Thanks to the hard work of engineers at Space Tango, scientists can now grow weed in space. The startup from Lexington Kentucky will be helping scientist grow cannabis plants and its byproducts aboard the International Space Station.
The company is hoping to test the effects of the absence of gravity on growing weed and wants to see how much better strands they can produce in such an environment.
Space Tango was founded by Kris Kimel who was president of Kentucky Science and Technology corporation at that time, and former NASA engineer.
As space is extremely tight in the International Space Station, utilizing literally every inch of the area is the key. Scientists who want to conduct experiments in space have to make use of as much room they can get their hands on.
Space Tango designs a miniature “clean room” laboratory. The “lab” is the size of a microwave oven. This tiny lab should be sufficient to conduct a fair bit of experiments and to monitor the results.
Space Tango has CubeLab modules that get slotted into the bigger TangoLab containers. Corporations such as the brewing company Anheuser-Busch can barely make it to the space station. Such companies can then monitor their crops to see how they perform in zero-gravity.
Now Space Tango is taking matters into its own hands to see how weed can grow in space. Space Tango has now collaborated with two hemp and cannabis cultivation and retail companies to analyze how microgravity can produce unique hemp strands.
Space Tango wants to create unique hemp strands for medical purposes. The two companies Space Tango will be working with are Anavii Market and Atalo Holdings.
Anavii Market is an online seller of cannabis therapeutics extracted from hemp. Atalo Holdings is a hemp strand supplier. So it was a match made in heaven.
Co-founder and chairman of Space Tango Kris Kimel had this to say, “For all entrepreneurial companies in this new space area everyone is trying to hone in [sic] on what is the actual business.”
He further added, “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.”
According to Kimel, the company has installed two labs in the space station. The company sends 6 payloads annually for university and corporate consumers. Space Tango’s success comes from commercializing experiments in space.
It provides a unique experience for big corporations that want to harness the powers of farming in microgravity. This has proven to be a highly profitable industry since the costs of bringing back products from space is hefty.
For this reason, Space Tango will be focusing on producing weed in space and the manufactured weed will be used for biomedicinal purposes.
Pharmaceutical products are lightweight and do not need large volumes of raw materials to manufacture. In this way the company can increase their profit margins without sacrificing on quality.
Kimel added “That’s why biomedicine is attractive. You’re dealing with products that are incredibly high value and incredibly low weight.”
Growing weed in space is just the start of something revolutionary. We can’t wait what the future holds for this company.