Optical Fiber Production in Microgravity (Made In Space Fiber Optics) - 01.25.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Optical Fiber Production in Microgravity (Made In Space Fiber Optics) investigation demonstrates the merits of manufacturing fiber optic filaments in microgravity. The fiber optic material chosen for this demonstration is ZBLAN. Research indicates this material has the potential for better optical qualities than the silica used in most fiber optic cable. This demonstration of the scientific and commercial merits of manufacturing exotic optical fiber in microgravity could set the stage for large scale manufacture of high-quality fiber optic fiber in orbit.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Jan Clawson, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Made In Space Fiber Optics

Principal Investigator(s)
Jan Clawson, Made In Space, Jacksonville, FL, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Michael P. Snyder, M.S. Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering, Made in Space, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Made In Space, Moffett Field, CA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2017 - September 2017

Expeditions Assigned
51/52

Previous Missions
none

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Experiment Description

Research Overview
The Optical Fiber Production in Microgravity Experiment (OFPIM), by the company Made In Space (MIS), demonstrates the scientific and commercial merit for Earth of manufacturing novel optical fiber material in the microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS). The optical fiber chosen for production in microgravity aboard the ISS is the high value optical fiber, ZBLAN. Research indicates that ZBLAN produced in a microgravity environment exhibits significant improvement its performance as fiber optic fiber material. The resulting structure of the material provides further information for the future manufacture of these materials in microgravity.

Description
The Optical Fiber Production in Microgravity (Made In Space Fiber Optics) is attempting to pull fiber optic wire from ZBLAN, a heavy metal fluoride glass commonly used to make fiber optic glass. When ZBLAN is solidified in a one-G environment, its atomic structure tends to form into crystals. Research indicates that ZBLAN fiber pulled in microgravity may not crystalize as much, giving it better optical qualities than the silica used in most fiber optic wire.

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Applications

Space Applications
This experiment demonstrates a method of manufacturing in microgravity that could lead to the production of materials with much better properties than are available with those produced on Earth.

Earth Applications
The higher-quality fiber optic material produced by this experiment has many potential applications for use on Earth.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
Made In Space Fiber Optics is a locker sized payload that needs crew time to transfer, install, and remove for return to Earth. Once installed, Made In Space Fiber Optics requires power and data but no additional crew attention. Made In Space Fiber Optics operates on orbit for a period of less than 20 days. Work is ongoing to determine the optimal time to run the experiment on ISS.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
Made In Space Website

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Imagery