SHOWCASE - PALMSENS4 IN SPACE

PalmSens4 used for experiments in the International Space Station.

On Thursday April 9, 2020, Chris Cassidy and two Russian astronauts were launched into space with a Soyuz MS-16 rocket at Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan being part of NASA expedition 63. Part of their payload: a PalmSens4 potentiostat.

In 2018 PalmSens was contacted by ZIN Technologies Inc. for help on a new project. This project involved a glove box to be used in space for conducting micro gravity experiments to examine the influence of gravity on electrolytic gas evolution. For this project they had selected the PalmSens4 potentiostat to conduct experiments on-board the International Space Station.

Due to the fact that the PalmSens4 proved to be a compact, robust and reliable option, providing many options for integration with other software, the instrument was selected for experiments on-board the International Space Station.

Spacecraft instruments are selected to meet a mission’s science goals. One of the essential parts for this scientific experiment was an electrochemical workstation that could endure the trip to space and be a reliable part of the experiment. Mass, form factor and being able to withstand extreme conditions are important aspects for anything that goes in to space. This is why most instruments that are launched in to space are custom designed one-offs.

The PalmSens4 was selected because it proved itself to meet most of these demands already off-the-shelve and only needed small modifications to be mission-ready. In order to get it ready for space, we removed the battery and Bluetooth radio.

Another important aspect was the options for integrating the instrument with the software that controls the experiment. Time in space is expensive and therefore these experiments should require as little time from the operator as possible.