BREMEN, Germany, October 2, 2018 (NanoRacks PR) — In August 2018, NanoRacks was one of 13 companies selected by NASA to study the future of commercial human spaceflight in low-Earth orbit, including long-range opportunities for the International Space Station.
Today, NanoRacks is pleased to share the expansive industry team that the Company will be working with to complete this study and show the viability of commercial habitats (“Outposts”) in low-Earth orbit and the future of International Space Station commercial utilization. (more…)
Altius Small Machines will develop systems that will allow for orbiting satellites to be upgraded and for planetary science missions to changes the tools they are using with the help of NASA funding.
The space agency selected the Colorado-based company for two awards under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 program. Each contract is worth up to $125,000 over 13 months.
One project involves MagTags, which are modular interfaces that use “solid state switchable magnets and ferrous target materials to create a secure electrical or low-pressure fluid connection between modules and spacecraft with no moving parts,” according to the proposal summary.
We’ve all heard of dogtags for dogs and for soldiers. But, for space robots?
That’s what Jonathan Goff’s Altius Space Machines will begin developing with NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I funding. The contract is worth $125,000 over six months.
Altius’s dogtags are lightweight, passive robotic interfaces that could be attached to habitat structures and objects. Examples of structures include human-tended deep space habitats and commercial manufacturing facilities in Easrth orbit that wouldn’t be permanently staffed.
NASA has selected five propulsion projects for phase 2 funding under its Small Business Innovation Business (SBIR) program. The space agency will enter into negotiations with the five companies on contracts worth up to $750,000 over two years.
Three of the projects involve technology for the storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants in space. The other two projects would fund development of nuclear systems.
The selected projects include:
Lightweight, High-Flow, Low Connection-Force, In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Coupling — Altius Space Machines, Inc, Broomfield, CO
Innovative Stirling-Cycle Cryocooler for Long Term In-Space Storage of Cryogenic Liquid Propellants — Converter Source, LLC, Athens, OH
Proposal Title: A High Efficiency Cryocooler for In-Space Cryogenic Propellant Storage — Creare, LLC, Hanover, NH
Joining of Tungsten Cermet Nuclear Fuel — Plasma Processes, LLC, Huntsville, AL
Accident Tolerant Reactor Shutdown for NTP Systems — Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, Los Alamos, NM
NASA has selected an in-space cryogenic fluids project by Jon Goff’s Altius Space Machines for negotiations on a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II. These contract is worth up to $750,000 over two years.
“While all cryogenic rocket stages have to have a propellant fill/drain coupling for loading propellant on the ground, existing designs are not capable of in-space refuelability,” Goff said in his proposal. “A dual-purpose coupler that could be used for both ground fill/drain and for in-space refueling would be extremely valuable.
As I was looking through NASA’s recent small business selection announcement for propulsion-related projects, I have found that the space agency has selected 29 Small Business Innovation Research and 8 Small Business Technology Transfer proposals for funding.
The proposals cover a wide range of areas, including in-space propulsion for CubeSats to technologies for new launch vehicles. Several proposals are also focused on in-space propellant depots.
A list of the selected projects with links to the proposals follows.
NASA has selected Altius Space Machines for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award to develop a system that would allow International Space Station (ISS) crew members to off-load some of their menial tasks to robots.
Altius is developing low-inertia STEM arm (LISA) manipulators for use on SPHERES robots that are now being used aboard the space station. SPHERES are currently being used as testbeds for relative navigation and proximity operations, but NASA is interested in developing them to assist astronauts with various tasks.
In the last post, I introduced the two SBIR Select Phase 1 contracts that Altius has commenced work on. This blog post will focus on the other two Asteroid Redirect Mission contracts which mentioned there. These have been selected for contract negotiation, but aren’t active contracts yet, so I will try to be a little more high-level in this blog post.
The agency is working on two concepts for the mission. The first concept would fully capture a very small asteroid in free space and the other would retrieve a boulder off of a much larger asteroid. Both concepts would redirect an asteroid mass less than 10 meters in size to orbit the moon. Astronauts aboard the Orion spacecraft launched on the Space Launch System (SLS) would rendezvous with the captured asteroid mass in lunar orbit and collect samples for return to Earth.
NASA has selected Jon Goff’s Altius Space Machines for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop an aerobraking and aerocapture system using an electromagnetic coil that would allow CubeSats to explore other planets and their moons.
The project, which is being done in cooperation with MSNW LLC of Redmond, Wash., involves technology that can be scaled up for larger robotic and human missions to Mars and other worlds. The electromagnetic systems would allow for significant mass savings in the size of the spacecraft.
Altius’ work focuses on the Multi-Purpose Interplanetary Deployable Aerocapture System (MIDAS), which could be packaged into 6U CubeSats sent to Mars, Venus, or Jupiter’s moon Europa.
So far, CubeSats have been used exclusively in Earth orbit. But, imagine a fleet of these tiny spacecraft fanning out to the moon and other deep-space destinations.
That’s what NASA has in mind. The space agency has just committed about $1.1 million to fund nine research projects that address different deep-space cubesat technologies. The funding is part of the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Select Phase 1 grants announced earlier this week.