NASA Starts Fires in Space for Zero-Gravity Experiment
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15 June 2016
The first in a series of experiments involving fire in space has been held aboard the Cygnus cargo spacecraft ( in the image above) , orbiting more than 260 miles above the surface of the Earth at a speed of over 17,000 miles an hour.
NASA says it is important to know how fire spreads in zero-gravity and the threat it poses to craft and astronauts.
The Spacecraft Fire Experiments (Saffire) consist of a cotton-fibreglass material being ignited by a hot wire. The fire is contained inside a 0.5m x 1m x 1.3m box, which also includes monitoring equipment that transmits data to monitoring stations on Earth.
Instruments measure flame growth, as well as how much oxygen is consumed.
When the experiment is concluded after approximately eight days, the Cygnus vehicle will burn-up in the atmosphere.
Saffire 1 was launched on an Atlas V space vehicle in March and reached the International Space Station, where it was held and then released into orbit for the experiment to be carried out.
NASA say there will be a video available of the experiment.