Asian Surveying & Mapping
Breaking News
First European satellite with AI set for launch
CubeSats are getting clever. These shoe-boxed sized craft are...
India’s Drone-Powered Digital Maps Project Begins In Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana
The Survey of India, with support from Department of...
China Launches Earth-Observing Satellites, Solar Sail Experiment
Two Earth-imaging satellites and an experimental solar sail payload...
Geospatial Policy Safeguarding Abu Dhabi’s Environment
Providing a single source of accurate, reliable environmental information...
India initiates drone-powered digital maps project
The government-owned organisation, Survey of India (SOI), with support...
Drone flying in Marunouchi, Tokyo
Tokyo – Japan-headquartered Terra Drone Corporation, one of the...
Terra Drone demos safe use of UAVs with Mitsubishi Estate for urban area logistics and security in Tokyo
Tokyo – Japan-headquartered Terra Drone Corporation, one of the...
China hands over Zimbabwe’s arable land distribution data in scientific research cooperation
HARARE - The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) handed...
India Just Found Its Lost Vikram Lander on the Moon, Still No Signal
India's Chandrayaan-2 orbiter circling the moon has spotted the...
Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is healthy and safe in the Lunar orbit, says ISRO
The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is healthy and safe in the...

July 2nd, 2019
RUBI – Full steam ahead for the ISS

Friedrichshafen, 02 July 2019 – The next supply mission (CRS-18) to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, will transport a special ‘steam engine’ to the International Space Station (ISS). RUBI (Reference mUltiscale Boiling Investigation), a fluid science experiment developed and built by Airbus for the European Space Agency (ESA), addresses the fundamentals of the boiling of fluids. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is set to install RUBI in the Columbus module of the ISS during his five-month ‘Beyond’ mission (from July to December 2019). The fluid experiment will then be operated and controlled by the Belgian User Support and Operation Centre (B-USOC) in Brussels.

 

RUBI will study the phenomena of phase transition and heat transfer during the evaporation of fluids in microscopic and macroscopic dimensions. RUBI’s core element is a cell filled with fluid, which can be heated and cooled thermoelectrically. The boiling process is then triggered on a metal-coated glass heater using a laser. High-resolution cameras record the formation and growth of vapour bubbles in both the visible and infrared spectrum. By taking up to 500 images per second, RUBI’s cameras can create a three-dimensional representation of the bubble shapes and analyse the temperature distribution on the heater, enabling the scientists to precisely determine evaporation conditions and heat flux densities. The boiling process can be systematically influenced using a high-voltage electrode (up to 15,000 volts) and an adjustable convection loop.

 

On Earth – thanks to the effect of gravity – only small bubbles form, quickly detaching from the heating surface and masking other physical effects. The scientists want to optimise their numerical models of the boiling process with a series of tests conducted under zero-gravity conditions and corresponding reference tests on Earth. In the future, this could contribute towards the production of more efficient and environmentally friendly household appliances (stoves, radiators) and heat exchangers for industrial manufacturing processes.

 

A particular challenge for the Airbus-led industrial team was to shrink RUBI down to the size of a ‘shoe box’ (40 x 28 x 27 cm) weighing just 34 kg that would then be suitable for use in space. By comparison, a terrestrial laboratory setup would be approximately the size of a wardrobe (2 x 1 x 1 m) and would weigh some 300 kg.