Friday, June 15, 2012

As part of a NASA contract, CBSE designed a cryogenic freezer, GLACIER, which first launchedGLACIER_SN009 in 2008 on a shuttle flight to the International Space Station (ISS). Since then, the GLACIER flight units have been on numerous shuttle sortie and ISS missions transporting and stowing research samples. There are 6 GLACIERs available for flight use, and two of those are currently on the ISS.

NASA has requested the delivery of two new GLACIER units to meet their increasing demands to store and transport research samples to and from ISS. These units, which will be ready for flight in December 2012, are projected to launch on SpaceX’s Dragon capsule on its upcoming ISS resupply flights, SPX-3 and SPX-4.

During the build process, there are Government Mandatory Inspection Points to ensure high quality of materials, parts, and components that are produced. One of the GLACIERs recently underwent an inspection of its vacuum jacket by Government Source Inspector, Richard Gurr. This inspection procedure included a helium leak detection test performed using a helium gas mass spectrometer. This test ensures the vacuum jacket will remain below the maximum allowable pressure levels necessary for GLACIER to maintain optimum performance while aboard ISS. The inspection was a success for the GLACIER flight unit tested. A similar inspection will be performed on the second GLACIER in the coming weeks. Both of the new GLACIERs are on schedule to meet their target delivery dates for the upcoming SpaceX ISS resupply flights.