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Technology Demonstration Missions

Materials on International Space Station Experiment – X (MISSE-X)

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Materials International Space Station Experiment-X (MISSE-X) Technology Demonstration Mission is a collaborative effort among NASA Centers and the U.S. Department of Defense. MISSE-X is an external ISS platform for small technology payloads that utilizes robotic plug and play features. MISSE-X will provide low-cost exposure to space thus enabling high return on investment for small technology payloads while leaveraging an extensive MISSE Partnership community. Since 2001, NASA's Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) series has tested some 4,000 material samples and specimens, from lubricants & paints to fabrics, container seals and solar cell technologies, to demonstrate their durability in the space environment. Flown 220 miles above the Earth, fixed to the exterior of the ISS for periods of up to 4 years, these innovative experiments endure extreme levels of solar & charged-particle radiation, atomic oxygen, hard vacuum, temperature extremes and contamination, giving researchers unprecedented insight into developing durable materials for spacecraft, flight hardware & even astronaut clothing. This research provides NASA and its partners with endless insight into the challenges of developing environmentally durable spacecraft, protecting astronaut health and establishing a permanent human presence in space. MISSE-X will include new enhancements over the original MISSE project, including near real-time experiment environmental exposure monitoring, daily photographing of samples in flight & expanded accommodations to house more, and more complex, experiments. The MISSE-X team also is developing plug-and-play mechanical and avionics systems to enable the cost-effective and timely replacement of experiments. They will also produce flight data to enable the development of new models to correlate ground- and space-based data, and to compare results in low-Earth orbit with anticipated results in other space environments. MISSE-X will be mounted to the exterior of the ISS using robotics. Individual experiments will be placed in Modular Experiment Containers. The modular containers will be removed and replaced with other experiments after various periods of space exposure, from six months to three years. The passive experiments and some active experiments will be be returned to Earth, where scientists will closely analyze the materials, devices and subsystems to see how they fared. It will be deployed in 2016.

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