SpaceX Dragon Capsule To Deliver Over 40 Experiments To International Space Station.

On June 1 at 5:55 PM, SpaceX will launch a reused dragon capsule aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, carrying supplies and over 40 U.S. National Laboratory sponsored experiments to the International Space Station. The mission will showcase the breadth of research possible through the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory, as experiments range from life and physical sciences, Earth observation and remote sensing to a variety of student led experiences. Below are just a few of the experiments heading to the ISS on the CRS-11 mission.

SpaceX Dragon Capsule at the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
SpaceX Dragon Capsule at the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

 

CRS-11 Mission Experiments

Here are just  few of the many experiments being sent to the International Space Station on the CRS-11 mission. 

Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature Controlled-6 (ACE-T-6) 

Colloids are suspensions of microscopic particles in a liquid, and they are found in products ranging from milk to fabric softener. Consumer products often use colloidal gels to distribute specialized ingredients, for instance droplets that soften fabrics, but the gels must serve two opposite purposes: they have to disperse the active ingredient so it can work, yet maintain an even distribution so the product does not spoil. Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature-6 (ACE-T-6) studies the microscopic behavior of colloids in gels and creams, providing new insight into fundamental interactions that can improve product shelf life. Learn more about ACE-T-6 on the NASA website

Tomatosphere-II

Tomatosphere logo
Tomatosphere Logo. Credit: Tomatosphere.org

Tomatosphere is a hands-on student research experience with a standards-based curriculum guide that provides students the opportunity to investigate, create, test, and evaluate a solution for a real world case study. Tomatosphere provides information about how spaceflight affects seed and plant growth and which type of seed is likely to be most suitable for long duration spaceflight. It also exposes students to space research, inspiring the next generation of space explorers. It is particularly valuable in urban school settings where students have little connection to agriculture. In its 15-year existence, the program has reached approximately 3.3 million students. Learn more about the Tomatosphere experiment on the official website. 

Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER)

A view of the NICER X-ray Timing Instrument without its protective blanketing. Credits: NASA/Keith Gendreau
A view of the NICER X-ray Timing Instrument without its protective blanketing.
Credits: NASA/Keith Gendreau

NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer, or NICER, mission is an International Space Station payload that will provide high-precision measurements of neutron stars – objects containing ultra-dense matter at the threshold of collapse into black holes. 

NICER will also test — for the first time in space — technology that relies on pulsars as navigation beacons. The technique may eventually guide human exploration to the distant reaches of the solar system and beyond.

Although NICER’s standalone research offers definitive improvements to existing scientific understanding, NICER’s data will have significant synergy with existing and future missions that can further expand our understanding of the universe.

Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA)

A large version of the scalable ROSA technology undergoes testing in 2014. Photo Credit: Deployable Space Systems
A large version of the scalable ROSA technology undergoes testing in 2014. Photo Credit: Deployable Space Systems

Solar panels are an efficient way to power satellites, but they are delicate and large, and must be unfolded when a satellite arrives in orbit. The Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) is a new type of solar panel that rolls open in space like a party favor and is more compact than current rigid panel designs. The ROSA investigation tests deployment and retraction, shape changes when the Earth blocks the sun, and other physical challenges to determine the array’s strength and durability.

The research plan is broken into four main objectives with experiments designed around satisfying each of the stated objectives. Objectives include characterizing the Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) structure deployment loads and kinematics, the deployment torque, the deployment kinematics, and the velocities and accelerations of the array during deployment and blanket tensioning. The ROSA deployed structural dynamics and the changes in full-sun and full-shadow are measured, as well as the fundamental frequency and mode shape for the system bending mode and the blanket drum mode.
 
Many operational parameters such as structural damping, structural dynamics during eclipse exit, blanket structural survivability and photovoltaic performance post launch and post deployment, I-V curve immediately following deployment and dynamics experiment, I-V curve each time array is at optimal solar illumination throughout mission life, structure retraction loads and kinematics, retraction torque, retraction kinematics, velocities and accelerations of the retracting array and blanket tension release.

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