Fertilization of frog eggs on a Sounding Rocket in space

Adv Space Res. 1989;9(11):187-97. doi: 10.1016/0273-1177(89)90073-2.


During the TEXUS-17 flight (April/May 1988) eggs of a higher organism, the anuran amphibian Xenopus laevis, have for the first time been successfully fertilized under microgravity on a Sounding Rocket. This result also implies that Life Sciences Experiments of Short Duration can be carried out on Sounding Rockets. The latter can therefore function as additional carriers for such experiments. Histological sections of the experimental material demonstrated the penetration of sperm into eggs, while SEM analysis revealed the differentiation of characteristic egg surface structures. Our TEXUS-17 experiment convincingly shows that the modified automatic experiment container, originally designed for experimental BR 52NL on the D1-mission, now functions flawlessly. Eight containers were flown in an airtight, well-isolated box (TEM 06-15), and a similar set was activated on Earth, two hours later. The analysis of the biological material is in progress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fertilization / physiology*
  • Male
  • Space Flight / instrumentation*
  • Sperm-Ovum Interactions
  • Weightlessness*
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*