July 3, 2018, Nr. 58

Student experiment arrives at the International Space Station

Maintenance-free pump for long-term missions for space.

Launched on Friday 29 June, the supply ship with the student experiment on board has arrived at the ISS. The astronauts will now unload the maintenance-free pump and then the experiment will begin.

Manfred Ehresmann, project manager at PAPELL at the Institute of Space Systems announced the good news: "Our PAPELL experiment with mission CRS 15 has arrived at the ISS." The Falcon 9 rocket took three days to complete the journey. An unusual phenomenon could be observed during take-off: "The take-off took place at dawn and we were able to observe a relatively rare rocket plume phenomenon. The exhaust gases from the rocket reflected the sun’s rays,” reports Ehresmann. Both the rocket and the supply ship have already completed a space mission and are being reused.

During take-off: This phenomenon is called rocket plume.
During take-off: This phenomenon is called rocket plume.

Alexander Gerst supervises the experiment

The PAPELL experiment was developed and designed by around 30 Stuttgart students from the KSat team over a period of a year. The experiment is a technology demonstrator for a pump without mechanically moveable parts that could be realized in space as a maintenance-free pump for long-term missions. The experiment will be presented and supported at the International Space Station by the German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst.

Various possible applications

The aim of the experiment is to show that the maintenance-free pump can be used to transport gas (air), liquid (ferro fluid) and solid materials (spheres). For this type of pump there are various application potentials for the flight to space, from fuel supply, to thermal control through cooling hot structures through contact with cooling liquids flowing past up to the operation of a low-noise ventilation system for manned spacecraft.

The maintenance-free pump.
The maintenance-free pump.

Expert Contact:

Manfred Ehresmann, project supervisor of PAPELL at the Institute of Space Systems, phone +49 711 - 685 69599, email

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