Home Feature To the Moon And Back (Literally) With Tampa Startup StemRad

To the Moon And Back (Literally) With Tampa Startup StemRad

by Maija Ehlinger

A part of the Tampa startup scene is currently orbiting the moon as part of NASA’s Artemis I mission. 

StemRad, an Israeli-based startup with strong roots in Tampa, is testing out its AstroRad technology – a vest designed to protect astronauts from deep space radiation – on board the uncrewed space flight mission. 

The startup got off the ground here on Earth in 2011 by Dr. Oren Milstein, who wanted to find a way to protect first responders from harmful Gamma radiation. Sfounded StemRad after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. 

In 2017, the team set up shop in Tampa. 

StemRad joined the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) out of Fort Lauderdale. The startup also raised a $10 million from Tampa investors Jeff Vinik and Kiran Patel. 

Rakefet Bachur, Co-Executive Director of FIBA, said FIBA’s proximity and connections to Florida’s “Space Coast” was another draw for the Israeli-born startup. 

“StemRad partnered with Lockheed Martin via the Space Florida program that pairs US and Israeli companies to co-develop new technologies for the Aerospace industry,” added Bachur. “Successful conclusion of the Artemis 1 deep space radiation testing will hopefully result in the AstroRad shield becoming the enabling technology used by Nasa and other space agencies to allow safe human-rated travel back into deep space once regular missions begin to the Moon, Mars and beyond.” 


Artemis I’s mission is set to wrap up on December 11.

You might be wondering how the team is testing these vests if there aren’t any crew members on board Artemis I’s moon mission. Well, the uncrewed flight has two anthropomorphic upper torso mannequins – named Helga and Zohar – designed to approximate human tissue. 

Zohar – the mannequin donated by the Israel Space Agency (ISA) –  is wearing StemRad’s AstroRad shield. NASA will then be able to test how successful StemRad’s technology was in terms of stopping radiation. 


Back on Earth…

StemRad isn’t just building for space travel. Beyond the AstroRad technology, the startup has developed the 360 Gamma and the StemRad MD for military, medical, and first responder use cases. In fact, some of the products are being tested in Ukraine to see if they can be used for radiation blocking in war zones. 

On the medical side, StemRad is dedicated to finding a modern approach to X-rays. 

“Current X-ray protective solutions are either too heavy or too limiting to the practitioner’s mobility. Critically, most solutions lack essential radiation protection, leaving the head and face of the operator exposed to harmful radiation. The StemRad MD exoskeleton bears the weight of the shielding, relieving you from the pain of wearing lead while adding critical protection. Importantly, you enjoy complete freedom of movement,” added Bachur. 

The team is currently made up of 5 employees in Tampa with an R&D team in Israel.



You may also like