On December 21st a Soyuz rocket blasted off from the
Russian space port in Baikonur, Kasakhstan, to bring the cargo
space ship Progress M-55 with flight number ISS-20P to the
International Space Station ISS
Together with supply goods and Christmas presents for the
cosmonauts, Progress M55 carried the new plasma crystal experiment
'PK-3 Plus' into earth orbit.
PK-3 Plus is to replace the existing plasma crystal experiment
'Nefedov' of the Max Planck Institute that is on board the ISS
since 2001. With 'PKE Nefedov' 13 experiment runs were successfully
performed by the cosmonauts resulting in numerous
results in the field of complex
plasmas in microgravity.
The first operation of PK-3 Plus is planned for January 2006.
Members of MPE take part in the 41st ESA Parabolic Flight Campaign in
Bordeaux (F), supported by colleagues of the Institute of High Energy
Density in Moscow. Goals are scientific and apparative experiments
with the PK-4 facility that experiences
weightlessness for the third time. Under investigation are particle flow
through a nozzle, collisions of particles clouds and the excitation of
waves in the complex plasma by electrical pulses and intense laser beams.
PK-4 is supported by ESA in project phase A/B now.
The operation onboard the ISS is scheduled for 2008.
Prof. Gregor E. Morfill, director at the MPE and head of the theory group,
celebrates his 60th birthday. Therefore, MPE invites to a colloquium
with international guests giving an insight into latest developments
in research or honouring common activities with Greg Morfill.|
The celebration ends with an entertaining show of the theory group
with funny and musical contributions of the members, as well as
personal congratulations and presents for Greg Morfill.
Also from here: HAPPY BIRTHDAY & BEST WISHES!
You can download some of the musical contributions as MPEG here:
(Watch out for a probable extended download time!):
DivX Plug-in not installed? Free download
Soundtrack courtesy of *Die Fantastischen Vier
und **The White Stripes! For internal use only!
End of July 2005: Days before the docking of space shuttle Discovery
(STS-114) to the International Space Station the 11th ISS crew performs
the plasma crystal experiment 'PKE-Nefedov' of the MPE Garching in
orbit. Main experimenter is cosmonaut Sergey Krikalev (see picture)
who already performed the experiment as a member of the first ISS
crew as the first physical experiment facility onboard the ISS in
This completes the circle: This 13th experiment session is expected
to be the last one. The already finished successor of PKE-Nefedov,
PK-3 Plus, will be launched to the
space station in December 2005.|
The fate of PKE-Nefedov is still
undecided. If a return with a future space shuttle mission is not
possible then the experiment will probably be 'dumped'.
PK-3 Plus, the successor
of the complex-plasma facility PKE-Nefedov onboard the International
Space Station ISS, participates in the 39th ESA parabolic flight
campaign. During the 3 days of the campaign the hardware is to be
tested for its function in weightlessness. Despite the
short duration of micro-gravity during a flown parabola (20 sec -
see former campaigns),
the total of 90 parabolas allows a good estimation of the abilities
of the apparatus.|
Scientists from Garching, together with colleages from a collaborating
institute in Moscow, perform the experiments onboard the Airbus
A300 Zero-G. If the tests are successful we can give green light to a
launch of PK-3 Plus to the ISS at the end of this year.
Cosmonaut Sharipov with PKE (top),
The minister in the control center (bottom).
(Click to enlarge!)
German astronaut Thomas Reiter (left),
Bulmahn and Prof. Morfill (MPE) (center),
the space station is calling (right).
Late January 2005 will see PKE-Nefedov - MPE's complex plasma experiment
onboard the International Space Station ISS - in operation again.
Members of MPE will be in the Russian space flight control center near
Moscow to survey the experiments in direct contact with the cosmonauts
of the ISS. Since 2001, 11 missions (each lasting 3 days) have been
flown, leading to more than 15 publications in refereed journals up
to now. Therefore PKE-Nefedov is the most activly used scientic
facility onboard the ISS. Focus of the upcoming mission is on
studying crystallistion processes in complex plasmas.|
During this 12th experiment session with PKE-Nefedov the German
federal minister of research and education, Mrs. Edelgard Bulmahn
(see pictures), visits the Russian space control center in Moscow
where the experiments are supervised by scientists from Garching.
Mrs. Bulmahn is briefed about this successful German-Russian
collaboration in space and takes the opportunity to phone with
the cosmonauts onboard the ISS.
talks concern the future extension of the German activity
onboard the space station. Thus, German astronaut Thomas Reiter,
who experienced a visit on the space station MIR in 1997, will
take off towards the ISS for a long-duration stay in late 2005.
It is very
likely that Thomas Reiter will also perform, at least once, MPE's
new plasma crystal experiment in space, PK-3 Plus.
Video clip of the Russian tv news:
AVI (3.2 MB) ©1tv.ru
The 9th crew of the ISS, Gennady Padalka and Mike Fincke, once
more conducted MPE's plasma crystal experiment PKE-Nefedov in
space. They provided us a short movie of this event.|
Watch the complete movie
4 min, 40 MB).
Excerpts: PKE experiment container inside ISS
(MPEG, 9.3 MB),
and Cosmonaut G. Padalka doing the experiment
(MPEG, 12.5 MB).
Download the PKE-Nefedov promotion clip:
MPEG (4:30, 45 MB)
Excerpt: 3-D graphics of real particle data!
MPEG (14 MB)
Contact: Michael Kretschmer