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STAC: The Interstellar Microgravity Experiment

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
46 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on October 31, at 11:59 PM PDT
Project Owners

Space Technology At Cal: The Interstellar Microgravity Experiment

About STAC:

Space Technologies at Cal (STAC) is a student engineering organization of 80+ highly driven University of California, Berkeley undergraduate and postgraduate students focused on developing innovative space technologies and research. We are creating a collaborative student space platform incorporating multiple research labs and industry partners to enable research projects such as modular High Altitude Balloons, biological Microgravity Experiments, Quantum CubeSats, and more. 

As student researchers, engineers, and designers, we aim to push the frontier of space innovation with each of our projects in order to bring humanity incrementally closer to being an interplanetary society. With three previous High Altitude Balloon launches, a previous Microgravity Experiment launch with Blue Origin in early 2019, and phenomenal Space Tech Symposiums at Berkeley, we have a lot of space experience under our belt.

We are eager to advance our efforts even further in 2021 with a planned CubeSat launch sponsored by NASA, multiple High altitude balloon launches, and the upcoming launch of TIMEII! We are excited to share with you how we are achieving our mission, and look forward to having you onboard!

The Interstellar Microgravity Experiment (TIME II)

The Time II project began by building upon the initial TIME I project aimed at examining the development of C. elegans in space and a laser ablation experiment. After the launch of that project, we strove to adapt and improve the existing payload structure for more in depth-biological research. Though large-scale biological experimentation has been conducted in space, we hope to test the ability to run space biology experiments with smaller, autonomous payloads. Previous experiments on the International Space Station show increased antibiotic resistance in E. coli. We hope to confirm and expand on these findings with our project. By characterizing the gene expression of E. coli during spaceflight, we hope to learn how bacteria increase their antibiotic resistance and attempt to find a solution to mitigate the risk astronaut health posed by ineffective medicine during long-duration spaceflight. 

Beyond the immediate scientific results, our project will serve as a proof of concept that this level of biological research can be done on similarly accessible payload types as well as show that the modular payload design successfully allows for a variety of experiments to be run in one payload framework. 

Our research team currently provides hands-on education for a cadre of undergraduate students aspiring to make an impact in space biology. The proposed project demonstrates the ability of a student-led research initiative (STAC) to tackle a pressing biomedical problem, in our specific case, the issue of global antibiotic resistance. 

The funding raised will go towards supporting our launch with the additional fees related to biological experimentation.


ItemEstimated Cost (USD)Justification
Carbon Fiber Square Tubing (3 m)
To create a lightweight, rigid chassis to encase the plates with experiments.
3D Printed Parts SLA (Chassis) + Resin$20
To connect all of the necessary pieces together to form the chassis.
$10To seal and secure all needed components together.
3D Printed Parts SLA (Plates) + Resin
$150 ($6 per plate)To create the geometries and plates needed to host the experiments. Enough for flight + 2 scrubs and ground control.
Design Equipment (servo motors, wiring, droppers, syringes, epoxy/fasteners)

$100To control the release of E. coli.
Top Semi-Permeable Membrane
$20To create the first layer of containment needed for the experiment and allow for oxygen to reach the E. coli.
$24To power the electronics needed to conduct the experiment.
$50 ($10 each x5 plates)To maintain the necessary temperature for the E. coli for the experiments.
RNA Later
$340To be used as a measure of the efficacy of antibiotics under microgravity.
Antibiotics (Gentamicin)$63.50The antibiotic chosen to be tested under microgravity.
E. coli$60The bacteria chosen to be tested under microgravity.
Sequencing$11,000Post flight RNA analysis for ground and flight samples.
Flight Base Cost
$8,000To provide the needed microgravity environment for the experiment.
Late Drop Off for Launch
$5,000To ensure the E. coli is in the correct phase, log phase, for when the experiment takes place.
Biological Experimentation Risk Cost for Flight
$5,000 - $10,000Blue Origin’s fees associated with biological experiments being conducted aboard their rocket.
Lab testing (Post-Research)
$200 for necessary lab time and equipment
To cover the costs of lab testing/equipment once the experiment is finished.
Direct Cost Subtotal

Indirect Cost Subtotal
To cover travel costs for essential team members during launch time as well as research conferences.
Total Costs

Our way
of Thanking You


Name on TIME II Flashdrive

Get your name and a tweet-lengthed message uploaded to the onboard computer of our TIME II Payload that will be sent up to space!

4 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2021


STAC Swag Pack

A special thank you kit full of STAC stickers and a mission patch will be sent to you, as well as a shout out on the STAC website! You'll also get your name and a message uploaded to the onboard computer of our TIME II that will be sent up to space! (Swag pack is limited to US donors due to shipping costs).

6 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2021


Custom STAC Keychain

Get a STAC keychain! We will make and ship you an awesome custom piece of STAC merchandise. You will also receive all the perks below this tier! (Only US donors due to shipping costs).

10 of 200 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2021


Your Name Engraved on TIME II

Have your name flown to SPACE with an engraving on our TIME II mission! You will also receive all the perks below this tier!

8 of 50 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2021


Invite to HAB Launch Party

You will get a special invite to our next High Altitude Balloon Launch! You will also receive all the perks below this tier!

2 of 10 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2021


Payload Space on HAB

Through this perk you will be able to use a 3"x3"x3" space on HAB for experimentation or anything you desire. This exclusive opportunity is perfect for high altitude experimentation or whatever you choose. You will also receive all the perks below this tier!

0 of 5 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: September 2021


Name the TIME II Payload

You can name the TIME II Payload that will be launched into space! You will also receive all the perks below this tier!

0 of 1 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: December 2021
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