INDEPENDENT NEWS

3M Technology Helps Save Lives In Space

Published: Tue 21 Aug 2001 04:13 PM
Astronauts living in the International Space Station will be protected from debris and meteorites thanks to innovative shielding technology developed by 3M.
The TransHab inflatable module of the International Space Station, currently under construction, will house up to six astronauts and will include bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and a gym.
To shield the space station (and the people inside) from space debris, the module will be surrounded in successive layers of 3M? Nextel? Ceramic Textiles, spaced between thick layers of open cell foam.
These layers will shatter any particles that hit the inflatable space module. They also provide insulation from the extreme temperatures of space. Without this protection, astronauts' lives would be at risk.
Scientists predict that during a 10-year period, a small area of the spacecraft (10m) is likely to be struck by anywhere from 100 to 1,000 particles of up to 1mm in diameter. Such particles could hit the module at more than 15,000 miles per hour.
Another essential, technological feature of the International Space Station is the protective inner liner of tough film, which will be applied to the seven windows of the lab module using 3M? Optically Clear Adhesive. This film is designed to protect the glass and crew, whilst enabling them to observe and take photographs through the windows.
3M is one of many global organisations that has contributed components and technologies to help complete the space station, turning science fiction into reality.
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