Businesswoman and owner of Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance (Alpha Space) and MEI Technologies, Inc. (MEIT) Stephanie Murphy received the Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal from NASA for her leadership in the successful commercial development of a permanent International Space Station (ISS) materials testing facility which significantly expands materials science research in the harsh environment of space.
The NASA-winning technology, named MISSE, is an orbiting, commercial science and testing facility permanently installed on the exterior of the ISS and serves the space research, technology development, and materials science communities. MISSE is owned and operated by Murphy’s commercial space company, Alpha Space. Alpha Space launches and returns MISSE science and experiment carriers approximately every six months and will continue to do so for the duration of the ISS’ planned life.
MISSE was originally a series of spaceflight investigations jointly conducted by NASA and the Department of Defense, but it is now a completely new design with significantly increased capabilities and flexibility. MISSE continues to serve government science researchers and is available to private industry use for testing and research, and soon to be for purely commercial use as well.
“MEIT significantly contributed to the engineering and integration of the early investigations, and it was with the support of our expert team—and through a cooperative agreement with NASA and a user agreement with the ISS National Lab—that MISSE was privatized into a permanent facility and MEIT’s spin-off company, Alpha Space, was launched,” stated Murphy.
By making the facility permanent, Alpha Space, NASA, and the ISSNL have dramatically reduced the cost and logistical difficulties of testing in space. It also created the unique ability to provide extended exposure to the space environment.
“It is a humbling and exciting honor to be recognized for our MISSE technology,” stated Murphy. “We are thankful for the recognition, support and agreements we have in place in order to provide our clients end to end services that make getting science and test elements safely to and from space simply and affordably.”
The Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal (ETAM) is a prestigious NASA medal awarded to government and non-government individuals for exceptional technology contributions.