NASA Working on Advance Solar Array Technology

Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology undergoes testing (Credits: Deployable Space Systems, Inc.)
Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology undergoes testing (Credits: Deployable Space Systems, Inc.)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) worked with two private firms to develop advanced structures for high power solar arrays that are stronger, lighter, and package more compactly for launch. This technology investment furthers the agency’s deep space exploration goals and aids the commercial communications satellite industry, the provider of direct-to-home television, satellite radio, broadband internet and a multitude of other services.

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NASA Prepares to Start a Fire in Space

A team of scientists and engineers tests the components of Saffire I and Saffire II. (Credit: NASA)
A team of scientists and engineers tests the components of Saffire I and Saffire II. (Credit: NASA)

CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — Engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland have developed a space flight experiment that will increase understanding of how an accidental fire might behave in a spacecraft after it leaves Earth’s atmosphere. The first of three planned flight experiments is scheduled for launch in an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo vehicle on March 22 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Awarded Contract to Mature High-Powered Nested Hall Thruster

Upgraded XR-5A Hall thruster (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Upgraded XR-5A Hall thruster (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 15, 2016 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AJRD), has been awarded a contract valued at more than $2.5 million from NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division to develop and demonstrate a high-power electric propulsion system. Once fully developed, the technology will help reduce trip times and the cost of human spaceflight to cislunar space and beyond to Mars.

Under the contract, the Aerojet Rocketdyne team will complete the development of a 100-kilowatt Hall Thruster System, including a 250-kilowatt thruster that uses Aerojet Rocketdyne’s patented multi-channel Nested Hall Thruster technology; critical elements of a 100-kilowatt modular Power Processing Unit (PPU); and elements of the modular xenon feed system. PPUs convert the electrical power generated by a spacecraft’s solar arrays into the power needed for the Hall Thruster. The contract includes system integration testing, and will culminate with a 100-hour test of the 100-kilowatt system at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

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NASA Seeks Satellite Maker for Series of CubeSat Technology Missions

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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Ball Completes Integration for NASA GPIM Spacecraft

Ball Aerospace technicians use specialized equipment to build the GPIM satellite so that the space vehicle instruments and thrusters align perfectly with the payload interface. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)
Ball Aerospace technicians use specialized equipment to build the GPIM satellite so that the space vehicle instruments and thrusters align perfectly with the payload interface. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 5, 2015 (Ball Aerospace PR) — Ball Aerospace, prime contractor for NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM), has integrated the propulsion subsystem onto the BCP-100 spacecraft bus and begun system performance and environmental testing as the project heads toward a 2016 launch date.

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Ad Astra Part of Orbital ATK Team Selected for NASA Advance Propulsion Contract

ad_astraWEBSTER, Texas, September 21, 2015 (Ad Astra PR) – Ad Astra Rocket Company is part of a team, led by Orbital ATK, selected by NASA for the RTAPS2 Contract. RTAPS2 provides a contractual vehicle by which selected industry partners can develop, demonstrate and verify advanced propulsion system technologies in support of NASA’s aerospace research programs. NASA developed the RTAPS2 Contract as part of its ongoing, long-term aerospace research activities at the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The competitive process was initiated in the spring of 2015 and concluded in late July.

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Orbital ATK Awarded NASA Contract for Advanced Space Propulsion

orbital_ATK_logoDULLES, Va., 21 September 2015 (Orbital ATK PR) — Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, announced today it has been awarded a Research and Technologies for Aerospace Propulsion Systems 2 (RTAPS2) contract by NASA to provide advanced space propulsion system technologies. NASA developed the RTAPS2 contract as part of aerospace research activities at the agency’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
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Orbital ATK, ECAPS Complete Green Thruster Tests at NASA Marshall

orbital_atk_logoDULLES, Va., September 15, 2015 (Orbital ATK PR) — Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, announced today the successful completion of the first U.S. test of a 22 Newton (N) thruster using a high-performance green propulsion system powered by a safe, low-toxicity rocket fuel, designated LMP-103S,  provided by the Swedish firm, ECAPS. Green rocket fuels pose fewer health risks and are more cost-effective in terms of storage, material handling, transportation and launch-site processing.
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NASA Selects Two New Deep Space CubeSat Missions

CubeSat
CubeSat

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Good things really do come in small packages.

When we think of space satellites that assist with communications, weather monitoring and GPS here on Earth, we likely picture them as being quite large—many are as big as a school bus and weigh several tons. Yet there’s a class of smaller satellites that’s growing in popularity. These miniaturized satellites, known as nanosatellites or CubeSats, can fit in the palm of your hand and are providing new opportunities for space science.

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Green Propellant Infusion Mission Progresses

A green propellant propulsion subsystem was recently delivered to Ball Aerospace for integration into the Green Propellant Infusion Mission spacecraft. The subsystem will be one of three experimental payloads on the spacecraft. (Credit: Ball Aerospace)
A green propellant propulsion subsystem was recently delivered to Ball Aerospace for integration into the Green Propellant Infusion Mission spacecraft. The subsystem will be one of three experimental payloads on the spacecraft. (Credit: Ball Aerospace)

BOULDER, Colo. (NASA PR) — Space exploration is about to go “greener.”

NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission to develop a high-performance, low-toxicity fuel and propulsion system for spacecraft has passed a major milestone. A green propellant propulsion subsystem, built by Aerojet Rocketdyne in Redmond, Washington, has been delivered to the mission’s prime contractor, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colorado.

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SD School of Mines Receives NASA Grant for Printable Spacecraft

NASA LOGORAPID CITY, S.D. (SD School of Mines PR) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has been awarded a $750,000 NASA EPSCoR grant to develop direct-write printable spacecraft materials and electronic and electromagnetic devices for use in future exploration.

By printable spacecraft NASA envisions thin, lightweight, flexible sheets embedded with customized sensors and electronics for data gathering, communication and micro-propulsion. When deployed above other planets, the sheets will flutter to the surface like leaves, eliminating the need for complex landing systems and enabling humans to reach previously inaccessible areas. Upon reaching their destination, the sheets will transmit data collected during their fall and landing back to the host spacecraft.

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Aerojet Rocketdyne Wins NASA Contract to Complete Ion Thruster System

aerojet_rocketdyne
SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 6, 2015 (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) – Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, has been awarded a contract worth approximately $18 million from NASA Glenn Research Center to complete the development of NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster-Commercial (NEXT-C) Gridded Ion Thruster System. The NEXT-C Gridded Ion Thruster System is designed to power government and commercial spacecraft to deep-space destinations faster, farther and more fuel efficiently than any other propulsion technology currently available.

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NASA to Test Green Thruster Propellant in Space

Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)
Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Milestone progress is being made in readying NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) for launch in 2016, a smallsat designed to test the unique attributes of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit.

The GPIM marks the first time the United States will use a spacecraft to test green propellant technology, thereby showcasing the innovation needed to develop a fully domestic, green propellant solution for the next generation of space flight.

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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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NASA Works on Solar Electric Propulsion for Satellites

Video Caption: NASA’s Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) project, managed by NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is developing large solar arrays and high-powered electric thrusters that could enable cost-effective trips to Mars, asteroids and other destinations in our solar system. SEP will use an electrically propelled system energized by electric power from the on-board solar arrays that will use 10 times less propellant than a comparable, conventional chemical propulsion system. This will allow for reduced fuel mass that still has the capability to propel spacecraft for potential science missions, human exploration missions, or satellite servicing. (NASA)