Tag: ISS

ULA Launches NRO Satellite

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ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-45 mission lifts off from Vandenberg. (Credit: ULA)

ULA Delta IV rocket carrying the NROL-45 mission lifts off from Vandenberg. (Credit: ULA)

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Feb. 10, 2016 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6  on Feb. 10 at 3:40 a.m. PST. Designated NROL-45, the mission is in support of national defense.

This is ULA’s second launch in 2016 and the 105th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

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Italian-made 3D Printer Undergoes Testing on International Space Station

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Credit: ASI

Credit: ASI

ROME (ASI PR) –A 3D printer made in Italy on the International Space Station has been activated and is functioned nominally. Astronaut Scott Kelly triggered the Portable 3D Printer on board, which aims to create spare parts and tools in orbit.

During the experiment, which lasted an hour, everything performed in nominal mode.  The printer is designed to use PLA , a biodegradable and biocompatible plastic that, once expelled, permits the creation of 3D shapes. The entire session was filmed through the printer’s transparent window, allowing visual monitoring from the ground. The manufactured object will be compared with another similar printed to the ground, in order to consolidate the structural diversity.

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NanoRacks Eyes Private Airlock on Space Station

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nano_racks_logoNanoRacks is proposing to spend $12 to $15 million on a private airlock that would allow it to launch more satellites off the International Space Station.

NASA is interested, and it may give NanoRacks approval to proceed with developing the airlock as soon as next month. The agency and its primary station contractor, Boeing, are conducting a formal assessment to see if the airlock can be safely integrated into the station. “We’ve very intrigued by it, and we haven’t found any showstoppers so far,” Mike Read, manager of the space station National Lab Office at Johnson Space Center, told Ars.

If approved by NASA, the airlock, which NanoRacks has dubbed the “Doorway to Space,” could launch as early as 2018 inside the trunk of a SpaceX Dragon capsule. The company says it could use the airlock as many as 12 times a year.

NanoRacks is proposing to build a large, half-cylinder-shaped airlock about two meters in diameter and 1.8 meters long. The airlock would attach to the end of the station’s Node 3 module, near the cupola. It would connect via a common berthing mechanism, or CBM, and then be pressurized. After pressurization, the hatch could be opened and the airlock configured for various tasks.

For commercial opportunities, NanoRacks has a small satellite launcher, and it is also designing a “haybale” system to launch as many as 192 cubesats at a time. After the airlock is configured, it would be depressurized and sealed. Then a station robotic arm could grab it, move it away from the vehicle, and deploy its payloads.

NASA is also interested in the opportunity to potentially fix large, external components of the space station….With a larger airlock, damaged components could be brought inside the station, assessed, and possibly fixed, saving NASA the expense of building and delivering a new unit to the station—or losing a valuable spare. Finally, the space agency could use the airlock to dispose of trash that accumulates on station and can be difficult to get rid of.

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ESA Budget Gets 18 Percent Boost

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ESA_budget_2016_node_full_imageBuoyed by major satellite and launch vehicle programs, the European Space Agency (ESA) has received an 18.44 percent increase in its budget for 2016.

The space agency’s budget rose from 4.43 billion euros in 2015 to 5.25 billion euros ($4.8 billion to $5.69 billion),  an increase of 817 million euros ($884.8 million).

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Millennium Space Systems Announces Summer 2016 Launch of ALTAIR-1 Pathfinder

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ALTAIR spacecraft (Credit: Millennium Space Systems)

ALTAIR spacecraft (Credit: Millennium Space Systems)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., January 27, 2015 (Millennium Space Systems PR) — Millennium Space Systems has inked a contract for launch services with NanoRacks LLC of Webster, Texas, to launch its ALTAIR-1 Pathfinder satellite into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) this summer via cargo resupply to the International Space Station (ISS).

The ALTAIR platform will demonstrate and flight qualify key technologies developed in house by Millennium Space in Guidance, Navigation & Control (GN&C); Avionics & Flight Computing; Advanced Onboard Processing; Electrical Power & Distribution; and Software Defined Radio Communications.

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Astronauts Prepare to Deploy Student Satellites From Japanese Lab

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Astronaut Scott Kelly (foreground) and Tim Peake load a pair of nanosatellites inside the Japanese Kibo lab module’s airlock. (Credit: NASA TV)

Astronaut Scott Kelly (foreground) and Tim Peake load a pair of nanosatellites inside the Japanese Kibo lab module’s airlock. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The six Expedition 46 crew members today prepared for the deployment of a pair of nanosatellites, loaded trash in the Cygnus cargo craft and reviewed timelines and procedures for a Feb. 3 spacewalk. The International Space Station will also raise its orbit ahead of March’s crew swap and cargo delivery activities.

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SpaceX Tests Crew Dragon Parachutes

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COOLIDGE, Ariz. (NASA PR) — Four red-and-white parachutes unfurled high above the desert near Coolidge, Arizona, recently during a test of the system that initially will be used to safely land SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying astronauts back from the International Space Station. The test used a mass simulator as the weight of the spacecraft connected to the parachute system. The mass simulator and parachutes were released thousands of feet above the ground from a C-130 cargo aircraft. This test evaluated the four main parachutes,but did not include the smaller pilot and drogue chutes that a full landing system would utilize.

As part of its final development and certification work with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX continues to perform tests of flight-like hardware like this allow engineers to assess the reliability. Later tests will grow progressively more realistic to simulate as much of the actual conditions and processes the system will see during an operational mission.

Crew Dragon parachute test (Credit: SpaceX)

Crew Dragon parachute test (Credit: SpaceX)

Initially, the spacecraft will splash down safely in the ocean under parachutes, but ultimately the company wants to land the vehicle on land propulsively using eight SuperDraco engines. SpaceX tested its propulsive land landing ability in Texas in November.

SpaceX and Boeing are working in separate partnerships with NASA to build a new generation of human-rated spacecraft to take astronauts to the International Space Station.

Video: Musk Talks About SpaceX, Mars Settlement

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Musk begins talking about SpaceX at 27:48. Hopes to go to space station in five years. Hopes to launch crew to Mars around 2025. Will describe the Mars Colonial Transporter in September at the International Astronautical Conference in Guadalajara. Mexico.

Energia, IBMP Sign Agreement on Biomedical Space Experiments

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Energia_logoMOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, RSC Energia will be visited by a delegation from the State Scientific Center of the Russian Federation “Institute for Biomedical Problems” (IBMP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. During the visit the President of RSC Energia Vladimir Solntsev and IBMP Director Oleg Orlov are to sign a strategic partnership agreement.

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Who Will Become the World’s First Commercial Spaceline?

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New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)

New Shepard booster executes a controlled vertical landing at 4.2 mph. (Credit: Blue Origin)

With Blue Origin’s successful re-flight of its reusable New Shepard booster and capsule on Friday, the company jumped ahead in the competition to fly people into space on a commercial basis.

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Crucial Commercial Crew Milestones Lie Ahead in 2016

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Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
By Steven Siceloff,

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners Boeing and SpaceX are on the eve of America’s return to human spaceflight launches. By the time the year closes, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon will be poised for the flight tests that allow our astronauts to travel to the International Space Station lifting off from Florida’s Space Coast.

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NASA, Freelancer.com Team for Design of New Free-flying Robot

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Artist's concept of the Astrobee robotic free-flyer. (Credit: Freelancer.com)

Artist’s concept of the Astrobee robotic free-flyer. (Credit: Freelancer.com)

SYDNEY, January 19, 2016 (Freelancer.com PR) — Have you got what it takes to help NASA design a free-flying robot for the International Space Station?

NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI), through the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), partners with Freelancer.com to design concepts for a robotic arm for the Astrobee free-flying robot that will succeed the SPHERES robot on the International Space Station (ISS) by crowdsourcing parts from over 17 million freelancers from around the world.

NASA is recruiting freelancers from Freelancer.com to design a concept for a robotic arm as part of a next generation free-flying robot that NASA is developing as a follow-on to the SPHERES autonomous free-flying robot on the ISS. The Astrobee free-flyer robot will have the capability to move around inside the space station on its own without interfacing or interfering with the space station.

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Made In Space’s Work with NASA Has Led to Success on Earth

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ISS Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore holds up the first 3-D printed part made in space. (Credit: Made in Space)

ISS Commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore holds up the first 3-D printed part made in space. (Credit: Made in Space)

SUNNYVALE, Calif, January 20, 2016 (Made in Space PR) — The first ever in-space manufacturing was made possible through a NASA and Made In Space (MIS) collaboration called the “3D Printing in Zero-Gravity Experiment.” The experiment was a critical pathfinder for both NASA and MIS and involved building the first zero-gravity 3D printer; designated “3D Print.” The promising results from that experiment have given MIS and NASA the confidence to further invest in proving out the case for off-world additive manufacturing.

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Praise for NASA’s Commercial Cargo Contract Awards

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CSF_logo2Commercial Spaceflight Federation

NASA announced three cargo contract awards to ensure robust and affordable transportation of critical supplies, scientific experiments and commercial payloads to and from the International Space Station (ISS) through at least 2024. NASA selected Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and SpaceX to continue and expand upon its successful public-private partnerships with American companies to obtain reliable cargo resupply services for the ISS.

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RSC Energia Looks Back on Successful 2015

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Energia_logoMOSCOW (RSC Energia PR) — Yesterday, December 29, the management of RSC Energia in a meeting with employees summed up the results of the company performance in 2015, reported on the key performance figures and presented preliminary plans for 2016.

The Corporation president Vladimir Solntsev presented in his speech the final financial and economic figures, spoke in detail about the core business of the company – development of rocket and space technology, touched upon social policies and outlined the company development vectors in the incoming year of 2016.

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