Tag: Flight Opportunities Program

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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Sounding Rocket Launched at Spaceport America

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SL-9 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)

SL-9 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM – New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced the launch today of the third NASA “Flight Opportunities Program” rocket from Spaceport America. The launch of SpaceLoft™ XL 9 (SL-9), which was designed to reach sub-orbital space, took place this morning from Spaceport America’s Launch Complex-1. Today’s liftoff marks the 21st launch at Spaceport America and the 13th flight conducted by UP Aerospace, the spaceport’s oldest launch customer. NASA successfully launched two similar research rockets from the spaceport last year.

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Impact of Zero G’s Operational Problems on NASA

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Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

As you know, Zero Gravity Corporation provides parabolic flight services to NASA using a modified Boeing 727 aircraft. I asked the folks over at the space agency’s Flight Opportunities Program (FOP), which funds scientific and technical research projects on various vehicles, about what impact the company’s legal and operational problems have had or are having on NASA operations.

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NASA Selects 4 Companies for Flight Opportunities Program

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Masten Space Systems' Xombie technology demonstration test bed ascends into the Mojave Desert sky from the Mojave Air and Space Port during a March 2013 flight to validate Draper Labs' GENIE flight control system. (Credit: NASA/Tom Tschida)

Masten Space Systems’ Xombie technology demonstration test bed ascends into the Mojave Desert sky from the Mojave Air and Space Port during a March 2013 flight to validate Draper Labs’ GENIE flight control system. (Credit: NASA/Tom Tschida)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) – NASA has selected four companies to integrate and fly technology payloads on commercial suborbital reusable platforms that carry payloads near the boundary of space. The selection is part of NASA’s continuing effort to foster a viable market for American commercial reusable suborbital platforms that allow testing of new space technologies within Earth’s atmosphere.

The selected companies are:

  • Masten Space Systems, Mojave, California
  • Paragon Space Development Corp., Tucson, Arizona
  • Up Aerospace Inc., Highlands Ranch, Colorado
  • Virgin Galactic, New York City

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Video of Masten’s Xombie Flying at Mojave

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Video Caption: Astrobotic Technology’s newly developed autonomous landing system was put to the test recently when it controlled Masten Space Systems’ XA-0.1B Xombie suborbital technology demonstration rocket during a flight test at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Astrobotic’s system designed to avoid terrain hazards while safely landing a spacecraft at a specific location on a asteroid, moon or planet.

The June 20 test funded by the Flight Opportunities Program of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate saw the vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing Xombie ascend to about 853 feet in 25 seconds. Using cameras and an inertial measurement unit for navigation, the Astrobotic Autolanding System guided the vehicle to a precise landing.

CU-Boulder Payload Selected for Launch on Virgin Galactic Spaceship

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Credit: Ken Brown

Credit: Ken Brown

BOULDER, Colo. (UC-Boulder PR) — A University of Colorado Boulder payload carrying a novel device designed to reduce the weight and cost of spacecraft fuel pumping systems has been manifested for launch on a suborbital space plane called SpaceShipTwo developed by the aerospace company Virgin Galactic.

The CU-Boulder payload consists of a lubrication-free, pistonless rocket fuel pump, said aerospace engineering sciences Associate Professor Ryan Starkey, principal investigator on the project. The device represents a potential advancement for rocket propellant pressurization and transfer that would reduce the weight and cost of spacecraft fuel systems.

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