Tag: Flight Opportunities Program

NASA Releases Solicitation for Partnerships on Tipping Point Technologies

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NASA LOGOUtilizing Public-Private Partnerships To Advance Tipping Point Technologies
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Executive Summary

This NASA Research Announcement (NRA), entitled “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion-2016 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2016)” is NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate’s (STMD) annual umbrella solicitation. The following STMD programs will be included in the solicitation:

  • NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC),
  • Space Technology Research Grants (STRG),
  • Game Changing Development (GCD),
  • Small Spacecraft Technology (SST),
  • Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) and
  • Flight Opportunities Program (FOP).

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests

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Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 13 space technology payloads to flight test on parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new technologies. The selections were made through the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington.

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NSRC Day 2 Summary

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SNC technicians inspect the Dream Chaser ETA. (Credit: SNC)

SNC technicians inspect the Dream Chaser ETA. (Credit: SNC)

The second day of the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference took place in Colorado on Friday. Although I wasn’t able to attend, I have compiled highlights via Twitter posts. (You can follow along with hashtag #nsrc2016.)

Below is a summary of updates that cover Sierra Nevada Corporation, Cecil Airport, Spaceport Colorado, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, World View Enterprises, NASA Flight Opportunities Program.

There was a presentation by Charles Walker, who was the first person to perform commercial experiments in space as a payload specialist on three space shuttle missions.

A separate panel discussion on human-tended space research reached the unsurprising consensus that government should lift its ban on sending scientists into space with their experiments.

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A Summary of NSRC Day 1

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Precise thrust vector control and deep throttling enable pinpoint booster landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Precise thrust vector control and deep throttling enable pinpoint booster landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The three-day Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference began today in Colorado. Although I wasn’t able to attend, I have compiled highlights of a very newsworthy day via Twitter posts. (You can follow along with hashtag #nsrc2016.)

Below is a summary of news and updates provided by Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, World View Enterprises, Exos Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, Near Space Corporation, and NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.

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Blue Origin Joins NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program

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The reusable New Shepard space vehicle ascends through clear skies to an apogee of 339,138 feet. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The reusable New Shepard space vehicle ascends through clear skies to an apogee of 339,138 feet. (Credit: Blue Origin)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Blue Origin, LLC, in Van Horn, Texas, to integrate and fly technology payloads near the boundary of space on their New Shepard suborbital spacecraft in support of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.

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NASA Seeks Suborbital Space Companies to Flight Test Space Technologies

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Current commercial suborbital spaces launch providers that are under contract for the Flight Opportunities Program. (Credit: NASA Collage / Monroe Conner)

Current commercial suborbital spaces launch providers that are under contract for the Flight Opportunities Program. (Credit: NASA Collage / Monroe Conner)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has been working with commercial space companies for several years to deliver astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. The agency has also sought commercial suborbital space companies to verify the performance of technologies and systems in suborbital space with the goal of reducing the cost and risk of future orbital space missions.

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities Program has re-opened its solicitation seeking to on-ramp suborbital reusable launch vehicle services that will fly NASA internally sourced or NASA-directed research and development technology payloads.  The suborbital flights will provide these payloads exposure to space, reduced gravity or high-altitude environments required to test technology performance and advance technology readiness levels.

NASA awarded the first on-ramp solicitation to Near Space Corporation, Tillamook, Oregon, in September 2015, that joined original vendors Masten Space Systems, Mojave, California; UP Aerospace, Littleton, Colorado; Virgin Galactic, New York City; and World View, Tucson, Arizona, in providing flight services using suborbital launchers and balloons.

The on-ramping solicitation allows for additional suborbital space companies with a proven flight record to qualify as new flight providers for the program. Aircraft microgravity flight services are outside the scope of this solicitation.

Technology Tested on Spaceport America Rocket Launch

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 SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NASA PR) — An UP Aerospace SpaceLoft sounding rocket soared into the sky Nov. 6 from Spaceport America, New Mexico, carrying four technology experiments for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program that funded the launch of these technologies.

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Parabolic Flights and Suborbital Launches

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NASA LOGOEDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected eight space technology payloads for reduced gravity flights on board specialized aircraft and commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs). These flights provide a valuable platform to mature cutting-edge technologies, validating feasibility and reducing technical risks and costs before infusion into future space missions.

Five of the newly selected proposals requested parabolic flights, which involve a flight maneuver that uses a dramatic half-minute drop of the aircraft though the sky to simulate weightlessness. Two proposed projects will fly on sRLVs for testing during longer periods of weightlessness. An additional payload will fly on both platforms.

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UP Aerospace Successfully Launches From Spaceport America

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SL-10 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)

SL-10 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM, November 6, 2015 (Spaceport America PR)  – Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport, announced the successful launch today of an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft™rocket carrying several scientific and engineering experiments. The launch took place this morning at 8:01 MST from Spaceport America’s Vertical Launch Complex-1 on the East Campus. This launch represents Spaceport America’s 24th overall launch and the fourth from Spaceport America with NASA Flight Opportunities Program payloads.

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NASA Flight Opportunities Awards Contract to Near Space Corporation

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A Near Space Corporation balloon lifts the firm's small HASS shuttle glider during a test flight in 2013. (Credit: Near Space Corp.)

A Near Space Corporation balloon lifts the firm’s small HASS shuttle glider during a test flight in 2013. (Credit: Near Space Corp.)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a Commercial Space Flight and Integrations Services contract to Near Space Corporation of Tillamook, Oregon, to provide commercial space flight and integration systems for the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program.

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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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