Bradford’s Gloveboxes provide a safe working environment for experiments being conducted in human crewed spacecrafts and space stations. The astronaut can access and interact with the experiment through the gloveports, and observe through the main viewport.
Each Glovebox is equipped with an air circulation and filter system that prevents any contamination exiting the enclosed work volume. During the experiment execution, the Glovebox work volume is kept at a constant under pressure of typically 3 to 10 mbar compared to the main astronaut cabin environment; ensuring that in the case of a leak material will remain contained inside the work volume. In addition, a number of Bradford’s Gloveboxes do provide data acquisition and video monitoring as well as thermal control by means of an cold plate embedded in the work volume floor onto which the experiment can be directly installed. For the larger Gloveboxes, an airlock provides access to the work volume without the need to interrupt the underpressurized closed-loop mode and open one of the main access ports.
Gloveboxes of Bradford have flown on Space Shuttle, the Russian Mir station, and are currently operating aboard the International Space Station. Our Gloveboxes range in size from 20 litres for the Portable Glovebox to 500 liters for the Life Science Glovebox (to be launched to the ISS in 2018).
ISS astronaut Peggy Whitson demonstrates the features of the Microgravity Science Glovebox: