Category Archives: ISS

A Space Bubble

Now here is fun topic – space bubbles. Fun and with VERY complicated physics!

ESA: Things got heated on the International Space Station this week after the Multiscale Boiling experiment, known as Rubi, was successfully switched on.  

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano installed the shoe box-sized container studying the boiling process in the Fluid Science Laboratory of the Columbus module after its arrival on a Dragon cargo resupply mission in August. 

The experiment is now in full swing and generated its first bubble under controlled conditions.

While the bubbles form, a number of measurements are taken. The temperature sensor in the left of this image measures bubble temperature  while a high-speed camera records how the bubbles behave and an infrared camera tracks the temperature of the heated region.

Scientists will also observe and quantify the effect of external forces on the boiling process.

Rubi is equipped with an electrode to assess the effect of the electric field on the bubbles, as well as a small pump that, when activated, will get the liquid moving to evaluate flow on the boiling process.

Why space bubbles?

Scientists are investigating the boiling process in space mainly for two reasons.

Running this experiment in weightlessness has the advantage that the boiling process takes place in slow motion and the bubbles generated are much larger than on Earth allowing researchers to investigate details of the process in high resolution.

Boiling is a common process in many applications such as refrigeration or cooling of high-performance electronic devices. This research will provide valuable information for designing thermal management systems in a more efficient way, both in space as well as on Earth.

Rubi will run for five months on the International Space Station, during which time more than 600 test runs are planned.

Follow the Rubi experiment on social media for regular updates and more bubbly images and videos. 

ISS Views of Dorian

Hopefully everyone will be rid of Hurricane Dorian very shortly.

The damage to the Bahama’s was terrible; I can’t imagine what it must have been like.

Docking Attempt 2

Here’s the Soyuz docking replay.

The second attempt for the un-manned (if we don’t count the robot)) Soyuz cargo-spaceship to dock to the ISS.

The previous attempt a couple days ago was aborted because of basically a communications failure causing the ship not to lock on to the ISS signals to guide it in.

Why Did Docking Abort?

Sounds like a communications problem essentially. Interesting that the component is on the Station-side of the loop. The good thing about this scenario, if accurate, is the possibility of swapping out the bad component.

As they state, the earliest another attempt might be attempted is Sunday night into Monday so at least 48 hours.

Thanks SciNews!

Soyuz Docking Aborted

The approach was aborted, this video is a short version of NASA TV coverage from SciNews.

Better safe than sorry though, so we wait while this gets sorted as is stated in the video no other attempt will be taken today.


Luca at work aboard the International Space Station in this ESA image.

ESA: Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it is off to work the microbes go.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano slides the smallest miners in the universe into the Kubik experiment container on the International Space Station.

For the next three weeks, three different species of bacteria will unleash themselves on basalt slides in the Kubik centrifuge that simulates Earth and martian gravity as well as in microgravity.

Run by a research team from the University of Edinburgh in the UK, the BioRock experiment is testing how altered states of gravity affect biofilm formation – or the growth of microbes on rocks.

Microbes are able to weather down a rock from which they can extract ions. This natural process enables biomining, where useful metals are extracted from rock ores.

Already a common practice on Earth, biomining will eventually take place on the Moon, Mars and asteroids as we expand our understanding and exploration of the Solar System.

The bacteria arrived at the Space Station on the latest Dragon resupply mission in a dehydrated, dormant state.

The organisms are given ‘food’ to restore cell growth and left to grow on basalt at 20°C.

After three weeks, the samples will be preserved and stored at 4°C while they await their return to Earth.

Researchers will map out how altered states of gravity affect the rock and microbes as a whole, as well as which microbe is the best candidate for mining in space. It is hoped these results will shine light on extraterrestial biomining technologies and life-support systems involving microbes for longer duration spaceflight.

Biomining in space can also increase the efficiency of the process on Earth and could even reduce our reliance on precious Earth resources.

In addition to installing the little creatures, Luca is busy with a host of other experiments during his six-month mission, called Beyond.

Listen to the latest episode of the ESA Explores podcast for more science on the Space Station.

Follow Luca and his #MissionBeyond on social media and the blog.

Soyuz MS-14 Launch +

Catch part of the on-going spacewalk and the Soyuz MS-14 launch of a cargo-spaceship to the International Space Station.

Launch is scheduled for 15:38 UT / 11:38 ET today.

Update: Enjoy the spacewalk. The launch is apparently going off tomorrow 22 August on the same timeline. I heard differing date and went with what NASA published. For one reason or another today is not the day. I would imagine it would be too much with the spacewalk going on.