Tag: Flight Opportunities Program

Terminal Velocity Aerospace Tests Recoverable Experiments Capsule

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High-altitude balloon lifts space reentry capsule for flight test. (Credit: Near Space Corporation)

High-altitude balloon lifts space reentry capsule for flight test. (Credit: Near Space Corporation)

TILLAMOOK, Ore. (NASA PR) — A prototype capsule that one day will return science experiments to Earth was tested by releasing it from a high-altitude balloon in Tillamook, Oregon. Technology like this capsule could one day return biological samples and other small payloads from space in a relatively short time.

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Astrobotic, NASA Team to Develop Flight Software for Griffin Lander

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Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

Griffin Lander. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH, PA, July 7, 2015 (Astrobotic PR) – Astrobotic Technology, in partnership with NASA under the Lunar CATALYST initiative, has developed a preliminary version of its flight software for precision guidance. This software will direct the Griffin lander to safe touchdown on the Moon at a pit in the Lacus Mortis region on Astrobotic’s first mission. Astrobotic developed the software using NASA’s Core Flight Software (CFS), then validated Griffin’s mission performance and fuel usage using NASA-proven modeling and simulation tools.

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Draper to Flight Test New Spacesuit Technology

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Draper_gyroscopeCAMBRIDGE, MA (Draper Laboratory PR) – As Sandra Bullock’s character in the movie “Gravity” spun away from the space shuttle following an accident during a spacewalk, she found herself disoriented and unable to determine her own position. Astronauts find that the lack of gravitational force that made her character unable to distinguish up from down can also be disorienting when doing routine research and other tasks in the initial days after reaching orbit, and its absence during prolonged weightlessness can lead to muscle and bone loss.

NASA has funded Draper Laboratory to address these concerns with new spacesuit technology that introduces a sensation similar to gravitational pull, giving them a sense of “down” while in space. The artificial force could also keep astronauts healthier by giving them the slight resistance to movement that comes with gravity, which helps keep muscles in shape and bones from degenerating.

The space agency announced plans on April 22 to test Draper’s spacesuit technology in a microgravity environment during parabolic flight funded by its Flight Opportunities Program.

“This flight opportunity allows us to demonstrate our technology in a relevant environment for spaceflight use, as well as determine how much torque we need to generate so that astronauts can feel the resistance while weightless,” explained Kevin Duda, Draper’s principal investigator for the Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit (V2Suit).

Draper began development of the V2Suit, which includes an inertial measurement unit and control moment gyroscopes to raise or lower resistance to body movements, with funding from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) office. Draper is also investigating the possibility of applying the same technology here on Earth to stabilize walking and other movements for the elderly, and assist with injury rehabilitation.

NASA Flight Opportunities Selects Experiments for Flights

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A Stanford University technology, Caging System for Drag-free Satellites for use in autonomous precision orbit determination, was flown on Zero-G's parabolic aircraft.(Credits: NASA Photo/Lauren Harnet)

A Stanford University technology, Caging System for Drag-free Satellites for use in autonomous precision orbit determination, was flown on Zero-G’s parabolic aircraft.(Credits: NASA Photo/Lauren Harnet)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected seven space technology payloads for flights on commercial, parabolic or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new space technologies. These flights provide a valuable platform to mature cutting-edge technologies, validating feasibility and reducing technical risks and costs before infusion into multiple future space missions.

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Terminal Velocity Aerospace to Demonstrate Payload Return Capsule

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Terminal_VelocityATLANTA, GA, April 14, 2015 (TVA PR) – Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC (TVA) was recently selected by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program (FOP) for demonstration of a small payload return capsule and associated technologies via a high-altitude drop test. Flight test of the prototype capsule will demonstrate mission-enabling communications technologies and verify integrated performance, including functionality of its parachute recovery system. This activity is directly aligned with TVA’s efforts to develop a small reentry device, RED-4U, capable of returning the payload mass and volume equivalent of four or more CubeSats. In addition, as part of this drop test, a payload provided by Dr. Abba Zubair of the Mayo Clinic in collaboration with the Center for Applied Space Technology (CAST-ARMM) and Morehead State University will serve as a pathfinder for the transportation of high value space-based research products from space back to a terrestrial laboratory.

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World View Carries Out High Altitude Flight for NASA

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World_View_LogoTUCSON, Ariz., March 9, 2015 (World View PR) – World View, the commercial balloon spaceflight company, has completed their first commercial flight carrying research payloads as part of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities Program. This program gives students, researchers and educators the opportunity to fly their experiments and payloads with proven commercial flight companies.

“World View is committed to furthering stratospheric exploration and research,” said Taber MacCallum, World View’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our first flight as a NASA flight service provider marks the launch of our commercial efforts to aid research and education by providing a new way for NASA and others to access near-space.”

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Year in Review: A Look at Virgin Galactic Developments in 2014

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WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Continuing our look back at 2014, we review progress at Virgin Galactic. While the loss of SpaceShipTwo on Oct. 31 understandably dominated the headlines, there were a number of other newsworthy developments at the company last year.

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Project PoSSUM to Hold Scientist-Astronaut Class at Embry Riddle

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Project_PoSSUMBoulder, Colo., December 29, 2014 (Project PoSSUM PR) – Project PoSSUM, a non-profit suborbital research program, announces the first PoSSUM scientist-astronaut class to be held at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., Feb. 7 – 10, 2015. This unique opportunity allows individuals to train with some of the world’s leading upper atmospheric scientists and to fly to space as part of an international research campaign dedicated to the study of global climate. The four-day, fully immersive qualification program was designed by former NASA astronaut instructors to provide its candidates with the skills required to effectively conduct research on commercial space vehicles as part of Project PoSSUM.

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Gecko Grips Tested in Microgravity

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PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — There are no garbage trucks equipped to leave the atmosphere and pick up debris floating around the Earth. But what if we could send a robot to do the job?

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are working on adhesive gripping tools that could grapple objects such as orbital debris or defunct satellites that would otherwise be hard to handle.

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Four NASA Sponsored Experiments Fly Aboard Spaceport America Sounding Rocket

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SL-9 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)

SL-9 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NASA PR) — Four NASA sponsored experiments were provided nearly four minutes of microgravity flight and testing after UP Aerospace’s SpaceLoft rocket SL-9 soared into suborbital space from Spaceport America outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico on Thursday.

While flying on suborbital launch vehicles in zero gravity, experimental technologies are briefly exposed to the space environment where they are expected to operate.

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