Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) - 11.14.18

Summary | Overview | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Alpha Space’s MISSE facility provides a unique platform that is available for the private sector, as well as other government entities, to utilize applied materials testing or technical demonstrations. The primary Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) platform provides the ability to test materials, coatings, and components or other larger experiments in the harsh environment of space, which is virtually impossible to do collectively on Earth. Testing in low-Earth orbit (LEO) allows the integrated testing of how materials react to exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), atomic oxygen (AO), ionizing radiation, ultrahigh vacuum (UHV), charged particles, thermal cycles, electromagnetic radiation, and micro-meteoroids in the LEO environment.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by L. D. Stevenson, M.S., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Facility Details

OpNom: MISSE-FF

Facility Manager(s)
Kevin Heath, Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

Facility Representative(s)
L. D. Stevenson, M.S., Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, LLC, Houston, TX, United States

Developer(s)
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States
Alpha Space , Houston, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2017 - April 2019; -

Expeditions Assigned
53/54,55/56,57/58,59/60,61/62,63/64,65/66

Previous Missions
Information Pending

Availability

  • Planned
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    Facility Description

    Facility Overview

    A variety of industries can benefit from testing on Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF), including:
    • Advanced Manufacturing - UV material impact studies
    • Automotive - UV material impact studies, paint studies
    • Aeronautics - aircraft, flight hardware, coatings, solar cell
    • Energy - solar cell calibration, UV impact studies, component endurance
    • Space - spacecraft - flight hardware, astronaut clothing and protection
    • Transportation - UV material impact studies, heat studies
    • Micro-meteoroid On-Orbit Debris (MMOD).
    Types of testing available are:
    • Atomic oxygen
    • Radiation exposure: high energy, low energy, solar radiation
    • UV radiation, ionizing radiation, electromagnetic radiation
    • Vacuum testing
    • Zero gravity
    • Extreme temperatures.
    The MISSE-FF is a continuation of the very successful MISSE 1 through MISSE 8 International Space Station (ISS) flight payloads, but is a completely new design that eliminates the need for Extravehicular Activities (EVA) for MISSE operations. MISSE-FF is a cooperative endeavor between Alpha Space and the ISS Program, and is designed with a base-structure and avionics that reside on the ISS for the duration of ISS. MISSE Sample Carriers (MSCs) are attached, and later retrieved from using the ISS Canadarm 2. MSCs are launched up to the facility, and then returned to Earth at the end of the testing period. MISSE-FF is operated robotically from the ground with no planned crew interfaces required for facility operations, except for loading future MISSE Sample Carriers (MSCs) on the transfer tray for transporting the MSC’s through the JEM airlock, and subsequently unloading MSCs from the transfer tray and preparing MSCs for return to Earth. The facility is a development of new technology and systems not previously available to the materials science community. A new feature, not available in the past, is the ability of each MSC to take pictures of each sample on a monthly basis (or more often if required) which is provided to each Principal Investigator (PI) to monitor the status of their sample/experiment throughout its time on orbit. MISSE MSCs also offers power and data options for experiments that require data collection and/or power for their experiment (s).
     
    MISSE-FF offers four space viewing directions for testing of samples or experiments: Ram (view forward as the ISS moves in its orbit), Wake (viewing behind the ISS similar to the wake of a boat in water), Zenith (viewing away from earth into deep space and toward the sun), and Nadir (viewing down toward the earth). Scientists test for material, or component durability, such as accelerated degradation, space contamination adherence, mass loss, etc.

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    Operations

    Facility Operations

    • Remotely controllable MISSE Sample Carriers (MSCs) provide sample protection and on-demand picture data previously unavailable on prior MISSE experiments.
    • Provides monthly images of each Principal Investigator’s (PIs) experiment/sample.
    • Power and data are available for each MSC.
    • The ability to close each MSC during re-boost or visiting vehicle operations helps ensure that samples/experiments are shielded for minimum contamination during on orbit operations.
    • The MISSE-FF launches on a SpaceX Dragon Vehicle to the ISS, in the trunk area.
    • The facility is removed from the Dragon trunk by the ISS robotic arm, and placed on ELC 2, Site 3 on the starboard truss.
    • Five MSCs accompany the facility to orbit, and are robotically attached to the MISSE-FF shortly after arrival.
    • The facility has 12 “slots” for the attachment of 12 MSCs when the facility is fully populated. However, typical operations only have 11 or fewer MSCs installed- leaving one “slot” as a temporary berthing position during operations to retrieve MSCs that have completed their duration on orbit. Those MSCs can be replaced with new ones that contain new experiments/samples.
    • At the end of an experiment’s time on orbit, the MSC is retrieved by the ISS robotic arm and placed on the MISSE Transfer Tray (MTT) to be moved inside ISS through the Japanese Experiment Module’s (JEM) airlock.
    • Approximately six months later, additional MSCs are flown to orbit and attached to the facility- beginning a rotation process and continue to be manifested approximately every six months thereafter.
    • Time on orbit for each MSC varies depending on the PI’s requirements on each carrier. Typically, on orbit durations are from six months to one year, with the possibility of longer durations if requested.

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    Decadal Survey Recommendations

    Information Pending

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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites

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    Imagery

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    The Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) with MISSE Sample Carriers (MSCs) in the fully open position exposing samples/experiments to the harsh environment of space in low-Earth Orbit (LEO). Image courtesy of Alpha Space.

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    Materials ISS Experiment (MISSE) base structure/platform. This is the structural platform on which the MISSE Sample Carriers (MSCs) are robotically attached. MSCs are robotically inserted in the black Docking Retention and Release Mechanism (DRRM) receptacle. To the right of each DRRM receptacle is the blind mate connector (smaller black and blue housing), which connects power and data for each MSC during the mating process. Image courtesy of Alpha Space.

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    MISSE Sample Carrier (MSC) undergoes engineering functional testing and camera calibration prior to flight. Image courtesy of Alpha Space.

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    NASA Image: ISS055E020134 - Photographic documentation taken in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) during preparations for the install of the Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF). Ground control opens the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Airlock (JEMAL) inner hatch and extends the slide table into the JEM.

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    NASA Image: ISS055E020137 - Photographic documentation taken in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) during preparations for the install of the Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF). Ground control opens the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Airlock (JEMAL) inner hatch and extends the slide table into the JEM.

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    NASA Image: ISS055E026913 - The Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) taken by the External High Definition Camera (EHDC1).

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    NASA Image: ISS055E024241 - The Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Exposed Facility (EF) and the Materials ISS Experiment Flight Facility (MISSE-FF) as it exits the JEM airlock. The MISSE-FF platform provides the ability to test materials, coatings, and components or other larger experiments in the harsh environment of space, which is virtually impossible to do collectively on Earth.

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