ISS Research Highlight: International Space Station Technology -- With Benefits for Fine Art
Research on material reactions to atomic oxygen was originally meant for the
development of the International Space Station, but also led to new ways to restore
damaged fine art here on Earth.
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Manifested for flight on STS-134
Materials International Space Station Experiment - 6A and 6B (MISSE-6A
and 6B) is a sample box attached to the outside of the International
Space Station; it is used for testing the effects of exposure to
the space environment on small samples of new materials. These samples
will be evaluated for their reaction to atomic oxygen erosion, direct
sunlight, radiation, and extremes of heat and cold. Results will
provide a better understanding of the durability of various materials,
with important applications in the design of future spacecraft.
The samples for MISSE-6A and 6B include over 400 new and affordable materials that may be used in advanced reusable launch systems and advanced spacecraft systems including optics, sensors, electronics, power, coatings, structural materials and protection for the next generation of spacecraft. The development of new generations of materials and material technologies is essential to the mission of traveling beyond Earth's orbit.
The samples are installed in holders and placed in experiment
trays, called passive experiment containers (PECs). MISSE-6A
and 6B were brought back to Earth onboard the Shuttle Discovery
during the STS-128 (17A) mission in September 2009.
The Materials International Space Station Experiment-5 (MISSE-5)
was an external payload that flew on-board the ISS from August 2005
until September 2006. MISSE-5 provided an opportunity for researchers
to test a wide range of samples in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment.
MISSE-5 was a collaboration between NASA Langley Research Center,
Glenn Research Center, Ohio State University, Naval Research Laboratory
and US Naval Academy and consisted of three experiments: PCSat-2,
Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE) and the Thin Film
Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE) characterized the durability
and the electrical output of 39 advanced solar cell samples that could
be used on future space exploration vehicles. Several types of solar
cell technologies were tested: triple junction InGaP/GaAS/Ge; thin film
amorphous Si and Culn(Ga)Se2; and single junction GaAs cells. It is
known that solar cells degrade over time when exposed to the space environment.
FTSCE used their onboard instrumentation to measure the performance
and downlink the data to Earth through the PCSat-2.
Materials International Space Station Experiment-3 and 4 (MISSE-3
and 4) was successfully deployed in August 2006 and retrieved
in August 2007. Approximately 875 specimens of various materials
were contained in suitcase-like cases called PECs (passive
experiment containers). These specimens were exposed to the
harsh environment of microgravity to observe the effects that
Atomic Oxygen (single oxygen molecules) and Ultraviolet light
have on materials.
specimens include a variety of materials such as paint and protective
coatings that will be used on future spacecrafts such as satellites.
Environmental monitors recorded the thermal cycling (the change in temperature)
that the experiment was subjected to while on orbit. New material that
might be used in the next generation of EVA (extravehicular activity)
suits was tested to examine how the material reacts to the harsh space
and 2 are a test bed for materials and coatings attached to the outside
of the ISS is being evaluated for the effects of atomic oxygen, direct
sunlight, and extremes of heat and cold. This experiment allows the
development and testing of new materials to better withstand the
rigors of space environments. Results will provide a better understanding
of the durability of various materials when they are exposed to the
space environment. Many of the materials may have applications in
the design of future spacecraft.
from the private and public sector prepared a wide range of samples
for the first externally mounted experiment on ISS. Materials International
Space Station Experiment (MISSE)-1 and -2 are testbeds for more than
400 materials and coatings samples, testing their survivability under
the corrosive effects of the space environment; including micrometeoroid
and orbital debris strikes, atomic oxygen attack, intense ultraviolet
radiation from the sun, and extreme temperature swings. Results will
provide a better understanding of the durability of various materials
in this environment. Many of the materials may have applications in
the design of future spacecraft.