The U.S. government says it is deploying an experimental film on its space shuttles to protect astronauts from cosmic radiation from space-based solar flares and other space-related events.NASA is deploying a film called Orbital Sciences Protective Film (OSPF) to protect its astronauts from the damaging effects of space weather.
Space Agency announced the program at a news conference Wednesday.OSPF is a chemical-free polymer film that can be made from any solid materials including plastics and metals, and is made by the company SpaceX.
NASA says the film is “safe and effective at protecting astronauts from solar flares, space debris and other events that can cause skin cancer, birth defects, and other health problems.”NASA says OSPF has been tested for use on two spacecrafts, the U. S. Air Force’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft and the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover.
The agency says the test was completed on April 10, with a success rate of 90 percent.OSF has been developed by the Air Force and Space Exploration Technology Corp. and has been approved by NASA for use in its Space Shuttle fleet.OSWF is being used on the Dragon spacecraft, NASA said.
The film protects astronauts against solar flares from space and is “a key component of the Dragon program,” it added.NASA’s announcement came after the agency revealed earlier this week that it would deploy OSPF on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2020.
The agency said the film was tested on the Exo Mars rover on May 15 and May 23, but was not able to detect any solar flares or any radiation.
It said the test found no radiation on the rover’s surface.NASA added that while OSPF was “a promising technology,” the agency is now testing a second type of film, called Solar Barrier Film, for use aboard its Orion spacecraft.