Here are some of the latest developments in International Space Station (ISS) technology:
- New Solar Arrays: In June 2021, NASA astronauts installed new solar arrays on the ISS to increase its power supply. These new arrays are more efficient and smaller in size than the previous ones.
- Cold Atom Lab: In May 2021, a new experiment called the Cold Atom Lab (CAL) was installed on the ISS. CAL uses lasers to cool atoms to extremely low temperatures, allowing researchers to study the behavior of matter at the atomic level.
- Bartolomeo External Platform: In March 2020, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Bartolomeo external platform, which allows external payloads to be mounted on the ISS for various experiments and missions.
- Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) Global Emissivity Dataset: In 2020, a new global dataset of the Earth’s surface was released by NASA and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. This dataset was created using data from the ASTER instrument on the ISS and provides detailed information about the Earth’s land surface temperature.
- Space-to-Ground Quantum Communication: In June 2022, China successfully demonstrated space-to-ground quantum communication between its Micius satellite and a ground station in China. This technology has the potential to provide secure communication over long distances and could be used for future space-based applications.
- SpaceX Crew-1 Mission: In November 2020, SpaceX launched the Crew-1 mission to the ISS, marking the first operational flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts on board. The Crew-1 mission carried four astronauts to the ISS and marked a significant milestone in the commercialization of human spaceflight.
- Astrobee Robots: NASA has been testing small free-flying robots called Astrobee robots on the ISS since 2019. These robots can assist astronauts with routine tasks and research experiments, and they are equipped with cameras, sensors, and other tools to navigate and interact with the space environment.
- Health Monitoring System: In 2019, a new health monitoring system was installed on the ISS to track the health of astronauts and detect potential medical issues. The system uses a suite of sensors to monitor vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate, and it can alert medical professionals on the ground if any abnormalities are detected.
- Plant Habitat-02: In 2019, NASA installed the Plant Habitat-02 experiment on the ISS to study how plants grow in microgravity. The experiment is designed to help researchers better understand how plants can be grown in space to provide food for astronauts on long-duration missions.
- Space Debris Removal: In 2018, the RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft was launched to test technology for capturing and removing space debris. The spacecraft was designed to deploy a net to capture debris and a harpoon to anchor it, and it also tested a sail for deorbiting debris. This technology could help to reduce the risk of collisions with space debris and protect critical space assets.
These developments demonstrate the diverse range of research and technology being conducted on the ISS and the ongoing efforts to advance human space exploration.