Sally Harrington
Media Relations Office

November 13, 2009
RELEASE : 09-058
Mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis has Ohio Connections
CLEVELAND -- When space shuttle Atlantis makes the next trip to the International Space Station, it will carry experiments and hardware designed, fabricated and tested at NASA's Glenn Research Center. Atlantis is scheduled to launch on November 16 at 2:28 p.m.

The crew will include two Ohio astronauts. Commander Charles Hobaugh graduated from North Ridgeville High School. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. Hobaugh was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He was the pilot of STS-104 in 2001 and STS-118 in 2007. Mission Specialist Michael Foreman was born in Columbus, Ohio, but considers Wadsworth his hometown. He earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master's degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Foreman flew as a mission specialist on STS-123 in 2008 and performed three spacewalks. He was selected as an astronaut in 1996.

This mission is a utility logistics support mission and will deliver 14 tons of important spare parts, science experiments and other items in its middeck and payload bay.

Among the spare parts is a Plasma Contactor Unit (PCU). Within the PCU is a Glenn designed and fabricated Hollow Cathode Assembly. When commanded, it emits electrons by converting Xenon gas into Xenon plasma, thus creating the ground path for the electrical charge build-up that occurs as the space station travels through low earth orbit.

A new treadmill harness--the last of the five to be delivered--will also arrive at the space station. These harnesses are part of an on-orbit study to assess whether crew members can exercise more comfortably and at higher loads than while using the current harness. The key to success of load-bearing exercise in space, especially with respect to bone health, is the effective application of loads to the astronaut to replace the bodyweight forces normally imparted to the body on Earth.

The next segment of the Materials International Space Station Experiment, called MISSE-7, will also be aboard this shuttle mission. MISSE-7 will be mounted on the exterior of the space station and includes experiments on materials and components to test their performance in space. The crucial spacecraft durability data provided can enable lifetime predictions of new materials and components that may be used in future space flight. In addition to several Glenn experiments and sensors, MISSE-7 includes Glenn's Communications Interface Box that provides a bridge between the active experiments and the space station for telemetry and command data. MISSE-7, developed by the Naval Research Laboratory, also includes the Forward Technology Solar Cell Experiment-II for which the Navy and Glenn are co-investigators.

Included in the cargo of STS-129 are special glass test tubes that space station crew members will use in a Glenn-designed heat transfer experiment. The constrained vapor bubble experiment is expected to provide data that may increase the efficiency of heat pipes. Heat pipes are relevant to space exploration due to the weight and power savings of not needing a pump. On Earth, heat pipes have many applications including enabling computers to run cooler and, therefore, faster. They also assist medical implants that can cool hot spots in the brain to treat certain medical conditions.

For more information on STS-129, visit:

For more information on Michael Foreman and Charles Hobaugh, visit:

For more information on the treadmill harnesses, visit:

For more information on the Materials International Space Station Experiment, visit:

For more information on the Plasma Contactor Unit, visit:


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