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.
Similar studies continue on the space station in investigations such as the Materials International Space Station Experiment, or MISSE, which studies long-duration exposure to the space environment.
MISSE-7 returned home with STS-134 with more than 700 different samples for study
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MISSE 8 (zenith/nadir) & ORMatE-III (ram/wake)
Manifested for flight on STS-134
The Materials International Space Station Experiment-7 (MISSE-7) is a test bed for materials and coatings attached to the outside of the International Space Station being evaluated for the effects of atomic oxygen, ultraviolet, direct sunlight, radiation and extremes of heat and cold. This experiment allows the development and testing of new materials to better withstand the rigors of space environment. Results will provide a better understanding of the durability of various materials when they are exposed to the space environment with applications in the design of future spacecraft.
Materials International Space Station Experiment-7 (MISSE-7) is a suite of experiments that include over 700 new and affordable materials. The samples tested have potential use in advanced reusable launch systems and advanced spacecraft systems including solar cells, optics, sensors, electronics, power, coatings, structural materials and protection for the next generation of spacecraft. The development of the next generation 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). For MISSE-7 there are two PECs, 7A and 7B, which will be mounted on the outside of the ISS and hold samples on both sides of the PECs. PEC 7A’s orientation will be zenith/nadir (space facing/Earth facing) while PEC 7B will face ram/wake (forward/backward) relative to the ISS orbit. This installment of experiments for the MISSE program will be the first to receive power directly from the ISS and use the ISS communication system uplink/downlink capabilities to receive commands downlink data.
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 experiment.
The Prototype Communications Satellite-2 (PCSat-2) was a communication system sponsored by the United States Naval Academy. PCSat-2 had two objectives: (1) to test the Amateur Satellite Service off-the-shelf solution for telemetry command and control; (2) to provide a communication system for the Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE). PCSat-2 was able to transmit solar cell data for FTCSE using the Amateur Radio Satellite Service with a 145.825 uplink and 435.275 +/- 10 KHz Doppler downlink.
The 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.
The Thin Film Material Experiment consists of 254 thin film samples that were attached to the thermal blanket protecting the PCSAT2 hardware. The samples are exposed directly to the space environment in order to evaluate the degradation of the materials over time. These materials range from testing polymer coatings to solar array blanket material to paints that are used on spacecraft and many others. An additional aspect of the Thin Film Materials experiment is the educational component. Of the 254 samples, 49 of them are part of a collaboration between the Glenn Research Center and the Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland, OH.
The technology testing that occurred during the MISSE-5 investigation provided necessary data to develop new space exploration vehicles, satellites and communication systems that will take us to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
The 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.
The 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 environment.
As part of an education outreach program, three million basil seeds were placed in containers located underneath the sample trays on MISSE 3 and 4 PECs. These seeds were returned to Earth as part of the STS-118/13A.1 mission in which Astronaut Barbara Morgan initiated the grown cycle of basil seeds inside the ISS, The seeds were sent to school children for them to plant and observe the differences between seeds exposed to space and seeds that have remained on Earth.
MISSE-1 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.
Researchers 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.
Both MISSE-1 and -2 were deployed in August 2001 on Expedition 3 and were planned for a one-year exposure. Due to the delays incurred following the Columbia accident, they were not retrieved until four years later during ISS Expedition 11 in August 2005.