Code UG Weekly Notes 1-30-02

Status Report From: Microgravity Research Program Office
Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Physical Sciences Division
Weekly Highlights for Week Ending 1/30/2002

*** Indicates item is appropriate for the HQ senior staff and may appear on the OBPR Web site:


PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN NASA GLENN AND CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION: NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) recently signed a Space Act Agreement to share expertise and jointly test, characterize, and potentially fabricate new optically based oxygen sensors for use in new applications. GRC's Microgravity Science Division has extensive experience and test data with these and other types of oxygen sensors in support of its microgravity combustion science program, and plans to fly them in the 'Candle Flames in Microgravity' experiment and in the Fluids and Combustion Facility racks on ISS. The CCF now needs to implant these sensors in animals in support of some of their bone growth/loss research studies, and asked for collaboration with GRC in using these optically based oxygen sensors for their application. The optical sensors are smaller and less intrusive than their predecessors and often offer better spatial resolution. (Point of Contact: 6700/H. Ross, 3-2562)


OUTREACH TO NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION ASSOCIATIONS (Woodard): The Microgravity Research Program Office (MRPO) Outreach and Education Lead supported NASA Headquarters' Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR) by accompanying them on site visits to the Executive Directors of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) and the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). The meetings were a follow-up to the OBPR Education Summit held at the Glenn Research Center last year, and provide a basis for developing collaborative projects with the associations.

EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS FOR STUDENT ACCESS TO SPACE PROGRAM (Curreri): Between 11/30/01 and 12/10/2001, Marshall Space Flight Center's (MSFC) Biological and Physical Research Laboratory personnel assisted in conducting a series of workshops for more than 100 high school students and their teachers to learn methods of crystallization of biological macromolecules and the use of Enhanced Gaseous Nitrogen (EGN) Dewar. The samples prepared during these workshops have been stored in MSFC's Structural Biology Laboratory and will be loaded in the EGN Dewar for the STS-110 mission in March 2002. This will be the fourth launch of the EGN Dewar to the International Space Station, and it is noteworthy that student samples have been included in each flight. EGN Principal Investigator, Alexander McPherson, and the University of California in Irvine's (UCI) Huntsville engineering office organized the workshops. Dr. Ewa Ciszak (MSFC) serves as the EGN Project Scientist.

VENTURE EXPLORER GROUP MEETING Curreri): On 12/19/2001, the Venture Explorer Group had its first training session with Anna Holmes, University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH/Marshall Space Flight Center {MSFC}), and Tia Ferguson (MSFC/Experiment Definition and Development Group) to assist with the Student Access to Space Program. The six high school students will help maintain a web page that permits outreach students who have conducted ground control vapor diffusion crystallization to visualize their crystallization screens online. The Venture Explorer members were selected for their interest and ability to learn the skills necessary for the positions. The members will modify an existing web template to establish new user web pages, conduct online searches for gif images that portray the hobbies or intended careers of the outreach students, and conduct digital photo microscopy of the crystals. The students will learn how to upload image and data files for publication online.


STS-107 NEW MANIFEST DATED TARGETED (Boudreaux): STS-107 launch has been delayed from June 23, 2002 and is currently manifested to launch on 7/11/02. Further delays are expected by Shuttle managers from the Johnson Space Center and Kennedy Space Center.


MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH PROGRAM OFFICE (MRPO) PAYLOAD OPERATIONS STATUS ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) UF1 STAGE (Vlasse): Payload operations for Week 7 (1/27 - 2/2/02) of Increment 4 (UF1 Stage) are continuing with no major problems or interruptions. MRPO payloads dealing with experiments on cell science, structural biology are active and functioning nominally. The study of colloids and their behavior in space is continuing and the acceleration measurements are progressing normally. The study of plant growth and the investigation on the zeolite materials will begin later in the increment.

STS-108 UF-1 (Erdman): De-integration of the MPLM is on going. to date, the Dynamically Controlled Protein Crystal Growth (DCPCG) and the Micro Encapsulation Electrostatic Processing System (MEPS-II) has been de-integrated and shipped back to the payload developer. Two Biotechnology Cell Science Stowage (BCSS) Stowage caddies have been removed and are waiting to be shipped back to the Johnson Space Center.


Cross Discipline:

CRYSTAL GROWTH OF ZnSe AND RELATED TERNARY COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTORS BY VAPOR TRANSPORT (Curreri): Dr. Ching-Hua Su (MSFC) and Dr. Shari Feth, University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) have been included as consultants on a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) proposal, submitted by Rice Systems, Inc. The SBIR is entitled "Crystal Surface Profiling Interferometer for Real Time Semiconductor Material Characterization" and will develop optical techniques to monitor changes in surface structures from a relatively long stand-off distance. Dr. Ching-Hua Su (MSFC) is the Principal Investigator of the NASA flight definition project that will benefit from the surface monitoring technique.

NLO MATERIAL IS TWO-PHOTON POLYMERIZED (Curreri): Two-photon photopolymerization of the diacetylene DAMNA has been accomplished for the first time, opening up a powerful new processing route for integrated nonlinear optical materials and photonic bandgap materials. Currently, photodeposition of nonlinear optical PDAMNA films is limited to a few microns because as the polymer forms it begins to absorb the very ultraviolet light that causes it to form, i.e., it's a self-limiting processing mode. In two-photon photopolymerization, two-photons (at half the energy) are absorbed simultaneously (within a time dictated by the uncertainty principle), which means that lower-frequency light away from the linear absorption edge of the material may be used. Not only will this discovery enable the formation of thicker waveguides, it also paves the way for 3D stereolithography of these nonlinear optical materials into virtually any integrated optical structure.


INVITED TALK AT STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY SYMPOSIUM (Curreri): Dr. E.H. Snell, Universities Space Research Association (USRA/MSFC), presented an invited talk on "Neutrons and Microgravity" at the 3rd International Symposium on "Development of New Structural Biology Including Hydrogen and Hydration" in Tsukuba, Japan, 12/10-12/2001. The Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute and the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences organized the meeting. The symposium is one in a series to promote the structural study of protonation and hydration in macromolecules using neutron diffraction, X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods, and computer simulation.

BIOTECHNOLOGY CARRIERS (BIC) (Lee): The Single-locker Thermal Enclosure System (STES)/Protein Crystallization Apparatus for Microgravity (PCAM) hardware, launched on the Utilization Flight-1 flight on 12/05/01, continues to operate nominally in the ISS EXPRESS Rack. Troubleshooting of the Diffusion-Controlled Crystallization Apparatus for Microgravity (DCAM) hardware that failed leak testing 11/01 is on-going. Thermal Enclosure System flight hardware modifications to accompany the Observable Protein Crystal Growth Apparatus are in process.

ITERATIVE BIOLOGICAL CRYSTALLIZATION (Curreri): The Iterative Biological Crystallization (IBC) project has received the first custom made lab-on-a-chip (LOC) designed specifically for the batch crystallization of macromolecules. The chip was designed and fabricated through collaborative efforts with Caliper Technologies. Testing of the chip performance and crystallization experiments are underway. This is an important milestone for the IBC team's quest in demonstrating further the efficacy of LOC technology for macromolecular crystallizations.


MICROGRAVITY SCIENCE GLOVEBOX (MSG) (Johnson): Turnover of the MSG Flight Rack to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) occurred 01/07/02. Afterward, testing by KSC personnel, with support from the Marshall Space Flight Center's (MSFC) Microgravity Science and Applications Department personnel began in the Payload Checkout Test System (PCTS). This testing is to be completed by 02/14/02. On 02/19/02 the flight rack is scheduled to be installed into the Mini-Pressurized Logistics Module. Launch to the International Space Station is scheduled 05/02/02 on Utilization Flight 2.

MICROGRAVITY SCIENCE GLOVEBOX (MSG) INVESTIGATIONS (Johnson) Several verification test items were closed on the Glovebox Integrated Microgravity Isolation Technology Investigation (g-LIMIT) during testing in the MSG EU. The problems that continue to surface with the Investigations are impacting delivery schedules to KSC. Following hardware/software rework, a more realistic delivery schedule can be developed. Testing of the Solidification Using a Baffled Sample Ampoule (SUBSA) and Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI) in the MSG Engineering Rack occurred 01/18 to 21/02. Several major categories of verification requirements were completed and test summary reports are in process. Several issues occurred with the flight software, some of which were resolved, but one major one remains involving the interface of the National Instruments DAQ/PAD to the Microgravity Laptop Computer (MLC), which is in work. Remaining test operations must be completed to deliver SUBSA and PFMI on-dock at KSC 02/03/02 for testing prior to launch on Utilization Flight 2.


February 20, 2002 MRT Telecon, 10am-2pm CST

March 18-22, 2002, 2002 American Physical Society March Meeting, Indianapolis, IN

March 20-22, 2002 MRT Face-to-Face Meeting at the Johnson Space
Center, Houston, TX

April 20-23, 2002, 2002 American Physical Society April Meeting, Albuquerque, NM

April 22-25 2002, 2002 Applied Computational Research Society
Joint Meeting: Computational Micro And Nano Technology, International Conference on Computational Nano Science Modeling & Simulation of Microsystems, San Juan Marriott Resort, San Juan, Puerto Rico,

May 9-11, 2002, Fundamental Physics Investigator Workshop, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort, Dana Point, CA

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