ESA Unveils Technologies for Future Launch Vehicles

Moving launch vehicle technology from ‘lab to launch’ (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA safeguards Europe’s guaranteed access to space through its Future Launchers Preparatory Programme, FLPP.

FLPP weighs up the opportunities and risks of different launch vehicle concepts and associated technologies.

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MOONRISE: Melting Moon Dust with a Laser

A laser on a lunar rover. (Credit: LZH)

HANNOVER, Germany (LZH PR) — The moon – Earth satellite, first waypost on the way to other planets, enormously important for space research: With the ambitious MOONRISE project, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Institute of Space Systems (IRAS) of the Technical University of Braunschweig are aiming at melting moon dust with a laser in order to make it usable as building material.

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NASA Selects In-Space and Advanced 3-D Manufacturing Technologies for Funding

NASA is continuing to encourage the use of 3-D manufacturing technologies for use on Earth and in space through the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

In addition to funding two projects by Made in Space focused on glass alloys and structures for advanced interferometery missions, the space agency also selected six other additive manufacturing proposals for funding under SBIR Phase II.

The awards, which are worth up to $750,000 for as long as two years, are focused on expanding additive manufacturing (AM) to include the use of stronger plastics and metals as well plastics recycling and improving production on Earth. One company is developing the ability to print next-generation electronics aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Several of the proposals are developing materials and technologies that would be used in a new additive manufacturing system called FabLab that NASA will launch to the station. The new printer would use multiple materials instead of just plastic feed stock to print parts and tools.

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NASA and Virgin Orbit 3D Print, Test Rocket Combustion Chamber

Engineers test-fire a 3D-printed rocket engine combustion chamber at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA is partnering with Virgin Orbit of Long Beach, California, to deliver advanced engine hardware that employs cutting-edge NASA and commercial additive manufacturing, or 3D-printing, processes. Researchers will continue to explore advanced 3D-printing solutions, introducing even higher-performing alloys and further refining the printing process. (Credits: NASA/Virgin Orbit)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — At the heart of future rocket engines lifting off to the Moon or Mars could be a 3D printed combustion chamber. Multiple NASA centers partnered with Virgin Orbit to develop and test a uniquely manufactured rocket part.

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Teams 3D Print Planetary Habitats, Awarded $700K in NASA Challenge

AI. SpaceFactory of New York wins the final round of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, held at Caterpillar’s Edwards Demonstration & Learning Center in Edwards, Illinois. (Credits: NASA/Emmett Given)

PEORIA, Ill. (NASA PR) — After 30 hours of 3D printing over four days of head-to-head competition, NASA and partner Bradley University of Peoria, Illinois, have awarded $700,000 to two teams in the final round of the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The top prize of $500,000 was awarded to New York based AI. SpaceFactory. Second-place and $200,000 was awarded to Pennsylvania State University of University Park.

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NASA to Advance Unique 3D Printed Sensor Technology

Technologist Mahmooda Sultana holds an early iteration of an autonomous multifunctional sensor platform, which could benefit all of NASA’s major scientific disciplines and efforts to send humans to the Moon and Mars. (Credits: NASA/W. Hrybyk)

By Lori Keesey
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

A NASA technologist is taking miniaturization to the extreme.

Mahmooda Sultana won funding to advance a potentially revolutionary, nanomaterial-based detector platform. The technology is capable of sensing everything from minute concentrations of gases and vapor, atmospheric pressure and temperature, and then transmitting that data via a wireless antenna — all from the same self-contained platform that measures just two-by-three-inches in size.

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Winning Ideas for 3D Printing on the Moon

A vision of a future Moon base that could be produced and maintained using 3D printing. (Credit: RegoLight, visualisation: Liquifer Systems Group, 2018)

PARIS (ESA PR) — While studying lunar base concepts ESA ran a competition, asking: what would you 3D print on the Moon, to make it feel like home? Responses came from all across the globe, and now two winners have been selected, both with ideas linked to nature.
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Russia First to Print Living Tissue in Space

Oleg Kononenko using the 3D bio-printer aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — INVITRO, a leading medical company, and 3D Bioprinting Solutions biotechnology laboratory announced a successful completion of the first stage of the Magnetic 3D Bioprinter space experiment. On December 3, 2018, the Organaut bioprinter was delivered to the ISS on board the Soyuz MS-11 manned spacecraft. For the first time on orbit, cosmonaut-researcher Oleg Kononenko printed human cartilage tissue and a rodent thyroid gland using a Russian bioprinter.

The Organaut was already aboard the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft on October 11, 2018, but its crew returned to Earth 20 minutes later after an emergency situation. The bioprinter landed in the habitation module and was significantly damaged by overload. The backup was prepared and the crew’s repeated training was organized in the shortest possible time.

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Avio Successfully Tested M10-methane Engine Prototype

M10 liquid oxygen-methane engine. (Credit: Avio)

COLLEFERRO, Italy (Avio PR) – Today in Colleferro Avio successfully tested the prototype of the new M10 liquid oxygen-methane engine, developed by Avio in partnership with the European Space Agency within the Vega E (Vega Evolution) program. The prototype is a scaled model of the third stage propulsion engine which will equip the Vega launcher starting from 2024.

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Russia to Deliver Magnetic 3-D Bioprinter to Space Station

Russia plans to deliver a magnetic 3-D bioprinter capable of growing living tissues and eventually organs.to the International Space Station (ISS) next month, TASS reports.

The Organ-Avt bioprinter, built by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, is a copy of one that was lost in the abort of the Soyuz MS-10 mission on Oct. 11. Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague parachuted to safety after a malfunction of their Soyuz-FG booster.

The bioprinter, which also can be used to used to study the effects on living organisms during long-duration spaceflights. will be carried to ISS aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft. The spacecraft is set to lift off from the Baiknour Cosmodrome on Dec. 3 with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, American astronaut Anne McClain and Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques aboard.

Kleos Space Signs Second MoU with Airbus Defence and Space

MoU covers the companies’ agreement to collaborate on In-Space
manufacturing technology

Luxembourg/ Bremen (G), 15 October 2018 (Kleos Space PR) — Luxembourg-based and ASX listed Kleos Space S.A. (ASX:KSS), state-of-the-art space technology operator, today announces the signature of a second Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus Defence and Space, as both companies investigate opportunities to collaborate for the manufacture In-Space of structural elements.

Kleos Space and parent Magna Parva (UK) have developed an In-Space manufacturing system that will provide a method of producing huge carbon composite 3D structures in space.

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Made In Space Expands via Luxembourg into Europe to Serve Worldwide Community of Customers

LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG September 27, 2018 (Made in Space PR) – Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) to open a new facility in Luxembourg which will enable the company to more easily serve its European customers. MIS’s Luxembourg operations will focus on bringing low-cost robotic systems to the European market. Luxembourg was a strategically chosen location due to its proximity to both excellent robotics talent and successful European aerospace companies.

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GKN Aerospace Wins ArianeGroup Contract for Ground-breaking Additively Manufactured Rocket Engine Turbines

Rocket engine (Credit: ArianeGroup)

Trollhättan, Sweden (GKN Aerospace PR) — GKN Aerospace will develop and manufacture two full-scale turbines for the Prometheus* low-cost re-usable rocket engine demonstrator on liquid oxygen and methane propellants. The turbines will generate power for the methane fuel system, with the first turbine to be delivered at the end of 2019. Manufacturing will take place in cooperation with partners and at GKN Aerospace’s highly automated engine systems centre of excellence in Trollhättan, Sweden.

The new state of the art turbine with all its challenging loads – including very high pressure, high speed and high temperatures – incorporates the latest additive manufacturing (AM) technologies with higher performance, lower lead times and significant cost reduction. This innovative development will support the next step in AM: the use of this technology for future higher loaded critical components in terms of pressure, temperature and rotational speed.

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Space is Hard: Tough Testing for 3D Printed Parts

Laser-based 3D printing (Credit: AMAZE – Fraunhofer ILT/Airbus)

HARWELL, UK (ESA PR) — 3D-printed metal parts produced through a Europe-wide collaboration of high-performance industrial sectors have undergone extensive testing for space use – tested to destruction in many cases – by ESA’s specialist advanced manufacturing lab in the UK.

ESA’s Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory based in Harwell, UK, took delivery of the sample parts, produced as an output of the four-year AMAZE programme, harnessing metal 3D printing to produce lighter, cheaper, better products.

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Researchers Make Bricks From Simulated Moon Dust


1.5 tonne building block produced as a demonstration (Credit: ESA)

COLOGNE, Germany (ESA PR) — Lunar masonry starts on Earth. European researchers are working with Moon dust simulants that could one day allow astronauts to build habitats on our natural satellite and pave the way for human space exploration.

The surface of the Moon is covered in grey, fine, rough dust. This powdery soil is everywhere – an indigenous source that could become the ideal material for brickwork. You can crush it, burn it and compress it.

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