Tag: NASA JPL

NIAC Focus: Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments

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Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE). (Credit: NASA JPL)

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is a proposal submitted by Jonathan Sauder of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE)

Jonathan Sauder
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Venus, with its sulfuric acid clouds, temperatures of over 450′, and surface pressure of 92 bar, is one of the most hostile planetary environments in the solar system. Only a handful of Soviet Venera and Vega landers have successfully reached the surface of Venus. Even these robust probes only survived for 23 to 127 minutes before the electronics failed in the hostile environment.

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NASA Seeks Industry Ideas for an Advanced Mars Satellite

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NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft artist concept. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft artist concept. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is soliciting ideas from U.S. industry for designs of a Mars orbiter for potential launch in the 2020s. The satellite would provide advanced communications and imaging, as well as robotic science exploration, in support of NASA’s Journey to Mars.

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NASA Looks to Commercialize Solar Sail Technology

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A concept image of the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout mission, one of 11 missions that will be secondary payloads to the first test flight of NASA's Space Launch System. (Credit: NASA)

A concept image of the Near-Earth Asteroid Scout mission, one of 11 missions that will be secondary payloads to the first test flight of NASA’s Space Launch System. (Credit: NASA)

NASA CubeSat-Scale Solar Sail for Space Propulsion
Solicitation Number: NNM16042116
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office: Marshall Space Flight Center
Location: Office of Procurement

Introduction

A cubesat-scale solar sail propulsion system is being developed at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to provide propulsion for a 6U interplanetary CubeSat to be used for the Near Earth Asteroid Scout (NEAS) project. NASA MSFC desires for the solar sail technology and design being developed for the NEAS mission to be commercially available after the completion and delivery of the flight system hardware in 2018. To further that goal, NASA MSFC seeks to provide the solar sail propulsion system design to interested commercial entities. It is anticipated that there may be follow-on missions using the NEA Scout sail system following successful completion of the NEA Scout project.

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NIAC Focus: Journey to the Center of Icy Moons

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Exploration of an icy moon. (Credit: NASA JPL)

NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is one from Masahiro Ono of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Journey to the Center of Icy Moons

Masahiro Ono
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

In Jules Verne’s classic science fiction, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Professor Otto Lidenbrock and his company descend into an Icelandic volcano to explore it in the name of science, discover a vast subterranean ocean among other unexpected wonders, and must resiliently survive the experience to complete their mission. This is exactly what we want to do in reality on Europa and Enceladus.

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NIAC Focus: Venus Atmospheric Probe That Uses In-Situ Resources

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By Ultraviolet Imager (UVI), at around 2:19 p.m. on Dec. 7 (Japan Standard Time) at the Venus altitude of about 72,000 km. (Credit: JAXA)

By Ultraviolet Imager (UVI), at around 2:19 p.m. on Dec. 7 (Japan Standard Time) at the Venus altitude of about 72,000 km. (Credit: JAXA)

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 Ratnakumar Bugga of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Venus Interior Probe Using In-situ Power and Propulsion (VIP-INSPR)

Ratnakumar Bugga
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

We envision a novel architecture for Venus Interior Probes based on in-situ resources for power generation (VIP-INSPR). Proposed Venus probe is based on the generation of hydrogen from electrolysis at high altitudes using solar array, storing it in chemical hydride, utilizing it for altitude control in a balloon system and for power generation in fuel cell at lower altitudes.

It is a challenge to have a durable power source in the low altitude environments, due to low solar intensity and low efficiency of RTG is inefficient. Primary batteries survive only for 1-2 hours. VIP-INSPR will refill hydrogen on one end and provide power on the other side continuously, thus enabling sustained exploration of the Venus atmosphere.

NIAC Focus: Getting a Glider to Fly on an Airless World

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NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program recently selected 13 proposals for Phase I awards. Below is the description of an electrostatic glider submitted by Marco Quandrelli of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

E-Glider: Active Electrostatic Flight for Airless Body Exploration

Marco Quadrelli
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

The environment near the surface of airless bodies (asteroids, comets, Moon) is electrically charged due to Sun’s photoelectric bombardment. Charged dust is ever present, even at high altitudes (dust fountains), following the Sun’s illumination. We envisage the global scale exploration of airless bodies by a gliding vehicle that experiences its own electrostatic lift and drag by its interaction with the naturally charged particle environment near the surface. This Electrostatic Glider (E-Glider) lifts off by extending thin, charged, appendages, which are also articulated to direct the levitation force in the most convenient direction for propulsion and maneuvering. It thus carries out its science mission by circumnavigating the small body, and it lands, wherever it is most convenient, by retracting the appendages or by thruster/anchor.

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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Europa Mission a Work in Progress as Congress Keeps Adding to It

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This artist's rendering shows a concept for a future NASA mission to Europa in which a spacecraft would make multiple close flybys of the icy Jovian moon, thought to contain a global subsurface ocean. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s rendering shows a concept for a future NASA mission to Europa in which a spacecraft would make multiple close flybys of the icy Jovian moon, thought to contain a global subsurface ocean. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Congress has been a lot more excited than NASA about a mission to explore Jupiter’s frozen moon Europa, giving the agency more funds than it has requested for a mission that will be much more ambitious than originally planned.

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Asteroid-Hunting NEOWISE Spacecraft Delivers a Second Year of Data

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PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission has released its second year of survey data.  The spacecraft has now characterized a total of 439 NEOs since the mission was re-started in December 2013.  Of these, 72 were new discoveries.

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‘Mixed Reality’ Technology Brings Mars to Earth

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PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — What might it look like if you were walking around on Mars? A group of researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, has been working on methods to take this question from the realm of imagination to the mind-bending domain of mixed reality.

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NASA Funds Research into Improved Deep Space Solar Panels

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Technicians test the deployment of a massive solar array that will power future NASA spacecraft. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)

Technicians test the deployment of a massive solar array that will power future NASA spacecraft. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) program has selected four proposals to develop solar array technologies that will aid spacecraft in exploring destinations well beyond low-Earth orbit, including Mars. One of these proposals is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

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Dawn Program Honored With Two Prestigious Awards

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Dawn spacecraft (Credit: NASA)

Dawn spacecraft (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Dawn project team recently earned two prestigious awards, honoring its successful mission to giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres.

On March 8, the Dawn project team was chosen to receive the prestigious National Aeronautic Association Robert J. Collier Trophy.

On March 11, the Dawn project team was honored with the National Space Club and Foundation’s Nelson P. Jackson Award, presented annually for “a significant contribution to the missile, aircraft or space field.”

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Dawn Program Team Receives 2015 Collier Trophy

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Artist's concept of Dawn above Ceres around the time it was captured into orbit by the dwarf planet in early March. Since its arrival, the spacecraft turned around to point the blue glow of its ion engine in the opposite direction. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of Dawn above Ceres around the time it was captured into orbit by the dwarf planet in early March. Since its arrival, the spacecraft turned around to point the blue glow of its ion engine in the opposite direction. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON, DC, March 9, 2016 (NAA PR) – The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced last evening at their Spring Awards Dinner that the NASA/JPL Dawn Program Team has been named as the recipient of the 2015 Robert J. Collier Trophy “In recognition of the extraordinary achievements of orbiting and exploring protoplanet Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, and advancing the nation’s technological capabilities in pioneering new frontiers in space travel.”

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Former SpaceX Exec Joins Rocket Lab

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Garrett Katzenstein

Garrett Katzenstein

LOS ANGELES (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab announced today that Garrett Katzenstein has joined the company as Vice President of Product and Mission Management. Katzenstein will oversee customer experience from point of sale through vehicle integration and successful launch.

Katzenstein waGarretts most recently the Senior Manager for Mission and Launch Operations at SpaceX. He has nearly twenty years of work in space propulsion, structures, robotics, launch integration, systems engineering, program management, contracts, and sales. In the past, Katzenstein has successfully managed programs to place robotics on Mars with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and managed multiple successful missions to fly the Dragon Capsule (SpaceX) to the International Space Station.

“We are delighted to add Garrett to our executive team,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO. “As our manifest continues to grow, we are confident Garrett’s experience and skills will serve as a great asset to our customers throughout the launch process.”

Katzenstein holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s of Business Administration from California Polytechnic University.

NASA Awards Contracts for Early ARM Robotic Spacecraft

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Artists concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth's moon. (Credit: NASA)

Artists concept of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission capturing an asteroid boulder before redirecting it to an astronaut-accessible orbit around Earth’s moon. (Credit: NASA)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., has selected four companies to conduct design studies for a solar-electric-propulsion-based spacecraft for the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM). The aerospace companies selected for the initial studies include: Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Littleton, Colorado; Boeing Phantom Works, Huntington Beach, California; Orbital ATK, Dulles, Virginia; and Space Systems/Loral, Palo Alto, California.

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