[Update] Philips Lumiblade OLEDs in Space

The following Blog post was written by Dietmar Thomas, Manager Brand & Integrated Communications OLED, for Philips Lumiblade.

On April 18th, Philips Lumiblade OLEDs did boldly go where no other OLED has gone before. Space. What sounds like the famous beginning of the original Star Trek television series was indeed a big step for the most modern light source on earth.

Scheduled for this day was the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket. Most of the payload was supply for the International Space Station ISS. However, on its way to the ISS, the rocket also launched NASA’s SporeSat nanosatellite.

The spacecraft carries three BioCDs contained in two rotating assemblies and one stationary assembly. Three Lumiblade OLEDs type small red dot are contained in these BioCDs. (Photos courtesy of NASA)

While normal satellites have easily the weight and size of a school bus, SporeSat is a lot smaller. (as seen below in photo on the left) Weighing just 12 pounds and measuring 14 inches long by 4 inches wide by 4 inches tall, size in this case does not matter.

Integration and Test Lead Abraham Rademacher places the fully assembled SporeSat spacecraft into the Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) during final preparations for turnover of the spacecraft prior to launch. (Photos courtesy of NASA)

When released, SporeSat started fundamental space biology experiments which will help the science world to better understand biophysical mechanisms in space. With the help of this nanosatellite and more missions to come, NASA is researching the growth of spores and their gravitational dependence. And it is here that the Lumiblade OLEDs come into play.

When switched on, the OLEDs initiated the growth of the spores. Three test compartments were aboard the satellite, two of the three are rotated by individual motors under software control to provide multiple centrifugal artificial gravity levels for the spores. The third one remained stationary, to provide a microgravity control experiment.

NASA is using OLEDs on this project because they are the ideal light sources. They are just 0.07 inches thin, weigh just a few grams and emit the light in a homogeneous way over their complete surface. In addition they only get hand warm, so heat which is normally associated with traditional light sources, does not cause a problem to the spores.

While this flight into space has been an exceptional event for Philips Lumiblade OLEDs, this flat light source will however revolutionize the way we are all experiencing light – here on Earth. Already today Philips is offering a wide range of these OLEDs and OLED solutions and also will soon bring OLEDs into the broader market in applications even Captain Kirk would not have dreamed of…

For more information on the space mission:

NASA Ames Space Biosciences: Bringing Life into Space

For more details on Lumiblade OLEDs in space please visit the Philips Lumiblade Facebook page.

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