Tag Archives | propulsion

Propulsive Descent Technologies (PDT)

pdt

The objective of PDT is to advance the technologies associated with Mars propulsive descent.

NASA’s continued interest in developing commercial partnerships launched a collaboration with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) and its Mars Red Dragon activity. This technology demonstration seeks to provide flight data at Mars relevant conditions, which is applicable to human scale missions to Mars. Future advanced robotic and human missions to Mars require the ability to land much larger payloads than current capabilities, such as the Mars Science Lab (MSL). Recent highly successful SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage rocket demonstration flights show that progress with propulsive descent capabilities relevant to Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) can be achieved in the near term.

Under the Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (NRSAA) with SpaceX, NASA will provide support to a SpaceX-led technology demonstration mission to Mars utilizing a modified Dragon 2 entry vehicle launched atop a Falcon Heavy rocket. The aim of the Propulsive Descent Technologies (PDT) project is to advance the state of the art for high mass Mars EDL, and to advance technologies associated with Mars propulsive descent at supersonic conditions, a capability that maps into NASA’s ultimate goal of delivering humans to Mars.

Current technologies advancing under PDT are:

Red Dragon Technology Demonstration – a NASA partnership with SpaceX to perform an atmospheric flight demonstration of EDL at Mars, involving technologies such as SRP and Plume Surface Interaction.
Supersonic Retro Propulsion (SRP) – an Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) technology that relies on retrorockets at supersonic speeds to decelerate a vehicle as it travels through the atmosphere.
Plume-Surface Interaction – technologies that characterize and model soil and bedrock erosion on a planetary surface, due to the effects caused by rocket engine plumes of large mass propulsive landers.

Principal Technologist Project Manager
Michelle Munk (michelle.m.munk@nasa.gov) Charles Campbell (charles.h.campbell@nasa.gov)


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

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 […]

NASA, SpaceX Share Data On Supersonic Retropropulsion

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 […]

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. “Because the technologies required to land large payloads on […]

Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)

Solar Electric Propulsion

in_space_prop_plasma_rocketFuture Human Exploration requires high power solar electric propulsion vehicles to move cargo and humans beyond Low Earth Orbit, which requires large light weight arrays, high power processing, and robust ops in egregious environs.The SEP Project will develop and mature technologies primarily for transition to NASA Mission Directorates engaged in manned and robotic exploration of space.

 

 

 

Principal Technologist: Charles Taylor (charles.b.taylor@nasa.gov)

Project Manager: Margaret Nazario (margaret.l.nazario@nasa.gov) [/one_half]

Solar Power Element Manager: Carolyn Mercer (cmercer@nasa.gov)

In-Space Propulsion Element Manager: Tim Smith (timothy.d.smith@nasa.gov)

NASA Tech Briefs Interview with Chuck Taylor

Chuck Taylor is principal investigator of in-space propulsion and space power generation within the Game Changing Development Program. He is responsible for a portfolio of technologies, including large-scale solar electric propulsion systems, the subject of this NASA Tech Briefs interview. Read more…(+)

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

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 […]

Administration confirms NASA plan: Grab an asteroid, then focus on Mars

NASA’s accelerated vision for exploration calls for moving a near-Earth asteroid even nearer to Earth, sending out astronauts to bring back samples within a decade, and then shifting the focus to Mars, a senior Obama administration official told NBC News on Saturday. Image Credit: DigitalSpace Read More (+)

Artist’s Concept of a Solar Electric Propulsion System

Using advanced Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) technologies is an essential part of future missions into deep space with larger payloads. The use of robotics and advanced SEP technologies like this concept of an SEP-based spacecraft during NASA mission to find, rendezvous, capture and relocate an asteroid to a stable point in the lunar vicinity offers […]

New Thrust for Solar Electric Propulsion

Harnessing the power of the Sun to provide thrust for transport in space has long been a part of science fiction imagery. Now a reality after decades of development, it has found increasing use for applications ranging from station-keeping to orbit-raising. Obstacles remain, but evolving technology should enable expanding applications of this weight-saving form of […]

Magnetic shielding of walls from the unmagnetized ion beam in a Hall thruster

A new 15kW high power Hall thruster is being developed to support a Solar Electric Propulsion Technology demonstration mission within the ISP project. One of the key design features for the new thruster will be the use of magnetic shielding for improving thruster life by shaping the magnetic field to reduce discharge channel wall erosion. […]