Biotechnological research on ISS Russian Segment

SMEK Experiment

Experiment SMEK forms part of the scientific research program performed by Brazilian Astronaut Marcos C. Pontes (BSA) on the Russian Segment of the ISS in the frame of CENTENARIO Brazilian Soyuz Mission Project. The Brazilian Space Agency is a customer of the preparation and implementation of the research program.


To study the effect of microgravity on kinetic parameters of enzymatic reactions. To study differences in the hydrolysis of sucrose in cerevisiae cells of saccharomycetes.


Measurement of the enzymatic reaction activity by the example of three enzymes (invertase, lipase and immobilized lipase).

Science Hardware Used:

In design experimental equipment is implemented as a unit consisting of two parts: "Unit of MEK chambers" and "MEK electronic board" connected by a cable.

The MEK experimental equipment includes:

  • The unit of MEK chambers (with a set of cables).

The unit of MEK chambers houses three blocks isolated from each other and filled with experimental enzymes. Each experimental block accommodates 5 chambers with enzymes.
The first experimental block houses 5 chambers with lipase.
The second block accommodates 5 chambers with immobilized (in silicon) lipase. The third block contains 5 chambers with invertase (of bakers yeast).
Each ampoule is filled with olive oil of different concentration in water emulsion of polyvinyl alcohol in the range from 100 to 500 millimoles.

  • The MEK electronic board is a control unit as a plug-in system board on which all information on the experiment progress is recorded.
  • The MEK return container.

Experiment Results:

Exposed samples of three enzymes (invertase, lipase and immobilized lipase) in microgravity conditions and information recorded on the system board.

ISS Crew

Hoshide  AkihikoHoshide

leg Novitskiy Novitskiy

Petr Dubrov Dubrov

Mark Vande Hei Vande Hei

Robert Shane

Megan McArthur McArthur