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Current, future, past missions & launch dates
News, features & press releases
News, features & press releases
News, features & press releases



MDCA/FLEX Overview Chart
FLEX-2 Overview Chart
MDCA-FLEX Short Overview Presentation
MDCA/FLEX Publications & Presentations


MDCA311December 2014 – Over 900 unique FLEX test points have been completed, total, including those of FLEX, FLEX-ICE-GA, and FLEX-2. Over 240 of those tests were from the FLEX-2 test series, which will complete in the fall of 2015.

May 2014 – MDCA has been operating for 5 years now.  In that time, the FLEX experiment has completed 414 unique (non-repetitive) test points.  The FLEX-2 experiment is current installed in the MDCA and has completed 180 unique tests and has approximately 220 more tests to accomplish.  The FLEX-ICE-GA (Italian Combustion Experiment for Green Air) has also started and finished operations and has accomplished 92 unique tests.  MDCA is scheduled to continue operating FLEX-2 through June 2015, and will then be reconfigured to operate FLEX-2J (a JAXA experiment) through December 2015.

A new experiment that has been approved to operate in the CIR is the Cool Flames Investigation (CFI) (CFI’s website).  This experiment is a response and focused investigation of a phenomenon discovered while running the FLEX experiments and seen during FLEX-2 and FLEX-ICE-GA tests.  CFI will be launched in February of 2016 and will run for up to 6 months, after which the CIR will be reconfigured again with a new gaseous combustion insert and suite of experiments, called Advanced Combustion via Microgravity Experiments (ACME).  A future insert that will study solid combustion, the Solid Ignition and Extinction Experiment (SoFIE), is being planned to follow ACME in the CIR.  Both the ACME and SoFIE inserts use the design heritage of the MDCA to interface with the CIR.

The modular design of the MDCA has allowed for multiple orbital replacement units (ORUs) to be installed when the initial hardware has either failed, operated ineffectively, been consumed, or has been replaced as part of regular maintenance.  To date, crew has replaced the following items:

Consumable Replacements

CIR Manifold Bottle (54 replacements)
CIR Adsorber Cartridge (5)
MDCA Fuel Reservoir (29)
MDCA Igniter Tip (18)
MDCA Needle (10)
MDCA Fiber Arm (7)


FOMA Cal Unit (calibration expired) (3)
CIR Chamber Window (dirty window) (1)
CIR Chamber Seals (limited life item expiration)(1)
Add CIR HiBMS Imaging Package and reconfigure existing CIR HiBMS Imaging Package (FLEX-2 configuration) (1)


FCF DCM (failed unit) (2)
CIR IAM Fiber Optic Cable (damaged cable) (1)
CIR IOP Hard Drive (failed hard drive) (1)
Filter Module in CIR LLL-UV Imaging Package (science request) (1)
Filter Module in CIR HiBMS Imaging Package (science request) (2)
MDCA Supply Hose (leaky Quick Disconnect on hose) (1)
MDCA Radiometer (new design) (1)
Restore MDCA boot parameters and install MDCA boot loader (1)

The CIR color camera has been replaced. The problem with pixelation due to radiation effects on the camera’s CCD chip has largely been resolved.[/accordion-item]