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 HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- An experiment built by The Boeing Company was successfully launched into space today aboard a Russian Progress space capsule.
 The compact flight equipment package is carrying proprietary materials provided by commercial interest to be crystallized in space. The package is capable of carrying many crystallization specimens into orbit.
 The capsule will rendezvous with the Russian Mir space station on Thursday, Oct. 14. Once on board, cosmonauts will set up and conduct the experiments. When the experiments are completed in mid-November, the equipment will be returned to Earth using the unmanned Russian Raduga (Rainbow) capsule. Boeing will turn over the space crystals to its commercial collaborators for analysis in future research.
 The flight experiment is part of an agreement with the Russian space concern NPO-Energia to conduct work pertaining to pharmaceutical research aboard the Mir space station. Boeing will use the Russian space facility, and Russian cosmonauts, to perform a battery of microgravity experiments which are intended to benefit American scientists working to develop advanced medicines.
 "There is a significant un-met demand among scientists in the United States to conduct long-term microgravity research campaigns such as can only be performed on a space station," said Dr. Harvey J. Willenberg, project manager for Boeing.
 "During this pathfinding effort with NPO-Energia, we hope to demonstrate the future commercial feasibility of such research while gaining experience in operating long-duration, human-tended science projects aboard a space station," Willenberg said.
 The objective of the Boeing/NPO-Energia experiments is to grow in the relative weightlessness of space very uniform, large protein crystals and prove that they can be returned to earth intact for medical researchers on the ground. Such crystals are important in the design of advanced medicines, but have proven difficult and time-consuming to grow and analyze on Earth. This experiment will prove the viability of rapid return methods yielding quick, reliable and frequent resupply of crystals.
 NPO-Energia installed the experiment package in the Progress space capsule, and it was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome using a Soyuz rocket shortly after midnight Moscow time.
 Boeing and NPO-Energia agreed to the venture during meetings in Seattle in March of this year. Flight hardware for the experiments was designed, manufactured, tested and approved for flight in less than six months by a small group of Boeing engineers in Huntsville. The terms of the agreements between Boeing and NPO-Energia, and between Boeing and its U.S. collaborators were not announced.
 "This is an exciting venture for us, and part of a blossoming relationship with the Russian community," said Richard Grant, vice- president of business development for the Missiles & Space Division of the Boeing Defense & Space Group.
 "We've had the chance to work closely with NPO-Energia on a number of initiatives, as well as with the NIICHIMMASH organization, for almost two years. They have impressive technical capability, a tireless work ethic, and refreshing enthusiasm for the business," Grant said. "It's our hope that this venture will grow into a mutually rewarding, long- term relationship.
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 /CONTACT: Jim Keller of Boeing Company, 205-461-2805/

CO: The Boeing Company ST: Alabama IN: ARO SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 12, 1993

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