Definitions

payload bay

Mir Environmental Effects Payload

The Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) was an International Space Station (ISS) Phase 1 Risk Mitigation Experiment that will provide an assessment of baseline and candidate Space Station materials for the intended operational environment of the International Space Station. MEEP also fulfilled the need to examine the occurrence and effects of man-made debris and natural micrometeoroids through capture and impact studies. The MEEP was deployed on the Mir/Shuttle Docking Module via an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) from the shuttle on STS-76, and was retrieved during STS-86.

MEEP consists of a family of four science experiments that were deployed on a common carrier. Langley Research center had overall responsibility for the MEEP experiment as well as the development of the common carrier.

Objectives

The Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) was designed to assess the magnitude of molecular contamination in ISS critical exterior surfaces in the space environment and to quantify the performance and degradation rate of candidate and selected ISS exterior surface materials.

Approach

The MEEP experiment hardware was launched on STS-76. MEEP was a combination of four separate investigations: Polished Plate Micrometeoroid Debris (PPMD) Collector, Passive Optical Sample Assembly (POSA) 1 and 2, and the Orbital Debris Collector (ODC). The four experiments were placed on the docking module during an U.S. EVA on the STS-76 mission. The MEEP was retrieved during another U.S. EVA on the STS-86 mission after spending 18 months on the exterior of Mir.

The MIR Environment Effects Payload (MEEP) was attached to the Docking Module of the MIR space station from 18 months during the calendar years 1997 and 1997 (March 1996, STS 76 to October 1997, STS 86). A solar panel array with more than 10 years space exposure was removed from the MIR core module in November 1997, and returned to Earth in January, 1998, by STS 89. MEEP and the returned solar array are part of the International Space Station (ISS) Risk Mitigation Program. This space flight hardware has been inspected and studied by teams of space environmental effects (SEE) investigators for micrometeoroid and space debris effects, space exposure effects on materials, and electrical performance.

Mission Specialists Godwin and Clifford attached the Mir Environmental Effects Payload (MEEP) to the Shuttle-Mir docking module during an STS-76 extravehicular activity. (During an STS-86 spacewalk, MEEP was retrieved by NASA mission specialist Scott Parazynski and cosmonaut Vladimir Titov.)

Use

MEEP studied the frequency and effects of both human-made and natural space debris striking Mir, capturing some debris for later study. This payload also exposed International Space Station materials to the effects of space and orbital debris.

MEEP consisted of four separate experiments. The Polished Plate Micrometeoroid and Debris Experiment studied how often space debris hit the station, the sizes and sources of the debris, and the damage the debris might do on hitting a space station. The Orbital Debris Collector Experiment captured orbital debris for return to Earth to determine the possible origins and components of that debris. The Passive Optical Sample Assembly I and II Experiments tested various materials intended for use on the International Space Station including paint samples, glass coatings, multilayer insulation, and a variety of metallic samples. The four MEEP experiments were contained in four passive experiment carriers. Each carrier consisted of a sidewall attachment to the Orbiter’s payload bay, a handrail clamp for attachment to Mir’s docking module, and an experiment container to house individual experiments.

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