Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Biological Engineering


There are several physiological barriers to long-term space travel, including the effects of launch, landing, and microgravity on muscle cells. A payload capsule was designed to maintain cell growth during a high altitude balloon flight to model some of these physiological processes. Murine muscle cells (strain C2C12) were cultured and launched in a capsule on a balloon satellite in November 2016. Cells were monitored for changes due to temperature, flight motion, radiation, and gravity differences by quantifying cell characteristics before and after the flight using physical measurements and cell viability. Instruments were selected to monitor flight data, and a payload capsule was designed for cell survival by maintaining a constant temperature of 37°C and redistributing impact forces.



Faculty Mentor

Elizabeth Vargis

Departmental Honors Advisor

V. Dean Adams