Materials International Space Station Experiment - 6A and 6B (MISSE-6A and 6B) is a sample box attached to the outside of the International Space Station; it is used for testing the effects of exposure to the space environment on small samples of new materials. These samples will be evaluated for their reaction to atomic oxygen erosion, direct sunlight, radiation, and extremes of heat and cold. Results will provide a better understanding of the durability of various materials, with important applications in the design of future spacecraft.Principal Investigator(s)
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
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory - Department of Defense (NL-DoD)ISS Expedition Duration:
October 2007 - October 2009
16,17,18,19/20Previous 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. This is a continuing investigation which began during Expedition 16 and will be returned to Earth during Expedition 19/20.
The samples for MISSE-6A and 6B include over 400 new and affordable materials that may be used in advanced reusable launch systems and advanced spacecraft systems including optics, sensors, electronics, power, coatings, structural materials and protection for the next generation of spacecraft. The development of new generations of materials and material technologies is essential to the mission of traveling beyond Earth's orbit. The samples are installed in holders and placed in experiment trays, called passive experiment containers (PECs).
MISSE-6A and 6B were brought back to Earth onboard the Shuttle Discovery during the STS-128 (17A) mission in September 2009.
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.Earth Applications
The new advanced materials and components that will be demonstrated in MISSE-6A and 6B 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-6A and 6B is mounted to the Station's exterior on a truss segment. It requires power provided by the Station, but does not require crew interaction. The critical interaction is between the samples and the space environment.Operational Protocols
During extravehicular activity astronauts will install the MISSE-6A and 6B on the ISS. During EVAs throughout the deployment of MISSE-6A and 6B crewmembers will capture snapshots of the PECs, if time permits. Another set of crewmembers in a later increment will retrieve MISSE-6A and 6B when the experiment is completed. The samples will be returned to the investigators, who will carefully examine each to determine how the materials fared.