Code UG Weekly Notes 4-17-02

Status Report From: Microgravity Research Program Office
Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Physical Sciences Division
Weekly Highlights for Week Ending 4/17/2002

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


INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS MANUSCRIPTS RECEIVED FOR REVIEW: Manuscripts were received at GRC for review for the Plant Flight Hardware: Fluid Management Technologies and Applications session of the upcoming 32nd International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES) to be held in San Antonio, TX, July 15-18, 2002. The subject session is jointly organized by the AIAA Life Science and Systems Technical Committee and the Microgravity and Space Processes Technical Committee (MSPTC). Mike Doherty is the MSPTC representative. The manuscripts will be reviewed and returned with comments to the authors prior to finalization of each paper.


NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION: Marshall Space Flight Center's Microgravity Science and Applications Department participated in the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in San Diego, CA, 3/26-30/2002. Demonstrations were presented to teachers at the Microgravity Research Program booth during the convention and two NASA educational workshops were conducted. The workshops were designed to provide teachers with activities that tie basic chemistry and physics concepts to research conducted and issues encountered in the microgravity environment.

DROPPING ON A DIME: The NASA Glenn high school student program Dropping In a Microgravity Environment (DIME) will have the four teams for DIME 2002 visit NASA Glenn from April 23-25. The topics of the four experiments are combustion of paper, fluid flow among different liquids, fluid separation and meniscus shape, and magnetic fluids.

While at Glenn, the teams will operate their experiments in the 2.2 Second Drop Tower, participate in microgravity workshops, and go on a Glenn center tour. Data analysis of the video data will involve using a Glenn-developed video analysis program called Tracker. This program, used by microgravity researchers, will digitize motion in the teams' video data.

One evening, at their hotel pool, the teams will be exposed to simulated astronaut training by learning how to SCUBA dive and construct a simulated space station hatch underwater. For a passing grade they will need to have each team member swim through the hatch when completed. Last year, the two DIME teams enjoyed this activity.

For the first pilot year in 2001, DIME was restricted to Ohio-based teams while this year teams from the NASA GRC six-state region were eligible. For DIME 2003, eligibility will be expanded to nationwide. In preparation for that, a CD-ROM has been created which contains the necessary information for a team to prepare a DIME proposal. The CD-ROM also contains explanations of microgravity and microgravity research, teachers guides for microgravity and related topics, and information about the 2.2 Second Drop Tower. Included on the CD-ROM are many full length teacher guides as well as movies from the drop tower, KC-135, Shuttle and ISS. At the recent National Science Teachers Association annual meeting in San Diego, about 900 of these CD-ROMs were distributed to high school science teachers. A similar activity is planned this summer for the annual meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. The May 2002 issue of The Physics Teacher (an AAPT publication) contains an ad for DIME 2003 which is expected to reach about 11,000 subscribers.

The DIME web site is at:
and a summary of last year's activities along with some pictures are at:


MATERIALS SCIENCE RESEARCH RACK 1 (MSRR-1): The full-scale mockup of the MSRR-1 was shipped to NASA Headquarters on Wednesday, 4/10/02, at the request of the Acting Deputy Associate Administrator for Management. The high fidelity mock-up, which was built to flight configuration, will be displayed in the main lobby of the Headquarters building, beginning 4/15/02, through 5/25/02, on alternating two-week periods. The Mockup will be on display during the second session of the Research Maximization and Prioritization (ReMaP) Task Force meeting at NASA Headquarters on 4/23-24/02 and will be among other displays for "Take Our Children to Work Day" on 4/25/02. Arrangements are being made for the rack to be returned to the Marshall Space Flight Center on 5/28/02, after which it will be available for the Materials Science Conference planned in Huntsville, AL, on 6/28-29/02, and the World Space Congress to be held in Houston, Texas, on 10/14-19/02.

MICROGRAVITY RESEARCH PROGRAM OFFICE (MRPO) PAYLOAD OPERATIONS STATUS ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) UF1 STAGE: The MRPO have successfully completed Week#17 (4/7-13/02) of Increment 4 UF1 Stage, and have entered into Week#18 (4/14-20/02). Flight 8A (STS-110) Joint Operations are in progress currently and undocking is scheduled for 4/17/02. All MRPO payloads are functioning nominally with several of these, which do not require continuous power, being inactive due to the 8A Joint Operations power needs. All payload transfer operations between the Shuttle to the ISS have been completed.

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS) PAYLOAD MANIFESTING: The Microgravity Research Program Office submitted its proposed payload manifests for ISS Increment 9. This includes Flights 13A.1 (Oct 2003), 15A (Jan 2004) and 10A (Feb 2004) supporting 14 scientific investigations (7 microgravity research and 7 commercial). This submission is consistent with allocations from the ISS Payloads Office, but is not supported by any commitment of resources from the ISS Program Office at this time.

LTMPF DEWAR DESIGN PASSES INTERCENTER REVIEW OF STRUCTURAL DESIGN: Ellyn McCoy of JPL led a Structural and Materials Review Committee (SAM-RC) review of the Dewar and Enclosure Subsystem (DES) of LTMPF. This process satisfies the intercenter agreement process that JPL, JSC, and MSFC have accepted to allow each center to complete verification items without the other centers requiring further internal review of the data: SAM-RC approves the project results and this completes the verification. The review met its objective to concur with Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation's (BATC's) fracture control approach and preliminary classifications. Only 7 action items were developed, and BATC now has clear direction for completing the remainder of the DES design.

BATC PUBLISHES REQUEST FOR QUOTES FOR DEWAR WELDING: The RFQ with a statement of work for welding of the LTMPF dewar's helium tank was released by Ball Aerospace. Three vendors; CalWeld (Denver, CO), Boeing-Rocketdyne (Canoga Park, CA), and Lockheed-Martin (LMA - Denver, CO) are considered viable vendors. BATC anticipates vendor selection by May 17, 2002.

ELECTRONICS CONTRACTOR DELIVERS FLIGHT-LIKE BOARDS: Design Net, the contractor for the Electronics and Software Sytems for LTMPF, delivered flight-like Germanium Resistance Thermometer (GRT) circuit board to the MISTE and DYNAMX teams for final evaluation prior to proceeding with flight designs.

In addition, Design Net is making a cabling mockup model (see image below) from MDF (particle board) to be used to design the flight wiring harness. The complete mock-up will consist of the dewar, the dewar enclosure, and all electronic boxes. This model will also make an excellent outreach display for LTMPF during ATLO at JPL after all subsystems have been delivered.


MIT GROUP STUDIES TRANSFER OF BOSE-EINSTEIN CONDENSATES WITH OPTICAL TWEEZERS: Conventional BEC production techniques severely limit optical and mechanical access to experiments due to the many laser beams and magnetic coils needed to create them. This conflict between cooling infrastructure and accessibility to manipulate and study condensates has been a major restriction to previous experiments. So far, most experiments were carried out within a few millimeters of where the condensate was created. What is highly desirable is a condensate "beam line" that delivers condensates to a variety of experimental platforms.

The Ketterle group at MIT has transported gaseous BECs over distances of up to 44 cm. This transfer was accomplished by trapping the condensate in the focus of an infrared laser and translating the location of the laser focus with controlled acceleration. Condensates of order 106 atoms were moved into an auxiliary "science" chamber that has excellent optical and mechanical access. This technique is ideally suited to deliver condensates close to surfaces, e.g., to microscopic waveguides and into electromagnetic cavities. As a proof-of-principle demonstration, they have used the tweezers technique to transfer condensates into a magnetic trap formed by a Z-shaped wire suspended in the science chamber. The same procedure can now be used to load condensates into atom chips. In such devices, patterns of wires are lithographically deposited on a surface and may allow the realization of single-mode waveguides and atom interferometers.

A report describing this work is available in the article "Transport of Bose-Einstein Condensates with Optical Tweezers" by T.L. Gustavson, A.P. Chikkatur, A.E. Leanhardt, A. Görlitz, S. Gupta, D.E. Pritchard, and W. Ketterle, in Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 020401 (2002).


DELIVERY OF SUCCINONITRILE-WATER AMPOULES: Ten ampoules of high purity succinonitrile (SCN) were delivered to Dr. Richard Grugel/Marshall Space Flight Center for the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation (PFMI) during March 2002. The SCN was purified through multiple distillations and zone refining and was characterized prior to delivery. The SCN purification team also assisted Dr. Grugel in alloying the material with deionized water for eight of the ampoules. The pure and alloyed source ampoules will be used to fill sample ampoules for the PFMI glovebox investigation, scheduled for launch in May 2002.


Additional meetings and symposia can be found at:

The MRPO Program Calendar can be found at:

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,

April 26, 2002 Science Concept Review & Requirements Definition Reviews for the First LTMPF Flight (M1) Co-experiments COEX and CQ, Embassy Suites Hotel, Monrovia, CA

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

May 19-24, 2002 Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO)/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science (QELS), Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, California

May 29-June 1, 2002 2002 Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Annual Meeting
Williamsburg, Virginia,

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