Space Health Institute Awards 5 Grants to Mitigate the Effects of Space Radiation on Healthy Human Cell-Derived Organs-On-A-Chip

An astronaut holds a tissue chip. (Credits: NASA/Josh Valcarcel)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) at Baylor College of Medicine selected 5 researcher teams to advance the study of space radiation and investigate countermeasures for deep space exploration using human tissue/organ models.

TRISH funds health research and technology to protect astronauts during long-duration space missions. The crew headed to the moon or beyond will experience high Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) levels, which could endanger their health and the mission’s success.

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Queen’s Brian May Works to Probe Origin of Asteroids

Brian May (Credit: ESA)

NICE, France (ESA PR) — Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May has teamed up with asteroid researchers to investigate striking similarities and a puzzling difference between separate bodies explored by space probes. The research team ran a supercomputer-based ‘fight club’ involving simulated large asteroid collisions to probe the objects’ likely origins. Their work is reported in Nature Communications.  

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SpaceX Dragon Returns ISS National Lab-sponsored Payloads to Earth

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., April 7, 2020 (ISS National Lab PR) – SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft successfully splashed down today off the coast of California, bringing back dozens of research investigations sponsored by the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory.

The successful splashdown and science return marks the completion of SpaceX’s 20th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission to the space station (contracted by NASA) to send critical research and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. The Dragon spacecraft spent approximately 30 days berthed to the space station before returning to Earth.

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Little Tissue, Big Mission: Beating Heart Tissues to Ride Aboard the ISS

Project to help researchers understand aging on Earth, protect astronauts

BALTIMORE (Johns Hopkins University PR) — Launching no earlier than March 6 at 11:50 PM EST, the Johns Hopkins University will send heart muscle tissues, contained in a specially-designed tissue chip the size of a small cellphone, up to the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS) for one month of observation.

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Artemis I Launch Delayed to Mid- to Late 2021

SLS core stage installation (Credits: NASA/SSC)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurcyk said on Friday that the first Artemis mission to the moon will not launch later this year but will hopefully fly in the mid- to late 2021 time frame.

It marks yet another delay in a program that is already running years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget. The slip potentially makes the Trump Administration’s goal of landing astronauts at the south pole of the moon in 2024 more difficult to achieve.

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NIAC Award: Ripcord Innovative Power System

Ripcord Innovative Power System (Credit: Noam Izenberg)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase I Award: Up to $125,000 for 9 Months

RIPS: Ripcord Innovative Power System
Noam Izenberg
Johns Hopkins University

Descent probe or lander power is a key resource for planetary exploration, and is a particular challenge where solar power is difficult to utilize efficiently and alternative power sources are expensive, risky, or complex. Short duration, battery powered probes have successfully landed and returned data from the surfaces of cloud-shrouded Venus.

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NASA Flight Opportunities Program Selects 15 Space Technologies for Tests

New Shepard booster over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 15 promising space technologies to be tested on commercial low-gravity simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons and suborbital rockets. These flights will help advance technologies for future spaceflight, taking them from the laboratory to a relevant flight environment.

During an Aug. 28 visit to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, where the Flight Opportunities program is managed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency will focus on funding more of these payload flights in the future.

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Air Force Awards New Rocket Propulsion Contracts

RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)
RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)

Christmas came early last week for Aerojet Rocketdyne, Northrop Grumman and Orbital ATK as the U.S. Air Force awarded rocket propulsion contracts worth a combined $14.5 million to the companies on Dec. 23.

The contracts support “technology maturation and risk reduction” in the areas of material manufacturing and development and advanced technologies. The work supports the effort to transition away from the use of Russian-built RD-180 engines in United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V booster.

The Air Force has awarded a total of seven contracts totaling just under $17 million. A list of the contracts is below.

AWARDEEAMOUNT
Aerojet Rocketdyne $ 6,003,668
Northrop Grumman$ 5,465,705
ATK Launch Systems Inc. $ 3,125,810
Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering$    935,696
Tanner Research $    902,507
Moog Inc.$    728,337
Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering $    545,860
TOTAL: $16,979,246











NASA Selects 12 NIAC Phase I Projects for Funding

Titan submarine
Titan submarine

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 12 proposals for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which aims to turn science fiction into fact through pioneering technology development.

The selected proposals cover a wide range of imaginative concepts, including:

  • a submarine to explore the methane lakes of Titan;
  • using neutrinos to perform measurements for the icy moons of the outer planets; and,
  • a concept to safely capture a tumbling asteroid, space debris, and other applications.

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JHU APL to Study Moon, Asteroids as Part of New NASA Virtual Institute

NASA_SSERVI-LOGOLAUREL, Mary. (APL PR) — NASA has tapped the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., to look into the processes that shape the surfaces of the moon and asteroids — and provide insight into potential robotic and human exploration of these surfaces and the resources they might harbor.

As part of NASA’s new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, APL space scientist Benjamin Bussey will head the Volatiles, Regolith and Thermal Investigations Consortium for Exploration and Science (VORTICES) team. VORTICES includes more than 40 co-investigators and collaborators from the U.S. and abroad, including the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University. By combining the talents and facilities of different researchers at multiple institutions, the VORTICES team will tackle problems of interest to NASA’s science and human operations mission directorates.

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