Micro Bioreactors

Since 1975, RUAG Space Nyon has been involved in space mechanisms developments and particularly in miniaturized bioreactors for space microgravity experiments. Project leader of the first space MEMS system ever flown, RUAG Space Nyon is able to manufacture fully autonomous devices.

Fluid handling, O2, CO2, PH, temperature sensing and control capabilities in very small reaction chambers allow long term cultivation and experimentation of yeast, animal or vegetal cells.


  • IML-2: This type of bioreactor allows the investigation of the effects of stirring and mixing on biological parameters such as growth rate, cell morphology, ultrastructure and metabolism on cells under microgravity conditions.
  • ISTRES (Yeast cells: STRESs under microgravity): Objective of YSTRES was to investigate the stress response of yeast cells under microgravity conditions. This type of bioreactor flew three times on STS missions.
  • SUSPENSION CULTURE EXPERIMENTS:The project ‘’Space Bioreactor Technology for Suspension’’ leads to the development and testing of a bioreactor to allow cultivation of suspended cells ranging from bacteria to animal cells.
  • GBS (Gradient Bio Reactor): The Gradient Bioreactor System consists of a small cultivation chamber for mammalian cells in which a concentration gradient can be built up.

Ongoing developments

  • PADIAC (Pathway Different Activators) consists in the activation of pure human T-cells by the adjunction of various activators. The reactions (cell activity) will be stopped at preset intervals (from 2 up to 24 hours) by addition of fixative solution.
  • SACESTRE (SACcharomyces CErevisiae STREss) has for objective to investigate the capacity of the cells to correctly respond to stress factors in space conditions (which might be a stress itself) and to gather information about possible changes in signalling processes in altered gravity.
  • SPHEROIDS aims to determine the effects of microgravity on endothelial cell function, their program of differentiation and apoptosis and to explore possibilities of blood vessel construction.