The Materials Science Research Rack-1 (MSRR-1) will be used for basic materials research in the microgravity environment of the ISS. MSRR-1 can accommodate and support diverse Experiment Modules (EMs). In this way many material types, such as metals, alloys, polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, crystals, and glasses, can be studied to discover new applications for existing materials and new or improved materials.Facility Manager(s)
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL, United States
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)Expeditions Assigned
19/20,21/22,23/24,25/26,27/28,29/30,31/32Previous ISS Missions
Utilizing the MSRR-1 on ISS, materials scientists can exploit the microgravity environment, where they can isolate chemical and thermal properties of materials free from the effects of gravity. The MSRR-1 will facilitate this research by providing instrumentation and thermal chambers for mixing materials, growing crystals, and quenching/solidifying metals or alloys.
The first experiment module planned for MSRR-1 is the Materials Science Laboratory (MSL) developed by European Space Agency (ESA). MSL occupies nearly the entire right side of MSRR-1 The MSL is designed to provide controlled, materials processing conditions and advanced diagnostics, including: temperature stability and precision; stability and precision of furnace translation; measurement of Seebeck voltage and sample resistance; determination of the solid/liquid interface position by ultrasound pulses; rotating magnetic field to initiate a controlled laminar flow inside liquid semiconductor samples; activation of a shear cell and video interface for sample ampoule containment assembly. In addition, MSL will feature a number of on-orbit, replaceable, module inserts developed by ESA. The Low Gradient Furnace (LGF) and Solidification and Quenching Furnace (SQF) were developed by ESA. Lastly, MSL will include a Sample Ampoule Cartridge Assembly (SACA), which contains the sample in a sealed environment, provides monitoring of temperature and cartridge integrity, and serves as the mechanical means for the crew to insert the sample into the module insert.
MSRR-1 is integrated into a single International Standard Payload Rack (ISPR), whose structure measures 203 cm in height, 105 cm in width, and 96.5 cm in width at its deepest point, following the contoured shape of the U.S. Destiny Laboratory. The primary experiment compartments and instrumentation of MSRR-1 are organized into on-orbit replaceable experiment modules (EMs). In addition, it is outfitted with support equipment, including a master controller (MC), a video box, a solid state power control module (SSPCM), thermal and environmental control system (TECS), and vacuum access system (VAS). It also utilizes an Active Rack Isolation System (ARIS) to minimize vibrations to the research within the MSRR-1.
MSRR-1 will be launched inside a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) currently planned for flight in August 2008. After the orbiter docks and the MPLM is berthed to the ISS, MSRR-1 will be translated by the crew from the MPLM to its rack location in the Destiny Laboratory. The crew then connects all required ISS resources, and once the solid state power control module (SSPCM) receives power, the master controller initiates an automatic startup of rack systems.
MSRR-1 is a highly-automated facility. The requirement to allow a wide variety of experiments, however, requires the crew to manually install exchangeable module or furnace inserts. Once an insert is in place and the systems are tested, the crew is also required to insert the experiment sample, using the sample ampoule cartridge assembly. Thereafter, the experiment sequence can be run by automatic command, or by sending commands through the master controller and/or a laptop. Thus, the capability exists to do telescience (science conducted via telemetry command from the ground) from distributed user home bases set up for scientists to monitor and conduct their investigations.
The crew must interact with the facility during maintenance operations. A number of components are designated as On-orbit Replaceable Units (ORUs), which have a minimum lifetime but are designed to be removed and replaced. Some of the ORU components on MSRR-1 include the SSPCM, master controller, VAS motorized vacuum valve assembly, and the TECS shelf. Finally, the crew is required for removal of samples and transfer to stowage locations or to the spacecraft that will return the samples to Earth, or to install new module inserts or experiment-specific electronics.
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