Skip to main content

Successful Launch of Rodent Research-IV Project to Space

Years of intense research, rescheduled dates and much preparation led to the successful launch of SpaceX CRS 10 at 9:39 am EST on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017 from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Rodent Research-IV (RR-IV) mission is a collaborative research project between the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (PI, Rasha Hammamieh, PhD) and Indiana University School of Medicine (PI, Melissa Kacena, PhD, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery). Several other faculty members assisting Dr. Kacena with this project include Todd McKinley, MD; Marta Alvarez, DDS, PhD; and Liming Zhao, MD, of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, as well as Tien-Min Gabriel Chu, DDS, PhD of Indiana University School of Dentistry. The primary goal of this research project is to translate new discoveries in bone regeneration for osteoporosis, fracture healing and other bone disorders.

This unique research and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was one where Indiana University School of Medicine sent a team of 18 members down to Florida to support the preparations for launch. In addition to Dr. Kacena, the team was comprised of two additional faculty members, three postdoctoral fellow, one orthopaedic resident, five medical students, one PhD student, one staff member and four undergraduate students.  All of the team members were vitally important for the successful launch of this project aboard SpaceX CRS 10. The launch was documented in various forms of media, including television, print media and social media.  For more information about Bone Healing in Space, please visit

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Carl Pinkham