NASA Awards Contract for Bed Rest Studies

Volunteer participates in a bed rest study at the :envihab analog in Cologne, Germany. Bed rest studies like AGBRESA have a downward-tilt protocol. The six-degree downward tilt of each bed mimics the weightlessness of the spaceflight environment. (Credits: DLR)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) of Cologne, Germany, to provide use of its facility to support long-duration bed rest research.

The $49.9 million Bedrest Studies Contract will support a series of bed rest studies at the company’s facility in Cologne, Germany. Services also may be required at other NASA centers, contractor or subcontractor locations, or vendor facilities.

The contract provides support services for the Human Health and Performance Directorate and Human Research Program (HRP) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. However, NASA does not anticipate any need to call for study volunteers in the U.S.

The HRP-sponsored studies will use strict head-down tilt bed rest as an analog for some of the physiological adaptations experienced by astronauts during spaceflight. The research aims to better understand and evaluate countermeasures for the risks associated with long-duration spaceflight missions including the International Space Station, Artemis and Gateway programs.

“Major research themes for this year are how crews perform when operating autonomously from Mission Control as well as other Earth-based support and the effectiveness of different advanced systems for supporting these types of autonomous operations,” said Brandon Vessey, the element scientist for research operations and integration within HRP. “Results from these studies will help to inform how NASA plans for future exploration missions when astronaut crews will need to operate more independently from Earth than they do in current International Space Station missions in low-Earth orbit.”

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm, fixed-price task orders, begins Nov. 23, 2021, and extends through Dec. 31, 2025, with no phase-in period.

Learn more about NASA and its programs at:

https://www.nasa.gov

ESA Boost! Contract Signed for Flight Demonstration of Spectrum Launch Vehicle

Spectrum rocket (Credit Isar Aerospace)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Small and medium satellites can expect new launch opportunities on the Spectrum launch vehicle thanks to an ESA Boost! co-funding contract worth €11 million [US $12.39 million] with Isar Aerospace Technologies in Germany.

The flight demonstrations of Spectrum will pave the way for an extended availability of European launch service solutions for small satellites, delivering dedicated launch opportunities.

(more…)

Expert on Space Junk: When Spacecraft Explode, Answers May be in the Debris Left Behind

Carolin Frueh, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, enjoys solving math problems that just keep getting harder the more that she discovers about how space junk behaves. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR) — Much of the space junk orbiting Earth won’t clean up itself – or tell you how it got there.

Purdue University’s Carolin Frueh and her team are investigating what causes spacecraft to become space junk. Their findings are revealing ways to prevent spacecraft from breaking apart into thousands of pieces of debris that pose a threat to space stations and satellites.

(more…)

Pangea Aerospace’s Aerospike Engine Tested on DLR Test Bench

MethaLox Aerospike Drive during a hot run test: On behalf of the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace, a DLR team carried out a successful hot run test of the world’s first additively manufactured MethaLox aerospike drive at the European research and technology test bench P8. (Credit: Pangea Aerospace)
  • On behalf of the start-up Pangea Aerospace, DLR tested a MethaLox aerospike engine for the first time.
  • The team from DLR and Pangea Aerospace successfully carried out several hot-run tests on the European research and technology test stand P8.
  • Aerospike technology promises a much higher degree of efficiency compared to conventional drives.
  • The unique test bench infrastructure at DLR’s Lampoldshausen site is a prerequisite for the development of future-oriented European space propulsion systems.

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (DLR PR) — Unique test stands, extensive know-how and decades of experience – the Lampoldshausen site of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) specializes in developing and testing drives for space travel. Whether for the large launchers of the Ariane family or the growing market of start-ups for smaller rockets, so-called micro-launchers: That DLR Institute for Space Propulsion tests and qualifies technology demonstrators as well as entire engine stages for launch into space. In November 2021, a DLR team commissioned the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace examined a very special engine: At the European research and technology test bench P8, they successfully carried out hot-run tests on the world’s first additively manufactured MethaLox aerospike engine. Overheating tests are comprehensive functional tests – they are an important step in preparing for a first flight.

(more…)

Climate Models Improved Through Artificial Intelligence and Earth Observation Data

Change in surface temperature. (Credit: © DLR/DKRZ)
  • At the UN climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, the world community advises on measures against climate change.
  • The impact of humans on climate change is clear, according to the World Climate Report.
  • As coordinating lead author, Prof. Veronika Eyring from DLR is jointly responsible for the report.
  • Her research evaluates different climate models with observational data from space travel and improves the models with AI.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — The models for predicting climate change are becoming more and more accurate. They process huge amounts of data, evaluate information and combine them into an overall picture. The World Climate Report has shown what that looks like. “It is clear that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, the ocean and the land,” the report notes. The extent of the changes in the entire climate system is therefore unprecedented for many centuries to millennia. 

(more…)

CNES, JAXA Sign New Cooperation Agreement on Martian Moons Sample Return Mission

Martian Moons mission approaches Deimos. (Credit: JAXA/NHK)

PARIS (CNES PR) — CNES and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) have signed an implementation arrangement covering cooperation activities in the field of flight dynamics and geodetic research as well as the French instrument MIRS (an infrared imaging spectrometer) as part of the Japanese MMX (Martian Moons eXploration) mission scheduled for launch in 2024.

(more…)

Terahertz Booster – Transferring Data Faster with Quantum Material

Terahertz pulses hit a topological insulator (Credit: HZDR/Juniks)
  • An international team of researchers uses experiments to show that topological insulators could serve as the basis for highly efficient electronic components.
  • Scientists from the DLR Institute for Optical Sensor Systems are participating in the study.
  • These quantum materials could ensure faster mobile data transmission in the future.
  • In the future, this material can also play a major role in the development of detector systems such as space telescopes.

COLOGNE, Germany (DLR PR) — They are considered to be extremely interesting materials for the electronics of the future: Topological insulators conduct electricity in a special way and promise new types of circuits and faster mobile communications. An international team of researchers, with the participation of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), has now unraveled a fundamental property of the new class of materials: How do the electrons in the material react when they are “startled” with short pulses of so-called terahertz radiation? The results are not only important for a fundamental understanding of these novel quantum materials, but could also ensure faster mobile data communication in the future or be used in highly sensitive detector systems for the exploration of distant planets. 

(more…)

Nutrient Mixing System for Future Lunar Greenhouses

Greenhouse concept for use on the moon and Mars. (Credit: LIQUIFER Systems Group)

BREMEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The development of greenhouse systems is essential in order to enable life on the moon and Mars in the long term in the future. This requires bio-regenerative life support systems that close vital cycles. After more than a year of joint design and development work in cooperation between the Dutch company Priva and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), two prototypes of a nutrient mixing system for future lunar and Mars greenhouses have now been completed and installed. Tests of the promising systems begin in the DLR’s EDEN laboratory in Bremen. The aim is to set up a 1: 1 demonstrator of a lunar greenhouse system there by 2025.

(more…)

Successful Static Test of German/Brazilian S50 Rocket Engine with DLR Participation

S50 solid rocket motor during static burn test in Brazil. (Credit: ©DCTA/IAE)
  • Brazil is working together with DLR on the development of rocket motors and subsystems.
  • The S50 solid rocket motor will form the first two stages of the Brazilian VLM-1 launcher and the first stage of the European VS-50 sounding rocket.
  • The first successful static burn test of an S50 solid rocket engine was carried out in Brazil on October 1, 2021.

SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil (DLR PR) — On October 1, 2021, an S50 solid rocket motor successfully passed a static burn test on the Usina Coronel Abner (UCA) premises in São José dos Campos in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. In the future, these solid-fuel motors will power the first two stages of the new Brazilian VLM-1 launcher for microsatellites. The test was conducted by a technical team from the Brazilian Aerospace Institute (IAE) on behalf of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and the Brazilian Ministry of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA). As part of the long-term cooperation between Brazil and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the now tried and tested rocket motor is being used in a new sounding rocket for Europe.

(more…)

Brazil Successfully Tests S50 Rocket Engine for Microsat Launcher

S50 test team (Credit: Brazilian Space Agency)

This is an important step for the Brazilian Space Program, which will now advance in the construction of its Microsatellite Launch Vehicle (VLM) and VS-50.

BRASILIA, Brazil (AEB PR) — The test of the S50, which took place this Friday (1st), at a unit of the Institute of Aeronautics and Space (IAE), was a success. The engineers present were very happy with the results. Among the various authorities were the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), Marcos Pontes, the president of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), Carlos Moura, the director of the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA), Lieutenant Brigadier from the air Hudson Costa Potiguara, the director of the Aeronautics and Space Institute (IAE), brigadier air O`Donnell, and the president of the Aerospace Industries Association of Brazil (AIAB), Julio Shidara, as well as representatives of the national industry, for middle of Avibrás.

(more…)

DLR to Cooperate with Spanish Startup Pangea Aerospace on Developing Aerospike Engine

European research and technology test bench P8. (Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0))
  • DLR supports the increasing demand for engine tests for new, innovative propulsion technologies in space travel.
  • DLR and the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace agree on a collaboration. The focus is on tests with a technology demonstrator of an additively manufactured aerospike engine from October 2021.
  • At the Lampoldshausen site, DLR offers a test infrastructure that is unique in Europe for space propulsion systems of all sizes and types.

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (DLR PR) — In order to ensure Europe’s independent and competitive access to space, the Federal Government is also relying on efficient start-ups. With their ideas and visions, they can accelerate the development of new technologies in the carrier market. Against this background, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at the Lampoldshausen site has signed a contract with the Spanish start-up Pangea Aerospace in the summer of 2021.

(more…)

DLR Lampoldshausen Makes the P5 Test Stand Fit for the Engine Technologies of the Future

Installation of the methane tank in the ESA test stand P5. [Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)]
  • The DLR is strengthening and modernizing its test infrastructure at the Lampoldshausen site with the renovation and expansion of the ESA large test bench P5.
  • The installation of a methane tank is an important milestone.
  • This means that tests of rocket propulsion systems with the fuel combination of liquid oxygen and methane will also be possible in the future.
  • The commissioning of the converted ESA test bench P5 is planned for 2022.

LAMPOLDSHAUSEN, Germany (DLR PR) — The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is making a central component of its extensive test infrastructure fit for the future: It expands the ESA large test bench P5 at the DLR site in Lampoldshausen. In this way, the next generation of space propulsion systems can also be tested flexibly and reliably.

(more…)

Isar Aerospace Opens Payloads Slots for First Two Spectrum Rocket Launches

Spectrum rocket

Isar Aerospace Announcement

In April this year, we won the national micro launcher competition #Boost! With a funding of 11M€ for the first two flights of its Spectrum [rocket] by Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie and  Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V., Isar Aerospace will offer launch opportunities for institutional payloads of up to 150 kg total mass each flight.

Today, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt e.V., European Space Agency – ESA and Isar Aerospace published the Announcement of Opportunity, which is to pre-select the payloads for our first test flight and to identify candidate spacecraft for the second flight of the Spectrum launch vehicle. It is open to any European institutional satellite customer of launch services. Application closes on Oct. 31, 2021.

Link to the full document with all details in English and German:

English — https://lnkd.in/dihvuaJW
German — https://lnkd.in/dswZy4Cv

Cargo Dragon Docks with International Space Station

Credit: NASA

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — While the International Space Station was traveling about 260 miles over the Western Australia, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft autonomously docked to the forward-facing port of the orbiting laboratory’s Harmony module at 10:30 a.m. EDT, Monday, Aug. 30. Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA monitored operations.

Among the science experiments Dragon is delivering to the space station are:

(more…)

23rd SpaceX Commercial Resupply Mission to Launch Bone, Plant, and Materials Studies to International Space Station

Image of seedlings with different genotypes following 9 days of growth in the VEGGIE chamber under temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide conditions mimicking those recorded on the space station. Taken during verification testing at NASA Kennedy Space Center. (Credits: Dr. Shih-Heng Su)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting Saturday, Aug. 28, to launch its 23rd commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Dragon spacecraft is scheduled for liftoff at 3:37 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

(more…)