The Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR), located in the U.S. Laboratory Module (Destiny), enables investigators from multiple disciplines a large, optics bench platform to integrate a large “mini-facilities” or configuration of optical components similar to their experiment in their ground laboratories. Developed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center, the FIR was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) in August 2009 by the Space Shuttle (STS-128).
The Fluids Integrated Rack accommodates experiments that address critical space exploration research and technology needs for advanced life support (i.e., air revitalization, water reclamation, etc.), power, propulsion, and spacecraft thermal control systems. The primary focus of the these experiments involve boiling heat transfer, multiphase flow, liquid vapor interface control, and liquid and vapor evaporation and condensation, as they relate to the technology needs of various exploration spacecraft subsystems. Another key area of research is in the area of colloids to better understand the interaction of particles and their impact on products produced on Earth. The FIR can also serve as a platform for experiments that address human health and performance, medical technologies, and biosciences.