The United States of America National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been conducting space fire experiments aboard private Cygnus cargo spacecrafts. From Earth, mission controllers were able to ignite the NASA Spacecraft Fire Experiment II. The experiment is known as Saffire II and the fire was blazing shortly after the Cygnus departed from the International Space Station. The Cygnus had just endured a six month stay on the ISS after it had transported its crew on board.
The Saffire program has three parts and is intended to investigate how fire spreads in microgravity. The point of the program is to assist researchers in designing and developing safer spacecraft where fire hazards are concerned. On June 14, NASA set of the largest recorded fire ever intentionally ignited in outer space. That fire, which was set on a Cygnus under the Saffire I leg of the experiment, burnt off a piece of cotton fiberglass a little over three feet long from the spacecraft. Saffire II will look to build on the work of Saffire I by setting ablaze a number of different materials.
"The nine samples in the experiment kit include a cotton-fiberglass blend, Nomex and the same acrylic glass that is used for spacecraft windows," they wrote NASA when describing theSaffire-II experiment.
The Saffire III, the final set of experiments, will be a larger scale fire, similar to Saffire I. All three of the Saffire experiments are scheduled to ride Cygnus vehicles.