On November 26th, 2022, the SpaceX CRS-26 mission launched to the International Space Station (ISS). There was a special payload for Redwire onboard: the T-Paola experiment. T-Paola, which stands for Thermovibrationally–Driven Particle Self-Assembly and Ordering mechanisms in Low gravity, is an experiment that was designed and built by Redwire’s team in Belgium, which recently joined the company. Earlier this month, T-Paola was installed in the ISS Microgravity Science Glovebox by NASA astronaut Frank Rubio. The installation was completed successfully without issues and the Ground Control team at the Spanish User Support and Operations Center was able to run the experiment smoothly.
The experiment will pave the way for new applications in material science, biomaterials, chemistry and physics as it will try to determine new principles for the control of solid particles in liquids. T-Paola is composed of sets of cells that are filled with liquid-solid particle mixtures and then shaken to observe their behavior.
T-Paola represents an end of an era as it will be the last time reports from Ground Control will say “SODI powered on, all telemetry looks nominal.” T-Paola is the last experiment for the Redwire Europe team’s longest-running instrument, the Selectable Optic Diagnostics Instrument (SODI). Since launching in November 2009 on Space Shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission to the ISS, SODI and has been a reliable science instrument for the European Space Agency. It has delivered fluid science for more than 13 years, investigated more than 30 liquids in space, and provided valuable insights to the scientific community.
Learn more about other Redwire technologies onboard the ISS, like the recent PFMI facility installation, successful 3D prints for space radiation protection, or the latest Redwire launch to ISS, NG-18.