Tag: NASA JPL

Cool HD Video of NASA’s LDSD Test Flight

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PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) – NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project successfully flew a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space in late June from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The goal of this experimental flight test, the first of three planned for the project, was to determine if the balloon-launched, rocket-powered, saucer-shaped, design could reach the altitudes and airspeeds needed to test two new breakthrough technologies destined for future Mars missions.

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Flight Opportunities Program Flies Space Technology on Parabolic Flights

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Members of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory team test their grappling tool for small floating objects during a parabolic over-the-top maneuver on NASA's C-9 reduced-gravity aircraft.

Members of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory team test their grappling tool for small floating objects during a parabolic over-the-top maneuver on NASA’s C-9 reduced-gravity aircraft.

NASA PR — NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program funded a series of parabolic flights to evaluate eight space-technology experiments conducted by a like number of teams in late July.

Three universities and NASA’s Glenn Research Center tested their experiments in microgravity onboard NASA’s C-9 reduced gravity airplane during the first flights that began on July 22. Eight flights were conducted over a weeklong period out of Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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NASA Seeks Information About Commercial Mars Communications Satellites

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Artist rendering of commercial Mars satellites providing communications back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist rendering of commercial Mars satellites providing communications back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the possibility of using commercial Mars-orbiting satellites to provide telecommunications capabilities for future robotic missions to the Red Planet.

“We are looking to broaden participation in the exploration of Mars to include new models for government and commercial partnerships,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Depending on the outcome, the new model could be a vital component in future science missions and the path for humans to Mars.”

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NASA Declares First LDSD Test Success

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Hours after the June 28, 2014, test of NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator over the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range, the saucer-shaped test vehicle is lifted aboard the Kahana recovery vessel. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Hours after the June 28, 2014, test of NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator over the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range, the saucer-shaped test vehicle is lifted aboard the Kahana recovery vessel. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA representatives participated in a media teleconference this morning to discuss the June 28, 2014 near-space test flight of the agency’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), which occurred off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

A high-altitude balloon launch occurred at 8:45 a.m. HST (11:45 a.m. PDT/2:45 p.m. EDT) from the Hawaiian island facility. At 11:05 a.m. HST (2:05 p.m. PDT/5:05 p.m. EDT), the LDSD test vehicle dropped away from the balloon as planned and began powered flight. The balloon and test vehicle were about 120,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean at the time of the drop. The vehicle splashed down in the ocean at approximately 11:35 a.m. HST (2:35 p.m. PDT/5:35 p.m. EDT), after the engineering test flight concluded. The test vehicle hardware, black box data recorder and parachute were all recovered later in the day.

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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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NASA to Test Innovative Supersonic Decelerator

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NASA workers at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wearing clean room "bunny suits," prepare the LDSD test article for shipment later this month to Hawaii. LDSD will help land bigger space payloads on Mars or return them back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

NASA workers at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wearing clean room “bunny suits,” prepare the LDSD test article for shipment later this month to Hawaii. LDSD will help land bigger space payloads on Mars or return them back to Earth. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL PR) — On April 9 reporters got a chance to don “bunny suits” (protective apparel that sometimes makes people look like large rabbits) and enter a NASA clean room at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. In the room is NASA’s latest technology for landing large payloads on planets like Mars or Earth, being processed for shipping prior to testing next June.

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space this June from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii. The LDSD crosscutting demonstration mission will test breakthrough technologies that will enable large payloads to be safely landed on the surface of Mars, or other planetary bodies with atmospheres, including Earth. These new technologies will not only enable landing of larger payloads on Mars, but also allow access to much more of the planet’s surface by enabling landings at higher altitude sites.

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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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International Space Station to Beam Video Via Laser Back to Earth

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NASA_OPALS_on_ISS

An artist’s rendering shows the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS). (Credit: OPALS)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — What’s more interesting than videos of cats chasing laser beams over the kitchen floor? How about videos sent OVER laser beams from NASA’s International Space Station back to Earth?

A team of about 20 working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., through the lab’s Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for a March 16 launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission. The goal? NASA’s first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory.

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Physical Science Research Proposals Selected for Cold Atom Laboratory

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The International Space Station, backdropped by the blackness of space and the thin line of Earth's atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)

The International Space Station, backdropped by the blackness of space and the thin line of Earth’s atmosphere. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Physical Science Research Program will fund seven proposals to conduct physics research using the agency’s new microgravity laboratory, which is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in 2016.

NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) will provide an opportunity to study ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the space station — a frontier in scientific research that is expected to reveal interesting and novel quantum phenomena. Five of the selected proposals will involve flight experiments using the CAL aboard the space station, and two call for ground-based research to help NASA plan for future flight experiments.

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Awesome Video: Testing a Martian Parachute With a Rocket Sled

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Video Caption: A prototype Mars parachute is pulled from the sky with a rocket sled. The test applies the correct aerodynamic force to a parachute that is too large to fit in any existing wind tunnel.

The successful test approach allows engineers to study issues and improve parachute design.

MH-60S Knighthawk Helicopter, 4000 ft Drop Altitude
135,000 lb Sled
100,000 lbf of Pull Thrust
50,000 lb Tripod Structure
2,000,000 lb Concrete Anchors
300 hp Winch to Fish in Parachute
2600 ft 1-5/8″ Technora Rope
2000 lb Pulley