Here’s a collection of questions we have received from potential customers. If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, contact Mike Johnson with your customer questions.
- Paperwork required for space transportation
- Handling of the safety review
- The space transportation to the space station
- Insertion of the payload into the NanoRacks Platform
- Data return
In short, the basics for the experiment.
- More than two hours of consulting on payload development per 1U. We will help you, but after a certain point, we have to charge for consulting on payload development.
- There is a charge for return of physical data, if at all possible.
- Missions longer than 30 days
- Certain demands on our Mission Control
- And any custom requests for the payload.
And above all, we are open to ideas to figure out together out to utilize the unique environment of space for all sorts of reasons.
The customer approaches us with their research concept. NanoRacks determines with the potential customer whether or not they are a good fit for a NanoRacks facility or whether it would be a custom project. This determination affects the time and hence cost of a project. We operate like a budget airline! If it fits our form factors and facilities, the cost is far less than a custom project. During this phase we work out a timeline, including a probable launch for their experiment. Then if all parties are fine, we develop a contract.
The contract is for a set price and lists all the tasks NanoRacks will perform. This includes manifesting on the launch vehicle, the transportation to the space station, all paperwork required by the appropriate space agencies (sometimes more than NASA), the safety, payload integration, and basic mission ops once the payload is in space and on the ISS. In short, we are a one stop interface for your project. You can concentrate on the payload itself.
NanoRacks works with the NASA Payload Office to get their experiment on the manifest for launch.
At the same time, we begin putting together the Safety Data Package for their experiment.
This will be reviewed by the NASA Payload Safety Data Panel up to four times before getting it final approval. NanoRacks tries to work in concert with the NASA Safety team to avoid any major issues during this process.
NanoRacks also works with the Payload Operations team at Marshall Spaceflight Center to develop the crew procedures for the experiment should the crew need to be involved on orbit. MSFC also helps us get the experiment activity on the schedule for the International Space Station.
NanoRacks will also film a five minute training video to give the crew an overview of how to run the experiment. This video will include an introduction by the customer so that they can tell the crew the purpose and objective of their experiment.
We can also work on payload development or recommend another firm to help you if needed. If you are doing the payload development, great.
NanoRacks coordinates any necessary tests with the customers and NASA, and schedules the experiment delivery around this schedule. NanoRacks then packs the payload and ships it to the launch provider.
Once the experiment is on orbit, NanoRacks monitors the crew activities from the NanoRacks Control Center as they happen. The NanoRacks Control Center will download any downlinked data files on a regular basis (as per ISS downlink schedule), and will transfer those files to the customer that day.
If the experiment is returned to Earth from the ISS, we have folks standing by. On average, with a payload return from Soyuz, we receive the package from space within 24 hours of touchdown! It is then immediately forwarded to the customer.
This is a brief snapshot of how we handle your space needs.
1. Searching for micrometeorite impact evidence on EVA Space Suits. Use the reflective microscope. This is a real on-going NASA investigation.
2. Use of the reflective microscope on hardware that was sitting outside in the outer space environment. Look for atomic oxygen degradation and micrometeorite impacts. What does this tell us about how friendly or dangerous is the space environment?
3. Examination of unknown biological samples via on-board transmission microscope. Students would have to identify the sample. What is it? Mold or bacteria?
4. We can take sugar/salt based drink or sugar water, place a drop on a microscope side, evaporate the water and look under the microscope for larger sugar/salt crystals.
5. We have fluids in a container on the space station. The astronauts could spin the containers, the natural center of rotation would be found (i.e. center of gravity) and the students can do the same on the earth on an air table and see if there is a difference.
6. Ham radio. We could arrange for the students to use a ham radio to speak to an astronaut.
7. Radiation scintillation experiment. Record an hour’s worth of video with the camera lens cap on the video camera and look for image detector hits by radiation particles.
8. Rotating Bodies in Microgravity. The students can have a crewmember spin a variety of common objects available on the ISS including solid bodies and liquid filled bottles to see moment of inertia effects.
9. Film your area of the world from the station and talk about why it looks as it does.
10. Lightweight (gossamer) space structures made of paper. Crew will construct the structures per student’s instructions and see how the structures behave while suspended in microgravity.
11. Look at the capillary holding forces of water in a microplate well. How does the water differ if it does differ from the same action on the earth with gravity. We don’t know the answer but need to know to begin doing interesting biological work on the space station with the microplate reader. So the students would be first to know the answer to the question. We can do this experiment when the Japanese HTV-3 flies in late summer 2012.
For more information contact our team.