- Press Release
- Feb 5, 2023
Corning’s HPFS Fused Silica Glass Material Being Tested in Space By NASA
Corning takes part in the first externally mounted experiment conducted on the International Space Station
Incorporated today announced that its HPFS® fused silica
glass material is being studied by NASA as part of the Materials
International Space Station Experiment (MISSE).
The project aims to investigate the stability and durability of a
variety of materials that are planned for future space applications.
Corning has a long history of providing HPFS® fused silica glass
material to NASA. The company has provided the window glass for every
manned space launch of NASA, as well as all of the glass for the space
The experiment will determine the long-term effects a space
environment has on various materials, one of which is Corning’s
HPFS® fused silica glass material. The HPFS® and samples of other
materials were delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) by
the space shuttle Discovery.
The MISSE experiments are the first externally mounted experiments
conducted on the ISS. Corning’s HPFS® material and the other samples
are contained in four Passive Experiment Containers (PECs),
suitcase-like containers used for transporting experiments via the
space shuttle to and from an orbiting spacecraft.
The Discovery’s crew clamped two of the PECs to the exterior of
the International Space Station on August 16, 2001. The cases were
then opened to expose the samples to the space environment. The fused
silica will remain exposed for approximately 18 months. The samples
will then will be retrieved and analyzed.
Corning has been providing windows for the US manned space program
since Alan Shepard piloted the first manned space flight for the
United States in the early 1960s.
Former astronaut John Glenn, who was the keynote speaker at
Corning’s 150th anniversary celebration held this past June, recounted
the use of Corning glass during the early days of America’s space
program. The original designs for his capsule, Friendship 7, did not
include plans for a window. “We thought it was a little bit ridiculous
to be going up into space without the ability to look out,” Glenn
said. Corning provided the glass for the window. Subsequently, the
1962 Washington Post headlines read, `Calm Astronaut Says He’s Fine –
View is Beautiful’.
“We recently provided the window glass for the space station’s
Nadir precision observation window,” said Larry Sutton, North American
sales manager of Corning Semiconductor Materials. “The glass was the
highest quality material that we have ever produced for a space
Proulx VIP Guest at Discovery Launch
In recognition of Corning’s continued contribution to the NASA
space program, Tom Proulx, general supervisor of HPFS® operations at
the company’s Canton, N.Y., manufacturing facility, was a VIP guest at
the August 9, 2001 launch of the space shuttle, Discovery.
“I was honored to represent Corning at the space shuttle Discovery
launch,” said Proulx. “Corning has been the sole supplier of windows
for every manned space flight dating back to the Mercury capsules. I’m
proud to be a part of the space program, and to represent the history
Corning shares with it.”
More of Corning’s history in space can be seen on display this
week at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. A
new exhibit called “Explore the Universe” opens to the public Friday,
September 21. The exhibit focuses on the influence of the telescope,
photography, spectroscopy and digital technology in astronomy and will
include mechanical and interactive displays.
Through the combined expertise of its Corning Semiconductor
Materials and Corning Tropel business units, Corning is a leading
supplier of optical materials, precision optics, and metrology
instruments for the semiconductor industry and many other high-tech
With sales offices around the world, Corning manufactures fused
silica glass in both Canton, N.Y., and Charleston, S.C., and optical
grade fluoride crystals in North Brookfield, Mass. The ultra-pure
materials provide extreme optical clarity and durability, and are used
in the manufacture of today’s most advanced integrated circuits.
Corning Tropel manufactures optical subsystems and advanced form
metrology instrumentation in Rochester, N.Y. More information is
available at www.hpfs.corning.com or www.tropel.com.
Established in 1851, Corning Incorporated (www.corning.com)
creates leading-edge technologies for the fastest-growing markets of
the world’s economy. Corning manufactures optical fiber, cable and
photonic products for the telecommunications industry; and
high-performance displays and components for television, information
technology and other communications-related industries. The company
also uses advanced materials to manufacture products for scientific,
semiconductor and environmental markets. Corning’s revenues in 2000
were $7.1 billion.