Mumbai: In order to increase knowledge about Astronaut safety, NASA set fire to an unmanned cargo ship that was returning from International Space Station. But with its new Saffire experiment, NASA decided to go a little bigger. Scientists at Glenn Research Center and 10 other US and international government agencies and universities built a 1-meter by 1.3-meter long module and placed a 1-meter long cotton-fiber sample inside to burn.
Although this burn would be controlled, it was still too risky to conduct the experiment aboard the International Space Station. So when the Cygnus cargo spacecraft departed from the station on Tuesday, the experiment was placed inside. The fire was ignited shortly after the spacecraft’s departure, and it burned for about eight minutes.
This was the first in a three-part series of experiments, called Saffire, that NASA is conducting to study how flames grow in space. Now that the initial experiment is complete, Cygnus will end its life as a much larger ball of fire. The spacecraft currently contains trash and other refuse from the station’s crew, and after orbiting the planet for several more days, it will make a controlled, destructive reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.