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ENose in Space

Flight Mission 2008-09'

ENose was launched on the Space Shuttle Endeavour, flight mission STS-126 on November 14, 2008 and was transferred to the International Space Station (ISS). On December 9, 2008, Mike Fincke, the ISS Commander for Increment 18 (the 6 month period a crew is on ISS is called an increment) unpacked the ENose, plugged it in and turned it on.

We started seeing data flow from the ENose, through the space station, through a couple of other places and out to our lab computer pretty much right away. So we were getting all our data in the warmth and comfort of our lab at JPL.

Our data are streamed to our lab computer when there is a signal between the space station and Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, Ala), where the data are collected and routed to us, but there is signal only about 40 minutes out of each hour. That means we don’t really have continuous data, so we downlink our data once a week.

After we downlink the data, we analyze it. So far, we have not seen very much, although we did see some short bursts of ethanol. We see short periods of a few other things, such as Freon 218, which is used as a refrigerant in the Russian module, and several times we have seen an “unknown” release. Most of these releases last 30 minutes to one hour, and they are at such a low concentration that they pose no hazard.

On the one hand, the fact that we don’t see anything is good news, since it means the crew’s breathing air is good; on the other hand, it would be nice to see something happening. We are sure that the ENose is working well; every two weeks one of the crew members, either Mike Fincke or Sandy Magnus, holds a disinfectant wipe up to the air inlet, and we see the response in our sensor data.

However, the important thing to us is that it is wonderful to know that the ENose team has developed and built this instrument over the past 10 years, and that it is now in space and operating as it is supposed to.

The ENose is now scheduled to return home on the Space Shuttle Discovery STS-128 after it's flight mission. The ENose was in orbit on the ISS from Dec. 9 2008 - July 15, 2009 (7 months, 6 days, 15 hours or 218 days, 15 hours). During operation on the ISS the ENose was powered off from June 24 until July 10 but officially turned off on July 15.


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JPL Banner

JPL Banner

A banner was posted around lab in support of our flight project


Aboard the International Space Station

ISS boot up

Click here for video of the ENose in operation on the space station, ISS, with Astronaut Mike Fincke (includes audio)

This video shows the first 2 minutes of operation after the ENose was set up and turned on in the US Lab on ISS. The “buzzing” sound is not caused by the ENose, but by other equipment. The voices are those of Mike Fincke, ISS commander, and the Payload Operations Director at Mashall Space Flight Center (MSFC), Huntsville AL. Mike has just set up the ENose and has said that everything looks as it should. From time to time, you can see his reflection in the front panel of the ENose. The PD that is referred to is “Payload Developer,” the ENose team at JPL.

Before the video started, Mike had reported what we see in the video: the light marked “POWER” is lit and is flashing one time per second, and the light marked “ACTIVITY” flashes one time every twenty seconds. The POWER light flashing means that the ENose is on and is sending data to MSFC one time per second. The ACTIVITY light flashes when the ENose is taking a measurement. The screen is illuminated, and someone up close would be able to read it. The apparent scrolling of the screen is an artefact of the video frames being at a different rate than the refresh rate of the screen. At the end of the video, you can see Cdr. Mike Fincke and Sandy Magnus, the Science Officer on ISS, moving through the US Lab.

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ISS-ENose-on-ER2-e ISS-ENose-on-ER2-f ISS-ENose-on-ER2-g ISS-ENose-on-ER2-h
ISS-ENose-on-ER2-i ISS-ENose-on-ER2 ISS-ENose-on-UOP-a ISS-ENose-on-UOP-b
ISS-ENose-on-UOP-c PF1    


Looking back...First ENose Space Flight launched October 29, 1998!

1st Generation ENose aboard the STS-95 with Senator John Glenn

The objective was to flight-test the Enose and assess it's ability to monitor changes on the Space Shuttle, Discovery, middeck's atmospere

John Glenn

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