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Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office

October 22, 2007
RELEASE : 07-047
Glenn Contributes to Upcoming Shuttle Mission
Cleveland -- NASA's Glenn Research Center is playing a vital role in the upcoming launch of space shuttle Discovery, set for Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 11:38 a.m. EDT.

Discovery will deliver a new connecting module named Harmony to the station and continue assembly of the complex's solar power system. Harmony will provide attachment points for new laboratories from Europe and Japan that will be launched to the station on upcoming missions.

"In addition to the installation of Node 2, the P6 Photovoltaic Power Module will be relocated and redeployed during this mission," said Gary Pease, electric power system integration manager for the Node 2. The P6 batteries, necessary to keep the photovoltaic module supplying energy, will be reconditioned during the upcoming mission after several months of dormancy."

The station requires a reliable power system for continued operations. Glenn developed the procedures for reconditioning the batteries, restoring them to their previous operating condition to ensure they meet station power demands. Glenn Battery Subsystem Manager Penni Dalton will be at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, where she will coordinate the reconditioning process and monitor the effectiveness of the batteries.

In addition to supplying power system expertise, Glenn has designed and built the Investigating the Structure of Paramagnetic Aggregates from Colloidal Emulsions-2 experiment, or InSPACE-2, and the Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment, or SHERE, which Discovery will deliver to station.

The InSPACE-2 experiment will study the visco-elastic properties of magnetorheological fluids (MR) under the influence of various magnetic fields.

Using hardware from InSPACE-1 already on station, InSPACE-2 will provide fundamental data characterizing the structures formed in MR fluid. By understanding the complex properties and learning the way the particles interact, scientists can develop more sophisticated methods for controlling and using MR fluids in a variety of devices, including human-robotic interfaces for spacewalk suits.

Due to the rapid-response interface that they provide between mechanical components and electronic controls, MR fluids can be used to improve or develop new brake systems, seat suspensions, robotics, clutches, airplane landing gear and vibration damping systems.

SHERE will study the effect of a phenomenon called shearing, or rotational flow, on the development of weaknesses in polymer solutions. Only the main hardware components of SHERE are flying to station on this mission. A shuttle mission in 2008 will deliver the fluid samples.

Greater understanding of the complex flows resulting from SHERE will improve polymer processing operations, leading to better polymers such as Lycra, Kevlar and spider silk as well as jet engine nozzles that involve complicated shearing and stretching.

For more information on the STS-120 mission, visit:


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