instrument development and application of science
University of Amsterdam


The CNES organization (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) has engaged the design and development a new facility called DECLIC (Dispositif pour l'Etude de la Croissance et des Liquides Critiques).

DECLIC is a multi user facility devoted to the investigation of low and high temperature critical fluids behavior, chemical reactivity in supercritical water and directional solidification of transparent alloys investigations.
DECLIC is designed for tele-science from the ground, and offers scientists the possibility to remote control the experiment condition on board the International Space Station. In June 2007 the last instrument for the DECLIC was delivered (HTI flight model).

IDEAS! contribution

ideas! UvA b.v. contributes to this instrument by designing and manufacturing two inserts and the thermal control sub-system. Both hardware and software are a devellopment from ideas! UvA b.v.

ALICE Like Insert (ALI)

The ALI is a thermostat for critical fluid experiments between 30C and 65C. The thermostat is an adapted ALICE-II design.
The top part of the insert consists of the so called electronic box. This box has three PCB's one for the temperature control, one for the power distribution and one for the sensor acquisition and actuator commanding of the scienfic experiment.

High Temperature Insert (HTI)

The HTI is a thermostat for experiments with water round the critical point, temperature ~380C and pressure ~500 bar.
The top part of the insert consists of the so called electronic box. This box has two PCB's one for the temperature control and one for the power distribution.

During the test phase we obtained the following beautifull results with the HTI insert. See the video with the images of the critical point of water.
Video : Critical Point of water
@ 374 Celcius and ~220 bar

Thermal Control Sub-System

Central Regulation Electronics (CRE). The CRE contains the 4 two channels precision resistance aquisition boards, the CPU (PEP-302 board) and the DC-DC converters to transform space station voltage to voltage for powering the inserts. The CRE is mounted in the ELL (Electronic Locker) that has the dimension of a standard ISS locker.

Thermal Control Sub-system Software

The operating system used is a Linux 2.6 kernel. The embedded processors on each board are connected with ethernet.
The complete system boots from the local DECLIC computernet.
The software is designed to be flexible in order to enable the scientist to command all actuators and define his own data streams.

DECIC in the International Space Station (ISS)

The DECLIC system is succesfully launched Saturday 29 August 2009 with the spaceshuttle flight STS-128. See NASA web site with information about current and older spaceshuttle flights.

DECLIC measurements

During November 2009 the HTI is started and the first results are promissing.

DECLIC in the press

UvA technologie op weg naar de ruimte Folia 2007
UvA instrumenten aan boord van discovery Folia 2009
Declic: Linux 2.6 on the International Space Station Linux journal
Astrium delivers microgravity instrument DECLIC to the CNES EADS-Astrium
Astrium to provide the ISS with new scientific capabilities EADS-Astrium
Discovery lifts Astrium facilities into space EADS-Astrium

Science in DECLIC

Furthering understanding of materials behaviour in microgravity CNES CADMOS
critical point Explanation of critical point
DECLIC: French experiment on ISS reveals new insights Webpage