Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marshall Engineers Undertake Real-Life "Mission" To Protect NASA Spacecraft, Crews

Date:
March 22, 2000
Source:
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary:
While audiences thrill to the high-tech Hollywood pizzazz of "Mission to Mars," NASA engineer Steve Hall and a team of researchers at the Marshall Center in Huntsville, Ala., have developed a real-life repair kit for use in space -- one that will protect human lives and the vehicles carrying them into the cosmos.

When a spacecraft in the new movie "Mission to Mars" is caught in a fierce meteoroid storm, the beleaguered crew rallies to patch the damaged hull, and thrilling movie music swells over the hiss of escaping air...

Real astronauts facing actual damage to their spacecraft won't have the luxuries of stuntpeople, special effects or inspiring musical crescendos to save them from the cold vacuum of space. That's why NASA engineer Steve Hall and a team of researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., are hard at work on a real-life hull-puncture repair kit -- one that will protect lives and vehicles as humans venture into space for longer periods of time.

The kit, intended for use on the International Space Station, is designed to seal punctures up to 4 inches in diameter caused by collisions with small meteoroids or space debris. With a few simple tools and a couple of extra-vehicular spacewalks, crewmembers can safely repair punctures from outside damaged modules that have lost atmospheric pressure.

"It pays to be prepared," Hall says. A hole as small as 1 inch in diameter in a vehicle the size of the Space Station could bleed off enough air in just one hour to put the crew at risk. That doesn't give them much time to locate the damage and seal the leak from inside the station -- especially when bulky equipment and experiment racks may block access to many of its interior walls.

"Protecting the lives of the crew is the most important thing," Hall says. "The safest approach is for the crew to evacuate and seal off the damaged module, allow it to fully depressurize and then make repairs externally."

The patching operation would begin with a spacewalk to locate damage on the exterior of the depressurized module. The surrounding area would be cleaned and the hole measured with special tools, enabling the crew to select patch components precisely tailored to the size of the damage.

A second spacewalk would then deliver the patch kit to the work site. The patch consists of a clear disk that would be solidly bolted to the module's metal surface, covering the crack or puncture. A strong epoxy adhesive then would be pumped into the hollow disk by an injector that looks like a double-barreled caulking gun. Once this adhesive cures -- a process that takes two to seven days -- it forms a cast plug that would completely seal the hole. Then the module would be gradually repressurized to verify proper function of the seal.

The patch is designed to last for at least six months, Hall says, giving the crew ample time to make permanent repairs as needed.

Development and testing of the patch kit is under way at the Marshall Center. It is slated for delivery to the Space Station in September.

-- 30 --


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "Marshall Engineers Undertake Real-Life "Mission" To Protect NASA Spacecraft, Crews." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321135458.htm>.
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. (2000, March 22). Marshall Engineers Undertake Real-Life "Mission" To Protect NASA Spacecraft, Crews. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321135458.htm
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. "Marshall Engineers Undertake Real-Life "Mission" To Protect NASA Spacecraft, Crews." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000321135458.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

NASA (Aug. 15, 2014) Carbon Observatory’s First Data, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins