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How to Grow Food in Space.


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Space News for September 20, 2001

QUIKTOMS Illustration
NASA
QUIKTOMS Prepares for Launch

NASA will launch its latest ozone-monitoring satellite on Friday: QUIKTOMS, aka the Quick Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer. The satellite will be carried on board an Orbital Sciences Taurus rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. QUIKTOMS was designed and built in only two years (normally satellites can take more than five years to build), and once in space it will monitor global ozone levels, sulfur dioxide, ash, smoke from fires, and ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth's surface.

Mir space station
NASA
How to Grow Food in Space

Scientists have been trying to get plants to grow in the weightlessness of Outer space since the beginning of the space program - with mixed results. The 1990s were more successful, as cosmonauts on board Mir used a special greenhouse to grow radishes, lettuce and wheat. Now the astronauts on the International Space Station will hope to take this research to the next level, to conduct long-term plant research in space.

INTEGRAL spacecraft on the vibration table
ESA
INTEGRAL Gets the Shakedown

Because their launch into space can be such a violent event, satellites need to be thoroughly tested before they're "go for launch". The latest satellite to undergo a vigorous shakedown is the European Space Agency's INTEGRAL (International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory). The satellite is placed on a mechanical shaker machine, which jolts it back and forth, or up and down with a force of 32 tonnes. INTEGRAL is expected to go to space on board a Russian Proton rocket in 2002.



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