PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
CONTACT: Jim Doyle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 20, 1996
REAL-TIME EXPERIMENT DATA FROM SHUTTLE TO BE ON INTERNET
Real-time data from an experiment aboard Space Shuttle
Endeavour, launched Sunday, is available to anyone with access to
the World Wide Web on Internet for most of the current 10-day
The experiment is the Brilliant Eyes Ten-Kelvin Sorption
Cryocooler Experiment (BETSCE), which can produce temperatures as
low as 10 Kelvin (-441.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
The data from the experiment will be made available with the
assistance of two companies, National Instruments of Austin, TX,
and Apple Computer Inc. of Cupertino, CA.
The Measurement Technology Center at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, where BETSCE was developed, is using graphical
instrumentation software from National Instruments to monitor the
status of the experiment.
The data is being transmitted to NASA's Johnson Space Center
in Houston, TX, which in turn is relaying it to a computer at
JPL, which sends the data to a server at National Instruments in
To access the data, Web users need to use Netscape Navigator
Version 2.0. The data will be available at two Web sites:
BETSCE is a new refrigeration technology designed to enable
precision pointing without vibration for long-duration astronomy,
Earth observation and surveillance space applications. Before, it
was only possible to achieve temperatures as low as 10 Kelvin in
space by launching large, heavy dewars containing liquid helium
or solid hydrogen. Typical lifetimes for these missions has been
well under one year because the helium or hydrogen depleted. The
closed cycle sorption cooler has the potential to operate
reliably for more than 10 years.
In BETSCE, the sorption cryocooler alternately heats and
cools beds containing metal hydride powders to circulate hydrogen
as the refrigerant fluid in a closed cycle. It takes less than
two minutes to reach its 10 Kelvin level.
The Web page is showing the status of a number of experiment
measurements including temperature and pressure of the coolant,
whether the coolant is solid, liquid or gas, temperatures of
specific parts of the system and whether valves are open or
BETSCE was developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory under
contract to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the
Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center. The NASA Office of
Space Access and Technology sponsored the space shuttle flight
for BETSCE. The project manager and principal investigator at
JPL is Dr. Steven Bard.