KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), July 28, 2019 – At the 8th annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC), a panel of experts in the field of materials science will discuss the increasing interest in leveraging the orbiting laboratory for advanced materials investigations that cannot be done on the ground. The conference, July 29–August 1 in Atlanta, Georgia, is expected to attract more than 1,000 key players in low Earth orbit research and development (R&D).
The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory has identified advanced materials as a key focus area for R&D that could lead to valuable new technology for applications with terrestrial benefit. ISS National Laboratory Senior Program Scientist Dr. Kenneth Savin will moderate the conference session, which will take place at 9:45 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 31. Panelists will discuss new developments in materials science, future directions of the field, and how space-based advanced materials innovations could impact life on Earth.
Other panelists include:
- Raymond Clinton, Jr., Associate Director, Science and Technology Office, NASA
- Robert Hoyt, Chief Executive Officer, Tethers Unlimited, Inc.
- Teodoro Laino, Technical Leader for Molecular Simulation and Principal RSM, IBM Research – Zurich
In the microgravity environment of the space station, gravity-driven physical forces such as convection, buoyancy-driven flow, and sedimentation are nearly absent. The fluid dynamics of materials during synthesis affects the properties of the solidified/crystallized final material—such as metal alloys and semiconductors. Space-based R&D could provide important insights into the development of novel materials and better manufacturing processes on the ground for commercial products, building materials, and electronics. It could also pave the way for future in-orbit manufacturing of materials with valuable applications on Earth, such as ZBLAN optical fibers. Several commercial companies are currently pursuing in-orbit optical fiber production onboard the ISS National Laboratory, advancing industrial use of low Earth orbit.
In addition to microgravity, the harsh conditions of space—including ultraviolet radiation, atomic oxygen, ultrahigh vacuum, and extreme temperature cycling—are hostile to many materials, providing a mechanism for rapid failure mode analysis. The ISS National Laboratory provides a powerful platform to accelerate the testing of materials for use both in space and in extreme environments on Earth.
For those unable to attend ISSRDC in person, this panel, along with all main sessions for ISSRDC, will be livestreamed. To learn more about the conference, including how to follow the livestream, please visit: www.issconference.org.
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About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to optimize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The ISS National Laboratory manages access to the permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space.
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