NASA Glenn Contributes to STS-114
When the Space Shuttle Discovery lifts off this week, hundreds of researchers at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, will feel part of the team that helped make the Shuttle a safer vehicle.
Through a two-year extensive testing and analysis effort, Glenn researchers have worked to help prepare Discovery for the agency's Return to Flight. The areas of research include:
- Ballistic impact testing
- Main landing gear door environmental seals compression optimization
- Refractory metallic overwrap concept as a potential method for large area on-orbit repair
- Actuator gear testing to determine nature of wear and fretting damage
- Reinforced Carbon-Carbon degradation testing to gain deeper understanding of how Shuttle wing leading edge and nose cap degrade with each mission cycle
- Protuberance Air Load (PAL) ramp air flow testing in the 8 X 6 Foot Wind Tunnel at Glenn
- Small area repair concept development, including sealants, adhesives and gaskets
The Chief of Glenn's Space Operations Division, Angel M. Otero, said, "NASA as a whole has come to appreciate Glenn's expertise in mechanisms, gears, lubrication, high temperature materials and impact testing and modeling. We have been working in these areas for the last 45 years to the benefit of the Agency. As a result of the Columbia accident, our capabilities were called upon again."
In addition, STS-114 will be carrying a payload that includes two different types of experiments that were developed at Glenn. As part of the third of three spacewalks during the mission, Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) 1 and 2 will be replaced with MISSE 5. MISSE is a series of experiments designed to investigate the effects of long-term exposure of materials to the harsh environment of space.
"There are seven different types of experiments and a total of 86 material samples on MISSE 1 and 2, in addition to the Polymer Erosion and Contamination Experiment conducted in collaboration with students from Hathaway Brown School, Shaker Heights, Ohio," said Kim de Groh, senior research engineer in Glenn's Electro-Physics Branch and one of the principal investigators for MISSE. The material samples will be returned to NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., where they will be opened in a clean room and contents distributed to the researchers for study.
Discovery will transport MISSE 5 to the ISS, where after attachment on the ISS exterior, the experiments in it will be exposed to the space environment. MISSE 5 contains three different types of experiments designed by Glenn, with a total of 85 samples of materials, which will return to Earth on a future Shuttle mission.
Another experiment in which Glenn has had a role is the Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE), built as part of MISSE 5. FTSCE is a collaborative effort between Glenn, the Naval Research Laboratory and the U.S. Naval Academy. The purpose of this experiment is to place current and future generation space solar cells into orbit where they will be characterized and validated. Glenn engineers created a hybrid solar cell that will be tested in a space environment for the first time. They are also coordinating with other solar cell manufacturers to provide four other solar cell technologies to FTSCE.
Glenn also designed and built the electronics and wrote the software that will measure the solar cell performance on MISSE 5. The electronics package will take solar cell measurements on command or autonomously, based on the sun's position, the temperature and the time. The electronics have been designed to withstand the temperature extremes and radiation environment of low earth orbit.
For more information on Glenn's Return to Flight activities, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/projects/RTF_summary.html
For more information on MISSE 1 and 2, visit: http://misse1.larc.nasa.gov
For more information on MISSE 5, visit: http://powerweb.grc.nasa.gov/pvsee/experiments/misse5web.htm
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