NASA Just Lit a Big Fire in Space

Space Station's Commercial 3D Printer Makes Its 1st Tool

The objective of this test is simply to "see what happens", writer Maddie Stone at Gizmodo reports.

Now filled with trash and destined for its own fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere next week, Cygnus is serving as a free-flying orbital laboratory for a novel fire-in-space experiment. And if you're exploring the final frontier with people, fire is a pretty important risk to understand. One of these tweets said: "The #Saffire experiment, created to understand fire in microgravity, is now burning successfully".

On June 15, Cygnus' handlers will also deploy five small cubesats from the cargo ship, which had been docked to the space station since March 26.

"A spacecraft fire is one of the biggest concerns for NASA and the global space exploration community", said Jason Crusan, who oversees NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems programs.

A Cygnus spacecraft floating above Earth. Candidates who finish this training will eventually be assigned to one of four spacecrafts, including NASA's Orion spacecraft for deep space exploration.

The Saffire module contained a sample of cotton and fiberglass, to be ignited when the Cygnus has travelled a safe distance away from the space station. Within the belly of the spacecraft, the fire is estimated to burn for 20 minutes, even as sensors and cameras are fired to gather information about it. Following complete data transmission, the Cygnus spacecraft will complete its destructive entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

The wrench 3D-printed by the Additive Manufacturing Facility aboard the International Space Station has the name of toolmaker Kobalt emblazoned on its side — the result of a partnership between Made In Space which built the AMF and home-improvem

A former helicopter test pilot Major Peake, 44, became the first Briton to join the ISS as a European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut on December 15 past year.

The goal of the research is "to answer the questions of how large does a fire get and how rapidly does it spread, or how long does it take it to get to the point where it would be really hazardous to the crew?" Peake tweeted Sunday, "I spent the first 24 hours in space feeling a bit rough at times, but since then I have felt just great". If you light a match on Earth, the flame is long and pointy because hot gases rise upward from the flame, keeping it straight and sticking up.

The flames were contained within an instrumented research box - measuring 35 by 52 inches (3 by 4.4 feet) - that was strapped into the commercial vehicle before launch and never touched during its stay at the space station.

Russian cosmonauts successfully contained a fire in the 1990s that almost destroyed the Mir space station - and then enjoyed some cognac they had brought on board. That's because - up until now - experiments like this have been extremely unsafe.

As of 5 PM ET, the fire has been burning - the largest fire started ever in a spacecraft.

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