Here is the latest episode in NASA’s Space to Ground weekly report on activities related to the International Space Station:
** NASA & Axiom Space Designing Commercial Expansion Of Space Station – Scott Manley
It’s been 4 years since NASA first seriously suggested the idea of commercial expansion of the International Space Station, and at the end of January they announced an agreement with Axiom Space to begin designing the extension with launches happening possibly as early as 2024. The specific details of the agreement are not clear at this time, however it’s known that the initial phase is a design study and business case analysis with reviews required before approving the next phase. https://www.nasa.gov/nextstep/issport
** NASA Astronaut Jessica Meir discusses the Zero-G Oven with Michigan students
Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 62 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA discussed the revolutionary Zero-G oven recently used on the orbital outpost during an in-flight question and answer session Feb. 19 with students from the East Middle School in Grand Blanc, Michigan. The oven was launched on a Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship last November, and, along with cookies baked in the oven, was returned to Earth in January on a SpaceX/Dragon resupply vehicle.
** OSCAR: NASA is developing tech for recycling in space
The Orbital Syngas Commodity Augmentation Reactor, or OSCAR, is an Early Career Initiative project funded by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in 2018. Work on OSCAR has demonstrated new ways to manage trash and waste in space by offering new options for safe disposal and the potential to transforming it into useful resources.
OSCAR has a reactor that uses heat, oxygen and steam to turn things like food packaging, old clothing and even human waste into water and a gas mixture. Industry calls this mixture synthetic gas or syngas, and it is primarily carbon dioxide with small amounts of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and methane. Molecules from syngas can be used as building blocks for beneficial products like fuel for the spacecraft. The crew can also vent these gases for easy trash disposal.
On Dec. 11, 2019, OSCAR reached a major milestone when it launched on a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket. This suborbital flight added around three minutes of valuable microgravity performance data to OSCAR’s previous data from lab and drop tests. During the flight, OSCAR was able to autonomously inject trash into the high temperature reaction chamber and collect targeted product gases.
To learn more about NASA’s investments in space technology, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacetech
- Waste Handling in a Microgravity Environment Challenge | NASA
- Team Prepares OSCAR Technology for Suborbital Flight Test | NASA
- Rocket Ranch – Episode 7: Turning Space Trash into Gas | NASA
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