Reliability beyond Earth (B-SURE) program will gather information on the optimization of microbial growth in variable gravities, microbial use of alternative feedstocks in space and strategies for mitigating the identified effects of galactic cosmic radiation on bioproduction and microbial growth, DARPA said in a Nov. 22nd news release.

“The B-SURE program is a fundamental study that will explore adapting microbes to space conditions. As a proof of concept, the microbes will produce reporter molecules with the hope that eventually this technology will enable in-space production of molecules relevant to space flight,” said Anne Cheever, B-SURE program manager.

B-SURE is an 18-month initiative composed of three tracks: alternative feedstock utilization, variable gravity and variable radiation.

DARPA is set to hold a Proposers’ Day for the B-SURE program on Monday, Nov. 29th, and will accept proposal abstracts through Dec. 9th. Full proposals are due Jan. 25th, according to the broad agency announcement.

The agency eyes multiple awards for the program that could be in the form of a procurement contract, cooperative agreement or other transaction agreement.

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