Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Southampton students create STORM in space

08.02.2008
A flight instrument designed and developed by research students at the University of Southampton is going into orbit on the space shuttle Atlantis, due to be launched today from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Southampton Transient Oxygen and Radiation Monitor (STORM) instrument is destined for the International Space Station where it will be used in an experiment called MEDET (Materials Exposure and Degradation Experiment on EuTEF). The experiment aims to measure how the hostile space environment affects materials used to construct spacecraft.

These materials, particularly polymers which are often used to form insulation blankets on spacecraft for example, suffer damage from the combined effects of solar radiation, micrometeroid and space debris impact, and from exposure to atomic oxygen, which is the primary constituent of the Earth's residual atmosphere in low Earth orbit. STORM will monitor the concentration of atomic oxygen (AO) and the flux of solar X-ray and ultra-violet radiation.

Once operational, STORM will send back data at regular intervals so that the changes in the AO and X-ray/UV levels can be monitored over time. After two or three years of exposure to the space environment, the experiment will be returned to Earth for analysis and interpretation by the Southampton researchers, who will determine the effect of the exposure on the materials and instruments contained on board.

Design work on the instrument, which is a cube measuring approximately 15 centimetres on each side with a mass of approximately 1 kilogram, began in 2001 with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

STORM was developed by staff from three School of Engineering Sciences research groups, including Professor Stephen Gabriel from Astronautics; Dr Graham Roberts from Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics and Dr Alan Chambers from Engineering Materials, together with colleague Dr Neil Ross from the School of Electronics and Computer Science. Ken Lawson and Dr Jeff Rao of the School of Applied Sciences at Cranfield University were also involved in the fabrication of some of the sensors.

Most of the design and development work was carried out by two Engineering Sciences research students, Duncan Goulty and Carl White, both of whom have now been awarded their PhDs. Several undergraduate students also took part in the development of STORM by carrying out project work as part of their studies.

The MEDET experiment is part of an international project between the University of Southampton's Schools of Engineering Sciences and Electronics and Computer Science; the European Space Agency (ESA); the French Space Agency (CNES), and the French Aerospace Laboratory (ONERA).

Today's shuttle launch is due to take place at 7.45pm GMT (2.45 pm Eastern Standard Time), although it may be delayed until tomorrow Friday 8 February if bad weather moves in.

Sue Wilson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/MEDET.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing
21.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows
21.11.2017 | US Geological Survey

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>