Microgravity Research in a Space Station Environment

by Steven D. Del Basso, Grumman Space Station Integration, Div, Reston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space IV


A broad class of scientific experiments have evolved which utilize extreme low acceleration environments. A space station can provide such a `microgravity' environment, in conjunction with an unparalleled combination of quiescent period duration, payload volume and power, and human or telescience interaction. To develop this environment, limits are derived and imposed on the acceleration levels within the pressurized laboratories. These affect everything from flight altitude and attitude strategies to permissible mechanical and acoustic energies emitted by a rack air circulation fan. Assessment methods are generated to assist the design process, and a control scheme is introduced to implement these measures across the program spectrum. Finally, a verification plan is formulated to establish criteria and process for flight certification relative to the microgravity requirements. These aspects along with planned on-orbit acceleration measurements and crew disturbance characterizations comprise a long term effort to clearly define and understand the constitution of the acceleration environment. This process will assure that the design and operation of a space station will support significant microgravity research during both its assembly and, more importantly, its long term mature operational phase.

Subject Headings: Space stations | Space exploration | Gravity forces | Flight | System analysis | Power plants | Orbits

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