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Grand Opening of the First United States Sample Processed on the MSRR
Dr. Harold Lenski and Dr. Petra Neuhause of Astrium Germany open the first U.S. sample cartridge processed in the Materials Science Research Rack aboard the ISS.

Dr. Harold Lenski and Dr. Petra Neuhause, both with Astrium Germany, open the first U.S. sample cartridge processed in the MSRR aboard ISS. (NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham)

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. hosted a media event on March 16, 2010 to commemorate the opening of the first sample processed on the International Space Station (ISS) Materials Science Research Rack (MSSR). This was the first time a sample was processed for a U.S. Principal Investigator, Dr. David Poirier of the University of Arizona in Tuscon.

The March 16 opening event also recognized the efforts of the Marshall employees who developed the MSRR, and the European Space Agency employees who developed the Materials Science Lab (MSL), making this research possible. It was the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) Astrium personnel who opened the sample cartridge assembly (SCA) at Marshall ceremony.

This aluminum/silicon alloy sample was processed aboard ISS in the low gradient furnace inside the Materials Science Laboratory which is housed in the MSRR, on February 2, 2010. The sample was melted and solidified within the SCA at a controlled temperature gradient and solidification speed. The microstructure of the resolidified sample will be studied in detail.

After the ceremony, Professor Surendra Tewari, a Co-Investigator, took the sample back to Cleveland State University to begin the analysis and slice the sample into smaller specimens. Personnel from the Metals Engineering Division at Marshall and Dr. Poirier and colleagues will then analyze the specimens.

Dr. Francis Chiaramonte (left), Dr. Raymond Clinton (center), and Dr. Frank Szofran

NASA officials examine the first U. S. sample processed in the MSRR aboard ISS. From left to right: Dr. Francis Chiaramonte, Dr. Raymond Clinton, and Dr. Frank Szofran. (NASA/MSFC/David Higginbotham)

The purpose of this research is to develop a better understanding of the ways in which metal structures form on Earth. Preliminary results are expected in the months to come.

For more information about the experiment, visit:

For more information about MSRR, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/MSRR-1.html