NASA to send critical science, instruments to Space Station
by Jenny Howard for ISS Science News
Houston TX (SPX) Nov 27, 2017
SpaceX is scheduled to launch its Dragon spacecraft into orbit for its 13th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station no earlier than Dec. 4 for NASA. Dragon will lift into orbit atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to crew members living and working aboard the station.
This science-heavy flight will deliver investigations and facilities that study and/or measure solar irradiance, materials, orbital debris and more.
Here are some highlights of research that will be delivered to the station:
Testing Alternative Fibers
This investigation will attempt to pull fiber optic wire from ZBLAN, a heavy metal fluoride glass commonly used to make fiber optic glass. When ZBLAN is solidified on Earth, its atomic structure tends to form into crystals.
Research indicates that ZBLAN fiber pulled in microgravity may not crystalize as much, giving it better optical qualities than the silica used in most fiber optic wire. Results from this investigation could lead to the production of higher-quality fiber optic products both in space and on Earth.
Tracking Earth's Sunshine from Space
TSIS-1 sensors advance previous measurements with three times the accuracy, enabling scientists to study the sun's natural influence on Earth's ozone layer, atmospheric circulation, clouds, and ecosystems. These observations are essential for a scientific understanding of the effects of solar variability on the Earth system.
Monitoring Orbital Debris
Self-assembling and Self-replicating materials
Combatting muscular breakdown
The results from the RR-6 investigations will not only help researchers to understand how to better maintain a healthy body structure in the absence of gravity, but will also increase our understanding of muscle-related diseases, disorders and injuries.
These investigations will join many other investigations currently happening aboard the space station.
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