Aquatic Research Facility (ARF 1)
ARF was an aquatic research facility for life science experiments in microgravity. Designed and built by MPB, for the Canadian Space Agency and NASA, it fit in a mid-deck locker of the Space Shuttle.
ARF opened up suitcase-style and held 6 small containers that housed two miniature aquariums in each half. When closed, the facility provided controlled light, temperature, and video imaging.
During the experiments, one carousel stayed still, while the other rotated 86 times a minute. This unique design allowed for both zero-g (space) and simulated one-g (earth) environments at the same time. On ground, a twin ARF replicated the sequence, providing two more control groups.
The Aquatic Research Facility (ARF 1) was first launched with STS 77 Space Shuttle in May 1996. On this mission, the three experiments carried out were on early embryonic development, ocean ecology, and bone calcium loss.
A joint CSA/NASA project, both agencies shared the results of the experiments carried out on ARF.