The second mission under the Maleth Program, or Maleth II, by the SpaceOMIX team departed Malta on Wednesday 11 May 2022 for the Space Applications Services payload assembly and integration site.
The research team is once again led by Professor Joseph Borg of the Department of Applied Biomedical Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta. Maleth II is a follow-up experiment on the previous mission carried out last year, looking at the effects of spaceflight and microgravity of diabetic foot ulcer skin tissue samples together with the microbiome. The microbiome is a full collection of all bacteria, viruses and fungi that lives off the skin and that may turn harmful in the event of wound ulcers such as in the case of patients with diabetes mellitus type 2.
"Maleth II is expected to depart Belgium in the coming weeks to arrive at the Kennedy Space Centre for final inspection and board a SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft for the launch as part of Commercial Re-supply mission 25 (CRS25) destined for the International Space Station and will stay in orbit for around 60 days", said Prof. Borg.
"This launch is being supported once again by the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs, the Ministry for Education, together with MeDirect – Malta’s first digital Bank and Singleron Biotechnologies, Cologne, Germany. The mission is being facilitated by the Research, Innovation, Development Trust (RIDT) that will be supporting University of Malta students," Prof. Borg continued.
The Maleth II biocube will once again be remotely controlled from Malta, by Arkafort Ltd. in collaboration with Prof. Borg and can have real-time telemetry data on the running experiment on board the space station. "Alongside the human skin tissue samples, is also a yeast sample that forms part of an ongoing mini-project supported by Singleron Biotechnologies to detect at a single cell level all the genetic changes inside the yeast cells when exposed to low earth orbit conditions. The study will also support both undergraduate, and graduate students of the University of Malta to further their studies in the space biosciences field with translatability to health and life sciences", explained Prof. Borg.