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01-065
For Release: August 8, 2001

Barbara L. Kakiris, InDyne, Inc.
Media Relations Office
216/433-2901

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office
216/433-8806
Lori.J.Rachul@nasa.gov


Partnership Between Local Researchers and High School Gives New Meaning to Phrase "Material Girls"

During NASA's upcoming STS-105 mission, astronauts will transport more than a host of hardware and supplies to the International Space Station-they'll be taking a group of NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH researchers' and Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, OH students' work, dedication and visions. Space Shuttle Discovery is scheduled for launch on Thursday, August 9, at 5:38 p.m.

A group of Glenn researchers, students from the all-girl Hathaway Brown School, teachers and their families will travel to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the launch to witness this exciting stage of the collaboration.

The girls have worked closely with Glenn researchers to coordinate and prepare 41 samples for the Glenn experiment PEACE (Polymer Erosion And Contamination Experiment) Polymers to be flown as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE). In the PEACE Polymers experiment, different polymer materials will be exposed to atomic oxygen and solar radiation (ultraviolet and x-ray radiation) for a year and then returned to the project team for analysis to carefully determine their atomic oxygen durability.

"We have spent countless hours carefully fabricating and characterizing these flight samples. It will be a true joy to see all our hard work turn into reality as the space shuttle transports our experiment to the space station," said Kim de Groh, senior materials engineer, Electro-Physics Branch at Glenn. "Not only is this a remarkable real life experience for the girls, but we have an international community of spacecraft materials experts waiting for our results."

The MISSE experiments will be the first externally mounted experiments conducted on space station. The experiments, which include the PEACE polymers, are housed in Passive Experiment Containers (PECs) that will be clamped to space station and opened to serve as racks for exposing experiments to the space environment. PEACE Polymers intends to measure the atomic oxygen durability of a wide variety of polymers with potential space applications, and to validate a method for identifying sources of silicone contamination that occur on spacecraft in low Earth orbit. The students were invited to participate in Glenn's PEACE Polymer experiment on MISSE as an extension of the original Glenn/Hathaway Brown collaboration PEACE.

"Eleven Hathaway Brown girls have spent more than 4000 hours on the PEACE and PEACE Polymers on MISSE experiments over the past three years. For these students, working alongside NASA professionals who are so very generous with their time and knowledge marks a high point in their high school careers, and working on experiments that will really make a difference to the space community is something they will never forget," said Patty Hunt, director, Hathaway Brown Student Research Program.

Within the scope of the MISSE Project, Glenn's Electro-Physics Branch has several experiments with a total of 45 samples in addition to the PEACE Polymers experiment aboard STS-105: Double Coated Polymer Atomic Oxygen Undercutting Samples; DC 93-500 Silicone; EMI Shielding; New Concepts; and Atomic Oxygen Scattering Chamber. The experiments are designed to investigate the effects of the low Earth orbit space environment on current or potential spacecraft materials.

The MISSE Project is a materials flight experiment sponsored by NASA and the Materials Laboratory at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH. MISSE is managed by NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA and is a cooperative effort among NASA, the Air Force, Boeing Phantom Works, Seattle, WA and several other industry participants. The objective is to develop early, low-cost, non-intrusive opportunities to conduct critical space exposure tests of space materials and components planned for use on future spacecraft.

More information on MISSE is available on the Internet at:
                http://misse1.larc.nasa.gov/

More information on STS-105 is available on the Internet at:
                http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/index.html
                http://www.shuttlepresskit.com/STS-105/index.htm

More information on Glenn's Electro-Physics Branch is available on the Internet at:
                http://www.lerc.nasa.gov/WWW/epbranch/ephome.htm

More information on Hathaway Brown School is available on the Internet at:
                http://www.hb.edu/

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