Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office

Jeannette P. Owens
Media Relations Office

November 12, 2008
RELEASE : 08-058
Upcoming Space Shuttle Mission Carries NASA Glenn Experiments and Hardware
CLEVELAND -- When space shuttle Endeavour makes the next trip to the International Space Station, it will carry the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) and the Multi-User Droplet Combustion Apparatus (MDCA), two major pieces of hardware designed, fabricated and tested over the last 10 years at NASA's Glenn Research Center. Endeavour's STS-126 mission is scheduled to lift off at 7:55 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 14.

The CIR can be used in different scenarios and experiments with a focus on performing combustion research, which will help develop more efficient energy production on Earth, reduce combustion-generated pollution and address the fire hazards associated with space travel.

The MDCA is the first multi-user insert for the CIR designed to accommodate different droplet combustion science experiments. The two together will allow for cost effective extended access to the microgravity environment, not possible on previous spaceflights.

The first experiment for MDCA is the Flame Extinguishment Experiment, which will assess the effectiveness of fire suppressants in microgravity and quantify the effect of different possible crew exploration atmospheres on fire suppression. The goal of this research is to provide definition and direction for large scale fire suppression tests and selection of the fire suppressant for next generation crew exploration vehicles.

Four other payload experiments designed, fabricated and tested at Glenn to be part of STS-126 mission cargo are:

  • The Smoke Point In Co-flow Experiment (SPICE) determines the point at which gas-jet flames, similar to a butane-lighter flame, begin to emit soot. This phenomenon is a property of the fuel chemistry and the flow conditions and has been shown to be strongly and uniquely affected by gravity. Studying a soot emitting flame is important in understanding the ability of fires to spread and in the control of soot in combustors ranging from jet engines to coal-burning power plants.

  • The Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment (SHERE) is designed to investigate the effect of preshearing (rotation) on the stress and strain response of a polymeric liquid (a fluid consisting of many molecular chains) being stretched in microgravity. SHERE is important for understanding containerless processing, an important operation for fabrication of parts (such as adhesives or fillers) using elastomeric materials on future exploration missions. This knowledge can be applied to controlling and improving Earth-based manufacturing processes as well.

  • Space Acceleration Measurements System-II (SAMS-II) sensors called Triaxial Sensor Head Ethernet Standalone will operate within the Combustion Integrated Rack and the Microgravity Science Glovebox facilities. These two SAMS sensors will provide acceleration data for fluid physics, material science and combustion experiments performed on the space station where the effects of gravity are important to the results of the research and affect the outcome of the research. The SAMS acceleration data provides measurement of the microgravity influence on a payload during science operations on board the station.

  • Component Repair Experiment 1 (CRE 1) is designed to develop better methods of on-orbit electronics repair. This experiment examines how to manually repair faulty circuit boards in low gravity aboard a spacecraft. Training crew members to repair units rather than replace them will reduce launch burdens and help prepare for long-duration missions to the moon and beyond.

  • These plus other experiments delivered to station will optimize the use of crew members to address research questions in a variety of disciplines.

    For more information on STS-126, visit:


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