Tag: human spaceflight

Aerojet Rocketdyne Tests Starliner Service Module Engines

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Starliner engine hot fire (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

Starliner engine hot fire (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

WHITE SANDS, NM (NASA PR) — The small jets designed to steer Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in orbit were fired in a vacuum chamber recently at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. Testing continues for elements of the new Starliner spacecraft before components are installed into the first space-bound capsule. Aerojet Rocketyne built the reaction control engines and used a chamber to pulse fire three engines up to 4,000 times for a total of 1,600 seconds each. Both are record times for lightweight thrusters with composite chambers.

One of three Reaction Control System engines for Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner recently completed hot-fire testing at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico.Aerojet Rocketdyne is testing and will provide the service module propulsion system production hardware, including launch abort engines, orbital maneuvering and attitude control engines and reaction control system engines. Boeing will assemble hardware kits into the service module section of the Starliner spacecraft at its Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Starliner is one of two spacecraft in development in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. While Boeing develops and manufactures Starliners, SpaceX is doing the same with its own spacecraft, Crew Dragon. Both companies plan to launch astronauts from Florida’s Space Coast on missions to the International Space Station. With up to four astronauts at a time, plus more than 200 pounds of cargo, the new line of spacecraft will allow the station’s crew to grow to seven. That addition gives astronauts In orbit another 35 hours of research time to enhance the science conducted on the orbiting laboratory.

FAA Oversight of Commercial Space Transportation Hearing Video

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The House Subcommittee on Aviation held its first hearing in seven years on the FAA’s oversight of commercial space last month. Members heard from a heavily industry-centric panel of experts who largely praised the moratorium on regulations that is in place until 2023.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s scathing criticism of the FAA’s oversight role on SpaceShipTwo prior to the accident was briefly discussed on a couple of occasions, as were the potential conflicts between FAA’s dual roles of oversight and promotion.

Taber MacCallum of World View Enterprises dismissed the criticism of FAA Associate Administrator George Nield and the FAA’s performance prior to the crash as Monday morning quarterbacking. He also called for a permanent extension of the moratorium on regulations.

Michael López-Alegría also claimed that the FAA had done its job properly. He dismissed the idea that regulating the industry would make it any safer.

Witness List:

  • Dr. George C. Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration | Written Testimony
  • Dr. Gerald L. Dillingham, Director of Civil Aviation Issues, Government Accountability Office | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Michael Gold, Chair, Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Michael López-Alegría, Vice Chair, Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Taber MacCallum, Chief Technology Officer, World View Enterprises | Written Testimony

 

NASA Establishes Institute to Explore New Ways to Protect Astronauts

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NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano perform ultrasound eye imaging as part of the Fluid Shifts investigation during Expedition 37 on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins and European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano perform ultrasound eye imaging as part of the Fluid Shifts investigation during Expedition 37 on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is joining with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to operate a new institute charged with researching and developing innovative approaches to reduce risks to humans on long-duration exploration missions, including NASA’s Journey to Mars.

Continue reading ‘NASA Establishes Institute to Explore New Ways to Protect Astronauts’

Dragon & Progress Supply Ships Arrive at Space Station

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Dragon berthed at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

Dragon berthed at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was bolted into place on the Harmony module of the International Space Station at 10:03 a.m. EDT on Wednesday as the station flew about 252 statute miles over the California and Oregon border.

The spacecraft is delivering nearly 5,000 pounds of science, hardware and supplies, including instruments to perform the first-ever DNA sequencing in space, and the first of two identical international docking adapters (IDA). The IDAs will provide a means for commercial spacecraft to dock to the station in the near future as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Dragon is the second cargo spacecraft to arrive on station this week. On Monday, July 18, a Russian ISS Progress 64 cargo craft docked to the Pirs docking compartment of the space station at 8:22 p.m., where it will remain for about six months.

The Progress spacecraft has more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 48 crew.

Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station Aug. 29 when it will return critical science research back to Earth.

For more information on the SpaceX CRS-9 mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacex.

For more information about the current crew and the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station.

Project PoSSUM Graduates 13 Scientist-Astronaut Candidates

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Project PoSSUM graduates (Credit: ERAU)

Project PoSSUM graduates (Credit: ERAU)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (ERAU PR) — Project PoSSUM, a non-profit research program devoted to the study of Earth’s upper atmosphere, announced that it has graduated 13 new Scientist-Astronaut Candidates as part of PoSSUM Class 1601.

The PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut program, designed by former NASA astronaut instructors and hosted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., gives its candidates the skills to effectively conduct research on commercial space vehicles as part of an international research campaign dedicated to the study of our global climate.

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SpaceX Launches Dragon Supply Ship, Lands First Stage at Cape

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Falcon 9 launches the Dragon CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Falcon 9 launches the Dragon CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Instruments to perform the first-ever DNA sequencing in space, and the first international docking adapter for commercial spacecraft, are among the cargo scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station after Monday’s launch of the SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services-9 (CRS-9) mission.

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XCOR Signs MOU With Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport, Orbital Access

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Lynx nose structure. (Credit: XCOR)

Lynx nose structure. (Credit: XCOR)

FARNBOROUGH, UK, July 12, 2016 (XCOR PR) – US manned space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with spaceplane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited and Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport. This partnership is supported by Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government’s economic development agency.

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Getting to Upmass: A Dragon’s Tale

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A Station that Needs Everything
A Scrappy Startup Contracted to Ship 35.4 Metric Tons of It
Ought to be Easy Enough, Right?

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The International Space Station (ISS) is not exactly a self-sufficient outpost. The station’s occupants can’t jump into a Soyuz and pop over to an orbiting Wal-Mart when they run out of food, water or toothpaste. Everything the six astronauts need to survive — save for the random plastic wrench or replacement part they can now 3-D print — must be shipped up from the majestic blue planet 400 km below them.

Continue reading ‘Getting to Upmass: A Dragon’s Tale’

RiskIt: NASA’s High Risk Commercial Cargo Strategy

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A massive explosion occurred right after the Antares rocket hit the ground.

A massive explosion occurred right after the Antares rocket hit the ground.

Commercial Cargo’s Lower Costs Brought Higher Risks

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In October 2014, NASA engineers were deeply worried about Orbital Sciences Corporation’s upcoming Orb-3 commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

An Antares booster was set to send a Cygnus cargo ship loaded with 2,215 kg (4,883 lb) of supplies to astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory. It would be the third of eight Cygnus flights to the station under a Commercial Resupply Services-1 (CRS-1) contract worth $1.9 billion.

Continue reading ‘RiskIt: NASA’s High Risk Commercial Cargo Strategy’

Boeing Evaluates Starliner Flight Deck Designs

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Ergonomic evaluations inside the CST-100 Starliner with Boeing's Chris Ferguson. (Credit: Boeing)

Ergonomic evaluations inside the CST-100 Starliner with Boeing’s Chris Ferguson. (Credit: Boeing)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Boeing is evaluating the flight deck designs for its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as development work continues toward the final layout of the seating and control panels.

Former astronaut Chris Ferguson, now deputy program manager and director of Crew and Mission Operations for Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program, is performing the tests that look into a number of factors of comfort and usability for the systems.

The Starliner is being developed by Boeing in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to take astronauts to the International Space Station. The spacecraft will launch into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V lifting off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, just a few miles from the Starliner’s assembly factory at Kennedy Space Center.

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NASA TV to Broadcast ISS Crew Launch on Wednesday

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International Space Station Expedition 48/49 astronaut Kate Rubins of NASA, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Takuya Onishi. (Credits: NASA)

International Space Station Expedition 48/49 astronaut Kate Rubins of NASA, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Takuya Onishi. (Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The next three crew members bound for the International Space Station are set to launch Wednesday, July 6. Live launch coverage will begin at 8:30 p.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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Paragon Awarded Full-Up NASA ISS Water Processor Development Contract

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paragon_sdc_logoTUCSON, Ariz. (Paragon SDC PR) – NASA has awarded Paragon a contract for the full scale development of its patented Ionomer-membrane Water Processor (IWP) System to be demonstrated on the International Space Station (ISS) in about 19 months. Paragon’s IWP will provide the platform for up to 98 percent water recovery in future deep space exploration missions with its initial application planned for installation on the International Space Station (ISS). This contract follows a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III contract awarded by NASA to Paragon earlier this year for IWP development.

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Entrepreneurial Lingo Lesson: The Pivot

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twist_chubby1_disrupt copy
First in an irregular series on entrepreneurial buzz words

Come on let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

Do you remember when,
ROI was really hummin’,
Yeaaaah, let’s pivot again,
Pivotin’ time is here!

Heeee, and round and round til IPO we go!
Oh, baby, make those investors love us so!

Let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

There comes a time in the existence of many startups when there an urgent need to change direction. You set up the company to pursue a goal, but for one reason or several — a lack of a market, shortage of investment, regulatory hurdles, a flawed concept — you have to direct all that talent, technology and enthusiasm toward a new objective that will keep the company in operation.

Continue reading ‘Entrepreneurial Lingo Lesson: The Pivot’

Orion Service Module Completes Critical Design Review

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A test version of the Orion service module as been undergoing acoustic and vibration testing at NASA Glenn’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio. z(Credits: NASA)

A test version of the Orion service module as been undergoing acoustic and vibration testing at NASA Glenn’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio. z(Credits: NASA)

NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) conducted a critical design review (CDR) culminating in a final review board June 16 for Orion’s European-built service module. The service module is an essential part of the spacecraft that will power, propel, and cool Orion in deep space as well as provide air and water for crew members. The CDR rounds out the latest in a series of reviews for the three human exploration systems development programs that will enable the journey to Mars.

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Video of Solid Rocket Motor Test

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Video Caption: A booster for the most powerful rocket in the world, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), successfully fired up Tuesday for its second qualification ground test at Orbital ATK’s test facilities in Promontory, Utah. This was the last full-scale test for the booster before SLS’s first uncrewed test flight with NASA’s Orion spacecraft in late 2018, a key milestone on the agency’s Journey to Mars.