The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is based on VHF radio transmissions of ships’ identity, position, speed and heading, in addition to other key parameters. In 2004, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) undertook studies to evaluate if the AIS signals could be detected in low Earth orbit. Since then, the interest in Space-Based AIS reception has grown significantly, and both public and private sector organizations have established programs to study the issue, and demonstrate such a capability in orbit. FFI is conducting two such programs. The objective of the first program was to launch a nano-satellite equipped with an AIS receiver into a near polar orbit, to demonstrate Space-Based AIS reception at high latitudes. The satellite was launched from India 12th July 2010. Even though the satellite has not finished commissioning, the receiver is operated with real-time transmission of received AIS data to the Norwegian Coastal Administration. The second program is an ESA-funded project to operate an AIS receiver on the European Columbus module of the International Space Station. Mounting of the equipment, the NORAIS receiver, was completed in April 2010. Currently, the AIS receiver has operated for more than three months, picking up several million AIS messages from more than 60 000 ship identities. In this paper, we will present experience gained with the space-based AIS systems, highlight aspects of tracking ships throughout their voyage, and comment on possible contributions to port security.
Leveraging electrokinetics for the active control of dendritic fullerene-1 release across a nanochannel membrane
General adoption of advanced treatment protocols such as chronotherapy will hinge on progress in drug delivery technologies that provide precise temporal control of therapeutic release. Such innovation is also crucial to future medicine approaches such as telemedicine. Here we present a nanofluidic membrane technology capable of achieving active and tunable control of molecular transport through nanofluidic channels. Control was achieved through application of an electric field between two platinum electrodes positioned on either surface of a 5.7 nm nanochannel membrane designed for zero-order drug delivery. Two electrode configurations were tested: laser-cut foils and electron beam deposited thin-films, configurations capable of operating at low voltage (=1.5 V), and power (100 nW). Temporal, reproducible tuning and interruption of dendritic fullerene 1 (DF-1) transport was demonstrated over multi-day release experiments. Conductance tests showed limiting currents in the low applied potential range, implying ionic concentration polarization (ICP) at the interface between the membrane's micro- and nanochannels, even in concentrated solutions (=1 M NaCl). The ability of this nanotechnology platform to facilitate controlled delivery of molecules and particles has broad applicability to next-generation therapeutics for numerous pathologies, including autoimmune diseases, circadian dysfunction, pain, and stress, among others.
The Human Genome Project changed everything—or did it? Although un-deniably a scientific tour de force, the Genome Project’s outcome posed more questions than it answered, and molecular biology has been working assiduously ever since to answer those questions.
Assessment of polycarbonate filter in a molecular analytical system for the microbiological quality monitoring of recycled waters onboard ISS
On the ISS, as on Earth, water is an essential element for life and its quality control on a regular basis allows to ensure the health of the crew and the integrity of equipment. Currently, microbial water analysis onboard ISS still relies on the traditional culture-based microbiology methods. Molecular methods based on the amplification of nucleic acids for microbiological analysis of water quality show enormous potential and are considered as the best alternative to culture-based methods. For this reason, the Midass, a fully integrated and automated prototype was designed conjointly by ESA and bioMerieux for a rapid monitoring of the microbiological quality of air. The prototype allows air sampling, sample processing and the amplification/detection of nucleic acids. We describe herein the proof of principle of an analytical approach based on molecular biology that could fulfill the ESA’s need for a rapid monitoring of the microbiological quality of recycled water onboard ISS. Both concentration and recovery of microorganisms are the main critical steps when the microfiltration technology is used for water analysis. Among filters recommended standards for monitoring the microbiological quality of the water, the polycarbonate filter was fully in line with the requirements of the ISO 7704-1985 standard in terms of efficacy of capture and recovery of bacteria. Moreover, this filter does not retain nucleic acids on the surface and has no inhibitory effect on their downstream processing steps such as purification and amplification/detection. Although the Midass system was designed for the treatment of air samples, the first results on the integration of PC filters were encouraging. Nevertheless, system modifications are needed to better adapt the Midass system for the monitoring of the microbiological water quality.
New color images of transient luminous events from dedicated observations on the International Space Station
During July–August 2011, Expedition 28/29 JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa conducted TLE observations from the International Space Station in conjunction with the “Cosmic Shore” program produced by NHK. An EMCCD normal video-rate color TV camera was used to conduct directed observations from the Earth-pointing Cupola module. The target selection was based on the methodology developed for the MEIDEX sprite campaign on board the space shuttle Columbia in January 2003 (Ziv et al., 2004). The observation geometry was pre-determined and uploaded daily to the ISS with pointing options to limb, oblique or nadir, based on the predicted location of the storm with regards to the ISS. The pointing angle was rotated in real-time according to visual eyesight by the astronaut. We present results of 10 confirmed TLEs: 8 sprites, 1 sprite halo and 1 gigantic jet, out of the of video. Sprites tend to appear in a single frame simultaneously with maximum lightning brightness. Unique images (a) from nadir of a sprite horizontally displaced form the lightning light and (b) from the oblique view of a sprite halo, enable the calculation of dimensions and volumes occupied by these TLEs. Since time stamping on the ISS images was accurate within 1 s, matching with ELF and WWLLN data for the parent lightning location is limited. Nevertheless, the results prove that the ISS is an ideal platform for lightning and TLE observations, and careful operational procedures greatly enhance the value of observation time.
Damage from Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) impacts poses a substantial risk for the loss of crew for the currently planned CEV missions to the International Space Station (ISS). The Columbia Space Shuttle accident in 2003 spurred an investigation that led to the requirement of an active impact monitoring system on the Shuttle Orbiter. The MMOD impact Damage Recording System (DRS) presents a reliable, mass- and power-efficient Thermal Protection System (TPS) impact detection system that can be readily integrated with manned and robotic spacecraft. Thus, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) is considering inclusion of active MMOD detection systems for monitoring damage to the backshell TPS. MMOD impact detection systems have been developed and flown on satellites and probes dating back to the 1960s. These technologies were designed primarily to understand and characterize the MMOD environment found in low earth orbit (LEO). The only impact monitoring system qualified for use on manned spacecraft is the wing leading edge impact detection system (WLE IDS). During Shuttle ascent, the WLE IDS monitors impacts due to insulating foam shed from the external fuel tank onto the WLE. The WLE is particularly vulnerable due to the high heating environment experienced during reentry. Ever-increasing accumulation of man-made debris is magnifying this threat to shuttle and other spacecrafts operating in LEO. Therefore, the development of on-orbit impact monitoring systems that aid in the mitigation of the threat to manned spacecraft is needed. This paper describes the development and testing of the DRS, a massand power-efficient wireless MMOD impact detection system designed for potential incorporation into the backshell of the CEV. The DRS utilizes wireless data acquisition via custom designed wireless nodes. The DRS wireless nodes determine MMOD impact damage by employing an Embedded Damage Recorder (EDR) sensor. A variety of EDR sensor designs were considered based upon d- – ifferent damage detection and TPS integration requirements. The DRS system design was recently tested at the University of Dayton Research Institute's hypervelocity impact range. During this test series, seven hypervelocity impacts were conducted using aluminum and nylon projectiles to simulate MMOD impacts to representative models of the CEV backshell TPS. The TPS models were fabricated in a flight-like configuration integrating the EDR sensor at the bondline. The DRS accurately indicated damage to the TPS models on all seven hypervelocity impact tests. These results have confirmed the feasibility of the DRS employing the EDR sensor as a viable MMOD impact sensing solution. Vehicle integration and further space environment testing remain critical steps in maturing this technology to flight qualification.
Current research on control allocation emphasizes reconfiguration for adapting to thruster failures. However, in the application of autonomous assembly, the reconfiguration is necessitated by changing physical properties. For the scenario of an assembler tug constructing a large space structure, every docking and undocking maneuver used for the tug to move an individual payload causes a large shift in the dynamics of the tug. Not only do the mass properties change, but so does the thruster configuration. Changes in the center of mass, mass, and inertia of the tug-payload system, causes changes in the equivalent force exerted by each thruster. This paper explores reconfigurable control allocation to adapt to changes in the mass properties. Specifically considered are changes to the center of mass and thruster configuration (number, location, and active thrusters). Results are presented from the implementation of a reconfigurable control allocation algorithm on the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage Reorient Experimental Satellites) testbed aboard the International Space Station. Results demonstrate controllability for configurations with large center of mass shifts, varying number of thrusters, as well as maintaining performance from the baseline non-reconfigurable control allocation algorithm on SPHERES.
After 11 months of successful operation onboard the ISS US laboratory Destiny, the air quality monitors ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air) was brought back to Earth on STS126 (ULF2). ANITA is a technology demonstrator flight experiment for continuous air quality monitoring inside the crewed cabin of the ISS with low detection limits and high time resolution. For the first time, the dynamics of the detected trace gas concentrations could be directly resolved by ANITA and correlated to gas events in the cabin. The system is the result of a long term ESA technology development programme initiated more than seventeen years ago. The ANITA mission was a cooperative project between ESA and NASA. ESA's responsibilities were the provision of the H/W, the data acquisition and the data evaluation. NASA was responsible for the launch, accommodation and operation onboard ISS, data download and the transportation of ANITA back to the Earth. ANITA was calibrated to detect and quantify 30 trace gases simultaneously with down to sub-ppm (parts per million) detection limits in addition to the always present background gases carbon dioxide and water vapour. The results of the mission are summarised in [ 1 ]. Further, with a specially developed gas bag hand pump system also gas analyses were performed on air samples from Node 1 of the Space Station. ANITA is a precursor for a permanent continuous trace gas monitoring system ANITA2 for ISS and future space vehicles. At the time of the conference the follow-on study on ANITA2 will have been initiated. This paper describes the measurement system, the lessons learned during the mission on ISS, and the planned follow-on activities. The work described has been performed under contract of the European Space Agency.
After the launch to the International Space Station with The Space Shuttle flight STS 118 13A.1 on August 9th 2007 and the accommodation in the US lab Destiny, the air quality monitor ANITA (Analyzing Interferometer for Ambient Air) has been successfully put into operation. ANITA is a technology demonstrator flight experiment being able to continuously monitor with high time resolution the air conditions within the crewed cabins of the ISS (International Space Station). The system has its origin in a long term ESA (European Space Agency) technology development program. The ANITA mission itself is an ESA-NASA cooperative project. ESA is responsible for the provision of the HW (Hardware), the data acquisition and data evaluation. NASA's responsibilities are launch, accommodation in the US Lab Destiny, operation and data download. The ANITA air analyser is designed to detect and quantify online and with high time resolution 30 trace gases simultaneously with down to sub-ppm (parts per million) detection limits in addition to the always present background gases carbon dioxide and water vapour. The air analyser thus monitors the trace gas dynamics of the spacecraft's atmosphere in providing continuous air monitoring as well as crew warning capability in case of malfunctions. Beside continuous measurements in the vicinity of the gas monitor, air samples from remote places in the International Space Station can be analyzed using gas bags and a hand pump. However, considering the experimental character of ANITA, the measurements are not on-line visible to the Crew. ANITA is an on-orbit test experiment and a precursor for a permanent continuous trace gas monitoring system on the ISS – ANITA II. It further represents a precursor system for future air monitoring in crewed vehicles being developed for the Human Space Exploration program. This is the first paper of two describing the measurement principle, the HW and the mission on the ISS. Finally, an outlook into the future highlights the potential of the ANITA technology for the Exploration program. The work described has been performed under contract of the European Space Agency.
Astronauts often show skin reactions in space. Systematic tests, e.g. with noninvasive skin physiological test methods, have not yet been done. In an interdisciplinary cooperation, a test series with skin physiological measurements was carried out before, during and after a long-term mission in the International Space Station. The hydration of the stratum corneum (Corneometer), transepidermal water loss (Tewameter), and the surface structure of the skin (SkinVisiometer) were measured. In order to record cutaneous states, the suction elasticity was measured (Cutometer), and an ultrasound measurement with 20 MHz (DermaScan) was also made. In addition, one measuring field of the two inner forearms was treated with a skin care emulsion. There were indications of a delayed epidermal proliferation of the cells, which would correspond to the clinical symptoms. Hydration and TEWL values are improved by respective skin care. On the cutaneous level, the elasticity measurements and the ultrasound picture showed results which correspond to a significant loss of elasticity of the skin. Further examinations are necessary to validate these preliminary results.