Station Hardware and Experiments Launch on Endeavour
When Space Shuttle Endeavour launches on its journey to the International Space Station Friday, it will carry two major pieces of space hardware designed, built and tested at NASA's Glenn Research Center.

Workers and Combustion Integrated RackGlenn Engineers Michael Politi and Martin O'Toole work on the Combustion Integrated Rack. The Combustion Integrated Rack contains hardware and software necessary to conduct combustion experiments on the space station. It also provides power, environmental controls, data management and communications for the experiments. Research conducted with the rack could result in more efficient energy production on Earth, reduced pollution and new fire prevention methods for space missions.

The Multi-user Droplet Combustion Apparatus, another piece of flight hardware built at Glenn, is a modular insert that will hold fire suppression and flame extinguishment experiments to be performed in the new rack.

The first experiment to use the new apparatus, the Flame Extinguishment Experiment, is also launching aboard Endeavour. It will test the performance of fire suppressants in various space exploration environments with the goal of selecting fire suppressants for the next generation of space capsules.

Four other Glenn experiments are headed for the space station Friday.

The Smoke Point in Coflow Experiment determines the point at which gas jet flames begin to emit soot. This phenomenon is strongly and uniquely affected by gravity. The experiment could result in improved soot control in combustors ranging from jet engines to coal-burning power plants.

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The Shear History Extensional Rheology Experiment (SHERE) investigates the effect of rotation on the stress and strain response of a polymer fluid being stretched in microgravity. Polymer, a material sometimes used as adhesives and fillers on spacecraft, acts like silly putty. SHERE places polymer between two flat plates and rotates one end. Then it stretches the polymer, allowing scientists to observe how the material reacts in microgravity. The experiment could improve the manufacturing of polymers for future spaceflights.

The Component Repair Experiment 1 is designed to develop methods for performing on-orbit electronics repair. Information gathered from the experiment will help NASA train and equip astronauts to repair faulty circuit boards in low gravity aboard a spacecraft.

The Space Acceleration Measurement Experiment-II (SAMS-II) is an ongoing study of vibration and acceleration that result from the operation of hardware, crew activities, docking and maneuvering on the space station. SAMS helps scientists understand how acceleration and vibration affect experiments on the station. Endeavour will carry two new SAMS-II sensors that will provide acceleration data for fluid physics, material science and combustion experiments.

Jan Wittry (SGT, Inc.)