Leaving the Planet: Science and Technology Results on the International Space Station

Carl E. Walz

Exploration Mission Systems Directorate

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

INTRODUCTION

This paper will discuss the significance of the International Space Station (ISS) for science, but also its role in the evolution of our activities toward longer duration spaceflights. The “leaving the planet” title was selected in the belief that as a species we are destined to explore and to visit new worlds, and, perhaps, expand our civilization there. Starting with a brief overview of space stations in general, from an historical perspective, the paper will then focus on the ISS in terms of its assembly, operations, and overall research themes and results. The final portion of the paper will be a discussion about the future.

Chesley Bonestell’s picture of Werner Von Braun’s concept for a space station (Figure 4.1) appeared in Collier’s magazine in 1952. It’s fascinating to think that Von Braun had this vision back in 1946 when World

FIGURE 4.1 Von Braun’s Space Station as imagined by Chester Bonestell. Reproduced with permission of Bonestell Space Art. SOURCE: Reproduced with permission of Bonestell Space Art.

FIGURE 4.1 Von Braun’s Space Station as imagined by Chester Bonestell. Reproduced with permission of Bonestell Space Art. SOURCE: Reproduced with permission of Bonestell Space Art.

War II had just ended. So even back then, before the International Geophysical Year, people were thinking about what it would be like for humans to leave the planet and what the possibilities might be.

The toroidal design actually incorporated artificial gravity, so that people could walk around the inside at 1 G (the acceleration that Earth imparts to objects on or near its surface).

THE FIRST SPACE STATIONS

The United States did not build that kind of space station and neither did the Russians. However, the Russians, in a similar vein to us, had an idea that a space station capability should be developed, so they created a series of space stations called Salyut. Part of these stations were civilian-research oriented, and part of them were dedicated to military research.

FIGURE 4.2 Salyut Series—USSR’s foothold in space. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.

FIGURE 4.2 Salyut Series—USSR’s foothold in space. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech.



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Leaving the Planet: Science and Technology Results on the International Space Station Carl E. Walz Exploration Mission Systems Directorate National Aeronautics and Space Administration INTRODUCTION War II had just ended. So even back then, before the International Geophysical Year, people were thinking This paper will discuss the significance of the Inter- about what it would be like for humans to leave the national Space Station (ISS) for science, but also its planet and what the possibilities might be. role in the evolution of our activities toward longer The toroidal design actually incorporated artificial duration spaceflights. The “leaving the planet” title was gravity, so that people could walk around the inside at selected in the belief that as a species we are destined to 1 G (the acceleration that Earth imparts to objects on explore and to visit new worlds, and, perhaps, expand or near its surface). our civilization there. Starting with a brief overview of space stations in general, from an historical perspective, THE FIRST SPACE STATIONS the paper will then focus on the ISS in terms of its assembly, operations, and overall research themes and The United States did not build that kind of space results. The final portion of the paper will be a discus- station and neither did the Russians. However, the sion about the future. Russians, in a similar vein to us, had an idea that a Chesley Bonestell’s picture of Werner Von Braun’s space station capability should be developed, so they concept for a space station (Figure 4.1) appeared in created a series of space stations called Salyut. Part of Collier’s magazine in 1952. It’s fascinating to think that these stations were civilian-research oriented, and part Von Braun had this vision back in 1946 when World of them were dedicated to military research. FIGURE 4.1 Von Braun’s Space Station as imagined by Ches- FIGURE 4.2 S alyut Series—USSR’s foothold in space. ter Bonestell. Reproduced with permission of Bonestell Space Art. SOURCE: Reproduced with permission of Bonestell Space Art. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech. 1

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2 FORGING THE FUTURE OF SPACE SCIENCE Salyut first flew April 19, 1971. Two crews visited Salyut 1, but one visiting crew could not actually dock. The first crew experienced problems with the dock- ing system, and so they ended up coming home early without actually staying on the station. The second crew successfully docked and stayed for approximately 23 days. However, due to a failure of the Soyuz capsule when they re-entered the atmosphere, all the crew- members died. These experiences show that leaving Earth and going to space has tremendous risks. The Russians developed several more Salyut and Almaz space stations. The next three after Salyut-1 were fail- ures. Either the Proton rocket they used blew up on the pad, or the station simply did not achieve orbit. So it was not until Salyut-4 that they were finally able to reestablish an orbiting station and carry out a succes- sion of successful missions. Salyuts 4, 5, 6, and 7 were very successful, having a number of crewmembers visit and demonstrating a lot of space capabilities. FIGURE 4.3 Skylab—America’s first experimental space sta- In the United States we had a military Manned Or- tion launched in 1973. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA. biting Laboratory (MOL) program that was planned but eventually did not get funded and did not fly. Although the United States decided not to carry out program ended in 1975, there was a plan that called the MOL program, we did decide to do the civilian for the space shuttle to fly to Skylab and re-boost it, NASA Skylab program. Skylab was our first U.S. space giving it extra time on orbit. Unfortunately the first station. It was a 75-ton laboratory built from a Saturn flight of the shuttle was delayed until 1981. Skylab’s IVB stage, the upper stage of the Saturn V rocket. orbit decayed, and it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and Skylab was launched into space on May 14, 1973, and mostly burned up. However, some charred hardware was occupied by three crews, Skylab 2, 3, and 4. The landed in Australia. crews stayed for periods of 28, 59, and then 84 days, respectively, during 1973 and 1974. From Figure 4.3 you can see that Skylab is asymmetric. During launch, aerodynamic forces caused one of the solar arrays to be ripped off. Fortunately this problem did not damage the pressurized module. The aerodynamic forces also ripped off some of the thermal protection system. So one of the first orders of business with Skylab was to ac- tually do an in-flight repair and deploy a new sunshade during a spacewalk. That spacewalk was performed by the first crew and allowed the Skylab to function very well for the three missions. The Skylab crews performed a number of micro- gravity physical science experiments and a number of physiological experiments, looking at how micrograv- FIGURE 4.4 Skylab astronaut Owen Garriott lies in a lower ity affected the human body, and also operated a solar body negative pressure device—a big vacuum cleaner that observator (Figure 4.4). simulates the effects of gravity on the lower body. NASA Photo Skylab stayed in space until 1979. After the Apollo ID: SL3-108-1278. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA.

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 LEAVING THE PLANET MIR AND SHUTTLE-MIR Seven U.S. astronauts flew on Mir during the S huttle–Mir cooperative program, the first being In parallel with the U.S. Skylab activities the Russians Norman Thagard. From the Shuttle–Mir experience, were building and flying their Salyut stations. Then the U.S. learned a great deal about what was involved the Russians decided that they wanted to do some- in flying long-duration missions. Our NASA long- thing a little bit different and more advanced, and they duration spaceflight experience up until that time, launched a very successful modular space station, the excluding the Skylab missions, involved Spacelab- Mir (Figure 4.5). Shuttle flights of about 2 weeks duration. Jumping to The word “Mir” means “World” or “Peace.” The durations of several months was a completely different first element of the space complex was launched on story. The chance for the United States to participate in February 19, 1986. Mir incorporated an autonomous the Shuttle-Mir gave us opportunities for a close look rendezvous and docking system, the Kurs system, at what kinds of challenges existed for the flight crews, which allowed these large modules to be able to find design and sustaining engineers, and flight controllers each other and to autonomously dock. This was highly in mission control for long-duration flights. Figure 4.6 sophisticated technology for its time. When crews were shows Shannon Lucid with Sasha Kaleri. Lucid was on board the Mir they had a backup capability where the second American to make a long stay on Mir. She the crew could dock additional modules as well. They was aboard Mir for 186 days. also had a very short but very capable robotic arm that We learned quite a bit from the Shuttle-Mir pro- could move the modules around from the docking con- gram, including having a chance to look at some of figuration to their final configuration. Mir consisted of the Russian technology. Typically the Russians could a number of modules. It started out with a base block bring things up to their space stations, but they could that really had its heritage from the Salyut series and not bring them back down. So they would use them provided vital crew life support and habitability func- up, and then they would just throw them away. The tions. In addition, other modules included Kristall, shuttle, however, provided a capability to bring back Priroda, and Spektr. These modules reflected some of large items of equipment, thus giving the United States the science that would be done in space. an opportunity to see what worked, what did not work, and help advance technology. FIGURE 4.6 Shuttle-Mir: Beginning of U.S.-Russian collabora- tion for the long-duration spaceflight. Astronaut Shannon Lucid floats with her Russian pressure suit in the Mir space station FIGURE 4.5 Mir—Russia’s long-duration spaceflight testbed. central node. She is joined by Mir-22 flight engineer Alexander SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA. Kaleri. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA.

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 FORGING THE FUTURE OF SPACE SCIENCE THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION STS-88 mission. Node-1 and the FGB were attached using the shuttle’s robotic arm. Now let’s move on from the Mir program to a historical Once those missions had taken place there was a perspective of the ISS. The ISS involves a consortium fairly large time gap before construction continued. of nations—the United States, Russia, Canada, the Eu- The next module to go up was the Russian Service ropean Space Agency, and Japan—working together on Module, launched on July 12, 2000, which is basically its development and operation. The first launch of ISS the living compartment for the ISS, providing the was a Russian element, the Functional Cargo Block, early life support system for the station. It was behind or FGB, on November 20, 1998. It was launched on a schedule, so there was a hiatus of about a year and a Proton rocket from Baikonur, thus initiating a new era half in assembly flights, which enabled us to do a lot of human spaceflight. of testing of our ISS elements on the ground to verify Shortly thereafter, on December 4, 1998, we their proper functionality. The launch of the service launched our first U.S. element, Node-1, during the module broke a logjam and initiated the launch of a F IGURE 4.7 I nternational Space Station functional cargo block—first element. ISS Zarya module as seen from STS-88. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA.

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 LEAVING THE PLANET but the assembly was halted due to the Columbia ac- cident, which occurred on February 1, 2003. It took us until July 2005 to get the shuttle flying again. The STS- 114 mission was the first post-accident shuttle flight, and it was mostly a resupply mission. Another year passed before we actually started bringing up more the elements, starting with a build-out of the solar trusses. The October 2007 configuration of the space station is pictured in Figure 4.9. The completed ISS consists of hardware com- ponents developed by the five program partners. The following components are included: FIGURE 4.8 International Space Station: U.S. element and Russian element joined in space. NASA Photo ID: STS088-703- • Zarya (Functional Cargo Block) 032. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA. • Unity Node 1 • Zvezda Service Module number of shuttle flights which added, among other • Z1 Truss things, the Z1 Truss, which provided the control mo- • P6 Truss with a Solar Array ment gyros and the first U.S. solar arrays that provide • Destiny Laboratory power for the station. The first crew launched to the • External Stowage Platform ISS on October 31, 2001, from Baikonur, and then in • Canadarm2 Robotic Arm February 2001, we brought up the Destiny Laboratory, • Quest Joint Airlock which is the U.S. laboratory. At this point we were • Pirs Docking Compartment & Airlock ready to begin scientific research onboard the space • S0 Truss station, although construction of the ISS still was not • Mobile Base System for Canadarm complete. We continued on with a number of assembly • S1 Truss flights—adding an airlock, a robotic arm (provided by • P1 Truss Canada), and starting to build out the truss elements, • ESP 2 FIGURE 4.9 International Space Station, October 2007. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA.

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 FORGING THE FUTURE OF SPACE SCIENCE • P3/P4 Truss with Solar Array Russia and the U.S. elements were in the United States. • P5 Truss They had similar data buses, but they were not identi- • S3/S4 Truss with Solar Array cal. Therefore we had to do testing using surrogate • S5 Truss systems and hope those surrogate systems really did • External Stowage Platform 3 reflect how the actual space systems work. What we • Harmony Node 2 found when we put the two surrogate systems together for the first time, Russian and U.S., was they did not The next flight is on the launch pad right now play together. There was a slight difference in the tim- ( January 2008). We are hoping to launch in the early ing between the two data busses. We discovered this February time frame.1 That flight will bring up Europe’s shortly before we were set to launch the Russian Service Columbus laboratory module. Future components to Module where, in orbit, U.S. and Russian data buses bring the ISS to its assembly complete configuration would have to communicate together. Fortunately, our include: engineers were able to scramble and resolve that timing issue, and their speedy work allowed us to launch the • Japanese Logistics Module service module and then unleash the ISS construction • Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator flood gates. • Japanese Pressurized Module And that was only one issue. There are numer- • JEM Robotic Arm ous other issues that had to do with various systems, • S6 Truss with Solar Array such as propellants and the control of the solar ar- • Japanese Exposed Facility rays, when different spacecraft come to dock. We are • Docking Cargo Module continuously learning how to operate this very large, • Node 3 and Cupola complex vehicle. We are also gaining experience in • EXPRESS Logistics Carriers 5, 1 crew operations, systems operations, and crew-system interface options. The year 2008 should also see the first flight of As regards crew operations and training; this is ESA’s Autonomous Transfer Vehicle (ATV) which will the first large-scale human spaceflight effort to have a dock to the Russian Service Module and be used for highly integrated international crew. Again, with a con- station re-supply and orbit re-boost. The Japanese also sortium of nations that are working together, we have to plan to contribute the HII Transfer Vehicle (HTV) for figure out ways to build teamwork in crews with varied station re-supply. If all goes well we will increase the backgrounds so that they can work together effectively. crew size from three to six in 2009. This applies both to the flight and ground crews. The All in all, the ISS is going to be quite a vehicle when ISS partners have worked very hard to do that. fully assembled, and we have made tremendous strides The ISS will also serve as a test-bed to develop skills since we’ve recovered from the Columbia accident. All that will be needed for going to the Moon, and, at some the ISS partners are looking forward to the completion time in the future, for going to Mars. Imagine if you of the construction in the next couple of years. were going to Mars, for example. Most probably, your training would not be complete when you left Earth. It would be completed on the 6- to 9-month trip out ISS Operational Results to Mars. On the ISS we are trying to develop protocols The ISS, as you can imagine, is a very complex plat- and procedures to use in-flight training capabilities; for form as regards engineering integration and scientific example, ways to do refresher training. We will also be research. One fact worthy of note is that we did not put studying how we can train more for broad skills rather all the hardware together on the ground before launch- than doing very specific task training, When you get ing it into orbit. We put almost all the U.S. elements to Mars, or even on the station, you cannot anticipate together on the ground, but Russian elements were in everything that your crew might have to do. You make sure that your crews have the basic toolbox of skills and that they can adapt, do some rehearsals in space, and 1STS-122 was successfully launched on February 7, 2008.

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 LEAVING THE PLANET FIGURE 4.10 Image of Inter- national Space Station at assem- bly complete. Backdropped by a blue and white Earth, the Interna- tional Space Station is seen from Space Shuttle Discovery as the two spacecraft begin their rela- tive separation. Earlier the STS- 119 and Expedition, 18 crews concluded 9 days, 20 hours, and 10 minutes of cooperative work onboard the shuttle and station. Undocking of the two spacecraft occurred on March 25, 2009. NASA Photo ID: S119-E-009662. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA. then execute successful operations, such as spacewalks, are capabilities that are going to be needed for the for example. There will also be a need for advanced Moon. We are already involved in work sponsored habitation and life support systems. When we go to b y the Advanced Capabilities Division at NASA the Moon, and even more so when we go to Mars, we Headquarters looking at robotic agents to help crew have to cut the supply cord. It’s going to be very dif- members on the lunar surface. For going to Mars, ficult, if not impossible, to re-supply missions to Mars. we’re going to need a big spacecraft. We will probably Therefore closed-loop life support systems are very need automated assembly capabilities to put such a important, as well as evolved medical care and counter spacecraft together, as it will be launched in pieces measures. These kinds of capabilities may be needed for on heavy-lift launch vehicles. Also, as we go farther the Moon, but will definitely be needed for Mars. away from Earth, we will need better autonomous With the ISS, we can refine some of these capabili- systems. So our ISS experience can help us to validate ties. We have launched our oxygen generation system our robotic designs, concepts, tools, and some of our already, and we hope by the end of the year to launch operational scenarios and test what works and what the rest of our environmental life support system suite does not for in-space assembly. to more completely close the environmental loop on the station, so we can take urine, for example, and re- ISS Research Themes and Results process, purify, and drink it or make oxygen from it. The oxygen generation system, for example, uses wa- ISS research themes can be grouped into five areas as: ter, so we could use reprocessed urine to make oxygen to breathe! Also, we’re looking at some of the needs • Assuring the survival of humans traveling far for healthcare and how we can develop better health from Earth, maintenance systems and exercise protocols for our • Expanding our understanding of the laws of crew members. nature and enriching our lives on Earth, Another area covers automation, robotics and • Creating technology to enable future explorers human–machine interface. We will have two robotic to venture beyond low Earth orbit, arms onboard the ISS. How can we best use these • Observing Earth, and arms and the crew interfaces necessary to operate • Educating and inspiring the next generation to them, not only by the crew but by the ground? These take the journey.

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 FORGING THE FUTURE OF SPACE SCIENCE The website http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ W hile we have not had people in the U.S. program station/science/experiments is a really useful resource get renal stones, it has happened on the Russian side. because you can see all the various investigations that We therefore carried out an experiment utilizing po- we have done or will be doing onboard the ISS. Results, tassium citrate to help reduce the risk of renal stones. when appropriate, are listed there as well, making it a Researchers found that the potassium citrate was very great resource. effective, and it will now transition from an experi- Now for a few science statistics. Through Expedi- mental stage to medical practice. This represents a big tion 15, we have initiated 125 investigations, 94 of success from ISS research. which have been completed. On Expedition 15, we Exercise during long-duration spaceflight is very conducted 38 investigations. Interestingly, the initial important. If we were leaving the planet and never prognosis for Expedition 16 was that we would be coming back to Earth, exercise would not be a big deal, lucky if we got any science done at all because the crew because if we were just going to stay in microgravity would be so busy with robotics and space walks. Well, it our bodies could change and would adapt to space, and turns out that although they are busy with those things, we would be fine. But the fact that we have to return we have 60 investigations underway on the ISS right to a gravity field means that we have to stay in shape now, and the crew, Dan Tani, Peggy Whitson, and Yuri while we are in microgravity. So on the ISS we have the Malenchenko are doing a great job of completing these treadmill, which you see in Figure 4.11. experiments. So given the limitations of small crews We also have two exercise bikes, one Russian, one and ongoing assembly, we are doing really well in ac- U.S., and also a resistive exercise device. We typically complishing science on the ISS. In fact, not the next have 2½ hours a day where we are allowed to exercise. shuttle, but the shuttle after that has some additional In the FOOT experiment, we actually had sensors space available and we were able to get six shuttle mid- located on the pants that Expedition 6 commander deck lockers assigned to bring up additional science Ken Bowersox is wearing in Figure 4.11. These pants investigations to conduct on the station. measure bending angles of the knee during exercise. Currently we have nine dedicated U.S. science There was also a sensor in his running shoe to record racks on orbit. By the end of the year we’ll have two the force of his heel and toe strikes when he was run- more—the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) and ning on the treadmill. In the picture you can see the another express rack that is scheduled to launch by bungees attached to Ken. These bungees hold us to the end of the year. Shortly after that, we will have a the treadmill and provide a force that we thought was number of other research racks available, including the equal to about what our weight was on Earth when F luids Integrated Rack, the Material Science Research we would exercise. It turned out from data collected Rack, the Window Observation Research Facility, and during the FOOT experiment that the force, the re- the Muscle Atrophy Research and Exercise System. action force that we were getting while running, was Furthermore, because we are in a partnership with the less than what we had expected. That was distressing international community, we also have opportunities to because we thought we were getting a good stimulus utilize facilities in their laboratories; the ESA Colum- to our bones; but we were only getting about 80 per- bus Module and JAXA’s Kibo pressurized laboratory cent. The FOOT experiment was the first to measure module. that. As it turns out, we have subsequently set up this Let’s now address the issue of assuring the survival FOOT experiment on the ground and in bed-rest of humans traveling far from Earth. By way of example studies, and we’ve seen that same effect. One of the let’s consider three ongoing or recently completed things that we found was that because the treadmill investigations. has a vibration isolation system, designed to preserve One of the issues that we have during long- the microgravity environment on the station, when we duration space travel is that our bones de-mineralize. step on to that treadmill, the treadmill actually moves The freed-up calcium then has to go someplace. It away from us and so it reduces the amount of force goes through the bloodstream to the kidneys and that we get. This was an interesting result and it will it can, under certain conditions, form renal stones. change the way we do future mountings for the next

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 LEAVING THE PLANET we bring up to the ISS actually degrades in space and that could affect astronaut nutrition. So we are trying to understand what happens to the food that is up there for up to a year before it is used. Furthermore, it has been reported that some of our pharmaceuticals, when we have brought them back from space, are shown to be ineffective. So, what happens to those pharmaceuticals in space? We think it might be radiation, but we’re go- ing to try to find out definitively. So these are just some of the examples of things that we are doing on the ISS to try to assure the survival of humans traveling away from Earth. We are also trying to expand our understanding of the laws of nature. The opportunity to conduct experi- ments in microgravity is unique. On Earth when we do experiments, the gravity (G) factor is always present. We take it for granted. But we hope to try to under- stand some forces that do not have the kind of impact that gravity does, but, nonetheless, affect how things occur in the physical world. Going into space allows us to better understand these fundamental phenomena. By way of example let’s look at three experiments. The first one is called the BCAT, the Binary Colloidal Alloy Test, which is trying to get fundamental information on the rate of phase separation especially near the critical point for certain alloys. Colloids2 occur everywhere in nature and in industrial processes. So getting a better FIGURE 4.11 Astronaut Kenneth D. Bowersox, Expedition Six fundamental understanding of how colloids behave mission commander, wearing the Lower Extremity Monitoring is very important to these industrial processes. In Suit, participates in the Foot/Ground Reaction Forces During Spaceflight experiment. NASA Photo ID: ISS006-E-11016 (24 fact, J. Hunter Waite, Jr., Space Research Laboratory, December 2002). SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA. University of Michigan, who is the principal investi- gator of colloids, has been approached by a detergent treadmill, the T2 as it’s called, that will be located in manufacturer to try to understand better some of the the Node-3. forces involved there. So the word is getting out that In the area of nutrition, one of the things we’re what we develop or understand from space can have trying to understand is, what is space normal? How do implications on Earth. peoples’ bodies change while they’re up there in space? Another exciting thing we are doing is trying to So we have established the Nutrition experiment in- understand capillary flow. In a gravity field the capillary volving the taking of blood and urine samples regularly, flow can be overcome by the forces of gravity. How- processing them in a centrifuge, and storing them in ever, in space it is very easy to observe and investigate a minus 80 degree freezer to await return to Earth for capillary flow, in this particular case using a sample in analysis. We are trying to do a very comprehensive a jar-like container. In conducting the experiment, we study to track nutritional markers such as vitamins and measure and photograph how the liquid behaves and minerals using these in-flight blood and urine samples to understand the trends for long-duration astronauts. 2A colloid is a type of mechanical mixture where the particles of Going hand-in-hand with nutrition is another one substance are dispersed evenly, but not dissolved, throughout experiment called Stability. It is possible that the food another.

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0 FORGING THE FUTURE OF SPACE SCIENCE how it wets the container along the edges. We then lary Flow), you can shake them up and re-do the tests. compare it to computer simulations of what the be- They actually have a lot of capability. The CSLAM havior is expected be theoretically. In one experiment employs equipment set up in a microgravity science one example behaved per the theory to within one glove box, because it is a tin-lead mixture. There is a percent, while another one under different conditions chance that the lead could get out into the station en- behaved completely differently, compared to what was vironment, so we actually have a glove box there where expected theoretically. This is an example of where you we can do these experiments and protect that onboard get one question answered and another question pops environment. up. This experiment has been very useful in helping us Now let’s consider some examples of the technolo- to understand capillary flow and will be very important gies that we’re developing to enable our crews to go in helping us to control fluids in space. In space, fluids beyond low Earth orbit. We have developed a “lab on a are important for everything from propellant systems to chip” portable test system to do microbial monitoring. life support systems. So the better we understand how One of the things we have to do during a long mission fluids behave and how we can influence them, the more is make sure that we do not have microbes growing successful we will be in building new spacecraft. onboard the space vehicle, which could be bad for The last experiment we will discuss here is a mate- peoples’ health. They can also be bad for the machin- rial science experiment, called C-SLAM, the coarsen- ery, especially some of the liquid systems. Microbes, ing in solid liquid mixtures. Basically we are looking at basically slime colonies, can grow and cause problems the kinetics of metallic particle growth not affected by in pumps and in tubing. So we try to keep track of that. buoyancy or other gravitational forces. You have small D uring flights, our standard way of doing microbial particles in the mixture, and they tend to get smaller, monitoring was to use gels and a Petri dish, making while the big particles tend to get bigger. We’re trying observations over several days. The LOCAD portable to understand the mechanics and rates of this coarsen- test system shown in Figure 4.12, that Suni Williams ing process. This has a wide variety of applications, is demonstrating, allows us to get a near-immediate from the manufacture of turbine blades to how dental microbial assay, thus saving a lot of time and giving us fillings behave when they’re installed in your mouth. more accurate results. So if we do have a problem with All three experiments are still active onboard the microbes we can take action more quickly. station. In the case of two of them (BCAT and Capil- The next experiment is called smoke and aerosols FIGURE 4.12 Astronaut Sunita L. Williams, Expedition 14 flight engi- neer, works with the Lab-on-a-Chip Application Development-Portable Test System (LOCAD-PTS) experi- ment in the Destiny laboratory of t he International Space Station. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA.

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1 LEAVING THE PLANET in microgravity (SAME). SAME is operated in the glove box because it generates smoke. What we’re look- ing at is the how smoke forms, what form the smoke particles takes, and how it affects some prototype fire detectors. One of the bad things that could happen on a space station is a fire like the one on Mir in 1997. We are trying to make sure that our fire detectors are (1) responsive when there is a fire and (2) do not give us any false alarms. So this experiment will allow us to better understand the characteristics of smoke from materials on space stations, and then allow us to develop better smoke detectors. FIGURE 4.14 Eruption of Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands. Another technology shown here is an electronic Alaska is featured in this image photographed by an Expedi- nose (E-nose) Air Event Monitor (Figure 4.13). Again, tion 13 crewmember on the International Space Station. This it gives us a quicker understanding of the kinds of eruption was first reported to the Alaska Volcano Observatory events that might happen in the environment where by astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, NASA space station science officer and flight engineer. NASA Photo ID: ISS013-E-24184 we would have to take action either by turning on at- (23 May 2006). SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA. mospheric scrubbers or putting on gas masks. Viewing Earth from Space (Figure 4.15). A second picture of that same crater was then taken in the springtime, without the snow From the ISS we also have the opportunity to observe (Figure 4.16). It gives you a completely different per- Earth from space. One of the cool things about the spective on Earth and its features. ISS is that we get a chance to fly over some areas We are very fortunate that we now have a record quite frequently, and we can get great views of some physical processes on the planet as they are occurring. Figure 4.14 is a excellent image taken from the ISS of an erupting volcano. One of the things the ISS gives us a chance to do is to look at Earth over extended time periods. For example, on the ISS mission in December 2001 one of the first things that was done was to photograph this big, circular object, the Manicougan impact crater FIGURE 4.15 Manicouagan impact crater in winter. NASA Photo ID: ISS004-E-10763. SOURCE: Courtesy of the Image FIGURE 4.13 E-Nose, an air event monitor. SOURCE: Cour- Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. tesy of NASA. Available at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov.

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2 FORGING THE FUTURE OF SPACE SCIENCE FIGURE 4.16 Manicouagan impact crater i n the spring. Manicouagan Reservoir, Quebec, Canada, photographed by the STS- 111 crewmembers aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. NASA Photo ID: STS111-719- 061 (5-19 June 2002). SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA. of Earth observations dating back to the first human pictures, the pictures are automatically downloaded to spaceflights. So we can compare observations over the computer, and then further downloaded to Earth. some 40 plus years of spaceflight and see how certain In this way the students can get feedback on the pic- areas have changed over time. It is a very powerful tool. tures that they wanted to take. This imagery is available on the “Gateway to Astronaut Photography of the Earth” Web site.3 Challenges for the Future We are also working to help encourage the next generation to take the journey; to try to inspire students In closing let’s address the future of the ISS. Now, chal- to study science, technology, engineering, and math. lenges certainly remain. Just completing the station is a One example of such activities is EarthKAM, great undertaking. You are sure to have seen the news where students remotely control a camera mounted concerning the problems that we had with the shuttle on the ISS to photograph sites of scientific interest that led to a delay in the December flight, rescheduled on Earth. A worldwide educational community can for February 2008. This followed the launching of a command this camera. The EarthKAM is attached to number of very successful on-time flights. However, the Earth-facing window of the service module and every once in a while we end up with a problem, and it is attached to a computer. The coordinates and times just takes a while for us to work through it. So complet- for the pictures are sent up from the ground to the ing the station is a massive undertaking. computer. The computer tells the camera to take the Post-shuttle, transportation and station re-supply is going to be a very important element. We will have up-mass requirements pretty well covered with Russian 3Available at http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/.

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 LEAVING THE PLANET FIGURE 4.17 Seventh-graders Emily and Jessica from Westbrook Middle School in Friendswood, Texas, use a map and the In - ternet to determine the latitude and longitude of their next pic- ture during the February 2006 E arthKAM session. NASA Im - age: JSC2006E03491. SOURCE: Courtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center. Available at http://www. nasa.gov/mission_pages/ station/science/experiments/ EarthKAM.html. FIGURE 4.18 Students from Westbrook Intermediate School i n Friendswood, Texas, par - ticipating in NASA Johnson Space Center’s EarthKAM: Earth from Space program. SOURCE: C ourtesy of NASA Johnson Space Center. Progresses, the ATV from ESA, and the HTV from System (COTS) program run by NASA’s Commercial JAXA. However, the down-mass, which was a problem Crew and Cargo Program Office. Within the COTS for the early Russians stations, could be an issue for program there is one company, SpaceX, which is devel- us. So we are working through that issue right now oping a system that will both bring cargo up and down to try to develop down-mass capability. One potential on a commercial basis. They, of course, have to demon- approach is the Commercial Orbital Transportation strate their capabilities. NASA is “incentivizing” these

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 FORGING THE FUTURE OF SPACE SCIENCE private companies by partially funding their activities.4 production in the future, with additional crew mem- Other avenues are also being explored. bers, additional partner laboratories to provide new So those are a couple of the future challenges that opportunities for science and for our investigators, and we have. What we have seen is that the ISS is coming the Autonomous Transfer Vehicle, a maturation of together, and we believe it will increase its scientific international partner re-supply capabilities. So the vision of ISS, a laboratory in space sup- porting multidisciplinary research, is being achieved. It represents a continuation of humanity’s desire to explore and become “extraterrestrial,” if you will. We are 4On December 22, 2008, NASA stated they would discuss the getting important scientific, technical, operational, and contract selection to provide commercial cargo re-supply services inspirational results from the station and will continue for the International Space Station. The following day they an- nounced the awarding of contracts to both SpaceX and Orbital to do so, and the trend for future research opportunities Sciences Corporation. NASA will depend on commercial re-supply on ISS looks very positive. for reliable, safe and cost effective cargo delivery services to the station.

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