Mary Etta Wright, one of the lead glovebox engineers at NASA’s Marshall SpaceFlight Center in Huntsville, Ala., inserts her hands in the gloves on the outside ofthe glovebox doors.
To checkout the glovebox’s systems, they performed some on-orbit commissioning operations. These initial glovebox activitieswere supported by scientists and engineers working in a tele-science center at the Microgravity Development Laboratory — aunique Marshall Center facility that helps scientists and engi-neers prepare investigations from conception to implementationin space. This laboratory has an identical engineering model ofthe glovebox for investigation testing and ﬂight preparation.
The Space Station glovebox occupies a ﬂoor-to-ceiling rackinside Destiny. It is more than twice as large as gloveboxes ﬂownon the Space Shuttle and can hold larger investigations that areabout the size of an airline carry-on bag.
The part of the unit that holds experiment equipment is calledthe Work Volume, and has a usable volume of about 67 gallons(255 liters). This work space is approximately waist-high and canslide out to extended or protracted positions, making it easierfor crew members to use. An airlock under the work volume can
Dr. Richard Grugel, a materials scientist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight inHuntsville, Ala., examines the furnace used to conduct his Pore Formation andMobility Investigation — one of the ﬁrst two materials science experimentsconducted on the International Space Station.
be accessed to bring objects safely into the work volume, whileother activities are going on inside the glovebox.
he glovebox has side ports, 16 inches (40 centimeters) indiameter, for setting up and manipulating equipment inside thebox. The ports are equipped with rugged gloves that are sealedightly to prevent leaks. The gloves can be removed to provideninhibited access to the inside of the glovebox when contami-nants are not present.he Station glovebox allows investigators to control their investi-gations inside the box from the ground. It has an upgraded videosystem and a coldplate that can provide cooling for experimenthardware. It provides vacuum, venting and gaseous nitrogen,power and data interfaces to investigations.
ll of these improvements allow the Microgravity Science Glove-box to accommodate a broad range of investigations. It is set uplike a traditional lab bench on Earth to minimize the gap betweenhat can be accomplished in a ground-based lab and what canbe achieved in the Space Station lab.
he Microgravity Science Glovebox is designed to support Sta-ion investigations for 10 years, with occasional replacement oflimited life parts in orbit and upgrades in technology to video anddata systems.
he Microgravity Science Glovebox accommodates small andedium-sized investigations from many disciplines includingbiotechnology, combustion science, ﬂuid physics, fundamentalphysics and materials science. Many of these experiments usechemicals or burning or molten samples that must be contained.
he crewmembers insert their hands in gloves attached directlyo the facility doors. Using gloves, they can safely manipulatesamples inside the sealed working area.
s investigations are conducted in space, the crew can seeinside the glovebox. A video display shows glovebox investiga-ions, and the crew can scrutinize samples with a microscopettached to the inside of the work volume. Video is sent from theSpace Station to scientists on Earth so they can observe theirinvestigations as they take place in orbit.
s part of the initial glovebox science activities, two investiga-ions were conducted during Expedition Five:
Toward Understanding Pore Formation and Mobility DuringControlled Directional Solidiﬁcation in a Microgravity Environment Investigation (PFMI),
eveloped at the Marshall Center by principal investigator Dr. Richard Grugel.
Solidiﬁcation Using a Bafﬂe in Sealed Ampoules (SUBSA)
of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.