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Experiment

Last Updated: March 22, 2013

Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment (MCE)

MCE mission logo

MCE mission logo

JAXA has developed a Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment (MCE), as a series of the Exposed Facility (EF) experiments for the Kibo Second Phase Utilization.

Kibo's EF has several ports called the Exposed Facility Units (EFU) which connect payloads with the EF. MCE is a conglomeration of five small mission payloads that perform experiment or observation to facilitate an effective use of the port.

EF with MCE installed.

EF with MCE installed.

So far, four experiment-payloads have been installed to EF, Space Environment Data Acquisition equipment (SEDA-AP), Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI), Superconducting Submillimeter-Wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES), and NASA's HICO and RAIDS Experiment Payload (HREP).

Each payload has one mission, SEDA-AP measures space environment; MAXI monitors all-sky x-ray, and SMILES observes ozone depleting substance, while MCE is a consolidated payload consists of independent five missions. This enables us to perform various missions using just one port.

MCE on orbit is found behind astronaut Hoshide performing spacewalk.

MCE on orbit is found behind astronaut Hoshide performing spacewalk.

MCE was launched on July 21, 2012, aboard the H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI3 (HTV3 mission) and installed to the EP on August 9, 2012. Onboard five mission payloads listed below are all selected missions thorough deliberation and evaluation by the ISS/JEM Utilization Advisory Committee and JEM-FE sub-committee.

MCE schema

MCE schema

(1) Ionosphere, Mesosphere, upper Atomosphere, and Plasmasphere mapping (IMAP)

Theme proposer Graduate schools of Kyoto University
Principle Investigator (PI) Akinori Saito
Mission summary IMAP clarifies the physical mechanism of disturbances that occur near the rim of atmosphere by observing airglow and resonant scattering using visible and near-infrared spectral imager and extreme ultraviolet imager at the Earth's upper atmosphere (with an altitude of 80 km or greater.)
News IMAP mission obtained its first observation data (January 28, 2013)
Other information ISS-IMAP website

(2) Global Lightning and Sprite Measurement Mission (GLIMS)

Theme proposer Graduate schools of Osaka University
PI Tomoo Ushio
Mission summary Using CMOS camera, photometer, VHF interferometer, and VLF receiver, GLIMS observes lightning and sprites to identify global distribution and their variation of Transient Luminous Events (TLE) and lightning. GLIMS also observes horizontal structure of sprites to identify the differences of the corresponding lighting development time and spatial distribution. GLIMS investigates electronic energy of TLE, time difference between lightning/sprite and gamma-ray flashes and the lightning process. (Sprite: Large-scale electrical discharges that occur at an altitude of 40 to 90 km accompanied by positive cloud-to-ground discharges.)
News JEM-GLIMS obtained its first observation data (January 31, 2013)
Other information GLIMS mission website by one of the participants, Hokkaido University

(3) Space Inflatable Membranes Pioneering Long-term Experiments (SIMPLE)

Theme proposer Graduate schools of the University of Tokyo
PI Takahira Aoki
Mission summary SIMPLE collects fundamental engineering data on orbit by exposing the inflatable structure (an ultralight structure which can be inflated by a rise in the internal pressure with gas) in the space environment for a long term.
News Successful extension of Inflatable Extension Mast (IEM) and deployment of Inflatable Space Terrarium (IST) (September 5, 2012)

(4) Robot Experiment on JEM (REXJ)

Theme proposer JAXA
PI Mitsushige Oda
Mission summary Validate robot's spatial migration and working function inevitable for robots to support astronauts' extravehicular activity (EVA) using a robot with extended arm and tether.
News Operational checkout was performed for the Robot Experiment on JEM (REX-J) (October 31, 2012)
REX-J experiment results (YouTube, Japanese audio)

(5) Assessment of Commercial-off-the-shelf, high definition television camera under exposed environment (COTS HDTV-EF)

Theme proposer JAXA
PI Mitsushige Oda
Mission summary The mission uses the commercial-off-the-shelf camcorder to assess if it survives under the exposed environment, recording its just beneath Earth surface (covering 200km x 350km) from an altitude of 400 km.
News COTS HDTV-EF successfully obtained Earth surface video image (October 30, 2012)

Item Specification
Width 0.8m
Height 1.0m
Length 1.8m (excluding SIMPLE extension)
Mass 450 kg
Mission Payload 1. Ionosphere, Mesosphere, upper Atomosphere, and Plasmasphere mapping (IMAP)
2. Global Lightning and Sprite Measurement Mission (GLIMS)
3. Space Inflatable Membranes Pioneering Long-term Experiments (SIMPLE)
4. Robot Experiment on JEM (REXJ)
5. Assessment of Commercial-off-the-shelf, high definition television camera under exposed environment (COTS HDTV-EF)
 
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