Teledyne Brown Engineering’s Ring Sheared Drop Advances Research of Neurodegenerative Diseases


HUNTSVILLE, AL - October 3, 2019 - On September 19, 2019, Teledyne Brown Engineering’s (TBE)  Ring Sheared Drop (RSD) hardware was successfully installed in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) on the International Space Station (ISS). RSD provides scientists a powerful new tool to study the formation of amyloid fibrils found in brain tissues of individuals suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  Scientists believe that Shear Forces may create these amyloid fibrils. In microgravity, these Forces can be isolated and studied to determine how they influence the formation of amyloid fibrils and how the formation can be prevented.  

“Our team has accomplished tremendous technological feats with this program,” stated Jan Hess, President of Teledyne Brown Engineering.  “This program was technologically complex and there were many people who doubted that it could be completed successfully, but with the expert knowledge and tenacity of our engineering and manufacturing teams we were able to deliver hardware to enable research that we hope will one day result in an end to neurodegenerative diseases.”

The TBE ground controllers successfully sent commands from the ground to deploy a one-inch diameter liquid drop and pin it between two specially designed contact rings. The rings were then commanded to rotate at different speeds to induce Shear Forces in the drop.  It is the first time a liquid drop has been pinned between contact rings and rotated at various speeds in microgravity. The rotating drop is examined in place allowing identification of amyloid fibril formation.  This information significantly advances the research of the cause of formation of amyloid fibrils.

Astronaut Nicholas Hague, using procedures developed by TBE, installed RSD in the MSG. All mechanical, command/data, and electrical systems functioned flawlessly during the three hours of planned operations on the ISS. Video of the science operations and rotating drop were transmitted to the ground for further analysis.  RSD is a precision instrument that can be used in many containerless processing experiments in low earth orbit or in lunar orbit.

About Teledyne Brown Engineering

Teledyne Brown Engineering is an industry leader in full-spectrum engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions for harsh environments in space, defense, energy, and maritime industries. For over six decades, the company has successfully delivered innovative systems, integration, operations and technology development worldwide. For more information about Teledyne Brown Engineering visit:

About Teledyne Technologies Incorporated

Teledyne Technologies is a leading provider of sophisticated instrumentation, digital imaging products and software, aerospace and defense electronics, and engineered systems. Teledyne Technologies' operations are primarily located in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Western and Northern Europe. For more information, visit Teledyne Technologies' website at