Scroll to top icon
button to top of page

Cherishing the miracle of life

Our space exploration plans are best described as a dandelion, spreading the seeds of life.

Carl Sagan

Our Team & Advisors

Dr. Egbert Edelbroek
CEO & Founder
Dr. Sheela Ali
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Angelo Vermeulen
Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Marta Ferraz
Chief Research Officer
Prof. David Cullen
Space Biotechnology
Prof. Christopher Mason
Genetics, Spaceflight & Ethics
Prof. Warren Burggren
Embryology research strategy
Dr. Hilde Stenuit
Astro- & Solar-Physics Expert
Marina Fontoura
ARTIS Researcher
Rick Tumlinson
Space business strategy
Robert Carrasquillo
Male Fertility & IVF Advisor
Junaid Mian RPh
Space tech investor / advisor
Dr. Rafael Elias Marques
Biologist, space reproduction
Dr. Alexander Layendecker
Reproduction in space expert
Inara Tabir
Strategic partnerships
Dr. Sumbal Mushtaq
Physician/ Obstetrics
Prof. Dr. Gerrit-Jan Zwenne
Legal Expert / IP Lawyer
Prof. Peter-Paul Verbeek
Ethics in Technology
Dr. Aqeel Shamsul
Implementation partner
Ir. Adri Kraa
Health & Business Innovation
Brian J. Esposito
Strategic business advisor
Dr. Steve Behram
OBGYN in space expert

Research & Industry Partners

Research

Our research explores the conditions for mammalian
and human reproduction in space. 

Detail image of the inside of Mission Artis gravity IVF module

Alignment with research roadmaps

Our research is aligned with the research roadmaps towards reproduction in space, as recommended and defined by agencies like NASA and ESA and by our research partners. The learning process towards human reproduction beyond Earth involves many challenges in both medical, ethical, astro-biological, technical and legal areas. With experts in these domains we explore and address these challenges step by step.
> Science references: Library

Improving IVF technology on-Earth 

Besides our primary focus on enabling reproduction beyond Earth, our research results are expected to provide valuable results for improving reproductive technologies on Earth. The process of enabling IVF and embryo development in space (by re-engineering and optimizing IVF technology: e.g. embryo incubators and cryogenic vitrification) is expected to result in improving IVF- and related treatments and hardware on Earth.

Image of DNA samples in a multi well plate

Obstacles for space agencies 

Research (supervised by NASA) explains that addressing the need for researching human reproduction in space is very difficult for leading organizations like NASA, ESA or SpaceX. Research efforts are obstructed by strong political and economic factors and require an independent and focused research entity. Involved researchers confirm that SpaceBorn United is well positioned to address the reproduction research effectively.

Monitoring trends

Our research includes monitoring developments relevant to our long term strategy. E.g. research groups enabling extended embryo development in artificial wombs, radiation shielding technology, enhancing DNA repair mechanisms, regulation and legislation, uncontrolled conceptions in space (space tourism risk), embryo health improvement, genome editing (CRISPR-Cas) technology, improving e.g. radiation resistance) and ethical debates and values.

The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever

Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky

Mission Architecture

We translate our research results into mission concepts and a step by step missions program

SpaceBorn United’s IVF space module in re-entry mode back to earth

Missions program

We translated our research outcomes into a carefully designed roadmap of space missions. Each missions is established with the help of medical, technical, ethical and legal experts and provides key input for each subsequent missions. 

Ground based testing procedures and validation missions (first using animal cells) are carefully designed to result in regulatory approval for each subsequent step in our roadmap.

Conception and embryo development

We have developed a prototype ‘space-embryo-incubator’ which is sent into space and contains male and female reproduction cells. The first validation missions contains mouse cells. In subsequent missions we plan to use human stem cell embryos and eventually human reproduction cells. Once in space (low Earth orbit) the embryos are conceived and start developing in an artificial Earth like gravity level. After 5-6 days the embryos are cryogenically frozen and the incubator returns to Earth where the embryos are examined. If embryos are approved to place back in the natural womb(s) the pregnancy period and birth will occur on Earth.

Image of DNA samples in a multi well plate

Childbirth in space

Our initial long term childbirth mission concept (‘Mission Cradle’) was a very productive study project that provided many valuable insights regarding childbirth in space. We also explored option for safely sending a pregnant woman into space for a very short missions. It has become clear with current and expected future technology there is no feasible approach to do this possible yet. The current view is that childbirth in space will only be possible when the mother will be in space much earlier and the time spent will thus be much longer. That will also require an adequate level of (artificial, rotational) gravity.

Future missions

Humanity’s ambition to create human settlements in space requires a series of learning steps for how to safely reproduce in space. The first of these steps are covered in our ARTIS missions program. In the next decades we focus on the additional necessary steps like researching the conditions for increasing stages of pregnancy in space and conception and early embryo development on the Moon and in Lunar orbit.

As humanity is becoming a multi-planetary species, we also need to learn how to reproduce beyond Earth.
Dr. Egbert Edelbroek
Founder SpaceBorn United
Portrait of SpaceBorn United founder and CEO Dr. Egbert Edelbroek

Bio Tech

We develop the biomedical equipment required for each mission in our missions program. 

SpaceBorn United’s collaborates with leading IVF and space companies and institutions to develop proprietary biomedical equipment for our missions’ program

We initially focus on enabling conception and early embryo development in space. We therefore re-engineer existing IVF technology for application in space. Our technology is called ARTIS: assisted reproductive technology in space. Enabling IVF in space also improves IVF treatments and hardware on Earth.  

Together with specialized suppliers, partnering research centers and our IVF experts we develop the ARTIS life support system. It provides adjustable artificial gravity to enable partial gravity research. This  provides crucial data on what gravity levels are required for healthy (mammalian and human) embryo development. 

First, prototypes are tested during validation missions, using animal cells. Our ARTIS research platform can also help study and select species that can thrive in the Martian gravity environment to help define a healthy Martian ecosystem.