Space Experiments


Concept and main features
  • The basis of the crystallizer is a tubular furnace with five independent heating segments enabling a variety of axial time-varying temperature profiles.
  • Processed samples are placed in sealed thin-walled stainless steel (Kanthal) ampoules which are moving from the first magazine through the furnace tube with a specified temperature field at a defined speed into the second magazine.
  • Another mode allows the ampoules static position when the temperature field is changing according to the given program.
  • Rotating magazines have a capacity of 19 ampoules. The crystallizer operates in an automatic mode, i.e. the formation of temperature fields and their changes in time, exchanging of samples, setting their positions in the temperature field, speed and direction of their movement.
  • The device is intended for basic material research on the ground at G = 1 to 10 and under microgravity conditions , for example, to study processes of non-equilibrium directional solidification of (multi-component) melts and solutions of dielectrics, metals, semiconductors or dielectric glasses.
  • Additional extension equipment: a high precision thermographic probes for differential thermal analysis (DTA), platform for passive vibrations damping (based on aerostatic bearings), and other auxiliary measuring equipment (specially developed for this purpose in the company “Cestmir Barta, BBT – Materials Processing“ (the predecessor of BBT Ltd.).
  • Using the CSK-1C device, hundreds of experiments were carried out by many scientists from several European countries under scientific and technological programs of ESA, DARA, DLR-MUSC, BBT-Materials Processing (Prague), Kayser-Threde, RKK Energiya (MIR, Russia), IKI (Space Research Institute, Russia), CNES (French National Center for Space Research), etc
Basic Technical Data
Dimensions: 750 x 600 x 300 mm
Mass: 41 kg
Sample ampoules: thin-walled stainless steel ampoules, Ø 15.4 mm, length 140 mm
Number of ampoules: 19 pcs
Sample translation speed: 0.08 – 3600 mm/hour
Working temperature: 100 – 950 ⁰C
Voltage / consumption: 23 – 34 V DC

max. power consumption 550 W

CSK-1C furnace - astronauts Pedro Duque (Spain) and Ulf Merbold (Germany)
CSK-1C space furnace - German astronaut Klaus-Pieter Flade (Project MIR'92, Photo DLR, Germany)
Review of selected material science space programmes with participation of BBT – Materials Processing
Space station Start Period Facility Producer Programme Participants
Sojuz 1978 1976-1980 SPLAV, Kristall IKI AN USSSR MORAVA I CS
MIR 1984 1981-1988 ČSK-1 Inst. of Physics Czech Acad. Sci. MORAVA II CS
MIR 1985 1985-1994 ČSK-1 Inst. of Physics Czech Acad. Sci. RIM – MIR D/CZ/R
MIR 1986 1986-1998 ČSK-1 Inst. of Physics Czech Acad. Sci. G-TES/TEST D/CZ
MIR 1988 1989-1990 ČSK-1 Inst. of Physics Czech Acad. Sci. MORAVA III CZ
MIR 1992 1990-1995 CSK-1A BBT/Kayser-Threde TES D/CZ
MIR 1994 1994-1995 CSK-1C BBT EUROMIR 94 ESA/D/CZ
MIR 1996 1996 CSK-1C BBT/IKZ ZnSe D/CZ
MIR 1997 1996-1999 TITUS BBT/MUSC/HU German MIR 97 D/ESA
CSK-1 mission history

1984 – The crystallizer CSK-1 (predecessor of CSK-1C) was deployed on board the orbital station MIR in collaboration with the Institute of Space Research of the Academy of Sciences of USSR (IKI AN USSR) under the Interkosmos programme.

1991 – The CSK Programme in the Institute of Physics was cancelled but it was followed by the private Czech company “Cestmir Barta, BBT Materials Processing, Crystal Science & Technology Institute” (hereinafter as “BBT“).

1991 – Based on the original equipment CSK-1, BBT company developed two specialized apparatuses: CSK-1A (for MIR-type manned orbital stations) and CSK-1B (for Photon-type unmanned orbital stations).

1993 – The company BBT established the International Training Centre for Space Materials Experiments (International Users’ Support Center).

1995 – The company BBT developed a modern version of the CSK-1C crystallizer which was operational on board the orbital station MIR from 1995 until the termination of MIR in 2001 – along with the original equipment CSK-1, it was operational 17 years (!) on board and it was thus one of the longest -working equipment on board MlR at all.



CSK-1C furnace on board MIR space station
Variability of axial temperature fields in time along the five segment furnace CSK-1