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Press Release 97-18

Lori J. Rachul
NASA Lewis Research Center
(Bus: 216/433-8806)

NASA Lewis Researchers Launch 11 Experiments on Next Shuttle Mission

CLEVELAND, OH-- Eleven NASA Lewis Research Center experiments will fly on the STS-83 mission as part of the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1), a research facility that will provide the bridge between present Spacelab and future International Space Station operations. Space shuttle Columbia is schedule for liftoff on April 3, 1997.

Concentrating on NASA’s efforts to further understand the subtle and complex phenomena associated with the influence of gravity on many aspects of daily life, NASA Lewis researchers have developed experiments that focus on Lewis’ expertise -- fluid physics, combustion science, materials science and acceleration measurement disciplines.

NASA Lewis experiments flying on MSL-1 are:

Combustion Module-1 (CM-1) - This is a state-of-the-art space laboratory for microgravity combustion science. Designed, fabricated and assembled by NASA Lewis engineers and technicians, CM-1 will accommodate a variety of combustion experiments through the use of interchangeable experiment hardware.

Laminar Soot Processes (LSP) - A fundamental combustion science experiment that will provide an opportunity to improve our understanding of soot formation in flames. Soot is the major source of radiated heat from fires and is a significant pollutant. Understanding of soot processes is crucial to the development of next generation propulsion and power generation systems along with improving the ability to control unwanted fires. This experiment will be conducted in CM-1.

Structure of Flame Balls at Low Lewis-number (SOFBALL) - This experiment, also to be conducted in CM-1, will study two important processes necessary for combustion: chemical reaction and heat and mass transport. Data collected from this mission will be compared to existing models of flame structures. These data are crucial both for fire safety assessment and for the design of efficient clean-burning combustion engines.

Fiber Supported Droplet Combustion Investigations-2 (FSDC-2) - This glovebox investigation will continue to study fundamental phenomena related to liquid-fuel-droplet combustion in air. This understanding will advance technology in areas of energy production propulsion, mitigation of combustion-generated pollution and the control of fire hazards in handling liquid combustibles.

Coarsenng in Solid-Liquid Mixtures (CSLM) - This materials science experiment is designed to investigate the kinetics of competitive particle growth within a liquid matrix. During coarsening, small particles shrink by losing atoms to larger particles causing the larger particles to grow or coarsen.

Physics of Hard Spheres (PHaSE) - Developed to increase our understanding of the physics involved in phase transitions of liquids to solids. Data from this investigation could result in new materials processing techniques in the future.

Gravitation Role in Liquid-Phase Sintering (LPS) - An investigation to study sintering--a process by which metal powders are fused together using heat in a liquid medium. Flight data will help introduce new industrial applications of liquid phase sintering, resulting in new and improved metallic products for use in aeronautics, automotive and aerospace industries.

Diffusion Processes in Molten Semiconductors (DPIMS) - This experiment will measure the diffusion coefficients of trace impurities of gallium, silicon and antimony in molten germanium. This is important because uniform diffusion of dopants in semiconductor materials will greatly improve the performance of electronic components fabricated from these materials, as well as materials having similar behavioral characteristics.

Capillary-Driven Heat Transfer (CHT) - This glovebox investigation will study the instabilities and failures in capillary pump loop heat transfer systems. Capillary pumped loops are devices used to transfer heat from one location to another, such as from electrical components to space radiators.

Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS) and Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE) - Both Lewis-developed instruments, they will monitor and record the microgravity environment onboard MSL-1. The data collected by these systems will provide investigators with insight into conditions that might affect the results of their experiments. This will be the 17th flight for SAMS, making it the second most flown microgravity payload in history.

By thoroughly testing these new procedures, hardware and systems, MSL-1 is helping ensure that space station research has the best possible start.

Since 1990, NASA Lewis has had over 80 microgravity experiments/instruments successfully flown on 30 missions. Soon science operations now on the space shuttle will be transferred to the International Space Station (ISS). Currently, multi-user experiment hardware designed and developed at NASA Lewis is being readied for installation on ISS.

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