Amy Johnson

RELEASE : 09-083
09-083: MISSE Suitcases Return Home -- Media Invited to View Grand Opening
HAMPTON, Va. -- The space traveler is back!

The Materials International Space Station Experiments (MISSEs) 6A and 6B have returned to NASA Langley after spending more than a year on the International Space Station. The project's principal investigators and technicians will open the Passive Experiment Containers -- also called suitcases -- in a clean room at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., to begin inspecting the material samples on Oct. 20.

Media are invited to attend the opening of MISSEs 6A and 6B and will have the opportunity to enter the clean room for an up-close look at the samples. Media interested in attending should contact Amy Johnson at 864-7022 by Oct. 19, to arrange for entry on to the Center. Media must be in place by 9 a.m. on the 20th to enter the clean room by 10 a.m. and will be required to wear clean suits.

MISSEs 6A and 6B were launched aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in March 2008 and were retrieved by STS-128 astronauts Danny Olivas and Nicole Stott during a Sept. 1, 2009, spacewalk.

The MISSE project -- managed by NASA Langley -- is a series of experiments being conducted to investigate the effects of long-term exposure of materials to the harsh space environment. MISSE 6 is the fourth set of hardware in the series, contains more than 400 specimens and was the first suitcase to draw power from the space station. Among the samples are candidate materials for Orion, NASA's next generation spacecraft, including materials for future space suits and for the heat shield as well as materials for seals in the airlocks where Orion docks with the space station.

Once MISSEs 6A and 6B are opened and studied at NASA Langley by the project's principal investigators, the materials will be transferred to the NASA centers and the home locations of the other partners.

The only way to test how different materials will perform in space is to test them in that environment. The research from MISSE will provide the insight needed to develop materials for future spacecraft and will also help researchers make materials and coatings that will last longer on Earth.

The MISSE project is funded jointly by NASA and the Department of Defense, including the Air Force Research and Naval Research Labs. Other NASA partners include NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland; Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Johnson Space Center, Houston; Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Ca.; and Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

For history of the MISSE project, visit:

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