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
Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun
18.04.2019 | University of Warwick
In vivo super-resolution photoacoustic computed tomography by localization of single dyed droplets
18.04.2019 | Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna
A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences
18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences