Startup Varda Space Industries has successfully launched its first satellite for drug manufacturing in space. The satellite will enable testing of substances under zero gravity conditions.
The spacecraft was deployed into orbit by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. It will remain at an altitude of approximately 1,000 kilometers for about a month before altering its trajectory and returning to Earth.
The Varda capsule will conduct commercially relevant tests on an old HIV/AIDS drug, subjecting it to heating and cooling cycles to study differences in its crystalline structure when crystals are grown in space. Scientists explain that in space, it is possible to obtain substances that are difficult to create on Earth due to the presence of gravity.
In the absence of planetary gravity, particles in liquids do not clump together and rise to the surface or sink to the bottom, thus increasing the shelf life of medications and even more. If all goes to plan, Varda plans to launch a second mission scheduled for later this year.