Tag: NASA Ames

NASA’s Nodes CubeSats Deployed From Space Station

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Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)

Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — After a five-month stay aboard the International Space Station, NASA’s two Nodes satellites were deployed on May 16 from the NanoRacks platform and into low-Earth orbit to begin their much anticipated technology demonstration. These tiny satellites have dimensions of only four by four by six inches. The ground controllers for the Nodes mission received confirmation that both satellites are transmitting and are in good health when they passed over the tracking station for the first time, soon after deployment. The first transmission of science data is expected by May 18.

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SPHERES: From Class Project to Droids in Space

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The three on-orbit SPHERES satellites fly in formation through the International Space Station, appearing like a squadron star fighters from the Star Wars universe. (Credit: NASA/ISS)

The three on-orbit SPHERES satellites fly in formation through the International Space Station, appearing like a squadron star fighters from the Star Wars universe. (Credit: NASA/ISS)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Imagine you’re sitting in class watching a scene from “Star Wars” and your professor assigns a project meant to fly in space.

In 1999, that is exactly what happened for engineering students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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First CubeSat Built by an Elementary School Deployed into Space

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A student from St. Thomas More Cathedral School holds the STMSat-1 CubeSat. (Credit: St. Thomas More Cathedral School)

A student from St. Thomas More Cathedral School holds the STMSat-1 CubeSat. (Credit: St. Thomas More Cathedral School)

ARLINGTON, Va. (NASA PR) — In 2012, the students from St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia lined up in the shape of a space shuttle in the school parking lot and witnessed the flyover of the Space Shuttle Discovery as it was being retired to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This awe-inspiring vision was an inspiration to the entire school and a catalyst for them to literally reach for the stars. Thus beginning their quest to build a small satellite, called a CubeSat, that would engage students around the world in Earth observations.

Over the next three years, all 400 pre-kindergarten through eight grade students participated in the design, construction and testing of their small satellite. Through this hands-on, inquiry based learning activity the students conducted real world engineering and will operate the St. Thomas More (STM)Sat-1, the first CubeSat built by elementary school students to be deployed in space.

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Gene Analysis System Could Accelerate Pace of Research on Space Station

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NASA astronaut and Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams works with the WetLab-2 system aboard the International Space Station. WetLab-2 is a research platform for conducting real-time quantitative PCR for gene expression analysis aboard the ISS. The system enables spaceflight genomic studies involving a wide variety of biospecimen types in the unique microgravity environment of space. (Credit: NASA)

NASA astronaut and Expedition 47 Flight Engineer Jeff Williams works with the WetLab-2 system aboard the International Space Station. WetLab-2 is a research platform for conducting real-time quantitative PCR for gene expression analysis aboard the ISS. The system enables spaceflight genomic studies involving a wide variety of biospecimen types in the unique microgravity environment of space. (Credit: NASA)

by Sandy Dueck and Gianine Figliozzi
Space Biosciences Division
NASA’s Ames Research Center

Biologists around the world routinely perform gene expression analysis to better understand living systems. Gene expression analysis examines the types and amounts of molecules produced by genes in living cells, telling us which genes are active and which are inactive at a given point in time. This reveals valuable information about the highly dynamic internal states of cells in living systems. NASA’s WetLab-2 hardware system is bringing to the International Space Station the technology to measure gene expression of biological specimens in space, and to transmit the results to researchers on Earth at the speed of light.

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NIAC Focus: Urban Biomining Meets Printable Electronics

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Graphic depiction of printable electronics. (Credit: NASA Ames)

Graphic depiction of printable electronics. (Credit: NASA Ames)

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is the description of a Venus probe submitted by Lynn Rothschild of NASA Ames Research Center.

Urban Biomining Meets Printable Electronics:
End-to-end Destination Biological Recycling and Reprinting

Lynn Rothschild
NASA Ames Research Center

Space missions rely utterly on metallic components, from the spacecraft to electronics. Yet, metals add mass, and electronics have the additional problem of a limited lifespan. Thus, current mission architectures must compensate for replacement. In space, spent electronics are discarded; on earth, there is some recycling but current processes are toxic and environmentally hazardous. Imagine instead an end-to-end recycling of spent electronics at low mass, low cost, room temperature, and in a non-toxic manner.

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NASA Invites University Students to Propose Smallsat Projects

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NASA’s STMD is spearheading work on small spacecraft such as these two Nodes satellites. The Nodes spacecraft were taken to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2015 via the fourth Orbital ATK cargo mission. Nodes will be deployed into low-Earth orbit from the ISS in early 2016 and test new network capabilities for operating swarms of spacecraft in the future. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s STMD is spearheading work on small spacecraft such as these two Nodes satellites. The Nodes spacecraft were taken to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2015 via the fourth Orbital ATK cargo mission. Nodes will be deployed into low-Earth orbit from the ISS in early 2016 and test new network capabilities for operating swarms of spacecraft in the future. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA is once again extending an opportunity to teams at colleges and universities with campuses in the U.S. to propose small spacecraft technology projects to be conducted in collaboration with NASA researchers.  The Smallsat Technology Partnerships solicitation is being issued by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program, as an appendix to the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s (STMD) NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for 2016.

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NASA Selects 13 NIAC Phase I Projects

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Artists depiction of an asteroid being reconstituted into a mechanical automata. (Credit: Made in Space)

Artists depiction of an asteroid being reconstituted into a mechanical automata. (Credit: Made in Space)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 13 proposals through NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that invests in transformative architectures through the development of pioneering technologies.

Among the selected are: a concept for reprogramming microorganisms that could use the Martian environment to recycle and print electronics; a two-dimensional spacecraft with ultra-thin subsystems that may wrap around space debris to enable de-orbiting; and a method of computational imaging that leverages extrasolar intensity fluctuations to detect “echoes” from planets and other structures orbiting a distant star.

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NASA Awards Second-Round Prizes in Cube Quest Challenge

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MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded $30,000 each to the five top-scoring teams that competed in the latest segment of the agency’s small satellite Cube Quest competition. Cube Quest is a $5 million challenge that requires teams to design, build and deliver flight-qualified CubeSats capable of advanced operations near and beyond the moon. It is part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, which engages the public to compete to solve challenges that will benefit the agency and the nation.
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NASA Selects 137 SBIR R&D Proposals

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NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 137 research and technology proposals from 117 American small businesses and research institutions that will enable NASA’s future missions into deep space, while also benefiting the U.S. economy right here on Earth.

The agency received 323 proposals in response to its 2015 solicitation for its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. From those, NASA selected 134 SBIR Phase II General proposals, with a total value of approximately $100.5 million, and three Phase II Select proposals, valued at approximately $3.8 million, for contract negotiations under Phase II of the SBIR program.

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Digital Materials & Robotic Assembly in Space

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building_blocks_space
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Assembling large structures in space is an enormous undertaking, and the International Space Station, or ISS, which is longer in length than a football field, is the prime case in point. Its construction was challenging. First, the modules, or compartments, had to be built on Earth, where engineers have access to tools for piecing together an agglomeration of parts. Then, apart from being of suitable size to fit within the rocket fairing, each module had to be structurally reinforced to withstand the violent turbulence of launch. Once in space, a tricky rendezvous-and-docking sequence was employed to join them all together.

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How a NASA Team Turned a Smartphone into Planet Labs

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In February 2014, Planet Labs Inc. launched its first flock of Dove nanosatellites into space. Shown are two shoebox-sized Doves being ejected into low-Earth orbit from the International Space Station. The company’s goal is for the flock to take a high-resolution snapshot of nearly the entire globe every 24 hours. (Credit: NASA)

In February 2014, Planet Labs Inc. launched its first flock of Dove nanosatellites into space. Shown are two shoebox-sized Doves being ejected into low-Earth orbit from the International Space Station. The company’s goal is for the flock to take a high-resolution snapshot of nearly the entire globe every 24 hours. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Satellites aren’t small or cheap. The Solar Dynamics Observatory launched by NASA in 2010 weighs about 6,800 pounds and cost $850 million to build and put into orbit.

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NASA Seeks Satellite Maker for Series of CubeSat Technology Missions

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NASA’s STMD is spearheading work on small spacecraft such as these two Nodes satellites. The Nodes spacecraft were taken to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2015 via the fourth Orbital ATK cargo mission. Nodes will be deployed into low-Earth orbit from the ISS in early 2016 and test new network capabilities for operating swarms of spacecraft in the future. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s STMD is spearheading work on small spacecraft such as these two Nodes satellites. The Nodes spacecraft were taken to the International Space Station (ISS) in late 2015 via the fourth Orbital ATK cargo mission. Nodes will be deployed into low-Earth orbit from the ISS in early 2016 and test new network capabilities for operating swarms of spacecraft in the future. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In a unique invitation to develop a new satellite platform, NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) is requesting proposals from industry to provide small spacecraft for its Pathfinder Technology Demonstrator (PTD) missions that will include government-furnished technology payloads for a series of flight demonstrations.

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Zero Gravity Solutions Signs Space Act Agreement With NASA Ames

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zero_gravity_solutions_logoBOCA RATON, Fla., January 14, 2016 (ZGSI PR) – Zero Gravity Solutions, Inc.’s (ZGSI) , an agricultural biotechnology public company commercializing its technology derived from and designed for Space with significant applications on Earth, announced today that it has signed a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (the Space Act Agreement) with NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) to evaluate ZGSI’s nutrient delivery system for commercial agriculture.

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NASA Small Satellites to Demonstrate Swarm Communications and Autonomy

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Nodes CubeSats (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s two Nodes small satellites hitched a ride to the International Space Station on the fourth Orbital ATK cargo mission, which launched on Dec. 6. Once aboard the station, the satellites will settle in for a two-to-three month stay until deployed into low-Earth orbit in early 2016.

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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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