ISS Payloads

MAS has been involved in the design, development and flight of several International Space Station Payloads.  We have expertise to get your experiment designed and to flight. 

ISS certification testing includes Payload Rack Checkout Unit (PRCU), EMI, vibration and off-gassing.  We can help a developer in this process to certify their system ready to fly on the ISS.  We can provide services for hardware and software development that continues from the prototype stage to include the requirements needed for space flight (ie telemetry and command formatting, watchdog timers, power management, file download) implemented in a flight ready ISS experiment command and data handling system.

Micro Aerospace Solutions (MAS) has a Space Act agreement with NASA to use Kennedy Space Center (KSC) facilities.  These include office and laboratory space to be used in the development of the instrument.  A secure remote mission support area will be put in place at  KSC.  This is also currently in development for the NASA Sunjammer solar sail mission by MAS.  

testing an ISS payload at PRCU testing at MSFC
Figure 1. MAS testing an ISS payload at PRCU testing at MSFC

Typical ISS locker-based experiment systems require software to interface to the ISS ExPRESSRack.  This also then requires payload interface checkout, most likely at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC). This task is broken down into several subtasks.  It should be pointed out that these tasks can be conducted in parallel with the mechanical tasks described above.  MAS has experience developing flight and ground software for two ISS ExPRESSRack payloads so tasks similar to these have been completed before by the team.

•           Task 1 – ExPRESS Command and Data Handling (C&DH) Interface
•           Task 2 – Ground control software (Graphical User Interface, GUI)
•           Task 3 – C&DH interface testing

In preparation for flight the final tasks include calibration and EMI testing.  These tests can be conducted at NASA KSC facilities that MAS has access to. 

The principals involved in this proposal are currently conducting research and development on technology related issues design to develop small aerospace and medical systems at reduced cost and increased performance for the system detailed here as well as others.  This has included prototype hardware design and construction as well as research papers and white papers on proposed biotech missions for small satellites, miniature propulsion systems and launch vehicles.  They have many years of experience in space and medical device related industry as well as sensor, computer system, and propulsion system development.

Micro Aerospace Solutions is also currently the primary flight and ground software developer and engineering services consultant for the NASA Technology Demonstration Mission Solar Sail Project set to be launched in 2015-16. Their C&DH system design recently completed a successful mission on the ISS as part of the SpaceX-3 flight to ISS.  They also currently have flight hardware in orbit: The MASIMU01 is a low-cost, small unit which flew in space on the University of Texas’ FASTRAC microsatellite for the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL).

Work on this project will take place at MAS’ Melbourne, Florida facilities which include computer systems, laboratory and machine shop equipment, data acquisition systems for measuring flow parameters. The facilities also include electronics design, assembly and test equipment such as oscilloscopes, load cells and meters. MAS also maintains facilities in California which are suited for pyrotechnic testing and hazardous explosive manufacture and test; and facilities at KSC which allow for easier access to ISS networks.   MAS was the first small commercial space company to successfully complete an agreement with NASA for lease of facilities at NASA KSC.  The agreement also provides MAS access to all KSC test facilities and expertise.

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