VIPs from va-Q-tec: Application in experiments in space

The long-term study of the influence of space radiation on the genetic material of organisms – this is just one of the many experiments that will orbit the moon for a year starting in November 2021 as part of the Artemis-1 mission. Vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) from va-Q-tec will again play a crucial role in this. Especially when examining organic samples, it is important to ensure constant temperatures. To ensure this approach, the research team of the space mission has decided to use innovative vacuum insulation for thermal protection.

va-Q-tec goes space

Humans are expected to explore the moon again by 2023 at the latest. While usual spacecraft such as the ISS are largely protected from space radiation by the Earth’s magnetosphere, astronauts on the moon are exposed to much higher levels. No studies have yet been conducted on the influence of these radiation levels on organisms over a long period of time. The effects of radiation on DNA are being studied using a yeast fungus that orbits the Moon thermally protected by a VIP shell. Comparison samples are being studied in parallel on the International Space Station (ISS) and in laboratory experiments on Earth. Temperatures in orbit around the moon vary between +130 °C and -160 °C depending on position and solar radiation. Therefore, the experimental unit must be optimally protected from these extreme outdoor conditions. VIPs are predestined for this purpose. The advanced insulation material has 10 times better insulation values than conventional materials.

The panels already proved their outstanding suitability for this project in October 2020 during a dress rehearsal at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test was conducted over a period of two months in a temperature chamber instead of in space. Following this successful test, the team is now waiting for the launch date of the rocket. The panels are already an integral part of several devices on the International Space Station ISS among them a VIP insulated freezer chamber (Read more here ).