mardi 6 février 2018

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of Jan. 29, 2018

ISS - Expedition 54 Mission patch.

Feb. 6, 2018

Last week, the crew living and working aboard the International Space Station had a busy week of science and spacewalk preparations, as well as an early Friday morning spacewalk for Russian crew members.

Image above: NASA astronaut Joe Acaba works with the SPHERES satellite as part of the SmoothNav investigation. Image Credit: NASA.

Crew members explored research in the fields of physical science, technology demonstrations and human research. Take a more detailed look at some of the science that happened last week aboard your orbiting laboratory:

Crew prepares ELF for upcoming operations

The Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF) is an experimental facility designed to levitate, melt and solidify materials by container-less processing techniques using the electrostatic levitation method. With this facility, properties of high temperature melts can be measured, and solidification from deeply undercooled melts can be achieved.

Animation above: NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei prepared for the SmoothNav investigation last week. This investigation develops an estimation algorithm aggregating relative state measurements between multiple, small, and potentially differently instrumented spacecraft. Animation Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew moved samples to prepare for upcoming ground commandedoperations. Results from this investigation may contribute to the development of containerless processing technology, benefiting manufacturers and scientists designing new materials.

Crew conducts trial run for SmoothNav investigation

Many future space exploration and space-based business enterprise models, such as on-orbit satellite servicing, on-orbit assembly, and orbital debris removal, necessitate the use of fully autonomous multi-satellite systems. Smoothing-Based Relative Navigation (SmoothNav) develops an estimation algorithm aggregating relative state measurements between multiple, small, and potentially differently-instrumented spacecraft.

Space to Ground: Russian Spacewalk: 02/02/2018

The algorithm obtains the most probable estimate of the relative positions and velocities between all spacecraft using all available sensor information, including past measurements. The algorithm remains portable between different satellite platforms with different onboard sensors, adaptable in the case that one or more satellites become inoperable, and tolerant to delayed measurements or measurements received at different frequencies.

Last week, the crew set up the work area to activate and check out the hardware before conducting a trial run.

Investigation tests lighting aboard space station

Anyone who uses electric lights can benefit from lights that can be adjusted for intensity and wavelength across the day, improving alertness during waking hours and promoting sleep during evening hours. The Lighting Effects investigation studies the impact of the change from fluorescent light bulbs to solid-state light-emitting diodes (LEDs) with adjustable intensity and color and aims to determine if the new lights can improve crew circadian rhythms, sleep and cognitive performance.

Cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin (left) and Anton Shkaplerov are pictured in their Russian Orlan spacesuits during a fit check ahead of a Feb.2 spacewalk for International Space Station maintenance. Image Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew conducted a visual performance test by stowing the hardware in their crew quarters, setting the light to the correct mode, turning all other light sources in the crew quarters off, and performing a color discrimination test.

Other work was done on these investigations: Personal CO2 Monitor,  Rodent Research-6, ACE-T-6, Two-Phase Flow, Plant Gravity Perception, At Home in Space, Space Headaches, Crew Earth Observations, ACME, TSIS, CBEF, Tropical Cyclone, Microbial Tracking-2, DOSIS-3D, MagVector, Transparent Alloys and DreamXCG.

Related links:

Electrostatic Levitation Furnace (ELF):

Lighting Effects:

Personal CO2 Monitor:

Rodent Research-6:


Two-Phase Flow:

Plant Gravity Perception:

At Home in Space:

Space Headaches:

Crew Earth Observations:




Tropical Cyclone:

Microbial Tracking-2:



Transparent Alloys:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/John Love, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 53 & 54.


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