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Thomas Pesquet installs new sample cells for the Belgian space control centre to further study foam in microgravity


On June 11, Thomas Pesquet will be installing new sample cells under the supervision of the Belgian space control centre (B.USOC, Belgian User Support and Operations Centre). The European Space Agency astronaut of French nationality will replace sample cells within the Fluid Science Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. The B.USOC’s operators will support Thomas during his activity from their centre located in Uccle. This activity marks both the end of the four-month experiment “Compacted Granulars 2” and the start of the seven-month experiment “FOAM Coarsening 2”. Once the activity completed, the operator will turn on the experiment container and initiate the monitoring and control of the foaming experiment.

B.USOC is responsible for the Fluid Science Laboratory facility inside the European Columbus module, as well as the experiments carried out in there.  Since mid 2018, the B.USOC’s operators consecutively completed five scientific experiments: CompGran, RUBI, FOAM-C, RUBI-X and CompGran-2.

The FOAM-C experiment studies the aging of foam, which is stirred by a magnetic piston to form fine bubbles. Using several cameras inside the experiment container, images are taken of the foam and streamed to the ground for analysis. Last year, the first mission was very successful and some of the analysed data provided the scientists with unexpected results and new questions to be answered. The upcoming succeeding FOAM-C mission will study new sample compositions and define new scenarios that will provide these answers. In order to maximize science results, multiple foams will be studied in parallel. To do so, operators have redefined the original operational concept within a short time frame.

Videos with the speakers for this mission have been conducted and are available on the B.USOC YouTube channel :

Aging foam
Pictures from the first phase of the FOAM-C experiment onboard the ISS in 2020. This second phase, starting on June 11, will more closely study the aging of foam, as well as new sample compositions and scenarios.


  • Stéphanie Fratta, Communication BIRA-IASB/B.USOC : stephanie (dot) fratta (at) aeronomie (dot) be
  • Alice Michel, Project Manager, B.USOC : alice (dot) michel (at) busoc (dot) be
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On June 11, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be installing sample cells for a new experiment, FOAM-C, for the Belgian space control centre (B.USOC) on board the International Space Station.
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The B.USOC (Belgian User Support and Operations Centre) control room from where the experiments in the Fluid Science Laboratory, inside the Columbus module of the ISS, are being operated.
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The FSL Lab at BIRA-IASB, where the operations to be executed by the astronauts on the ISS are being prepared by the B.USOC operators with a replica of the Fluid Science Laboratory.