SpaceX has partnered with it to advance microgravity research by donating space on its Dragon capsule to ferry the winning competitive proposal in a $25,000 competition called the Heinlein Prize. Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and CTO has said that ‘DragonLab’ missions will start in 2010 for this purpose. According to the Heinlein Prize:
In space, there is no gravity-induced convection, sedimentation, hydrodynamic shear force, hydrostatic pressure, or mass transfer.... Experiments in microgravity can reveal novel mechanisms fundamental to cell processes, disease processes, and the adaptation of living systems to changes in physical forces, it said.
Labflight.com has more. Proposals from U.S. Universities and non-profits with industry partners are due on March 20, 2009.
The maiden flight of SpaceX's Falcon-9 vehicle, which will hoist Dragon, is set for later this year from Florida.