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Fluid Combustion Facility's
Combustion Integrated Rack Development Video

The United States Laboratory Module on the ISS will contain the Fluids and Combustion Facility (FCF), designed and built at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The FCF is being developed to accommodate the unique challenges of working with fluids and combustion processes in microgravity, as well as to provide services and capabilities comparable to those found in traditional Earth-based laboratories.

Glenn was an ideal choice for this project because of their reputation for award-winning research, particularly in the areas of fluids and combustion. as well as their long-standing experience in developing experiment hardware and world-class test facilities. Glenn engineers and scientists have been involved in designing, producing, and managing space-based hardware and facilities since the 1960's. As pioneers in rocket research, they had tested high-energy propellants even before the United States officially entered the space business. Glenn Research Center advanced the propulsion technology that helped make space travel possible.

The Center's unique Zero Gravity Research Facility and other drop towers and laboratories were the source of foundational work in microgravity research. NASA's Zero Gravity Trainer aircraft, the KC-135, operates out of NASA Glenn several weeks each year in support of Glenn's ground-based microgravity research. Some flights include astronauts participating in crew training so they can have low-gravity experience with experiment hardware and materials prior to shuttle missions. In all, these facilities give Glenn a unique ability to develop and test microgravity experiments.

Glenn Research Center is NASA's center of excellence for fluid physics and combustion science and has been responsible for 153 experiments on 47 flights. In addition to providing the new Fluids and Combustion Facility, they will be a major contributor to the investigations onboard the FCF, in gloveboxes, and in other ISS facilities. A forerunner of the FCF, the Glenn-developed Combustion-Module-1 (CM-1), which flew onboard the Shuttle Columbia, STS-83, in April, 1997, laid the groundwork for the combustion portion of the new Fluids and Combustion Facility with several hardware innovations.

Description of the Facility

The Fluids and Combustion Facility (FCF) will occupy two powered racks on the International Space Station (ISS). It will be a permanent modular, multiuser facility to accommodate microgravity science experiments onboard the ISS's U.S. Laboratory Module. FCF will support NASA Human Exploration and Development of Space program objectives requiring sustained, systematic research in the disciplines of fluid physics and combustion science. The two disciplines share racks and mutually necessary hardware within FCF to dramatically reduce costs and effectively use ISS resources. Even with the cost of FCF development included,experimentation using FCF on the space station will cost only half of what it did on the space shuttles.

FIR Rack from rear
FIR Rack from the rear

The Fluids Integration Rack (FIR) is used to perform fluid physics experiments in microgravity. The FIR is designed to be easily reconfigured on-orbit similar to an optics bench in a scientist's laboratory. The FIR will permit a wide range of fluid investigations for microscopic imaging to particle tracking. The FIR offers the largest open volume for configuration of unique experiments on-board the ISS.

CIR Rack
CIR Rack

The Combustion Integration Rack (CIR) is used to perform combustion experiments in microgravity. The CIR is designed to be easily reconfigured on-orbit to accommodate a wide variety of combustion experiments. Read the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Principal Investigator's Guide to the CIR Payload Accommodations document for more information or the public relations brochure Combustion Research in the Fluids and Combustion Facility.


Project Links:

• ISS Reference Guide

ISS Program Scientist Toolbox

•ISS Program Homepage

•Structural Dynamics Lab

Microgravity Emissions Lab

Acoustical Testing Lab

Electromagnetic Interface Test Lab

ISS Payloads Office Documents

NASA Image Exchange

NASA Human Spaceflight

CIR Assembly
CIR Assembly

CIR Optics
CIR Optics

CIR Integration
CIR Integration

FIR Environment
FIR Environment

FIR Integration
FIR Integration

FIR Optics
FIR Optics



Contacts at NASA Glenn Research Center

Project Manager:
Robert Corban, NASA GRC

Microgravity Science Glovebox
Acceleration Measurements
Express Racks
Maintentance Work Area
Expendable Launch Venicle Investigations
Telescience Support Center
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ISS Research Project @ KSC
ISS Research Project @ MSFC

ISS Research Project Links
Space Station Research & Technology  
Space Station Project Links
  Fluids Integrated Rack (FIR)  
  Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR)  
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GRC Microgravity and Technology Flight Experiments
FCF Related Documents
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FCF Overview Chart
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FCF Short Overview Presentation
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The Fluids and Combustion Facility: Enabling the Exploration of Space
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Microgravity Combustion Science and Fluid Physics Experiments and Facilities for the ISS
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The ISS Fluids and Combustion Facility: Microgravity Combustion Science and Fluid Physics Research Capability
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Test Based Microgravity Analysis for the Fluids and Combustion Facility
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FCF Reference Material
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FCF Brochure (12-05)
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Publications & Presentations

Adobe Acrobat

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Tim Reckart
NASA Official: Thomas St. Onge
Last Updated: December 28, 2011
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