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Code UG Weekly Notes 2-06-02

Status Report From: Microgravity Research Program Office
Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Physical Sciences Division
Weekly Highlights for Week Ending 2/6/2002

*** Indicates item is appropriate for the HQ senior staff and may appear on the OBPR Web site: http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov

GENERAL

MRPO PARTICIPATION IN MSFC SPACE LAUNCH INITITATIVE REQUIREMENTS WORKING GROUP: Microgravity Research Program Office (MRPO) employees are participating in the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) Requirements Working Group to ensure that generic payload requirements are adequately addressed during the development of the SLI System Requirements Document (SRD). Topics covered in the SLI System Requirements Document include spacecraft to payload interfaces, resource capabilities for payloads, and group/flight operations infrastructure requirements. The baselining of this document is expected to occur pending a successful SLI System Requirements Review (SRR), tentatively scheduled for November 2002. The working group will meet weekly to prepare for the SLI SRR in late fall '02.

SHUTTLE PAYLOAD FLIGHT OPPORTUNITY POLICY AND PLANNING: The chair person of the Shuttle Flight Assignment Working Group (FAWG) reported that a strategy, addressing flight opportunities for Shuttle-base
research customers, has been formulated and is being proposed to the Flight Planning Board representatives at NASA HQ. Further details of the strategy will be unveiled to the FAWG committee members in February. The FAWG, which meets twice monthly, is considering reducing the meeting frequency to once per month in light of the anticipated "Shuttle payload" flight rate reduction.

EDUCATION and OUTREACH

EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP FOR STUDENT ACCESS TO SPACE PROGRAM: With the assistance of Felecia Ewing, Universities Space Research Associates/Marshall Space Flight Center (USRA/MSFC), an engineering team from the University of California at Irvine (UCI) conducted a joint workshop with the members of Texas Space Grant Consortium for high school students and their teachers at the University of Texas at Austin, 1/23-24/2001. The objectives of the workshop were to learn methods of crystallization of biological macromolecules and the use of the Enhanced Gaseous Nitrogen (EGN) Dewar. The samples prepared during this workshop have been stored at MSFC's Structural Biology Laboratory and will be loaded in the EGN Dewar for the STS-110 mission in April 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.

ISS FLIGHT PROGRAM

MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH PROGRAM OFFICE (MRPO) PAYLOAD OPERATIONS STATUS ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) UF1 STAGE: Monday morning (2/04/02) at approximately 7:30 am CST, a loss of attitude control occurred on the ISS resulted in power loss to all payload racks. This condition lasted for about 6 hrs, until control was reestablished. Power was progressively provided back to the racks, and currently all payloads are operating normally. Two of the MRPO payloads, which require continuous power -STES (protein crystal growth), and CBOSS (cellular science) -caused concern, but only CBOSS may have suffered some minimal loss of science due to its low temperature set-point (4 deg C). This loss is difficult to determine quantitatively at this time.

LTMPE ELECTRONICS TESTED AT JPL: The MISTE Experiment team and Design Net verified that the Germanium Resistance Thermometer (GRT) electronics board exceeds the performance requirements when connected to the MISTE development Instrument. It appears to be able to meet the goal requirements with proper cable shielding.

LTMPE PROJECT TEAM SHOWS OFF THE HARDWARE: During the MRT meeting held at JPL, the LTMPE project hosted a tour of the labs where the MISTE/Design-Net testing was taking place. Storyboards were set up showing the instruments in development, and the electronics and software development process. Flight-like hardware developed at the University of New Mexico, Design Net, and JPL was also on display. A MISTE science team member demonstrated the finer points of phase transition and why it is important.

SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

BIOTECHNOLOGY:

ITERATIVE BIOLOGICAL CRYSTALLIZATION (IBC) SCIENCE ADVISORY GROUP (SAG) REVIEW: The second semi-annual IBC SAG review was conducted during the week of January 28 at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). The IBC project team, with their development of the Lab-on-a-Chip technology, is taking the lead in the application development of micro-fluidics for microgravity research across all NASA disciplines. The SAG members, comprised of both industry and academia specialists, were asked to provide an independent assessment of the current IBC science goals and objectives, the science feasibilities of the Lab-on-a-Chip technology, and the ability of the engineering team to achieve the IBC science goals and objectives. The assessment was very favorable toward the IBC project. The SAG members were also asked to return feedback in the form of survey questions and a summary report, which will be used to direct the continuation of the formulation path for the IBC science goals and objectives, along with the supporting technology.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Additional meetings and symposia can be found at: http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/ugml/ugmltext.htm

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

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, nternational Conference on Computational Nano Science
Modeling & Simulation of Microsystems , San Juan Marriott Resort, San Juan, Puerto Rico
http://www.cr.org

May 9-11, 2002, Fundamental Physics Investigator Workshop, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort, Dana Point, CA, http://funphysics.jpl.nasa.gov/conference-02/index.html

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