20 Years of Plasma Research on ISS Advance Understanding of Physics, Crystals

The PK-4 plasma crystal laboratory. (Credit: MPE)
  • The plasma crystal experiments are one of the first and most successful research projects on the ISS.
  • The first long-term tests under weightlessness started on March 3, 2001: They provide insights into physical processes at the atomic level.
  • ISS astronauts are always part of the plasma research team, including Thomas Reiter during his Astrolab mission.
  • From 22-29. The next experiments on board the ISS will run on March 2021.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR) — For 20 years they have been a reliable source of new insights into physics: the plasma crystal experiments on board the International Space Station ISS. Basic knowledge for the textbooks of the future is the main goal of this research. Various applications can be derived from the knowledge gained, in particular in the fields of medicine, environmental protection, space travel as well as semiconductor and microchip technologies. 

By means of technology transfers, plasma research also opens up new fields of application, based for example on the development of miniaturized laboratory systems suitable for space travel. The first ISS crew already had plasma research on their agenda and on March 3, 2001 the starting shot was given for the first long-term tests under weightlessness. The current crew will now carry out the latest series of experiments at the end of March.

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International Space Station Construction Began 20 Years Ago

Left: Launch of the Zarya Functional Cargo Block from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Right: Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour from the Kennedy Space Center on the STS-88 mission to deliver the Unity Node 1 module. (Credit: NASA, Roscosmos)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The largest and most complex international construction project in space began on the steppes of Kazakhstan 20 years ago today. Atop its Proton rocket, on Nov. 20, 1998, the Zarya Functional Cargo Block (FGB) thundered off its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome into cold wintry skies. Zarya was built by the Khrunichev in Moscow and served as a temporary control module for the nascent ISS.

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Perminov Receives Merit Award, Promotes Krikalev to Lead Gagarin Center

ROSKOSMOS PRESS RELEASES

On March 31, 2009, Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, signed Decree N 344 to award the Motherland Merit Order, III Degree, to Anatoly Perminov, Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, for his great contribution into development of the Russian rocket and space industry and continuous effective work.

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