Materials International Space Station Experiment - 5 (MISSE-5) - 09.17.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Materials on the International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) is a suitcase-sized experiment attached to the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). It exposes hundreds of potential space construction materials to the environment. The samples will return to Earth for study during a later expedition. Investigators will use the resulting data to design stronger, more durable spacecraft.
Science Results for Everyone
This investigation, fifth in a series, exposed hundreds of potential space construction materials to the rigors of space and returned them to Earth for analysis. This work involved partners across industry and the US Department of Defense in addition to NASA scientists and academic partners, so many results are proprietary. Researchers tested a wide range of solar cell technologies, with favorable results, and a wide variety of materials, including polymers with additives to slow the atomic oxygen erosion process and thermal control materials used in multi-layer insulation blankets. Data will be compared with other experiments and analyzed for solar absorptance, contamination and other attributes.
United States Department of Defense Space Test Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Boeing, Phantom Works, Renton, WA, United States
Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, United States
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)
ISS Expedition Duration
April 2005 - September 2006
Previous ISS Missions
NASA has conducted a series of space experiments to determine the best materials to survive in the space environment. MISSE-1 and 2 were delivered to ISS on STS-105 in August 2001 and returned on STS-114 in August 2005. MISSE-5 was deployed during STS-114 and scheduled for return on STS-121.
- MISSE-5 will assess impacts of the space environment (vacuum, solar radiation, atomic oxygen and micrometeorites) on materials.
- MISSE-5 contains three investigations. The first investigation will measure the degradation of more than 200 materials in the space environment. The PCSat-2 provides a communications system and will test the Amateur Satellite Service off-the-shelf solution for telemetry command and control. The Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment is testing the performance of 36 current and advanced generation solar cells for use on future spacecraft.
The Materials International Space Station Experiment-5 (MISSE-5) was an external payload that flew on-board the ISS from August 2005 until September 2006. MISSE-5 provided an opportunity for researchers to test a wide range of samples in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment. MISSE-5 was a collaboration between NASA Langley Research Center, Glenn Research Center, Ohio State University, Naval Research Laboratory and US Naval Academy and consisted of three experiments: PCSat-2, Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE) and the Thin Film experiment.
The Prototype Communications Satellite-2 (PCSat-2) was a communication system sponsored by the United States Naval Academy. PCSat-2 had two objectives: (1) to test the Amateur Satellite Service off-the-shelf solution for telemetry command and control; (2) to provide a communication system for the Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE). PCSat-2 was able to transmit solar cell data for FTCSE using the Amateur Radio Satellite Service with a 145.825 uplink and 435.275 +/- 10 KHz Doppler downlink.
The Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE) characterized the durability and the electrical output of 39 advanced solar cell samples that could be used on future space exploration vehicles. Several types of solar cell technologies were tested: triple junction InGaP/GaAS/Ge; thin film amorphous Si and Culn(Ga)Se2; and single junction GaAs cells. It is known that solar cells degrade over time when exposed to the space environment. FTSCE used their onboard instrumentation to measure the performance and downlink the data to Earth through the PCSat-2.
The Thin Film Material Experiment consists of 254 thin film samples that were attached to the thermal blanket protecting the PCSAT2 hardware. The samples are exposed directly to the space environment in order to evaluate the degradation of the materials over time. These materials range from testing polymer coatings to solar array blanket material to paints that are used on spacecraft and many others. An additional aspect of the Thin Film Materials experiment is the educational component. Of the 254 samples, 49 of them are part of a collaboration between the Glenn Research Center and the Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland, OH.
The technology testing that occurred during the MISSE-5 investigation provided necessary data to develop new space exploration vehicles, satellites and communication systems that will take us to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Results will provide a better understanding of the durability of various materials when they are exposed to the space environment. Many of the materials may have applications in the design of future spacecraft.
The new advanced materials and components that will be demonstrated in MISSE-5 will improve the performance, increase the useful life, and reduce the costs of future space operations of commercial weather, communication and Earth observation satellites that we all now depend on.
MISSE PEC 5 is mounted to the Station's exterior on the aft P6 trunion pin handrail. It is an active experiment with data transfers to ground stations. The data transmissions must be disabled during EVA and EVR activities, requiring crew activities to shutdown the transmitters if the ground team is not able to perform the task. The critical interaction is between the samples and the space environment.
During extravehicular activity (EVA) on August 3, 2005, astronauts installed the MISSE PEC 5 on the ISS. During EVAs throughout the deployment of MISSE PEC 5, crewmembers will capture snapshots of the MISSE-5, if time permits. Another set of crewmembers will retrieve MISSE PEC 5 when the experiment is completed. The samples will be returned to the investigators, who will carefully examine each to determine how the materials fared.
The MISSE team has reported many results from the MISSE-5 experiment. Because MISSE assembles partners across industry and DoD, in addition to NASA scientists and academic partners, many of the results are proprietary.
MISSE-5 also tested new approaches for technology tests, including innovative collaborations that leverage the costs and assembly environment of flight article preparation (piggy-backed thin films stitched onto thermal blanket) (Kinard et al. 2007).
A wide range of solar cell technologies were tested with favorable results (Walters et al. 2006). In some cases, the samples flown were orders of magnitude larger than previous samples.
In addition to the Solar cell experiment, MISSE-5 tested a wide variety of materials. Some focused on new polymers with additives to slow the atomic oxygen erosion process. Others tested both new and old thermal control materials used in multi-layer insulation blankets (Finckenor et al. 2007). The data are compared with other flight experiments and analyzed for solar absorptance, contamination and other attributes. (Evans et al. 2009)
Finckenor MM, Zweiner JM, Pippin G. Thermal Control Materials on MISSE-5 with Comparison to Earlier Flight Data. National Space and Missile Materials Symposium, Keystone, CO; 2007 [ITAR Restricted]
Guo A, Yi GT, Ashmead CC, Mitchell GG. Embrittlement of MISSE 5 Polymers After 13 Months of Space Exposure. NASA Technical Memorandum; 2012 Sep. [Also presented at the 10th International Conference on Protection of Materials and Structures from the Space Environment (ICPMSE-10J) June 12-17, 2011, Okinawa, Japan.]
Miller SK, Dever JA. Space Environment Exposure Results from the MISSE 5 Polymer Film Thermal Control Experiment on the International Space Station. 11th International Symposium on Materials in a Space Environment. Provence, France; 2009 Sep 15-18
Walters RJ, Garner JC, Lam SN, Vasquez JA, Braun WR, Ruth RE, Warner JH, Lorentzen JR, Messenger SR, Messenger SR, Bruninga RE, Jenkins PP, Jenkins PP, Flatico JM, Wilt DM, Piszczor MF, Greer LC, Krasowski MJ. Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment First On-Orbit Data. 19th Space Photovoltaic Reserach and Technology Conference, Brook Park, OH; 2007 79-94.
Kinard WH. Materials Experiment Flown on MISSE 5. National Space and Missile Materials Symposium, Keystone, CO; 2007 [ITAR Restricted]
de Groh KK, Finckenor MM, Minton TK, Brunsvold AL, Pippin G. Post-Flight Analysis of Selected Fluorocarbon and Other Thin Film Polymer Specimens Flown on MISSE-5. National Space and Missile Materials Symposium, Keystone, CO; 2007 [ITAR Restricted]
Miller SK, Dever JA. Materials International Space Station Experiment 5 Polymer Film Thermal Control Experiment. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. 2011 March; 48(2): 240-245. DOI: 10.2514/1.49482.
Stambler AH, Inoshita KE, Roberts LM, Barbagallo CE, de Groh KK, Banks BA. Ground-Laboratory to In-Space Atomic Oxygen Correlation for the PEACE Polymers. 9th International Conference on Protection of Materials and Structures from Space Environment, Toronto, Canada; 2008 [also in NASA TP. January 2011, NASA/TM--2011-216904.]
Simburger E, Matsumoto JH, Giants TW, Garcia III A, Liu S, Rawal SP, Perry AR, Marshall CH, Lin JK, Scarborough SE, Curtis HB, Kerslake TW, Peterson TT. Development of a thin film solar cell interconnect for the PowerSphere concept. Materials Science and Engineering B: Advanced Functional Solid-State Materials. 2005; 116(3): 321-325. DOI: 10.1016/j.mseb.2004.06.024.
Walters RJ, Garner JC, Lam SN, Vasquez JA, Braun WR, Ruth RE, Warner JH, Lorentzen JR, Messenger SR, Messenger SR, Bruninga RE, Jenkins PP, Jenkins PP, Flatico JM, Wilt DM, Piszczor MF, Greer LC, Krasowski MJ. Materials on the International Space Station Experiment-5, Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment: First On-Orbit Data. IEEE 4th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, Waikoloa, HI; 2006 1951-1954.
Ground Based Results Publications
Tollis G, Dever JA, Miller SK, Messer R, Sechkar EA, Sechkar EA. Exposure of Polymer Film Thermal Control Materials on the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE). NASA Technical Memorandum; 2002.
Krasowski MJ, Greer LC, Flatico JM, Jenkins PP, Jenkins PP, Spina DC. Big Science, Small-budget Space Experiment Package aka MISSE-5: A Hardware and Software perspecive. 19th Space Photovoltaic Reserach and Technology Conference, Brook Park, OH; 2007 95-117.
ISS Research Project-MISSE-5
Engineering Research and Technology
MISSE PCSat2 Telemetry
Image of MISSE-5 samples prior to launch to the International Space Station for deployment during Increment 11.
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NASA Image: S114E7352 - Views of MISSE-5 mounted on the ISS P6 truss during Expedition 11. PcSat-2 is protected by a golden thermal blanket with flexible material samples attached.
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NASA Image: S114E7235 - Distant image of MISSE-5 mounted on ISS during Expedition 11.
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NASA Image: S115E06407 - This image taken by Astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper during the STS-115/12A mission during the retrieval of MISSE-5 shows the Thin Film experiment.
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NASA Image: S115E06414 - This image of the Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE) taken prior to the retrieval of the MISSE-5 PEC during the STS-115/12A mission in September 2006.
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