Astronaut Says: Potential Contamination Is No Longer A Concern for International Space Station’s New Lightning Instrument

Scientists of the International Space Station is working on its new lightning detection instruments. These scientists mounted the device on the exterior end of the International Space Station. They expect a positive effect on the performance of the sensor and to avoid from the possible contamination from the upper part of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. 

The instrument developed in Denmark, the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor was attached an outside post of the International Space Station lab module. The new lightning instrument will be powered up for the next six week of commissioning campaign and calibration. The payload attached by scientists was activated earlier than expected and checkout of sensors and computers is done over the time frame, according to the ASIM project manager, Ole Hartnack. 

Ole Hartnack also told that the scientists about the examination of the possible contamination of the cameras to be used in the detection of the optical flashes with the lightning. The Modular Multispectral Imaging Array – light sensitive optical cameras are not expected to decrease the instrument’s performance. According to SpaceX, there are no specific issues about the launched payloads inside the Dragon’s cargo craft. The statement given by SpaceX does not provide any details whether the agency studied and addressed the contamination concern. 

After the arrival of the Dragon capsule, the Canadian-built robotic arm extracted the payload, and this is one at a time. The Dextre robot is about the size of a refrigerator that pulled out of the Dragon cargo bay. Scientists also want to plug the instrument into the power of Columbus for the next six hours from the time the heaters detached inside the Dragon trunk. The transfer is estimated to take about 4 ½ hours. Norishige Kanai, a Japanese astronaut, flipped the switches inside the International Space Station and applied the power to the said instrument. 

According to scientists, they need to perform all the initial checkout of all the instruments and computers, and they expect that all the works will be excellent and goes well with what they expected. Scientists continue to observe the other payloads the new instruments mounted and the new tools mounted attached and outside the International Space Station. Scientists also aim for these instruments to function the way they planned it to be. It is also required for specialized photographic equipment to be used to help detect some phenomena.