Materials International Space Station Experiment - 8 (MISSE-8) - 11.18.15
The Materials on International Space Station Experiment - 8 (MISSE-8) tests various materials and computing elements on the exterior of the space station. The payload container is mounted so one side faces the Earth and the other faces space. The harsh environment of low-Earth orbit exposes the materials to a vacuum, atomic oxygen, ultraviolet radiation, direct sunlight and extreme heat and cold. The experiments provide a better understanding of material durability, from coatings to electronic sensors, which could be applied to future spacecraft designs.
Science Results for Everyone
Radiation, oxidation, and extreme temperatures – oh my! This investigation looked at how space exposure affected a computer interface board used to communicate between the ground and the space station. It is one in a series of investigations to test how space exposure affects spacecraft materials and elements such as solar cells and computers. The work has already led to a static-dissipating paint used on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and that will help protect communication and weather satellites. These investigations also could lead to better fire-retardant and rust-resistant materials on Earth. Experiment Details
Robert J. Walters, Ph.D., Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, United States
Phillip P. Jenkins, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, United States
United States Department of Defense Space Test Program, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)
ISS Expedition Duration 1
March 2011 - March 2014
Previous ISS Missions
NASA has conducted a series of space experiments to determine the best materials to survive in the space environment on Shuttle and Mir. 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 in August 2005 and returned on STS-115 in September 2006. MISSE-3 and 4 were delivered to ISS on STS-121 in July 2006 and returned on STS-118 in August 2007. MISSE-6A and 6B were delivered to the ISS on STS-123 in March 2008 and returned on STS-128 in September 2009. MISSE-7A and 7B were delivered to the ISS on STS-129 in November 2009, and were returned on STS-134 in May 2011.
- The Materials on International Space Station Experiment - 8 (MISSE-8) assess impacts of the space environment (vacuum, solar radiation, atomic oxygen, micrometeorites and thermal cycling, etc.) on materials and processor elements.
- Specimens include advanced solar cells, spacecraft materials, and lightweight computing devices and techniques, which will be tested during long-term exposure to the space environment.
- Science data is downlinked via ISS communication link. Sample return will occur inside the SapceX Dragon capsule as part of the SpX-5 mission.
The Materials on International Space Station Experiment - 8 (MISSE-8) is a suite of experiments that includes new and affordable materials and computing elements. The samples tested have potential use in advanced reusable launch systems and advanced spacecraft systems including solar cells, optics, sensors, electronics, power, coatings, structural materials and protection for the next generation of spacecraft. The development of the next generation of materials and computing technologies is essential to the mission of traveling beyond Earth’s orbit.
The samples are installed in holders and placed in experiment trays within a Payload Experiment Container (PEC). MISSE-8 consists of one new PEC, as well as a smaller experiment called the Optical Reflector Materials Experiment III Ram/Wake (ORMatE-III R/W). The MISSE-8 PEC and ORMatE-III R/W both reuse the MISSE-7 mounting interface and power/data system infrastructure on the MISSE-7 ExPRESS Pallet Adapter (ExPA), which was previously integrated to the ISS on the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 2 (ELC-2) during the STS-129 mission. The orientation of the MISSE-8 PEC is zenith/nadir (space facing/Earth facing), and ORMatE-III R/W is ram/wake. MISSE-8 is the third experiment in the MISSE program to receive power directly from the ISS, and the second to use uplink/downlink capabilities on the ISS communication system to receive commands and downlink data.
Many of the materials and sensors tested in the MISSE experiments could be incorporated into new spacecraft designs. Advanced materials tested with MISSE could also improve the performance of satellites, solar cells and other space-based technology. Missions on other planets have already benefitted from MISSE research: a static-dissipating paint tested in a previous MISSE experiment now coats components of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.
Ultraviolet radiation, oxidization and other phenomena happen on Earth as well as in space. Research on atomic oxygen oxidation could improve designs of fire-retardant and rust-resistant material on Earth. Interactions between various materials and solar ultraviolet radiation could improve terrestrial structures, such as plastic siding for houses. In addition, the MISSE experiments could lead to better protective designs for communications and weather satellites.
MISSE-8 will operate on the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 2 (ELC-2), which will be located on the S3 Truss Outboard Zenith site. MISSE-8 will reuse the mounting and power/data infrastructure on the MISSE-7 ExPRESS Pallet Adapter (ExPA). It requires power and data provided by the Station, but does not require crew interaction, other than at deployment and possibly retrieval. The critical interaction is between the samples and the space environment.
During extravehicular activity, astronauts installed the MISSE-8 PEC on the ISS during STS-134, and will install ORMatE-III R/W on the ISS during STS-135. During EVAs throughout the deployment of MISSE-8, crewmembers will capture snapshots of the PEC, if time permits. The MISSE-8 PEC and ORMatE-III R/W will be retrieved via EVA for return inside the SpaceX Dragon capsule as part of the SpX-5 mission.
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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The following information is a sampling of the results obtained from MISSE-8 thus far.
The Communications Interface Board (CIB), developed with radiation tolerance and reliability as the primary design considerations, is an improved communications architecture demonstration on the ISS. MISSE-7 was the first spaceflight of this technology. The CIB simplifies the communications interface to the ISS for real-time health monitoring, telemetry, and control of resident sensors or experiments. With over 40 months of spaceflight operation, the CIB successfully supported 2 sets of flight experiments: 1) the silicon carbide junction gate field-effect transistor (SiC JFET) is a high-temperature component that has uses throughout a spacecraft including health monitoring in extremely hot environments. 2) the 2nd Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment (FTSCE II) demonstrated solar cell health monitoring on the ISS with real-time telemetry enabled by the CIB. The CIB accomplishes this by acting as a bridge between the ISS low-rate telemetry (LRT) bus and the sensors allowing for 2-way command and telemetry data transfer. The CIB, currently operating in flight on the ISS, also enabled future materials, software, and device development, which lead to further use in health monitoring systems.
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Ground Based Results Publications
Krasowski MJ, Prokop NF, Flatico JM, Greer LC, Jenkins PP, Neudeck PG, Chen L, Spina DC. CIB: An improved communication architecture for real-time monitoring of aerospace materials, instruments, and sensors on the ISS. The Scientific World Journal. 2013; 2013(185769): 12 pp. DOI: 10.1155/2013/185769.
ISS Research Project - MISSE-8
NASA Image: STS105-346-007 - NASA astronaut Patrick G. Forrester, during the second STS-105 extravehicular activity, prepares the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE).
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NASA Image: ISS027E034948 - Close-up view of Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) 8 during operations to install it on ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2).
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NASA Image: S134E007603 - NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel working to install a new Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) on the EXPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier 2 (ELC2) during the first session of Extravehicular Activity (EVA-1).
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NASA Image: ISS036E004042 - View of Materials on International Space Station Experiment - 8 (MISSE-8) which is installed on the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 2 (ELC-2),located on the S3 Truss Outboard Zenith site.
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NASA Image: ISS036E016736 - Close-up view of Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) 8 during operations to install it on ExPRESS (Expedite the Processing of Experiments to Space Station) Logistics Carrier-2 (ELC-2).
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