NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, have successfully completed 20 days of on-orbit experiments with the Pore Formation and Mobility Investigation facility, or PFMI, as part of the Asymmetric Sawtooth and Cavity-Enhanced Nucleation-Driven Transport (PFMI-ASCENT) investigation. The astronauts exchanged samples for PFMI-ASCENT inside the Microgravity Science Glovebox on the International Space Station (ISS) in December 2022 and January 2023. At the end of the 20-day experiment cycle, the furnace was removed from the Glovebox and placed into storage until its next investigation.
Using the Redwire-managed PFMI facility, PFMI-ASCENT is a space physics study that demonstrates a passive cooling system for electronic devices in microgravity using a micro-structured surface. The study is a collaboration between the University of California-Davis and Auburn University. All science data from the experiment has been collected and sent to the investigators.
The astronauts performing on-station experiments were a crucial component to achieving experiment objectives and collecting science data. The Redwire team also played a critical role in the success of the study. “We’ve recognized the PFMI team with Redwire’s Above and Beyond award because of their overall excellence and tireless effort in achieving the investigation’s objectives and completing the investigation’s experiments,” said Rachel Ormsby, Redwire’s lead on the PFMI program and a mechanical engineer. The team was also recognized by our customer for their exemplary work.
The objective of PFMI-ASCENT is to help with the design of passive cooling systems for spacecraft electronics, which are often limited by available space and electric power, and for consumer electronics on Earth. PFMI will be used by additional investigators in the future.
Learn more about PFMI and the other Redwire technology that recently arrived to the ISS: Redwire Technology Launching on NG-18 Behind Breakthrough Research on the International Space Station | Redwire Space