Microgravity Glovebox (MGBX) Facility Operations

Objectives

The objectives of this experiment were: (1) to provide a level of containment by providing a physical barrier between the MGBX working area and the ambient environment, (2) to maintain a negative pressure within the working area during normal operations, (3) to provide a working area in which to perform experiments with a window for viewing the experiments, and (4) to store data on orbit to support experiment correlation with environmental status during operation of the experiments.

Shuttle-Mir Missions
NASA-2 - NASA-6

Approach
The glovebox facility was used on NASA-2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 to support multiple Microgravity science experiments. The glovebox facility was brought back to the ground on STS-89.

Results
NASA-2: The experience gained on NASA-2 has been very valuable. The Mir MGBx supported interface Configuration Experiment (ICE), Forced Flow Flame Spreading Test (FFFT), and Candle Flames in Microgravity (CFM) experiments. MGBx provided an isolation workstation, photographic, and video recording capabilities for these experiments. The facility met all expectations. A total of 100 operational hours were accumulated.

NASA-3: All Binary Colloidal Alloy Test (BCAT) experiments were successfully completed in the glovebox. The Mir Glovebox Facility has been successfully operated for 247 hours without any failures.

NASA-4: The NASA-4 investigation data has been reduced and supplied to the respective MGBx-housed investigative teams. The Mir MGBx supported the Angular Liquid Bridge (ALB) and Opposed Flow Fame Spreading (OFFS) experiments. MGBx provided an isolation workstation, photographic, and video recording capabilities for these experiments. The MGBx facility operated flawlessly during the 290 hours of accumulated time through NASA-4.

NASA-5: The Mir MGBx facility supported the Collodial Gelation (CGEL) experiment. MGBx provided an isolation workstation, photographic, and video recording capabilities for this experiment. The Mir GBX facility operated flawlessly during the 461 hours of accumulated time through NASA-5.

NASA-6: NASA-6 was the final mission scheduled for Mir MGBx science operations. At the conclusion of this mission, the MGBx was cleaned and all experiment and facility hardware was stowed for return on STS-89. On return to MSFC, the facility was inspected and found to be in generally good condition, and was cleaner than originally expected due to the efforts of the crew. The expected amount of wear was evident, and some refurbishment would be required to prepare the facility for reflight.

The Mir Glovebox (MGBX) for Microgravity Investigations was located in the Priroda module of the Mir Space Station. The glovebox provided work area for microgravity investigations that can be physically isolated from the crew environment. The air filtration system provided a negative pressure in the work area with respect to crew environment. Two separate banks of filters contained solid and liquid materials, preventing contamination of the crew environment.

Earth Benefits
The glovebox facility technology has application to the development of small isolated workshops for ground-based science research.

Publications
None available at this time.

Principal Investigators
Don Reiss, Ph.D.
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center

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Page last updated: 07/16/1999

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