On April 18, 2017 at 11:11 am EDT, Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft launched on a ULA Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral bound for the International Space Station. The module carried more than 7,600 pounds of crew supplies and scientific equipment including four Polar units that were prepared for launch at UAB EITD. This is the most Polar units launched at one time and the first launch for Polar unit serial number 015. Additionally, this is the first powered Orbital flight where the Polar units have been powered and in use since the beginning of March.

On February 19, 2017 at 9:39:00 am ET, SpaceX CRS-10, a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Dragon spacecraft, is to deliver approximately 5,500 lbs, including 1 Glacier unit, 2 Polar units, and 1 MERLIN unit that were prepared for launch at UAB EITD. After docking, there will be a total of 12 units from UAB on orbit (5 Glaciers, 3 Polars, and 4 MERLINS). Over the next month the crew members will unpack the new cargo and reload it to return to Earth. The cargo returning to Earth at the end of March after undocking includes 1 Glacier unit, 3 Polar units, and 1 MERLIN unit.

Our organization's Quality Management System is certified to AS9100 Revision C. Surveillance assessments for our AS9100 certification are performed annually and are intended to assure ongoing conformity and demonstrate that our quality management system remains effective and encourages continual improvement. This year, an external re-certification audit for our AS9100 certification was performed by Smithers Quality Assessments in November. The recertification process is tedious and our quality assurance lead, Chad Duke, did a wonderful job preparing the team for another sucessfull recertification audit.

The Crew and Thermal Systems Division (CTSD) of NASA Johnson Space Flight Center (JSC) recently awarded the UAB-EITD group with a new Delivery Order.  The Cold Stowage Rapid Freeze project will provide NASA and the International Space Station with rapid freeze capability essentially equivalent to ground based liquid nitrogen systems on the ground.  The Rapid Freeze system will use technology similar to that used in the Glacier and Polar Flight Units, but in a more readily accessible manner for rapidly freezing science samples conducted on the ISS.  For more information on the award, a link is provided to an article written by the UAB School of Engineering. UAB School of Engineering -Rapid Freeze Article