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




Picture 1 of 13

To exploit the unique characteristics of freely suspended liquid crystals in a microgravity environment to advance the understanding of complex fluids physics.


Currently an important unsolved problem ferroelectric liquid crystal micro-displays in the space helmets is the annealing of dislocations generated when the smectic layers are formed on the transparent viewing screen of the display unit. The proposed liquid crystal bubble experiments resolve the annealing dislocation problem of smectic ferroelectric liquid crystal micro-displays, one of the key aspects of generating well aligned electro-optic devices. It will improve the contrast, resolution and response time of the liquid crystal display devices that are currently used on the Helmet Mounted and Head Up display systems.

Development Approach:

• The OASIS flight instrument will be designed to interface and operate within the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG).

• OASIS will be designed for autonomous operation through scripts and ground commanding. Crew time is required for initial installation, checking sample loading and bubble/island formation.

• OASIS consists of seven (8) main hardware components: the Bubble Chamber Enclosure, the Bubble Chamber Insert, the Optics/Illumination Assembly, the Macro Camera, the Electronics/Power Assembly, the Avionics Assembly, Soft Start Assembly and the Digital I/O Cube Assembly.

Image of OASIS flight hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox

Image of OASIS flight hardware in the Microgravity Science Glovebox

The OASIS Experiment Module contains four (4) air jets which also contain electrodes (on two air jets) and a heater/cooler tandem (on the other two air jets), a water/glycerol injector, macro and micro cameras, and heater banks to manipulate the islands. The Data Acquisition and Control Unit (DACU) will control the experiment via ISS OASIS laptop and perform data storage.

OASIS Experiment Module (Pro-E Solid Model)

OASIS Experiment Module (Pro-E Solid Model)

The OASIS Experiment Module above details two views of the assembly. On the right, the MSG GN2 (Gaseous Nitrogen) line is shown at the lower left of the assembly. The air jets, illuminating white light LED panels, and bubble chamber are shown with the external housing semi-transparent for clarity. In the assembly on the right hand side, a closer view of the bubble chamber shows the injector and macro view camera.


April 14, 2015 – OASIS launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket and Dragon spacecraft on the CRS-6 mission to the International Space Station.

March 19, 2015 – The OASIS flight hardware was turned over to the NASA Johnson Space Flight Center for packaging and preparations for launch. After packaging, the hardware was shipped to Kennedy Space Center to get placed inside the Dragon vehicle.


Project Management:

Principal Investigator: Prof.Noel Clark, University of Colorado, USA
European Principal Investigator: Prof. Ralf Stannarius, University of Magdeburg, Germany
Co-Investigators: Prof. Joe Maclennan, Prof. Matt Glaser, University of Colorado, USA
Collaborator: Dr. Pavel Vladimirovich Dolganov, Institute of Solid State Physics, Academy of Sciences/Moscow, Russia

Contacts at NASA Glenn Research Center

Project Manager: Nancy R. Hall, NASA GRC
Cell: 216-385-6302

Project Scientist: Dr.Padetha Tin

Engineering Team: ZIN Technologies, Inc.