The University of Florida team led by Dr. Robert Ferl and Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul planned to conduct research flights to assess biological responses to novel and challenging flight profiles that provide training for and simulation of suborbital flights. Petri plates of Arabidopsis will be carried in specially constructed hardware packages and installed in both the pressurized and unpressurized compartments of the F-104. In conjunction, research flyers will use Kennedy Space Center Fixation Tubes (KFTs) to biochemically stabilize samples in the cockpit during various portions of the flights.
KFTs have been used on the Space Shuttles and on the ISS and are being assessed for suborbital applications. The flights will also be utilized to assess various development pathways for University of Florida biological imaging hardware for in-flight real-time collection of fluorescent and thermal images of plants and other biological samples, and to further payload readiness for upcoming suborbital flight campaigns.”