Apr 21, 2017 01:48 AM EDT
Tiny Space Probes the size of footballs will help NASA determine its course in the future of Space Travel. These small data gathering Space Probes will relay essential data back to NASA laboratories for analysis of the materials behavior and temperature resistance upon entry back to earth and other stars.
The Space Probes just satisfactorily passes its trials in laboratories. It is now ready for tests in space. NASA researchers and engineers are doing trials for a new type of material for thermal behavior on spacecraft to improve its temperature resistance when entering the earth's atmosphere.
The Space Probes will be attached to the Orbital ATK's on its seventh resupplying of logistics to the International Space Station. The Space Probes is called "Conformal Ablative Thermal Protection System". The tiny space probes will be encased in a metal shell and connected to the supply ship. Once the supply craft enters the atmosphere, the metal shells will allow the probe to be released during its break-up.
Ethiraj Venkatapathy, project manager of Thermal Protection System Materials, NASA explains how the Space Test Gadgets role in the flight tests and that is to gather data during the supply craft's breakup. He further states that thermal protection is a vital factor for the ship's resistance to temperature when it comes back from space, as reported by NASA.
Physics.Org reports that there are three types of Space Probes that will be subject to tests in space. The first one has conformal Thermal Protection System (TPS). The second probe has the Orion's Avcoat TPS and the third is composed of Shuttle tile. Data sent back by these probes will allow scientists to develop materials that can withstand temperature and pressure on landings to other stars like Venus, Mercury, and Mars.
After the Orbital ATK resupplying of the International Space Station, It will fly back to earth sometime in June where the Space Probes will go to work upon the craft's atmospheric entry. Here, the Test Space Probes will be released, gather the information, and start the data relay to NASA computers.