Marijuana heads into space for science

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Ground Control to Major Tom: Marijuana will be taken to the International Space Station to further research

Thanks to a small company out of Kentucky, marijuana is reaching new heights – literally. In order to conduct a number of pharmaceutical studies of cannabis, Lexington, KY-based Space Tango is preparing to send marijuana to the International Space Station (ISS).

Space Tango has designed a “clean room” lab, the CubeLab, a box the size of a microwave. The CubeLab fits into a slot in the company’s larger TangoLab containers, which have already been used by companies such as Anheuser-Busch to test how barley reacts in a near-zero gravity environment. CubeLabs are about to be used to send cannabis into outer space to conduct the same type of studies.

Kris Kimel, co-founder and chairman of Space Tango, said, “For all entrepreneurial companies in this new space area everyone is trying to hone in on what is the actual business. We’re trying to figure out here what’s the business now… For us, the model is looking at low earth orbit to actually develop and design applications for life on earth.”

Kimel indicates that the company already has two MicroLabs installed on the ISS and that it launches payloads to the station about six times a year. He added, “Each time a new type of physics platform has been successfully harnessed such as electromagnetism, it has led to the exponential growth of new knowledge, benefits to humankind and capital formation. Using microgravity, we envision a future where many of the next breakthroughs in healthcare, plant biology and technology may well occur off the planet Earth.”