Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




TIME AND SPACE
Time in Space Exposes Materials to the Test of Time
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Nov 24, 2014


MISSE 2 outside the Quest Airlock on the International Space Station. The Polymer Erosion and Contamination Experiment (PEACE) experiment is outlined in red. Image courtesy NASA. View a video on the research here.

Much like that pickup truck rusting in your backyard thanks to time, rain and the elements, extended stays in the brutal environment of space can take its toll on spacecraft, satellites and space stations.

In fact, anything outside the protective blanket of our atmosphere can be assaulted by orbital debris, temperature extremes, micrometeoroids, direct sunlight and, when spacecraft are in low-Earth orbit (LEO) or orbiting near another planet like Mars, atomic oxygen. Over time this relentless hammering by the space environment degrades many spacecraft materials.

To understand how different materials perform in LEO, researchers designed the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE), a series of flight investigations mounted to the exterior of the International Space Station.

MISSE research has resulted in several improvements to spacecraft. For example, the results from MISSE 7, which concluded in 2011, improved the performance of a satellite antenna that launched in 2014 as part of a meteorological satellite.

Begun in 2001 and building on earlier degradation studies, MISSE is a multi-organizational effort that includes NASA centers, U.S. Air Force and Naval research laboratories, universities and private industry. MISSE has flown during six different missions to test a variety of samples, ranging from materials to help develop an atomic oxygen erosion predictive tool to a new satellite antenna coating.

More than 4,000 samples and devices, such as solar cells, have flown throughout MISSE's 13-year history. The samples fit into the suitcase-sized Passive Experiment Container (PEC). The container is two-sided so that samples are exposed to the space environment on both sides.

"We often use trays that have a series of openings for one-inch diameter samples," said Kim de Groh, senior materials research engineer and MISSE investigator at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

"Imagine you have a piece of cling wrap from your kitchen, and you punch out a one-inch diameter disk. We then ask, 'Will that survive for one year or more years in space?' Probably not. So we stack layers of the material on top of each other and fly that stack in space."

Samples are left in space for extended periods. For example, MISSE 1 and 2 left materials exposed to space during a four-year stretch from 2001 to 2005. MISSE 7 flew in the LEO environment for 18 months. The most recent test, MISSE 8, flew for two years. Those extended stays have helped researchers identify ways to improve materials for use in space and on Earth.

"We flew several antenna coatings for the Aerospace Corporation and they used that for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)," said Miria Finckenor, materials engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

"The results that came from MISSE 7 made enough of a difference that they stripped off the coatings from their last two satellites to replace it with the new coating because it worked that much better."

Finckenor did the pre-flight and post-flight measurements of the coating at Marshall. The coating, developed by a team led by Donald J. Boucher, principal engineer and scientist at Environmental Satellite Systems, Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, California, solved an antenna performance problem.

"We had coated our main reflectors with a material that turned out to be sensitive to water over time. It changes its properties if you have it in a humid environment," said Boucher. "We decided to remove the coating from all our remaining flight units and design a new coating that was very stable with respect to water."

On April 3, an Atlas V rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying the DMSP-19 satellite into orbit. The DMSP-19 antenna employed the new, MISSE 7-tested coating.

"We were far less capable of describing vertical distribution of the moisture in the atmosphere with this old antenna coating," said Boucher. "And now we are much, much more capable. We fixed an entire distribution issue with this new antenna coating. All of our satellites have this new reflector coating."

The years-long testing of different materials yields answers for both the aerospace community and those wanting to optimize materials for use in Earth applications. MISSE has played a role in numerous advances, including NASA Glenn's Atomic Oxygen Erosion Predictive Tool that helps in designing new spacecraft, a coating for the Mars Curiosity Rover, a snow white thermal protective coating for the Dragon spacecraft and contributions to art restoration.

All of this MISSE data is now available online through a Materials and Processes Technical Information System (MAPTIS) account. When filling out the application for access, users simply indicate in the justification field that they want to view this MISSE database.

New databases, new materials and new predictive tools lead to better, longer-lived spacecraft and satellites as well as to improvements to our daily lives here on Earth. With such wide ranging influence, the value of MISSE data could prove to be timeless.

.


Related Links
ISS
Understanding Time and Space






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





TIME AND SPACE
Atomic timekeeping, on the go
Boston MA (SPX) Nov 13, 2014
What time is it? The answer, no matter what your initial reference may be - a wristwatch, a smartphone, or an alarm clock - will always trace back to the atomic clock. The international standard for time is set by atomic clocks - room-sized apparatuses that keep time by measuring the natural vibration of atoms in a vacuum. The frequency of atomic vibrations determines the length of one ... read more


TIME AND SPACE
Young Volcanoes on the Moon

U.K. group to crowd-source funding for moon mission

After Mars, India space chief aims for the moon

China examines the three stages of lunar test run

TIME AND SPACE
Within Rover's Reach at Mars Target Area 'Alexander Hills'

Mars Exploration Program Director Named

Second Time Through, Mars Rover Examines Chosen Rocks

Mars was warm enough for flowing water, but only briefly

TIME AND SPACE
The International Space Station officially has an espresso machine

Astronauts to get 'ISSpresso' coffee machine

Tencent looks to the final travel frontier

ESA Commissions Airbus As contractor For Orion Service Module

TIME AND SPACE
China expects to introduce space law around 2020

China launches new remote sensing satellite

China publishes Earth, Moon photos taken by lunar orbiter

China plans to launch about 120 applied satellites

TIME AND SPACE
Soyuz docks at Space Station; Expedition 42 joins crew

Italy's first female astronaut heads to ISS in Russian craft

Space station gets zero-gravity 3-D printer

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Continue System Advancements

TIME AND SPACE
Elon Musk unveils 'drone ship' and 'x-wing' fins for rockets via Twitter

Russian Rocket Supply for Satellites Launches Continues

China launches Yaogan-24 remote sensing satellite

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

TIME AND SPACE
Hot, Super-Earths Help Track Water-Rich Atmospheres

How to estimate the magnetic field of an exoplanet?

Follow the Dust to Find Planets

NASA's TESS mission cleared for next development phase

TIME AND SPACE
U.S. supplies Ukraine with counter-mortar radar systems

Versatile bonding for lightweight components

Cloaking device hides across continuous range of angles

A new approach to the delivery of satellites to orbit




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.