Author Archive | Admin

Robotic Manufacturing System Will Build Biggest Composite Rocket Parts Ever Made

robotic-manufacturing

Experts explain how a new robotic composite fiber placement system will be used to build large space structures for space vehicles.

Lightweight composites have the potential to increase the amount of payload that can be carried by a rocket along with lowering its total production cost. The robotic system is part of the Composites Technology Center at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

 
Read Full Article
 

*Source: SpaceRef

Continue Reading

NASA Is Testing Next-Generation Fire Shelters at a Burn Site In Northern Canada

NASA-fire-shelter-systemIn the summer of 2013, 19 firefighters died fighting a wildfire in Yarnell Hill, Arizona, their emergency fire protection shelters unable to withstand the extreme 2,000℉ heat. In the aftermath of the tragedy, two NASA employees wondered if their work on advanced thermal materials could have helped.

This January, NASA reached an agreement with the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to test prototype fire shelters made from the space agency’s next-generation thermal protection systems (TPM) materials—intended, initially, to protect future spacecraft upon re-entry (in fact, a first generation of the material has already been tested on the agency’s third Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment vehicle, IRVE-3).

Not unlike a spacecraft tearing through the atmosphere, NASA’s hope is that its material will be able to weather a wildfire’s blazing heat—saving lives in the process—unlike any emergency shelter before.

These prototype shelters were tested for the first time in late June, when NASA’s Langley Research Center, University of Alberta adjunct professor :Mark Ackerman, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service travelled to Fort Providence in Canada’s Northwest territories to conduct series of controlled outdoor burns.

Though the results thus far are preliminary, “it does appear that there is a potential solution here that would improve the fire protection of these shelters for the next generation,” said Anthony Calomino, NASA lead on flexible TPS development.

 
Read Full Article
Source*: Motherboard.Vice.com

Continue Reading

NASA EDGE: Nanotechnology

 
 
NASA EDGE takes a close look at how NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) Program Office is exploring nanotechnology. GCD Program Manager, Steve Gaddis, and his team highlight how this technology is being used in sensors and various materials. It is high risk, high reward.

Continue Reading

MIT SPL delivers the Scalable ion Electrospray Propulsion System (S-iEPS) for CubeSats to NASA

IEPS
Cambridge MA, July 2, 2015–The Space Propulsion Laboratory (SPL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has delivered three fully integrated S-iEPS units to NASA today. The S-iEPS is a highly efficient compact thruster system for nano-satellites, which will enable challenging missions even for the small, but increasingly popular, 1-liter, 1-kilogram Cubesats. The S-iEPS features eight MEMS-based ion emitter arrays, containing thousands of microtips packed in 8 square centimeters of active emission area. With a total power consumption of less than 1.5 watts, the propulsion system delivers a thrust of 100 microNewtons at a specific impulse of 1200 seconds, which is sufficient to provide ample maneuverability to small satellites. The thrusters feature non-reactive ionic salt propellants and a design without moving parts or pressurization, relying on capillary forces alone. Each propulsion system weighs about 100 grams and fits in a 9 x 9.6 x 2.1 cm envelope (about 0.2U), including propellant and power and control electronics.
The S-iEPS system has been developed and extensively characterized in the frame of the Game Changing Development Program of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. Propulsion modules have undergone independent thrust measurements at MIT and our partners at The Aerospace Corporation and NASA Glenn Research Center.

Read Full Article

*Source: Space Propulsion Laboratory (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Continue Reading

NASA Looks to University Robotics Groups to Advance Latest Humanoid Robot

Human-Robotic Systems (HRS)
Valkyrie Robot

Are you ready for that upgrade? NASA’s R5 robot is and the agency is looking for help.

R5 is a new humanoid robot initially designed to complete disaster-relief maneuvers; however, its main goal is to prove itself worthy of even trickier terrain – deep space exploration.

For that, NASA is looking to members of the robotics community.

Through a competitive selection process, NASA will award two R5 robots to university groups competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge (DRC) this month. Recipients will have possession of the robots for two years; receive up to $250,000; and have access to onsite and virtual technical support from NASA.

Read Full Article
Source*: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA Technology May Help Protect Wildland Firefighters

CHIEFS Material

NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to see if flexible thermal protection system technology being developed for space entry vehicles could also work to protect firefighters caught in a raging forest fire.
Credits: NASA

NASA research into flexible, high-temperature space materials may some day improve personal fire shelter systems and help wildland firefighters better survive dangerous wildfires.

NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to see if flexible thermal protection system technology being developed for space entry vehicles could also work to protect firefighters caught in a raging forest fire.

Read Full Article

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA Seeks Public’s Ideas for Airlock Hatches in Space

Flexible Seal Challenge

Space is hard.

There’s no air, there’s radiation, and you can’t get in and out of your International Space Station module like it was a minivan.

There are complexities related to the door or hatch operations, and there is limited hatch access to space. This makes extra-vehicular activities (EVA) time consuming and a physical challenge for astronauts who need to work outside their spacecraft, conduct experiments and periodically inspect their orbiting home.

Plus, current space hatch technology means fairly massive, hard, metallic, rigid-point-to-rigid-point structures with no flexibility, and they weigh a lot.

But what if you could save all that mass and volume? What if there was something light and flexible – a hatch you could pack down like a suitcase and ultimately make for an easier EVA?

To answer those questions, NASA needs your ideas.

Read Full Article

Source*: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Busek Delivers First Miniature Electrospray Thrusters to NASA

busek

NATICK, MA, JUNE 1, 2015 Today satellite propulsion firm Busek Co. Inc. confirmed the shipment of its first miniature electrospray small satellite thrusters to NASA. The modular, 100 micronewton-class thrusters enable new, highly efficient CubeSat maneuvers as well as fine position control for larger spacecraft. The units were designed and manufactured by Busek for NASA’s Game Changing Development Program in the Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

Read Full Article

*Source: Busek.com

Continue Reading

Ion Electrospray Engines Could Take Cubesats to the Moon and Beyond

ieps1-1431975867233 Photo Credit: MIT

CubeSats are one of the cheapest, most efficient ways to get to space. Each CubeSat unit measures just 10 centimeters on a side, which is usually enough room for solar panels, communications equipment, and a small science payload. It isn’t enough room for an engine, and generally, most CubeSats are dumped into orbit and left to fend for themselves, tumbling aimlessly until drag pulls them to earth after a few months or so. This makes them cheap for a spacecraft (usually a little over $100,000 each including launch costs), but places rather severe limits on what they’re able to accomplish.

In 2013, NASA funded three different groups to develop small, highly efficient propulsion systems specifically designed to enable spacecraft like CubeSats to orient themselves, maneuver, and even change their own orbits. The propulsion technology that NASA is interested in is called ion electrospray, and MIT’s prototype is a modular, eight-thruster unit just 21 millimeters thick that can change the velocity of a CubeSat by a staggering 100 meters per second.

Read Full Article

*Source: Spectrum.IEEE.org

Continue Reading

NASA Announces Opportunities to Advance ‘Tipping Point’ and Emerging Space Technologies

stmd-campaign610x274

NASA announced Thursday two opportunities for public-private partnerships to achieve the agency’s goals of expanding capabilities and opportunities in space. Through both solicitations, NASA is seeking industry-developed space technologies that can foster the development of commercial space capabilities and benefit future NASA missions.

“These solicitations form an increased focus on collaborations with the commercial space sector that not only leverage emerging markets and capabilities to meet NASA’s strategic goals, but also focus on industry needs,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “While developing the technology to enable NASA’s next generation of science and human exploration missions, we will grow the economy and strengthen the nation’s economic competitiveness.”

Through the solicitation titled “Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies,” NASA seeks to advance selected technologies with the goal of enabling private industry to develop and qualify them for market without further government investment.

A technology is considered at a tipping point if an investment in a demonstration of its capabilities will result in a significant advancement of the technology’s maturation, high likelihood of infusion into a commercial space application, and significant improvement in the ability to successfully bring the technology to market. These technologies also should bring substantial benefit to both the commercial and government sectors on completion.

Read Full Article

Source*: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

3D Animations Provide New Insights into Thermal Protection Materials

French-fry forest: Frame from an animation of carbon fiber felt material, generated from microtomography scans and custom ray-tracing software. The image illuminates details in the intricate fiber structures that have never been seen before. The flexible felt (made up of 10% carbon fibers and 90% air) is just one of many materials being analyzed for stronger and safer materials to protect future spacecraft. Image/video credit: Tim Sandstrom, NASA Ames

French-fry forest: Frame from an animation of carbon fiber felt material, generated from microtomography scans and custom ray-tracing software. The image illuminates details in the intricate fiber structures that have never been seen before. The flexible felt (made up of 10% carbon fibers and 90% air) is just one of many materials being analyzed for stronger and safer materials to protect future spacecraft. Image/video credit: Tim Sandstrom, NASA Ames

NASA space exploration vehicles blazing through the atmosphere to return to Earth—or touch down on other planets—are shielded by specially designed and developed thermal protection materials that can withstand temperatures up to 3,000 degrees F.

Researchers at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility are exploring 3D images and animations of newly developed thermal protection system (TPS) materials being developed in support of future missions. For the first time, 3D complex structures in the TPS fibers are being revealed at the microscale—one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. Scientists Francesco Panerai, NASA visiting scientist from the University of Kentucky, and Nagi N. Mansour, chief of the NAS Division’s Fundamental Modeling & Simulation Branch, are collaborating with the Hypersonic Entry, Descent, and Landing team at NASA’s Ames Research Center to model, understand, and predict the durability and strength of new materials that will protect future spacecraft heading beyond low Earth orbit to Mars and other space exploration destinations. The work supports NASA’s Space Technology Game-Changing Development Program.

Read Full Article

*Source: NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division

Continue Reading

Advances In Lightweight Composite Tanks For Launchers

Northrop Grumman is preparing to static-test this two-segment composite propellant tank for liquid oxygen and kerosene as part of a NASA engineering study aimed at advanced boosters for the Space Launch System

Northrop Grumman is preparing to static-test this two-segment composite propellant tank for liquid oxygen and kerosene as part of a NASA engineering study aimed at advanced boosters for the Space Launch System. Credit: Northrop Grumman

Lightweight composite structures, manufactured “out of autoclave” without pressurized curing, are a major goal in NASA’s latest technology road map, but the shape of the tanks is bringing a degree of difficulty to this process.

Engineers working on two different NASA-backed composite cryogenic tank demonstrations at Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, say strong composite structures can be produced with heat-curing alone, as long as there are open edges that can vent water vapor and other gases that would otherwise create voids when the composite material hardens. In a cylindrical launch-vehicle propellant tank with a dome on the end, those edges do not exist.

“During cure, your volatiles, your entrapped air, all these things that make porosity or voids, travel down those fiber channels to the edges,” says Justin Jackson, who was project engineer on the 5.5-meter (18-ft.) composite liquid-hydrogen tank tested at the NASA field center near Huntsville. “So, by trapping off those edges, all of that now has to go through the thickness of the laminate. It is just a more torturous path. You don’t get it out as efficiently as you would traversing down the fiber.”

Read Full Article

*Source: AviationWeek.com

Continue Reading

NASA’s Multi-Purpose NICER/SEXTANT Mission on Track for 2016 Launch

Technicians assemble a new 25-foot test facility, equipped with a one-meter parabolic optical mirror, which will be used to align NICER/SEXTANT’s 56 optics and detectors. Credits: NASA

Technicians assemble a new 25-foot test facility, equipped with a one-meter parabolic optical mirror, which will be used to align NICER/SEXTANT’s 56 optics and detectors. Credits: NASA

NASA mission that embodies the virtues of faster, less expensive access to space has sailed past all major development milestones and is scheduled to be delivered to Cape Canaveral on time for its October 2016 launch.

“We’re on schedule to deliver the instrument for integration aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket this time next year,” said Keith Gendreau, the principal investigator of the Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer/Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (NICER/SEXTANT).

“We’re on schedule to deliver the instrument for integration aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket this time next year,” said Keith Gendreau, the principal investigator of the Neutron-star Interior Composition Explorer/Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (NICER/SEXTANT).

NICER/SEXTANT, which NASA’s Science Mission Directorate selected in 2013 as its next Explorer Mission of Opportunity, is a one-of-a-kind investigation that not only will gather important scientific data, but also demonstrate advanced navigation technologies — all from a relatively low-cost instrument that takes advantage of an already-existing platform, the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS orbit that ranges between 51.6 degrees north and south latitudes will give the instrument a good view of the cosmos to accomplish both its scientific and technology objectives.

The agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate also is supporting the development of the NICER/SEXTANT instrument, which Gendreau is developing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Read Full Article

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA Selects Proposals for Ultra-Lightweight Materials for Journey to Mars and Beyond

Journey to Mars
Space Technology NASA Banner

NASA has selected three proposals to develop and manufacture ultra-lightweight (ULW) materials for future aerospace vehicles and structures. The proposals will mature advanced technologies that will enable NASA to reduce the mass of spacecraft by 40 percent for deep space exploration.

“Lightweight and multifunctional materials and structures are one of NASA’s top focus areas capable of having the greatest impact on future NASA missions in human and robotic exploration,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “These advanced technologies are necessary for us to be able to launch stronger, yet lighter, spacecraft and components as we look to explore an asteroid and eventually Mars.”

Read Full Article

Continue Reading

NASA plays show-and-tell on the Hill

If human beings are going to colonize Mars, we’re going to need a lot of tools. Can NASA make those tools?

Not without the help of Congress.

NASA reps, accompanied by academics and experts from the aerospace industry, took to the halls of Congress to pitch lawmakers on the importance of their work and showcase their technological progress during the fourth annual NASA Technology Day on the Hill this week.

The big focus: Mars.

*Source: FCW.com

Continue Reading

First Ever “Ladies in the Lab” Event Held at UVa

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) — The first ever Ladies in the Lab workshop took place on UVa grounds Sunday.

Middle and high school girls were invited from local school districts to take part in 15 interactive exhibits run by more than 70 volunteers from several female UVa engineering groups as well as NASA and Capital One.

UVa third-years, Grace Wusk and Trisha Hajela, were behind the eventand explained the importance of encouraging girls to consider pursuing careers in STEM fields.

“In middle and high school, a lot of girls fork off and think math and science is hard,” said Hajela. “Just showing them that it’s not and there are a lot female engineers who love what they do and love innovation is just something that we want to show them.”

“We think females offer a unique prospective to the technical field,” said Wusk. “We really want to encourage younger girls to pursue those futures.”

*Source: Newsplex.com

Continue Reading

NASA achieves aerospace 3-D printing milestone with assist from Glenn Research Center

Inside the combustion chamber

Inside the combustion chamber, propellant burns at more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. To prevent melting, hydrogen at temperatures less than 100 degrees above absolute zero circulates in more than 200 intricately carved cooling channels Cooling inlets are visible along the top rim of the chamber. Credits: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given

NASA has achieved “a milestone for aerospace 3-D printing,” with help from a copper alloy developed at NASA Glenn Research Center, according to a news release from the space agency.

NASA used a 3-D printer to build a rocket engine liner that should be able to endure extreme heat and cold.

Ridiculously extreme: The inside of the liner is designed to withstand temperatures exceeding 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit; meanwhile, it will be cooled with gases in the -280 degree range, the release stated.

That looks good on paper, but will it be able to take that kind of punishment this summer, when it is put to the test at NASA’s Langley Research Center? There’s no way to be sure, but Glenn researchers studied the new GRCo-84 alloy extensively to make sure it could be used to build quality parts when printed in layers, by a 3-D printer, the release stated.

Read Full Article

*Source: CrainsCleveland.com

Continue Reading

NASA 3D Prints the World’s First Full-Scale Copper Rocket Engine Part

Day in and day out, we see new types of technologies emerge from the 3D printing space, as well as different uses which test the feasibility and potential that 3D printing has within the fields of manufacturing. One organization which is really beginning to embrace 3D printing, is NASA. Whether it is 3D printing rocket parts or sending 3D printers to the International Space Station, NASA gets it — 3D printing is the future of manufacturing. It’s easy to argue this point when someone off of the street comes up to you and says that 3D printing will revolutionize the world, but when some of the most brilliant minds in the world prove it in a scientific lab, that’s when we should all start to take note.

*Source: 3DPrint.com

Continue Reading

NASA Selects Proposals for Ultra-Lightweight Materials for Journey to Mars and Beyond

NASA has selected three proposals to develop and manufacture ultra-lightweight (ULW) materials for future aerospace vehicles and structures. The proposals will mature advanced technologies that will enable NASA to reduce the mass of spacecraft by 40 percent for deep space exploration.

“Lightweight and multifunctional materials and structures are one of NASA’s top focus areas capable of having the greatest impact on future NASA missions in human and robotic exploration,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “These advanced technologies are necessary for us to be able to launch stronger, yet lighter, spacecraft and components as we look to explore an asteroid and eventually Mars.”

Continue Reading

Steve Jurczyk, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA

Last Monday (March 9, 2015) was the first day on the job for Steve Jurczyk. He was recently appointed as the associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA. He served as the deputy center director before this new assignment. He joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive with more on what the center does, and what he hopes it will accomplish under his tenure.

Federal News Radio interviewed Steve about his new appointment. Listen to the interview by clicking here (+)

*Source: FederalNewsRadio.com

Continue Reading

Scientists Develop Electrocatalysts That Could Aid Long-Term Space Exploration

Although modern space exploration discussion now revolves around more long-term journeys, such as future trips to Mars, we still don’t have the technology to safely travel so far from our home planet.

Providing breathable air for passengers is one of the main challenges of a future trip to Mars. However, we haven’t yet figured out how to do that effectively and efficiently. We can’t easily ship oxygen tanks to and from places that are so far away, so we need an efficient way to recycle oxygen while there.

*Source: TechTimes.com

Continue Reading

A Robot That Collapses Under Pressure (In a Good Way)

IF NASA PLANS to send robots to other planets, it’s going to need some new designs: ones that are easy to land, easy to move around, and easy to fix. That means they probably won’t look like a bipedal T-1000 chasing the one hope for mankind. They probably won’t even look like the four-legged galloping critters Boston Dynamics is building. Nope. Those robots will look like a hexahedral tent stripped of its fabric.

*Source: Wired.com

Continue Reading

Baton Rouge business could build equipment used by NASA

Kevin Kelly, Mezzo Technologies (Source: WAFB)

Kevin Kelly, Mezzo Technologies (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – The world of car racing and space exploration have something in common, and believe it or not, it is a business in Baton Rouge.The company is Mezzo Technologies, and Monday, NASA officials toured the company that has been building high performance radiators with it’s micro-tube technology for the past five years.

These micro-tube heat exchangers may hold the key to keeping astronauts and all their electronic equipment from overheating in the harsh confines of outer space.

The system is still in the research phase, but things are looking up.

 


Read Full Article

 
*Source: WAFB.com

Continue Reading

Baton Rouge’s Mezzo Technologies looking beyond racecar tracks to space

Mezzo Technologies in Baton Rouge is looking to the moon and beyond.

The 15-year-old company, which has produced advanced radiators and oil coolers for professional race car teams since 2007, now has an opportunity to work for NASA by developing its microtube heat exchanger for use on the space agency’s planned Orion spacecraft.

“NASA has a vehicle called Orion that will circle the moon,” Kevin Kelly, Mezzo’s president, said Tuesday.

The Orion module, which will be home to astronauts traveling in outer space, is being built by Lockheed Martin at the Michoud facility in New Orleans, where Boeing crews also are working on the Space Launch System, a 70-ton heavy-lift rocket that will propel Orion into space.

Mezzo’s $200,000 Orion research-and-development contract calls for a water-cooled heat exchanger capable of surviving tremendously hot temperatures on the moon’s sunny side and fiercely freezing temperatures on its dark side.

“Our ultimate goal is Mars,” said Ryan Stephan, NASA’s director of game-changing development. Both men spoke during a meeting at Mezzo’s 20,000-square-foot facility at 10246 Mammoth Ave.

*Source: TheAdvocate.com

Continue Reading

Jurczyk Named Head of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Steve Jurczyk as the agency’s Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, effective Monday, March 2. The directorate is responsible for innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use on future NASA missions.

Jurczyk has served as Center Director at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, since April of 2014. An accomplished engineer, he previously served as the deputy center director and in other leadership positions at the center prior to his appointment as center director.

“It’s great to have Steve coming aboard to lead the technology and innovation engine of the agency,” said Bolden. “Technology drives exploration and under Steve’s leadership we’ll continue the President’s innovation strategy, positioning NASA and the aerospace community on the cutting-edge, pushing the boundaries of the aerospace with the technical rigor our nation expects of its space program”

Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA Picks Small Spacecraft Propulsion Systems for Development

Advanced In-Space Propulsion (AISP)
MEP_Thruster

HAMPTON, Va. — NASA selected three proposals for the development of lightweight micro-thruster propulsion technologies that are small in size but have big potential.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate selected the miniaturized electrospray propulsion technologies to perform stabilization, station keeping and pointing for small spacecraft. NASA hopes these technology demonstrations may lead to similar position control systems for larger spacecraft and satellites as well.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., sponsored this solicitation and will oversee the first phase of this technology development.

Read Full Article

Continue Reading

Berks company plays role in mission to Mars

Woven Thermal Protection
From Bally, Pa. to MarsBerks County played host to America’s space program Friday, as NASA’s top boss got a firsthand tour of the factory where components are being made for the nation’s next era of spacecrafts.

“From this day on, the path to Mars goes through Bally, Pennsylvania,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said after completing an hourlong visit at Bally Ribbon Mills.

Bolden, accompanied by Ray Harries, president of Bally Ribbon, was “mesmerized” by components NASA uses that are made by small businesses. They include spacecraft insulation systems, or heat shields, designed to withstand super-hot temperatures as spacecrafts descend from far distances in the universe.

Bolden watched as Bally workers wove high-tech fibers into three-dimensional shields that can withstand temperatures of 4,000 degrees, generated on re-entry by the Orion spacecraft. NASA, among others, is currently building the Apollo-like spacecraft, America’s deep-space ship.

*Source: MCall.com

Read Full Article

Continue Reading

The Strange Way Fluids Slosh on the International Space Station

Jan. 30, 2015: The next time you pour yourself a glass of water, pause before you drink it. First, swirl the clear liquid around the glass. Gently slosh it back and forth. Tap the glass on the tabletop, and watch the patterns that form on the surface.

Now imagine the same exercise … in zero gravity. Would the waves and ripples look the same? Would the liquid slosh more, or less? Faster, or slower?

NASA engineers spend a surprising amount of time asking themselves these same questions.

*Source: Science.NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA Langley research robot ready to roll

HAMPTON–The seven-ton, two-story robotic arm unveiled by NASA Langley on Monday looks like it belongs on a Transformer.

But ISAAC – which stands for Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites – has nothing to do with sci-fi or alien machines.

The $3 million system – one of just three of its kind in the world, and the only one dedicated to research – turns 3-D computer drawings into precisely made, lightweight, super-strong components suited for spacecraft. It spins parts from spools of carbon fiber blended with epoxy – gliding along a track, reaching, retracting, pivoting, hovering with cyborg agility and efficiency.

*Source: HamptonRoads.com

Continue Reading

NASA Spinoff 2015 Features Space Technology Making Life Better on Earth

NASA technologies are being used to locate underground water in some of the driest places on the Earth, build quieter and more fuel-efficient airplanes, and create shock absorbers that brace buildings in earthquakes.
The 2015 edition of NASA’s annual Spinoff publication highlights these and other technologies whose origins lie in space exploration, but now have broader applications.

“The game-changing technologies NASA develops to push the envelope of space exploration also improve our everyday lives,” said NASA Chief Technologist David Miller. “Spinoff 2015 is filled with stories that show there is more space in our lives than we think.”

Spinoff 2015 tells the story of shock absorbers used during space shuttle launches that are now being used to brace buildings during earthquakes, preventing damage and saving lives. The book also features a NASA-simplified coliform bacteria test that is being used to monitor water quality in rural communities around the world, as well as cabin pressure monitors that alert pilots when oxygen levels are approaching dangerously low levels in their aircraft.

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

KSC team delves into wearable tech in space

On his “smart” watch, David Miranda checks e-mail and appointments, dictates text messages and performs Google searches, among other tasks.

The accessory makes the Kennedy Space Center engineer an early adopter of “wearable technology” that one leading consumer electronics company predicts will emerge as a hot workplace trend this year .

But in “wearables” like the LG watch or Google Glass eye wear, Miranda and a group of colleagues see the potential for something more visionary: helping KSC workers do their jobs more safely and efficiently, and maybe someday also astronaut explorers.

*Source: FloridaToday.com

Continue Reading

Prof Awarded NASA Grant to Develop Building Blocks for Use in Space Missions

Mechanical engineering Asst. Prof. Christopher Hansen is one of seven young faculty researchers nationwide awarded a NASA Early Career Faculty Space Technology Research Grant. The program is designed to accelerate the development of innovative technologies originating from academia that address high-priority needs for America’s space program as well as other government agencies and the commercial flight industry. Hansen’s grant is worth approximately $579,000 spread over a period of three years.

*Source:UML.edu

Continue Reading

Child’s Toy Design Could Help Humans Get to Mars

HIAD-2

Devising a way to one day land astronauts on Mars is a complex problem and NASA scientists think something as simple as a child’s toy design may help solve the problem. Safely landing a large spacecraft on the Red planet is just one of many engineering challenges the agency faces as it eyes an ambitious goal of sending humans into deep space later this century.

At NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, engineers have been working to develop an inflatable heat shield that looks a lot like a super-sized version of a stacking ring of doughnuts that infants play with. The engineers believe a lightweight, inflatable heat shield could be deployed to slow the craft to enter a Martian atmosphere much thinner than Earth’s.

Such an inflatable heat shield could help a spacecraft reach the high-altitude southern plains of Mars and other areas that would otherwise be inaccessible under existing technology. The experts note that rockets alone can’t be used to land a large craft on Mars as can be done on the atmosphereless moon. Parachutes also won’t work for a large spacecraft needed to send humans to Mars, they add.

Read Full Story

*Source: ABC News

Continue Reading

3-D Printed Engine Parts Withstand Hot Fire Tests

copper_chamber

Today’s innovations in science and technology are being driven by new capabilities in additive manufacturing. Also known as 3-D printing, this approach is changing the speed, cost and flexibility of designing and building future machines for space and earth applications.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program in the Space Technology and Mission Directorate has been actively funding research in 3-D printing and co-funded a recent groundbreaking test series with Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Recently, AR in partnership with NASA, successfully completed the first hot-fire tests on an advanced rocket engine thrust chamber assembly using copper alloy materials. This was the first time a series of rigorous tests confirmed that 3-D manufactured copper parts could withstand the heat and pressure required of combustion engines used in space launches.

 
Read Full Article
*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA aerospace engineer to discuss Mars and space program Nov. 20

A distinguished aerospace engineer will speak at Purdue to share her knowledge of landing humans on Mars and NASA’s approach to the future.

Michelle Munk, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, will speak during the presentation “From the Beach to Mars: One Engineer’s Journey” at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 in Armstrong Hall, Room B061.

Sponsored by the Women in Engineering program and the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the talk will focus on Munk’s 20-year career and her work on the mission to land a human on Mars.

Munk worked on the instrumentation of the heat shield on the Mars Science Laboratory. The MSL heat shield instrumentation was the most extensive ever sent to Mars. The data returned is vital to missions of the future.
Since 2013, Munk has been the principal investigator of entry, descent and landing technologies within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. In this position, she coordinates NASA’s EDL investments across nine programs in the directorate.

Munk earned her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Virginia Tech University and has been a NASA employee for more than 26 years. She has won several NASA group and individual achievement awards, including the Space Flight Awareness Award and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

*Source: The Exponent Online

Continue Reading

NASA’s Massive Robotic Arm for Aerospace Applications

Researchers from NASA’s Langley Research Center have designed a huge robotic arm that collects spools of carbon fibers and moves in a preprogrammed pattern to arrange these fibers in a 40-foot long bed, to fabricate aerospace structures and parts.

The project known as the Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC) was sponsored by the NASA Langley’s Space Technology and Exploration Directorate, the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

The robot was actually manufactured by Washington-based Electroimpact, and hence physically moving the system to the Hampton, Virginia facility was a real challenge for the researchers. The robot carried in two 53-foot long covered trucks is now present at the NASA Langley’s Advanced Manufacturing and Flight Test Articles Development Laboratory.

Continue Reading

Towed Twin-Fuselage Glider Launch System First Test Flight Successful

NASA has successfully flight-tested a prototype twin-fuselage towed glider that could lead to rockets being launched from pilotless aircraft at high altitudes – a technology application that could significantly reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of sending small satellites into space. The first flights of the one-third-scale twin fuselage towed glider took place Oct. 21 from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

The towed glider is an element of the novel rocket-launching concept of the Towed Glider Air-Launch System, or TGALS. NASA Armstrong researchers are developing the project, which is funded as a part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development program.
The 27-foot-wingspan towed glider was towed behind the Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone, or DROID, unmanned aircraft into the blue skies above Edwards Air Force Base. Minutes later the towline was released and the twin fuselage aircraft glided to a perfect landing on the dry lakebed.

After reviewing wind conditions and checking the systems of both aircraft, mission managers decided to go for a second flight. As with the first, the glider was towed behind the DROID, leveled out in flight and the glider was released for another free flight to the dry lakebed.

Continue Reading

NASA Is Studying How to Mine the Moon for Water

There’s a lot of water on the moon, and NASA wants to learn how to mine it.

Space agency scientists are developing two separate mission concepts to assess, and learn how to exploit, stores of water ice on the moon and other lunar resources. The projects — called Lunar Flashlight and the ResourceProspector Mission — are notionally targeted to blast off in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and aim to help humanity extend its footprint out into the solar system.

*Source: Space.com

Continue Reading

NASA Partners with Leading Technology Innovators to Enable Future Exploration

Recognizing that technology drives exploration, NASA has selected four teams of agency technologists for participation in the Early Career Initiative (ECI) pilot program. The program encourages creativity and innovation among early career NASA technologists by engaging them in hands-on technology development opportunities needed for future missions.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate created the ECI to enable a highly collaborative, joint-partnering work environment between the best and brightest NASA early career innovators and leading innovators in industry, academia and other government organizations.

*Source: Spaceref.com

Continue Reading

New commercial rocket descent data may help NASA with future Mars landings

Spacex

Thermal imagery of the Space X Falcon 9 first stage performing propulsive descent Sept. 21. Supersonic retropropulsion data obtained from this flight test is being analyzed by NASA to design future Mars landing systems. Credit: NASA

Washington, DC – NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars.

“Because the technologies required to land large payloads on Mars are significantly different than those used here on Earth, investment in these technologies is critical,” said Robert Braun, principal investigator for NASA’s Propulsive Descent Technologies (PDT) project and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “This is the first high-fidelity data set of a rocket system firing into its direction of travel while traveling at supersonic speeds in Mars-relevant conditions. Analysis of this unique data set will enable system engineers to extract important lessons for the application and infusion of supersonic retro-propulsion into future NASA missions.”

 

Read Full Article

 
*Source:Yumanewsnow.com

Continue Reading

Expert Panel Assesses Inflatable Spacecraft Tech

For most of us it’s hard to imagine that something that is inflated can survive the high heat and friction of space travel, especially atmospheric entry.

But a group of NASA engineers, primarily based at NASA’s Langley Research Center, have been working to develop inflatable spacecraft aeroshell technology for more than a decade.

“We have been eating, sleeping, dreaming this technology — in my case for six years,” said Anthony Calomino during a peer review of the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator project. The project, which was part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development Program, is wrapping up after three years.

HIAD Panel

Experts in the room and online listened as engineers talked about the progress made by the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator team.

Some of the research and team are transitioning to the Terrestrial HIAD — Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator – Orbital Reentry, or THOR, flight test. That test is a Technology Demonstration Mission and also part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Before HIAD moved forward the team wanted an outside assessment of its potential. “We [who have worked on HIAD] have a certain familiarity with it,” said Calomino. We wanted to have an independent group — a fresh set of eyes — looking at this technology.”

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA, SpaceX Share Data On Supersonic Retropropulsion

Image Credit: NASA/Scifli Team/Applied Physics Laboratory Images

Image Credit: NASA/Scifli Team/Applied Physics Laboratory Images

An innovative partnership between NASA and SpaceX is giving the U.S. space agency an early look at what it would take to land multi-ton habitats and supply caches on Mars for human explorers, while providing sophisticated infrared (IR) imagery to help the spacecraft company develop a reusable launch vehicle.

After multiple attempts, airborne NASA and U.S. Navy IR tracking cameras have captured a SpaceX Falcon 9 in flight as its first stage falls back toward Earth shortly after second-stage ignition and then reignites to lower the stage toward a propulsive “zero-velocity, zero-altitude” touchdown on the sea surface.

 

Read Full Article

 
*Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

Continue Reading

NASA-Boeing Team Wins Big at Advanced Materials Expo

Advanced Materials Expo

NASA Project Manager John Vickers and Boeing Program Manager Dan Rivera accept the Combined Strength Award for Composites Excellence for the Composite Cryogenic Technology Demonstration at the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo in Orlando, Fla.
Image Credit: NASA

On Tuesday, October 14, NASA and Boeing received the Combined Strength Award for composites excellence (ACE) for their work in composite cryotanks during the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) in Orlando, Fla. CAMX is the largest composites industry trade show and conference held in North America.

The award was given to the Composite Cryogenic Technology Demonstration (CCTD) project for utilizing innovative manufacturing and design techniques to build the largest composite liquid hydrogen fuel tank built out of autoclave. The project, funded by the NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development Program, has led to a potential 30 percent weight savings and a 25 percent cost savings, allowing insertion of higher mass payloads to low Earth orbit and beyond.

Read Full Article

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

New Commercial Rocket Descent Data May Help NASA with Future Mars Landings

NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars.  Image Credit: NASA

NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars. Image Credit: NASA

NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars.

“Because the technologies required to land large payloads on Mars are significantly different than those used here on Earth, investment in these technologies is critical,” said Robert Braun, principal investigator for NASA’s Propulsive Descent Technologies (PDT) project and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “This is the first high-fidelity data set of a rocket system firing into its direction of travel while traveling at supersonic speeds in Mars-relevant conditions. Analysis of this unique data set will enable system engineers to extract important lessons for the application and infusion of supersonic retro-propulsion into future NASA missions.”

NASA equipped two aircraft with advanced instrumentation to document re-entry of the rocket’s first stage. The first stage is the part of the rocket that is ignited at launch and burns through the rocket’s ascent until it runs out of propellant, at which point it is discarded from the second stage and returns to Earth. During its return, or descent, NASA captured quality infrared and high definition images and monitored changes in the smoke plume as the engines were turned on and off.

 


Read Full Article

 
*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Aerojet Rocketdyne Successfully Tests Thrust Chamber Assembly Using Copper Alloy Additive Manufacturing Technology

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Oct. 17, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE:GY) company, successfully completed a series of hot-fire tests on an advanced rocket engine Thrust Chamber Assembly (TCA) using copper alloy additive manufacturing technology. This testing, conducted for the first time in the industry, was done with cooperation between Aerojet Rocketdyne, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Game-Changing Development Program and NASA’sGlenn Research Center under a Space Act Agreement.

“This work represents another major milestone in the integrated development and certification of the materials characterization, manufacturing processes, analysis and design-tool technologies that are required to successfully implement Selective Laser Melting for critical rocket engine components,” said Jay Littles, director of Advanced Launch Programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne. “Aerojet Rocketdyne continues to expand the development of novel material and design solutions made possible through additive manufacturing, which will result in more efficient engines at lower costs. We are working a range of additive manufacturing implementation paths – from affordability and performance enhancement to legacy products such as the RL10 upper stage engine. We also are applying the technology to next-generation propulsion systems, including the Bantam Engine family, as well as our new large, high performance booster engine, the AR1.”

*Source: Nasdaq.com

Continue Reading

NASA’s Free Flying Robot Challenge

NASA’s Free Flying Robot Challenge

NASA’s Free Flying Robot Challenge

In 2017, NASA is aiming to launch a robot that will be used on-board the International Space Station (ISS). The robot has been tentatively called the “Free Flying Robot”. Not that catchy, right?

So here’s where NASA needs your help – we need the Topcoder community to help design a custom mission patch AND develop a name for the Free Flying Robot.

So what is a Free Flying Robot? It’s a robot that is capable of functioning autonomously, but can also be controlled by a flight crew on-board the ISS or from Earth. It can conduct zero gravity robotics experiments, carry mobile sensors such as an RFID reader for logging inventory & inspect items using a built in camera

Currently on the ISS there are robotic devices called “SPHERES” (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), and the new Free Flyer Robot program is being seen as a step forward in the use of robotic devices in spaceflight.

Read More(+)

Continue Reading

3D Printer Headed to Space Station

It’s not quite the replicator of Star Trek fame—but it’s seemingly a step in that direction.

The first 3D printer is soon to fly into Earth orbit, finding a home aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The size of a small microwave, the unit is called Portal. The hardware serves as a ted bed for evaluating how well 3D printing and the microgravity of space combine. Its use in space signals an new era of off-world manufacturing.

The foundation for 3D printing is also known as “additive manufacturing,” which has been evolving for more than three decades. The technology has picked up speed more recently due to new materials and new applications.

Continue Reading

SpaceX Alum Goes After Falcon 1 Market With Firefly

As entrepreneurial “New Space” grows up, veterans of its early days are finding innovative ways to tackle old problems and enter emerging markets that did not exist when their industry was an infant—a decade ago.

Thomas E. Markusic, a propulsion engineer who cut his New Space teeth running Elon Musk’s flight-test center in Texas and later held senior posts at Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, has kicked off a startup called Firefly Space Systems that is developing a low-cost Falcon 1-class launch vehicle to launch small satellites using a methane-fueled aerospike engine and composite cryotanks.

Continue Reading

Technology Day Puts NASA Langley’s Work on Display for All to See

Technology Days
It’s not often that the researchers from NASA’s Langley Researcher Center gather in one spot at the same time to show off their work to the public.

But on July 15, a bunch NASA Langley researchers packed up their cutting-edge technologies, headed over to the Virginia Air & Space Center and did exactly that.

More than two-dozen exhibits filled the Air & Space Center’s two floors as part of NASA Langley’s Technology Day. The event put some of NASA Langley’s coolest, most exciting technologies front and center for visitors to see and experience first hand.

Read Full Article

Continue Reading

STMD: Advancing NASA’s Path to Mars

2014-2705_0NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is paving the way for future Mars exploration. The directorate is currently investing in and developing bold, disruptive technology required for future deep-space missions. This critical work leads a concerted effort throughout the agency, including at the program level and across multiple centers, as well as with partners in American industry.

“NASA remains committed to developing the critical technologies required to enable future exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for STMD. “Within STMD, we are focusing on creating advanced technologies that could lead to entirely new approaches for the needs of the agency’s future space missions, especially on Mars.”

Source: NASA.gov

Read Full Article

Continue Reading

Smartphone Advances Drive Smallsats

Spheres

Terrestrial smartphone technology, based in part on government space research, is finding its way back into space as low-cost, rapidly evolving processors, cameras, GPS receivers and other gear used in bulk by the burgeoning smallsat movement.

In California’s Silicon Valley, where the lifetime of a state-of-the-art smartphone is about one year, engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center have literally been plugging smartphones into spacecraft to get the most capable hardware into space quickly.


Read Full Story

*Source: AviationWeek.com

Continue Reading

NASA’s Space Tech Chief Offers Students a Glimpse of the Future

The man leading the charge to solve some of NASA’s biggest and most vexing technical problems offered an invitation to bright young people.

Let’s go places together — like Mars, for instance.

Michael Gazarik, the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, spoke to a group of about 160 college and high school students on July 18, giving them insights, words of encouragement and a fast-paced, energetic look at the daring goals his team is pursuing.

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Technology Day Puts NASA Langley’s Work on Display for All to See

It’s not often that the researchers from NASA’s Langley Researcher Center gather in one spot at the same time to show off their work to the public.

But on July 15, a bunch NASA Langley researchers packed up their cutting-edge technologies, headed over to the Virginia Air & Space Center and did exactly that.

More than two-dozen exhibits filled the Air & Space Center’s two floors as part of NASA Langley’s Technology Day. The event put some of NASA Langley’s coolest, most exciting technologies front and center for visitors to see and experience first hand.

Continue Reading

Emmy Award Winning Production Features NASA Glenn

A NASA video program about how new methods of power and propulsion are being developed and featuring employees and facilities at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, recently was recognized with a regional Emmy Award.

Kevin Krigsvold and Michael Bibbo, producers of NASA X, won the award for “Power and Propulsion” in the category of Informational/Instructional—Program/Special. The prestigious award was part of a ceremony held June 14 at the Fillmore Silver Spring by The National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

NASA X, a television program and vodcast that highlights new and emerging technologies at NASA, operates out of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Administrator Bolden Visits Company Rolling Out New Solar Array Technology

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden got a firsthand look at work being done on high power Roll Out Solar Arrays (ROSA) during a visit to the Deployable Space Systems’ (DSS) facility in Goleta, Calif. on Tuesday, July 1.

Bolden and DSS President Brian Spence toured the facility where the advanced large solar array system is being developed. The testing of the DSS array is a major milestone toward development of a new solar electric power system that will generate the high power needed for extending human presence throughout the solar system.

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Test Flight Hailed as a Success

NASA has declared its Saturday, June 28, test flight of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) a resounding success despite an issue with its parachute deployment. This vehicle, which has been popularly characterized as resembling the “flying saucer” of old science fiction lore, is meant to help the agency with its future goal of deploying large payloads to the surface of Mars. The test flight took place off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, adjacent to the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility.

*Source:AmericaSpace

Continue Reading

STMD: Advancing NASA’s Path to Mars

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is paving the way for future Mars exploration. The directorate is currently investing in and developing bold, disruptive technology required for future deep-space missions. This critical work leads a concerted effort throughout the agency, including at the program level and across multiple centers, as well as with partners in American industry.

“NASA remains committed to developing the critical technologies required to enable future exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for STMD. “Within STMD, we are focusing on creating advanced technologies that could lead to entirely new approaches for the needs of the agency’s future space missions, especially on Mars.”

Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

How NASA tech makes an impact in your daily life

Space Technology NASA Banner

NASA suffers from an interesting problem: It gets credit for things it didn’t do and doesn’t get credit for things it did do. The public knows that the investment in space and space technologies brings about innovations that improve our daily lives. An understanding of what those technologies are, however, is something that is often elusive. NASA is often mistakenly credited with inventing commonplace consumer products to which it had either tangential connections or no connections — certainly not an enabling connection. Meanwhile, the real stories of NASA’s technological achievements are often unknown.

 
Read Full Article
*Source: Reformer.com

Continue Reading

A father-son chat leads to first-of-its-kind NASA spacecraft

(CNN) — The human imagination is an amazing thing. Take for example the story of how a simple father-and-son chat led to a prototype spacecraft for landing on other planets.

One Friday evening in 2009, NASA engineer Stephen Altemus arrived home from work feeling, well, kind of frustrated.

Altemus, who was chief engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, believed the agency was under “incredible pressure and scrutiny” for allegedly high budget costs. NASA’s ambitious Constellation program to develop a next-generation rocket was about to be canceled.

Continue Reading

Powering A Manned Mission To Mars

One of the greatest challenges of any space mission is creating enough power to operate it. While gasoline powered engines suffice on Earth, there are no refueling stations in space.

A potential solution is to harness the power of the Sun using solar panels, or even solar sails. But this is not always possible for various reasons. So researchers have begun designing highly efficient power plants, called Stirling Engines, which use the heat from radioactive decay and convert that energy into electricity.

(Source:RedOrbit.com)

Continue Reading

In space, recycled urine has many uses

Astronauts have already gotten used to the idea of drinking their recycled urine. A new device could potentially use waste water for both drinking and for fuel. Photo by Flickr user European Space Agency.

Astronauts have already gotten used to the idea of drinking their recycled urine. A new device could potentially use waste water for both drinking and for fuel.
Photo by Flickr user European Space Agency.

Recycled urine is something astronauts are already psychologically prepared to consume when they go to outer space. But a new report published in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering journal suggests that rather than releasing wasted urine into space, scientist are working on a new technique that can convert the urine into drinking water and fuel.

The reasoning behind this? Cost. Due to the high cost of delivering supplies to space, the recovery of potable water from spacecraft wastewater is critical for life support of crewmembers, the report said.

Read Full Article

 

(*Source: ” target=”_blank”>PBS.org)

Continue Reading

NASA Astronauts Will Breathe Easier With New Oxygen Recovery Systems

For NASA’s long-duration human spaceflight missions, travelers will need to recycle as much breathable oxygen in their spacecraft environments, as possible. To turn that need into a reality, NASA is seeking proposals for lightweight, safe, efficient and reliable systems for regenerating oxygen on future human exploration missions.

The first of two phases of this new NASA solicitation will consist of a detailed design, development, fabrication, and testing of an advanced oxygen recovery technology. Under a two year Phase II contract, the proposer then will develop a prototype hardware system, capable of an oxygen recovery rate of at least 75 percent.

(*Source:NASA.gov)

Continue Reading

NASA Engineers Prepare Game Changing Cryotank for Testing

0fd0193

NASA and Boeing engineers are inspecting and preparing one of the largest composite rocket propellant tanks ever manufactured for testing. The composite cryotank is part of NASA’s Game Changing Development Program and Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions. NASA focused on this technology because composite tanks promise a 30 percent weight reduction and a 25 percent cost savings over the best metal tanks used today. The outer shell of the 18-foot-diameter (5.5-meter) cryotank is the same size as propellant tanks used on today’s full-size rockets.

 
Read Full Article
*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA Looks to Go Beyond Batteries for Space Exploration

NASA is seeking proposals for the development of new, more capable, energy storage technologies to replace the battery technology that has long powered America’s space program.

The core technologies solicited in the Wednesday call for proposals will advance energy storage solutions for the space program and other government agencies, such as the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) through ongoing collaboration with NASA and industry.

*(Source: NASA.gov)

Continue Reading

Next-gen battery collaboration to develop ‘beyond lithium-ion space’ in space

0319ctt-Argonne-Lab-lores

(Source: The American Ceramic Society)

There are few situations in life where two aren’t better than one.

So the recently announced collaboration between the Department of Energy’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), located at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and NASA Glenn Research Center spells good things for batteries, which are poised to receive a double-dose of expertise from two of the country’s top research entities.

Together, “JCER’s deep knowledge of the basic science in energy storage research with NASA Glenn’s expertise engineering battery technology with aerospace applications” will spark the development of “next-generation batteries” (i.e., not lithium-ion) that will certainly make their way to space.

“The beyond lithium-ion space is rich with opportunity and mostly unexplored,” says George Crabtree, director of JCESR, in an ANL press release. “In this collaboration, JCESR will share fundamental research results with NASA, enabling them to develop technologies that benefit the space program and, ultimately, society as a whole through commercialization opportunities with a wide range of applications.”

 
Read Full Article
*Source: The American Ceramic Society

Continue Reading

NASA Marshall Kicks Off Game Changing Composite Cryotank Testing

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is set to begin a series of structural and pressure tests on one of the largest composite cryogenic fuel tanks ever manufactured. Advanced composite cryotanks will help enable NASA’s future deep space exploration missions.

Media are invited to view the unloading of the 18-foot-diameter (5.5-meter) composite cryotank from NASA’s Super Guppy aircraft on March 27 at 7 a.m. CDT at Redstone Army Airfield. In addition, journalists are invited to interview John Vickers, NASA project manager, Composite Cryotank Technology Demonstration (CCTD), and Dan Rivera, Boeing program manager for CCTD.

For more than 50 years, metal tanks have carried fuel to launch rockets and propelled them into space. NASA is pursuing composite cryogenic fuel tanks, a potentially game-changing technology, because the tanks could yield significant cost and weight reductions on future launch vehicles. Once installed in Marshall’s test facility, the composite cryotank will undergo a series of tests at extreme pressures and temperatures, similar to those experienced during spaceflight.

 
Read Full Article
*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Engineers Building Hard-working Mining Robot

Mining Robots

After decades of designing and operating robots full of scientific gear to study other worlds, NASA is working on a prototype that leaves the delicate instruments at home in exchange for a sturdy pair of diggers and the reliability and strength to work all day, every day for years.

Think of it as a blue collar robot.

Dubbed RASSOR, for Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot and pronounced “razor,” the autonomous machine is far from space-ready, but the earliest design has shown engineers the broad strokes of what their lunar soil excavator needs in order to operate reliably.

Read Full Story

Source*: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Tanks for a great idea

(Source: Boeing)

Humankind’s fascination with space helped put a man on the moon and satellites into orbit. It’s the same wonderment that currently captures the imagination of Boeing engineers, who are designing and building innovative technologies to enable new explorations into the Final Frontier.

Working under contract with NASA’s Space Technology Game Changing Development Program, Boeing has designed and built two composite liquid-hydrogen fuel tanks for heavy-lift launch vehicles and other future air and space missions.

Final assembly just wrapped up on the larger (5.5-meter) tank at the Boeing Developmental Center in Tukwila, Wash. Next week, the tank will be loaded onto the NASA Super Guppy, a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft, and transported to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for testing. This forthcoming test follows Boeing and NASA successfully testing a 2.4-meter composite tank at Marshall last year. These tanks promise a 30 percent weight reduction and 25 percent cost savings over the state of the art metallic tanks used today.

Dan Rivera, the cryotank program manager within Boeing Research & Technology, the company’s advanced R&D organization, said Boeing and NASA’s work has truly game-changing potential for the future of space exploration. The teams’ innovation provides both weight and cost savings, a combination that’s hard to find, Rivera said.

Continue Reading

Move Over Heavy Metal, There’s A New Tank Coming To Town

(Source: Marshall Space Flight Center)
For more than 50 years, metal tanks have carried fuel to launch rockets and propel them into space, but one of the largest composite tanks ever manufactured may change all that. This spring, that tank–known as the composite cryotank–is set to undergo a series of tests at extreme pressures and temperatures similar to those experienced during spaceflight.

“NASA focused on this technology because composite cryogenic tanks promise a 30 percent weight reduction and a 25 percent cost savings over the best metal tanks used today,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “It costs thousands of dollars to deliver a pound of cargo to space, so lighter tanks could be a game changer allowing rockets to carry more cargo, more affordably.”

Continue Reading

NASA’s Robonaut Legs Headed for International Space Station

Robonaut 2 (R2) is having its legs tested on the ground while the rest of the robot is undergoing experimental trial on the ISS. The legs will provide mobility necessary for tasks inside and out of Space Station.

NASA’s built and is sending a set of high-tech legs up to the International Space Station for Robonaut 2 (R2), the station’s robotic crewmember. The new legs will be delivered to the space station aboard the SpaceX-3 cargo resupply mission, due to launch March 16 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

These new legs, funded by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology mission directorates, will provide R2 the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside and outside the space station. The goal is to free up the crew for more critical work, including scientific research.

 
Read Full Article
*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Smart SPHERES Are About to Get A Whole Lot Smarter

Spheres

Smart devices – such as tablets and phones – increasingly are an essential part of everyday life on Earth. The same can be said for life off-planet aboard the International Space Station. From astronaut tweets to Google+ Hangouts, our reliance on these mobile and social technologies means equipment and software upgrades are an everyday occurrence – like buying a new pair of shoes to replace a pair of well-worn ones.

That’s why the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., with funding from the Technology Demonstration Missions Program in the Space Technology Mission Directorate, is working to upgrade the smartphones currently equipped on a trio of volleyball-sized free-flying satellites on the space station called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES). In 2011 on the final flight of space shuttle Atlantis, NASA sent the first smartphone to the station and mounted it to SPHERES.


Read Full Story

*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

Researching “super dust” and other materials that could reduce the cost of air and space travel

By The Partnership for Public Service, The Washington Post

Mia Siochi

Whether researching stronger, lighter materials for use in planes and spaceships or keeping squashed insects from sticking to airplane wings, Mia Siochi’s work at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia has the potential to improve aviation and save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Siochi, a research materials engineer, leads a NASA team that is seeking to tap the potential of nanotechnology to reduce the weight of space launch vehicles by up to 30 percent, or about 200,000 pounds. With launch costs being about $10,000 per pound, lightening the load leads to significantly lower costs.

 


Read Full Story

 
(Source: The Washington Post)

Continue Reading

NASA Boards the 3-D-Manufacturing Train

Goddard technologists Ted Swanson and Matthew Showalter hold a 3-D-printed battery-mounting plate developed specifically for a sounding-rocket mission. The component is the first additive-manufactured device Goddard has flown in space.  Image Credit: NASA

Goddard technologists Ted Swanson and Matthew Showalter hold a 3-D-printed battery-mounting plate developed specifically for a sounding-rocket mission. The component is the first additive-manufactured device Goddard has flown in space. Image Credit: NASA

Given NASA’s unique needs for highly custom­ized spacecraft and instrument components, additive manufacturing, or “3-D printing,” offers a compelling alternative to more traditional manufacturing approaches.

“We’re not driving the additive manufacturing train, industry is,” said Ted Swanson, the assistant chief for technology for the Mechanical Systems Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Swanson is the center’s point-of-contact for additive manufacturing. “But NASA has the ability to get on-board to leverage it for our unique needs.”

 
Read Full Article
*Source: Sci-Tech-Today.com

Continue Reading

Efforts Underway to Develop Better Batteries for Electric Vehicles

By Bob Granath, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Electricity producing batteries are a vital part of daily life on Earth and in space. Power storage devices keep spacecraft operating, cars running, cell phones connected and flashlights lit. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) now is funding 22 projects across 15 states with a total of $36 million to develop better, more efficient power sources for electric vehicles (EV).
The Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy (RANGE) Storage Systems effort kicked off when NASA and ARPA-E officials along with representatives from other agencies, industry and universities gathered at the Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Jan. 28 and 29. The project aims to accelerate widespread EV use by dramatically improving driving range and reliability using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs. The result would provide low-cost, low-carbon emission alternatives for today’s cars and other vehicles.
 
Read more(+)

(Source: NASA.gov)
Continue Reading

NASA to Make Water on the Moon and Oxygen on Mars

NASA Astronaut Jack Schmitt digs and rakes out material on the lunar surface during the 1972 Apollo 17 mission (Credits: NASA)

NASA Astronaut Jack Schmitt digs and rakes out material on the lunar surface during the 1972 Apollo 17 mission (Credits: NASA)

BY IRENE KLOTZ, Discovery News

NASA is planning missions to demonstrate how to make water on the moon and oxygen on Mars.

The initiatives are part of an evolving space exploration strategy that relies on indigenous resources, primarily to make rocket fuel for the return trip home.

 
Read Full Article
*Source: News.Discovery.com

Continue Reading

NASA: Engineered Microbes May Support Life in Space

Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center

A new NASA project called Synthetic Biology Initiative is studying the potential of designer microbes, based on tiny organisms called cyanobacterium, or blue-green algae, to convert the toxic atmospheres of planets like Mars or Venus into more hospitable environments. Such creatures would be manufactured using synthetic biology.

For more information on Synthetic Biology, please visit the NASA Ames Research Center Biology and Astrobiology site: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/research/area-biology-astrobiology.html

 
Read Full Article
*Source: Sci-Tech-Today.com

Continue Reading

Slosh Team Readies for Important Launch

Cygnus spacecraft shortly before attachment to ISS on September 29, 2013 Image Credit: NASA

Cygnus spacecraft shortly before attachment to ISS on September 29, 2013 Image Credit: NASA

After a successful demonstration flight in September, the next Orb-1 mission is scheduled to launch on an Antares rocket in January 2014 as part of the NASA Commercial Resupply to Station contract.

The first operational delivery flight to actually carry supplies and experiments, Orbital Sciences Corporation’s unmanned cargo freighter Cygnus will loft approximately 3,217 pounds (1,459 kg) of science equipment, spare parts and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA.

Along for the ride with this payload will be the ISS Fluid Slosh experiment, a Space Technology Mission Directorate, Game Changing Development Program project dedicated to improving our understanding of how liquids behave when there is little to no gravity.

“Modern computer models try to predict how liquid moves inside a propellant tank,” said NASA’s Brandon Marsell, co-principal investigator on the Slosh Project. “Now that rockets are bigger and are going farther, we need more precise data. Most of the models we have were validated under 1 g conditions on Earth. None have been validated in the surface tension-dominated microgravity environment of space.”

The proposed research provides the first data set from long duration tests in zero gravity that can be directly used to benchmark computational fluid dynamics models, including the interaction between the sloshing fluid and the tank/vehicle dynamics.

Powerful rockets use liquid fuel to bring satellites into orbit, and are subjected to varying forces as they are propelled forward. But computer simulations may not accurately represent how liquids behave in low-gravity conditions, causing safety concerns. The Slosh experiments improve these models, and thereby improve rocket safety, by measuring how liquids move around inside a container when external forces are applied to it. This simulates how rocket fuels swirl around inside their tanks while a rocket moves through space.

To explore the coupling of liquid slosh with the motion of an unconstrained tank in microgravity, NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) teamed up with NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) Program, the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to perform a series of slosh dynamics experiments in the ISS using the Synchronized Position Hold Engage Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) platform. The SPHERES test bed provides a unique, free-floating instrumented platform on ISS that can be utilized in a manner that would solve many of the limitations of the current knowledge related to propellant slosh dynamics on launch vehicle and spacecraft propellant tanks.

Slosh experiment launch package Image Credit: NASA

Slosh experiment launch package Image Credit: NASA

“It was a complex and detailed process to bring this concept to fruition,” said Charlie Holicker, an FIT student who worked on the physical design of the experiment and aluminum machining. “The data that this experiment will gather sets the foundation for all long-term space flight involving liquid fuels. It was an honor to be a part of something that will have such a great impact in the exploration of space.”

Rich Schulman, an FIT student involved in the Slosh experiment since its beginning, said, “One huge benefit for the students working on this project is seeing firsthand the requirements for developing a payload for the ISS. Having gone through this process successfully, the students involved can effectively build future payloads or projects at the same standard.”

Many satellites launch on rockets powered by liquid propellants, and improved understanding of these propellants could enhance efficiency, potentially lowering costs for industry and taxpayer-funded satellite launches.

 
Denise M. Stefula
NASA Langley Research Center

 
 

Continue Reading

NASA Developing Legs for Space Station’s Robonaut 2

r2legs2

NASA engineers are developing climbing legs for the International Space Station’s robotic crewmember Robonaut 2 (R2), marking another milestone in space humanoid robotics.

The legless R2, currently attached to a support post, is undergoing experimental trials with astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory. Since its arrival at the station in February 2011, R2 has performed a series of tasks to demonstrate its functionality in microgravity.

These new legs, funded by NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations and Space Technology mission directorates, will provide R2 the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside and outside the space station. The goal is to free up the crew for more critical work, including scientific research.

 
Read Full Article
*Source: NASA.gov

Continue Reading

NASA Outreach Opportunity to Enable Future Exploration Missions

NASA needs an affordable, lightweight vehicle for greater payload capability to enable future exploration missions. Composite Cryotanks could lead to rocket propellant tanks that achieve greater than 30% weight savings and 25% cost savings compared to the state-of-the-art metal tanks. Under a contract to the Boeing Company the Composite Cryotank Technologies and Demonstration (CCTD) project has produced the largest automated fiber placement, out-of-autoclave, composite tank ever manufactured. The 2.4m composite cryotank represented a major element of the accelerated building block approach that has informed the design, fabrication and testing of the 5.5 meter article. The tank was shipped from Huntsville, Alabama to Kissimmee, Florida to be displayed within the Boeing booth as part of the Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC) exhibit. The DMC is the premier national conference that brings together leaders from government, industry, and academia aimed at addressing advanced manufacturing technology. The conference has multiple sessions and panels where NASA has a long history with the conference sponsor – DOD MANTECH, and has significant ongoing technology interests and partnerships such as: Composites/Out-of Autoclave Composites; Metals; Digital Manufacturing; DARPA manufacturing; and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). This was an excellent public outreach opportunity for Boeing and NASA to disseminate the information about this exciting technology and start the dialog about future possible applications.

Continue Reading

Composite tanks promise major savings

ROCKET ENGINEERS HAVE LONG BEEN enthralled by the idea of storing liquid hydrogen in cryogenic tanks made from graphite composite. These would weigh an estimated 40% less than the cryogenic tanks used today, which are made of aluminum or higher strength aluminum lithium alloy. Automated manufacturing also could make the composite tanks 20% less expensive than metal versions.

Continue Reading

Tooling up for larger launch vehicles

NASA and Janicki Industries demonstrate composites’ cost advantage in tooling for fabrication of 10m/33 ft diameter payload fairing for next-generation launch vehicle.

The Space Launch System (SLS) will be the next heavy-lift launch vehicle for the National Aeronautics and Space Admin. (NASA, Washington D.C.). Composites have been chosen for both the launch vehicle structures and tooling because they offer performance and cost advantages over metals.

Continue Reading

Finally: a 3-D Printer for Space

Sure, 3-D printers can print pretty much any three-dimensional object you can think of – but can they print in zero gravity?

That’s what NASA wants to find out next year when it tests a 3-D printer on the International Space Station. So far, the printer, which NASA created with Made In Space, a California-based company, has successfully printed small computer parts in parabolic flights that simulate zero gravity. But the next step is to actually test a 3-D printer in space.

“We want to show that not only can we print, but when we print these tools they have same comparable quality as printing on Earth,” said Niki Werkheiser, project lead for 3-D printing in zero-G ISS technology demonstration at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

Continue Reading

Video: Space Station Live: 3-D Printing on the Station

Tools and space parts can be printed for use on the station eliminating the need to manufacture and deliver the gear for launch aboard a cargo spacecraft. Flight controllers could upload a CAD file to the space station for printing complex parts. A crew member could then assemble the newly printed parts to build tools, repair broken gear and even assemble nano-satellites.

During future long-term missions beyond low-Earth orbit a crew will not have the benefit of deliveries from a resupply craft. The new 3-D printing technology could benefit a potential mission to an asteroid or Mars.

Continue Reading

Exploring the
 Outer Edge of
 Space Technology

X1-Exoskeleton

Project Engineer Shelley Rea demonstrates the X1 Robotic Exoskeleton. Credits: NASA

An agency office aims to find the undeniable breakthroughs necessary for understanding the universe

NASA’s core culture is to push the boundaries of what has been to create what can be. And within this cutting-edge organization is an entire group dedicated solely to ensuring that the revolutions continue to expand. The Game Changing Development Program exists to find the disruptive technologies available in relevant fields, then move them into the proper channels for development and deployment.

Stephen Gaddis, director of the program, describes its straightforward mission saying, “We are looking for the game changers. We either transform or disrupt the way that the country, that the agency, is doing business in space. We want to have a high impact on new missions and new capabilities. In essence, we’re looking to change the way NASA does business.”

 
Read Full Article
*Source: AFCEA.org

Continue Reading

NASA Sees Potential In Composite Cryotank

[dropcap1]S[/dropcap1]uccessful tests of an all-composite cryogenic fuel tank for space launch vehicles hold promise for lower-cost access to space, perhaps before the decade is out.

A small composite fuel tank fabricated by Boeing with funding from the “game-changing” program of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate contained 2,091 gal. of liquid hydrogen through a series of shifts in its internal pressure and three temperature cycles ranging from ambient down to minus 423F.

The June 25 test at Marshall Space Flight Center with a 2.4-meter-dia. composite fuel tank paves the way for more tests next spring. That test will subject a 5.5-meter tank to flight-like mechanical loads as well as temperature and pressure cycles.

So far it appears the project is achieving its goal of reducing the cost of building tanks by at least 25% from that of conventional aluminum-lithium tanks, while cutting the weight of tanks made from the lightweight aluminum alloy by at least 30%.

“This is a very difficult problem,” says Mike Gazarik, associate administrator for space technology. “Composites and cryos don’t work well together, and these guys have done incredible work in figuring out how to design and how to fabricate these tanks.”

Continue Reading

Additive manufacturing could turn ‘rust belt’ into ‘tech belt’

CLEVELAND — Exciting technology is taking shape in Northeast Ohio. It’s additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, a concept that’s simpler than you might think.

“If you’ve made a layer cake, that’s additive manufacturing,” explains Malcolm Cooke of Case Western Reserve University.

“Two pieces of cake. Some cream in between. Plonk it together. That’s additive manufacturing.”

Traditional manufacturing is considered subtractive as a block of material is whittled down to produce an object, whereas additive manufacturing builds an object layer by layer.

“Very complex parts can be made relatively quickly,” says Cooke.

The technology has caught the eye of scientists at NASA Glenn Research Center for its cost effectiveness and convenience.

“It allows you to look at something you need, a part you need, and actually go and make that part,” says Carol Tolbert, of NASA.

Continue Reading

3D Printer Launching to Space Station in 2014

made-in-space-upside-down

A 3D printer is slated to arrive at the International Space Station next year, where it will crank out the first parts ever manufactured off planet Earth.

The company Made in Space is partnering with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on the 3D Printing in Zero G Experiment (or 3D Print for short), which aims to jump-start an off-planet manufacturing capability that could aid humanity’s push out into the solar system.

Read Full Article
*Source: Space.com

Continue Reading

Robot exoskeleton suits that could make us superhuman

Exoskeleton Technology

Lockheed Martin’s HULC exoskeleton is designed to allow soldiers to carry superhuman loads. (Image Credits: Lockheed Martin).

If you’ve been dreaming of strapping on your own “Iron Man” armor, you might have to wait a while longer. But revolutionary “bionic exoskeletons,” like the metal suit worn by comic book hero Tony Stark, might be closer than you think — just don’t expect to fly away in one.

Read Full Story

Source*: CNN

Continue Reading

Chief Technologist Mason Peck Attends MAGNET Event

NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck and Ohio manufacturers celebrate NASA’s partnership with industry in building the innovation economy.

NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck and Ohio manufacturers celebrate NASA’s partnership with industry in building the innovation economy. Credits: NASA

On May 23, NASA, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) announced nine small and medium-sized Ohio manufacturers that will receive NASA assistance to solve technical problems with new or existing products.


Read Full Story
Continue Reading

Women at NASA: Meg Nazario

Meg Nazario

Meg Nazario

As a senior in high school, I took a physics class. I loved the challenge of figuring things out, and I loved how math could be used to predict where a ball would land as it rolled off of a table. My teacher was amazing and helped keep my interest by making the subject so fascinating. But, I also loved playing the piano and was considering becoming a concert pianist. After much soul searching, I decided to have piano as my creative outlet and pursue physics for my career. I definitely made the right choice! I went to college and majored in physics. I then went on to get my Master’s degree in Physics and Ph.D in Electrical Engineering. Today, I work as an engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center in the Space Flight Systems Directorate, where I am a project manager for Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP). I love working at NASA.


Read Full Story
Continue Reading

NASA’s Solar-Electric Propulsion Engine and a Real-World Lightsaber (sort of)

NASA has released this image of the solar-electric propulsion thruster currently in development and undergoing tests at JPL. An earlier version of the engine is being used on the Dawn mission to the asteroid belt. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA has released this image of the solar-electric propulsion thruster currently in development and undergoing tests at JPL. An earlier version of the engine is being used on the Dawn mission to the asteroid belt. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA has posted an image of a solar-electric propulsion engine currently in development. The engine, which uses xenon ions, burns blue, and NASA is considering using the engine as part of its asteroid retrieval initiative. The engine is being tested at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The image above was taken at JPL through a porthole during testing.


Read Full Story
Continue Reading

NASA Seeks Innovative Suborbital Flight Technology Proposals

RELEASE : 13-108

WASHINGTON — For a second year, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals for suborbital technology payloads and spacecraft capability enhancements that could help revolutionize future space missions.

Selected technologies will travel to the edge of space and back on U.S. commercial suborbital vehicles and platforms, providing opportunities for testing before they are sent to work in the unforgiving environment of space.

The Game Changing Opportunities in Technology Development research announcement seeks proposals for technology payloads, vehicle enhancements, onboard facilities and small spacecraft propulsion technologies that will help the agency advance technology development in the areas of exploration, space operations and other innovative technology areas relevant to NASA’s missions. NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program is sponsoring the solicitation and expects proposals from entrepreneurs, scientists, technologists, instrument builders, research managers, and vehicle builders and operators. This year, NASA has included a topic on small spacecraft propulsion technologies from the agency’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program.

“Investing in transformative technology development is critical to enable NASA’s future missions and benefits the greater American aerospace community,” said James Reuther, deputy associate administrator for programs in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “NASA Space Tech’s Game Changing Development and Flight Opportunities Programs are working with our partners from America’s emerging suborbital flight community to foster frequent and predictable commercial access to near-space while allowing for cutting-edge technology development.”

Following development, selected payloads will be made available to NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program for pairing with appropriate commercial suborbital reusable launch service provider flights. In the case of small spacecraft propulsion technologies, there may be the potential for a direct orbital flight opportunity.

“This call will select innovators to develop novel technology payloads that will provide significant improvements over current state-of-the-art systems,” said Stephen Gaddis, Game Changing Development Program manager at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
Proposals are due June 17 and will be accepted from U.S. or non-U.S. organizations, including NASA centers, other government agencies, federally funded research and development centers, educational institutions, industry and nonprofit organizations.

NASA expects to make as many as 18 awards this summer with the majority of awards ranging in value between approximately $50,000 and $250,000 each. The total combined funding for this announcement is expected to be about $2 million, based on availability of funds.
The Game Changing Opportunities research announcement is available on NASA’s Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System website:

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/

Langley manages the Game Changing Development Program, and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., manages the Flight Opportunities Program for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. For more information on the Game Changing Development activities and information on this solicitation for payloads, visit:

http://go.usa.gov/RPS

For more information about NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, visit:

http://go.usa.gov/4fEB

– end –


text-only version of this release

Continue Reading