Space station science experiment blunder blame on flawed training
(SPACE.com) SAN FRANCISCO -- NanoRacks LLC said July 13 that an internal investigation determined that some student-designed experiments delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in May and returned to Earth in early July were never activated on-orbit due to a flaw in NanoRack's astronaut training procedures. Jeffrey Manber, managing director of the Houston-based company, said in an email that NanoRacks will pay to refly the affected experiments.
The student space experiments in question were fluids housed in Teflon vials, known as MixStix, that were among the cargo Space Exploration Technologies' Dragon spacecraft delivered to the ISS in late May.
Once onboard the space station, an astronaut was supposed to start each experiment by flexing the tube to mix the fluids. When the vials were returned to students via the Russian Soyuz that landed July 1, many researchers determined their experiments were never activated.
"Previous crews were given on the ground review and personal interaction prior to launch," Manber said. "For this mission, the astronaut received hardware training solely via video while on the space station. Clearly, there was a miscommunication resulting from the video instruction."
In the future, NanoRacks plans to change the MixStix instructional video, train astronauts prior to missions if possible and review other NanoRacks videos to make sure future missions are successful, Manber added.
This story was provided by Space News, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.
- 6 Coolest Space Shuttle Science Experiments
- SpaceX Makes History: Dragon's Space Station Arrival in Pictures
- 6 Everyday Things That Happen Strangely in Space
Copyright 2012 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Popular in SciTech
- Calif. teen wins Intel Science Research competition Play Video
- One woman's journey to save the white lions
- New Flickr comes with 1 terabyte free storage
- Computer visionary says he knows who invented Bitcoin
- Apple's next iPhone may be coming in June
- Canada trying to lure Silicon Valley tech workers
- Four things you need to know about tornado season
- Thousands online proclaim: Jahar Tsarnaev is innocent