The express road to your discovery

What is Bioreactor Express?

Bioreactor Express is a service which aims to establish an “express” way to perform scientific and/or technological experiments on board the International Space Station (ISS). It exploits the KUBIK incubator facility of the European Space Agency (ESA) which is permanently installed on the Columbus module of the ISS. With this approach several categories of experiments can be performed using available miniaturized “bioreactors” dedicated to biological, biotechnological and biochemistry experiments. A wider typology of experiments (plant physiology, food production, material science, fluid science, educational, etc.) can also be supported inside KUBIK.

On 23 July 2018, ESA and Kayser Italia entered in the pilot phase for the commercial exploitation the ESA KUBIK facility.

KUBIK based

KUBIK is a small controlled-temperature incubator (volume of the thermal chamber around nine litres) used to perform biological experiments in space. Starting from 2019, KUBIK will be improved by adding data and command communication capabilities, making it a more versatile facility to the final user.

KUBIK allows experiments to operate in the range of 6°C to 38°C, and can accommodate up to 32 standard experiment containers (less in case of extended size containers). A centrifuge with settable gravity level between 0.2g to 2g is available inside the facility.

Until the partnership agreement between ESA and Kayser Italia is not defined, other incubator facilities are available to support the Bioreactor Express service.



Several types of bioreactors (also called Experiment Units or EU) and Experiment Containers have been developed by Kayser Italia in support to investigations of biological systems inside the KUBIK incubator. EUs reduce a laboratory into a hand-sized electromechanical device that allows the autonomous execution of a scientific protocol, being designed to contain the cell culture and all the chemicals (culture medium, wash buffers, fixatives, etc.) required by the experiment. These bioreactors have supported investigations in space on a variety of biological models: human and animal cells and tissues (immune cells, muscle and bone cells, mesenchymal cells, hematopoietic stem cells, breast cancer cells, endothelial cells, retinal epithelial cells), yeast, bacteria, algae, small animals (tardigrades, scorpions, Xenopus laevis, Caenorhabditis elegans and rotifers) and plants (carrot seeds and Arabidopsis thaliana).

Integrated services

Incubation of scientific ideas and grant opportunities

We encourage the incubation and development of your scientific ideas, and support you in the discovery of grant opportunities. Moreover, we will help in fostering collaborations with scientific partners among research centers and university

Feasibility assessment

We evaluate the feasibility of your experiment by analysing your science goals, the experiment scientific requirements and tailor them in order to achieve a successful space experiment

Selection of experiment hardware

We define the bioreactor and the experiment container that will support your experiment during the space flight and in ground control experiments

Training and experiment fine tuning

We train you in order to ensure the proper integration of your sample into the Experiment Hardware, and synergistically work with you during the experiment fine tuning phases of your project

Experiment Simulation Test

We plan and perform with you the Experiment Simulation Test, a rehearsal of the mission at the launch site simulating the experiment integration, in-orbit incubation and stowage phases. A dedicated laboratory is available at our premises

Mission logistic support

We take care of the transportation of the experiment at controlled temperature to the launch site and back from the landing site, to your laboratory

Integration at launch site

We work back to back with you during the integration of your experiment at the launch site, from the arrival in the laboratories to the turnover of the integrated hardware to the launch authority

Transfer to ISS and return

A fleet of dedicated temperature-controlled transportation containers are available for every customer’s need

On orbit operations

Our experiment hardware is very easy to operate by the crew. Astronaut operations on Kubik are driven by our standard procedure and supported by our operators on ground

Ground control

We will follow and support on orbit operations for your experiment through our Payload Operations Control Center

Data and samples delivery to science team

We deliver mission profile data and the experiment in your laboratory, and we support you during sample retrieval

Scientific dissemination

We also support you during scientific dissemination at conferences and publication of your results, if needed

Upcoming events

Kayser Italia will attend the Space for Inspiration international conference as Exhibitor presenting Bioreactor


Bioreactor express will be presented at the 6th workshop of the Italian astrobiology society, a conference that brings together scientists with a wide background on astrobiology and exobiology.


The Bioreactor Express initiative has been officially launched at the ISS R&D 2018 conference.