Tag: NASA JPL

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

Cool Video of a Masten Xombie Flight

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Video Caption: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tested its G-FOLD divert algorithm experimental landing system on September 20, 2013 at the Mohave Air & Space Port in Mojave, Calif. G-FOLD, which stands for Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance Algorithm, enables a rocket to select an alternate landing site, autonomously. The test was performed aboard a Masten Xombie rocket.

JPL Tests Flight Control System on Masten Xombie Vehicle

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A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL's Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. Image (Credit: NASA/Masten)

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL’s Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. Image (Credit: NASA/Masten)

MOJAVE, Calif. (NASA PR) – A year after NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity’s landed on Mars, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., are testing a sophisticated flight-control algorithm that could allow for even more precise, pinpoint landings of future Martian spacecraft.

Flight testing of the new Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance algorithm – G-FOLD for short – for planetary pinpoint landing is being conducted jointly by JPL engineers in cooperation with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, Calif., using Masten’s XA-0.1B “Xombie” vertical-launch, vertical-landing experimental rocket.
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Asteroid Detecting Sensor Passes Critical Design Milestone

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JPL_asteroid_satellite
Editor’s Note:
As the Planetary Defense Conference gets underway in Flagstaff, Ariz., NASA reports progress on a sensor designed to detect asteroids and comets.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) – An infrared sensor that could improve NASA’s future detecting and tracking of asteroids and comets has passed a critical design test.

The test assessed performance of the Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) in an environment that mimicked the temperatures and pressures of deep space. NEOCam is the cornerstone instrument for a proposed new space-based asteroid-hunting telescope. Details of the sensor’s design and capabilities are published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Optical Engineering.

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