Tag: NASA Ames

DSI Opens Lab in Silicon Valley

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dsi_logoMOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) – Deep Space last month opened a lab and office at the NASA Ames Research Park at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley, and expanded its staff. The new facility provides space to begin assembly of the company’s initial spacecraft for an exciting project to be announced next month, with room to expand. The new location enhances the visibility of Deep Space with the NASA-Ames leadership for partnering and contracting. Ames is NASA’s lead center for small spacecraft and hosts a number of agency experts in commercial space. The new facility is in close proximity to technology-savvy investors, partners and a skilled technology workforce.

Deep Space also is growing its team with several new hires and research collaborators. Colorado-based Rhonda Stevenson is now Chief Sales and Promotions Officer, starting with the revamp of the Deep Space By Design retail web site and also covering games, apps, and retail product licensing.

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NanoRacks Sends Experiments to ISS

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nano_racks_logoHOUSTON (NanoRacks PR) –Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft successfully berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) Wednesday morning after launching Sunday afternoon from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Onboard were 32 CubeSats and 10 internal payloads from NanoRacks’ customers holding dozens of research experiments onboard.

Orbital’s Cygnus was brought to orbit by a two-stage Antares rocket. Cygnus was carrying 1,664 kg of supplies, CubeSats, and research experiments for the Space Station. Cygnus will remain berthed at the ISS for about 30 days where station crew will unload the experiments and other hardware. This was Orbital Sciences’ third resupply mission to the ISS, including their Orb-D1 developmental milestone launch.

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NASA Ames Launches Smartphone Upgrade and CubeSat Aboard Orbital Rocket

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NASA’s Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) equipped with a smartphone. (Credit: NASA/Ames)

NASA’s Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) equipped with a smartphone. (Credit: NASA/Ames)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, has launched a variety of experiments into space on Sunday aboard NASA’s second commercial cargo resupply flight of the Orbital Sciences Corporation Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).

These experiments include free-flying robots equipped with a smartphone and a small satellite with a de-orbiting device, called an “exo-brake.” They will arrive at the space station when Cygnus berths on Wednesday, July 16.

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World Cup Football Provides Lessons in Aerodynamics

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Dr. Rabi Mehta uses smoke and lasers to inspect the flow pattern around an Adidas Brazuca football. (Credit: NASA)

Dr. Rabi Mehta uses smoke and lasers to inspect the flow pattern around an Adidas Brazuca football. (Credit: NASA)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (NASA PR) — Fans across the globe have been cheering on their team during the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) 2014 World Cup tournament. These fans include NASA engineers, who used the lead-up to the tournament to test the aerodynamics of this year’s new ball design, developed by Adidas and dubbed the Brazuca ball.

Although NASA is not in the business of designing or testing balls, the tournament provides an opportunity to explain the concepts of aerodynamics to students and individuals less familiar with the fundamentals of aerodynamics.

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Video Presentation on Red Dragon Mission to Mars

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Abstract: One of Ames’ long standing science interests has been to robotically drill deeply into Mars’ subsurface environment (2 meters, or more) to investigate the habitability of that zone for past or extant life. Large, capable Mars landers would ease the problem of landing and operating deep robotic drills. In 2010, an Ames scientist realized that the crew-carrying version of the SpaceX Dragon capsule would possess all the subsystems necessary to perform a soft landing on Earth, and raised the question of whether it could also soft land on Mars. If it could, it might be a candidate platform for a Discovery or Mars Scout class deep drilling mission, for example.

After approximately 3 years studying the engineering problem we have concluded that a minimally modified Dragon capsule (which we call the “Red Dragon”) could successfully perform an all-propulsive Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). We present and discuss the analysis that supports this conclusion. At the upper limits of its capability, a Red Dragon could land approximately 2 metric tons of useful payload, or approximately twice the mass that the MSL Skycrane demonstrated with a useful volume 3 or 4 times as great. This combination of features led us to speculate that it might be possible to land enough mass and volume with a Red Dragon to enable a Mars Sample Return mission in which Mars Orbit Rendezvous is avoided, and the return vehicle comes directly back to Earth. This potentially lowers the risk and cost of a sample return mission. We conclude that such an Earth-Direct sample return architecture is feasible if the Earth Return Vehicle is constructed as a small spacecraft. Larry Lemke will present and discuss the analysis that supports this conclusion.

Report: Google in Talks with Virgin Galactic on Equity Share, Satellite Launcher Deal

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Google_logo_newAs I reported here exclusively back on May 11, Google has been in talks with Virgin Galactic for acquisition of its LauncherOne satellite technology and an equity stake in Richard Branson’s space tourism company. Sky News reports:

The talks are likely to lead to a deal with two main elements, according to insiders.

The first will see Google inject hundreds of millions of dollars into a joint venture, with Virgin Galactic folding in the technology it has developed as part of its efforts to build the world’s first space tourism business.

The second component will involve Google spending roughly $30m (£17.8m) in return for a small stake in the Virgin Galactic holding company.

The terms of the alliance have not yet been finalised and could yet be altered before a deal is struck.

A person close to Google said, though, that its £17.8m investment could value Virgin Galactic at as much as £1.2bn, equating to a shareholding of approximately 1.5%.

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NASA Selects 12 NIAC Phase I Projects for Funding

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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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Sierra Nevada Corporation Completes Critical Wind Tunnel Tests

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The scale model of the Dream Chaser is readied for wind tunnel testing at high speeds that simulate the conditions it will encounter during its flight through the atmosphere returning from space. (Credit:  NASA/David C. Bowen)

The scale model of the Dream Chaser is readied for wind tunnel testing at high speeds that simulate the conditions it will encounter during its flight through the atmosphere returning from space. (Credit: NASA/David C. Bowen)

SPARKS, Nev., May 19, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the successful completion of the latest milestone in its NASA Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. NASA awarded SNC full value of $20 million for the passage of CCiCap Milestone 8, Wind Tunnel Testing. To date, SNC has received over 80 percent of the total award value under the CCiCap agreement and is on track to complete the program later this year.

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Fungi Research Conducted in Space

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The study’s lead author Aurélie Crabbé (left), Cheryl Nickerson (Principal Investigator and senior author on the study) and co-author Jennifer Barrila (right) of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. (Credit: Arizona State University/Anais Bon)

The study’s lead author Aurélie Crabbé (left), Cheryl Nickerson (Principal Investigator and senior author on the study) and co-author Jennifer Barrila (right) of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology. (Credit: Arizona State University/Anais Bon)

TEMPE, Ariz. (NASA PR) — You may not recognize it by name, but if you have ever had a child with a diaper rash, that child was likely a host to Candida albicans (C. albicans). This unwelcome “guest” can be hard to control, as it can potentially lead to serious illness in humans with weakened immune systems. During an investigation dubbed “Microbe,” using the unique microgravity environment aboard space shuttle Atlantis on an International Space Station mission, researchers at the Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe gained a better understanding of these prevalent fungi. Their tendency to become more aggressive in microgravity helps scientists see what mechanisms control the behavior of these types of organisms, with the potential to develop ways to influence their behavior both in space and on Earth.

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NASA Selects New Suborbital Technology Payloads, Total Tops 130

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NASA LOGOEDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected 13 space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, and a commercial parabolic aircraft. These flights provide cutting-edge technologies with a valuable platform to conduct tests, before they enter use in the harsh environment of space.

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