Skip to main content

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 Earth, and the continuous free fall simulates the absence of gravity.

Thrusters firing on the International Space Station (ISS)

However, tiny disturbances aboard the space station mimic the effects of gravity, and scientists need to understand, track and measure these potential disruptions. Two accelerometer systems developed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, are being used aboard the Station. Operation of these systems began with Expedition Two and will continue throughout the life of the Space Station.

The Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS) is used to measure acceleration during specific ISS operations. MAMS is located in EXPRESS Rack 1 in the U.S. Laboratory.

Microgravity Acceleration Measurement System (MAMS)

The MAMS is a complimentary acceleration measurement system to SAMS. While the SAMS system measures acceleration disturbances from 0.01 to 400 Hz, the MAMS measures accelerations from DC to a maximum of 0.01 Hz. MAMS provides this complimentary function by measuring accelerations caused by the aerodynamic drag of the ISS as it orbits the earth. … Read the rest ⇢

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

Principal Investigator Microgravity Services (PIMS)

During the ISS era, the NASA Glenn Research Center’s Principal Investigator Microgravity Services (PIMS) project has provided principal investigators (PIs) microgravity environment information and characterization of the accelerations to which their experiments were exposed during on orbit operations. PIMS supports PIs by providing them with microgravity environment information for experiment vehicles, carriers, and locations within … Read the rest ⇢

SAMS sensor head mounted near top of EXPRESS Rack 2 in U.S. Lab taken during Expedition 4.

Space Acceleration Measurements System-II (SAMS-II)

SAMS-II measures vibrations and transient acceleration disturbances resulting from ISS vehicle activities, ISS systems operations, experiment operations, crew movements, and ISS structure thermal expansion and contraction. SAMS Remote Triaxial Sensor (RTS) systems are used to monitor on-board ISS accelerations for individual experiments requiring direct acceleration measurement support. Each RTS is capable of measuring acceleration disturbances … Read the rest ⇢


Provide feedback