Skip to main content

International Space Station (ISS) Research

NASA’s Physical Sciences Research Program, along with its predecessors, has conducted significant fundamental and applied research, which has led to improved space systems and produced new products offering benefits on Earth.

Current Payloads/Equipment operating on the ISS

NASA’s experiments in the various disciplines of physical science, reveal how physical systems respond to the near absence of gravity. They also reveal how other forces that on Earth are small compared to gravity, can dominate system behavior in space. The International Space Station (ISS) is an orbiting laboratory that provides an ideal facility to conduct long-duration experiments in the near absence of gravity and allows continuous and interactive research similar to Earth-based laboratories. This enables scientists to pursue innovations and discoveries not currently achievable by other means. NASA’s Physical Sciences Research Program also benefits from collaborations with several of the ISS international partners—Europe, Russia, Japan, and Canada—and foreign governments with space programs, such as France, Germany and Italy. The scale of this research enterprise promises new possibilities in the physical sciences, some of which are already being realized both in the form of innovations for space exploration and in new ways to improve the quality of life on Earth.

Image of the International Space Station (ISS) during a reboost procedure.

Acceleration Measurements

Providing a quiescent microgravity, or low-gravity, environment for fundamental scientific research is one of the major goals of the International Space Station program. This apparent weightlessness is created as the Space Station circles and falls around the Earth, and the continuous free fall simulates the absence of gravity. However, tiny disturbances aboard the space station … Read the rest ⇢

Fluids and Combustion Facility rack technical staff
Technical staff prepares the Fluids and Combustion Facility rack for testing in the Structural Dynamics Laboratory (SDL).

ISS Fluids & Combustion Facility

The Fluids and Combustion Facility (FCF) is a set of two International Space Station (ISS) research facilities designed to support physical and biological experiments in support of technology development and validation in space. The FCF consists of two modular, reconfigurable racks called the Combustion Integration Rack (CIR) and the Fluids Integration Rack (FIR). The CIR … Read the rest ⇢

Operations at the GRC ISS Payloads Operations Center (GIPOC)

Glenn Research Center ISS Payload Operations Center (GIPOC)

Glenn’s ISS Payload Operations Center Provided Around-the-Clock Operations Support for Space Experiments on the International Space Station NASA Glenn Research Center’s ISS Payload Operations Center (GIPOC) allows researchers on Earth to operate experiments on-board the International Space Station (ISS) and the space shuttles. NASA’s continuing investment in the required software, systems, and networks provides distributed … Read the rest ⇢

Expedition 8 Commander and Science Officer Michael Foale conducts an inspection of the Microgravity Science Glovebox.

Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG)

The Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) is one of the major dedicated science facilities inside Destiny. It has a large front window and built-in gloves to provide a sealed environment for conducting science and technology experiments. The Glovebox is particularly suited for handling hazardous materials when the crew is present. For more information, visit Microgravity Science … Read the rest ⇢

MWA Containment System.

Maintenance Work Area (MWA)

The Maintenance Work Area (MWA) consists of three major components: MWA Work Surface Area (WSA), MWA Containment System, and MWA Utility Kit. Additionally, the MWA Utility Strip may be used in conjunction with the MWA Containment System. The Maintenance Work Area (MWA) Work Surface Area (WSA) provides a rigid surface on which to perform maintenance … Read the rest ⇢

MISSE aboard the International Space Station.

Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE)

Since 2001, NASA’s Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) series has tested some 4,000 material samples and specimens — from lubricants and paints to fabrics, container seals and solar cell technologies — to demonstrate their durability in the punishing space environment. Flown 220 miles above Earth, fixed to the exterior of the International Space Station … Read the rest ⇢

This is one of the first images from the Physics of Colloids in Space (PCS) on the ISS

Related Experiments

This is a list of microgravity experiments conducted at Glenn Research Center in the past:

Provide feedback