Business Integra In Space… Again
Business Integra established a presence in space by flying the SG100 Cloud Computer payload on the OA-7 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) where it operated continuously as a technology demonstration experiment from May 2017 through January 2018.
With the November 2, 2019 launch of the Northrop Grumman NG-12 ISS commercial resupply mission, the Cygnus cargo vessel “Alan Bean,” Business Integra once again has hardware in space. This time, for a longer stay.
Attached to the outside of the ISS is the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, known as AMS-02, which is a large high-energy physics cosmic ray detector. This complex scientific experimental payload, weighing 15,251 pounds and containing over 300,000 data channels, has been operating 24/7 since its May 19, 2011 installation on the ISS during the last flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-134. In this time the experiment has measured over 145 Billion cosmic rays and delivered this data to scientists on the ground. The information is being used by physicists around the world to redefine mankind’s understanding of the nature of our Universe.
The AMS-02 experiment was originally designed for 3 years on the ISS and the past 8 ½ years have certainly exceeded that. One of the AMS-02 systems, the Tracker Thermal Control System (TTCS), uses on a carbon dioxide cooling pump / evaporator / condenser loop to remove heat from one of the core science experiments, the 200,000 channel Silicon Tracker. Three of the four redundant pumps in the TTCS have stopped running over the last several years, and the last pump is on its last leg. To continue collecting the valuable cosmic ray data, a repair is required.
Business Integra has AMS-02 payload operations contracts with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and with Jacobs Engineering, in support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Tx. As part of the AMS-02 payload operations support, Business Integra designed a new pump box, called the Upgraded Thermal Tracker Pump System, or UTTPS. Business Integra also designed support hardware for this box, including a mechanical mount and power and data cables. Along with engineers and scientists from Jacobs, NASA and the AMS-02 Collaboration, Business Integra assembled the UTTPS in Aachen, Germany and performed environmental testing on it In Terni, Italy.
NASA and the ISS program have spent the last four years designing, planning, and training astronauts for a set of Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs), or spacewalks, to install and activate this new hardware on the AMS-02, prolonging the experiment’s life to match that of the ISS, which is projected to be through 2024 with a possible extension to 2028.
On Monday, November 4 the NG-12 cargo vessel was berthed to the ISS, and the ISS astronauts began transferring this equipment into the ISS. Over the next two weeks, the crew will prepare the UTTPS and support hardware, including many specialized tools, to go out the ISS Airlock with astronauts Luca Parmitano and Drew Morgan on November 15, 2019 on the first of these four spacewalks repairing the AMS-02 payload.
Business Integra is proud to be an integral part of this effort to extend the life and science capability of this incredibly important research being performed on the ISS. During the launch Business Integra’s President Prathiba Ramadoss & COO Selva Jayaraman met Nobel Laureate Samuel Ting, principal investigator for the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.