Maui Analysis of Upper Atmospheric Injections (MAUI) - 09.17.14
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Maui Analysis of Upper Atmospheric Injections (MAUI) observes the Space Shuttle engine exhaust plumes from the Maui Space Surveillance Site in Hawaii. The observations occur when the Space Shuttle fires its engines at night or twilight. A telescope and all-sky imagers take images and data while the Space Shuttle flies over the Maui site. The images are analyzed to better understand the interaction between the spacecraft plume and the upper atmosphere of Earth.
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It’s exhausting work, literally. When the Space Shuttle fires its engines at twilight or night, the Maui Space Surveillance Site in Hawaii watches the exhaust. Researchers analyze images and data taken by a telescope and all-sky imagers in order to better understand interaction between the spacecraft’s exhaust plume and Earth’s upper atmosphere. For this investigation, the Space Shuttle executed 12 engine firings during nighttime flights over Hawaii. Images of the plume will validate models of the properties of Shuttle engine exhaust, and will be used to develop computer models for plume contamination assessment.
United States Department of Defense Space Test Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom Air Force Base, MA, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)
ISS Expedition Duration
April 2006 - September 2011
Previous ISS Missions
MAUI will be operated on Space Shuttle missions 17A and 2JA during Expedition 19/20.
- Twelve specified Space Shuttle engine firings will be conducted by the crew during nighttime over flights of Hawaii during several Space Shuttle missions.
- The Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS) telescope system will track and observe the engine firings.
- The plume imagery will serve to validate models of the properties of Space Shuttle engine exhaust plumes.
Maui Analysis of Upper Atmospheric Injections (MAUI) observes the Space Shuttle engine exhaust plumes from the Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS) in Hawaii. Observations occur when the Shuttle fires its engines at night or twilight when passing over the MSSS. Spectrally filtered images and spectra of the radiation resulting from exhaust-atmosphere interactions are taken by the optical telescope and all-sky imagers. The data should determine the chemical and physical mechanisms associated with the interaction between the chemical species in engine exhaust and the space environment. The improved models of this interaction will result in enhanced space event characterization as well as the determination of sensor requirements for effective plume and contamination analysis of other spacecraft.
Results can be used to develop a spacecraft interactions computer model for plume contamination assessment and to better understand the interaction between the spacecraft plume and the upper atmosphere.
Results will help in the interpretation of spacecraft plumes when they are observed from Earth.
Space Shuttle will have to be in the field of view while over the Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS), Hawaii, during night or twilight conditions. This experiment requires the Space Shuttle to complete three types of engine burns or maneuvers: a vernier reaction control system (VRCS) maneuver, primary reaction control system (PRCS) burns at various angles of attack, and retrograde orbital maneuvering system (OMS) burns. In order to achieve the minimum number of 12 burns it will take multiple Shuttle missions to complete this experiment. It is planned for the following Space Shuttle flights to ISS 12A (STS-115), 12A.1 (STS-116), 13A (STS-117), 13A.1 (STS-118), 15A (STS-119), 10A (STS-120), ULF1.1 (STS-121), 1E (STS-122), 1J/A (STS-123), 1J (STS-124).
The Space Shuttle will fire its engines while orbiting over the Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS), Hawaii. The telescope and all-sky imagers will take images and data while the Shuttle flies over the site. The images will be analyzed to better understand the interaction between the spacecraft plume and the upper atmosphere.
Data are still being collected for this experiment.
Ground Based Results Publications
Maui Space Surveillance Site
View of Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engine burn to boost the orbit of the Space Shuttle for rendezvous with the Mir Space Station. Image courtesy of NASA, Johnson Space Center.
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On September 17, 2006, the telescopes at the Clay Center Observatory in Brookline, Massachusetts captured this image of the Space Shuttle Atlantis just after undocking from the International Space Station during the STS-115 mission. Image courtesy of Clay Center Observatory.
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