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Engineering Professor's Experiment Will Orbit Earth For More Than a Year

A University of Maryland researcher’s experiment will be onboard a scheduled resupply mission launching tomorrow to the International Space Station (ISS) from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

Raymond Adomaitis, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering with an appointment in the Institute for Systems Research, and his Thin Films Group are conducting a materials science experiment that will expose a range of material samples to the surprisingly active environment of low Earth orbit for more than a year. The samples then will be returned for the researchers’ further evaluation.

Adomaitis’ group has been working in conjunction with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in nearby Greenbelt, Md., to develop ultra-thin conductive coatings for heat-radiating panels on the ISS. They’re aiming for coatings that do not interfere with the optical properties of the pigments—designed for maximum emission of waste thermal radiation and minimal absorption of solar radiation—while allowing for the dissipation of static charges.

More details of Adomaitis’ work—also known as the Innovative Coatings Experiment—are available on NASA’s website.

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