Small Packages to Test Big Space Technology Advances

The RainCube 6U CubeSat with fully-deployed antenna. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — This weekend, when the next cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station lifts off from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, it will be carrying among its supplies and experiments three cereal box-sized satellites that will be used to test and demonstrate the next generation of Earth-observing technology.

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NASA to Launch Parachute Test off Virginia Coast March 27

The Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) 2 payload undergoes testing in the sounding rocket payload facility at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia, prior to transport to the launch pad on Wallops Island. (Credit: NASA/Berit Bland)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA will test a parachute for possible future missions to Mars from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday, March 27. Live coverage of the test is scheduled to begin at 6:15 a.m. EDT on the Wallops Ustream site.

The launch window for the 58-foot-tall Terrier-Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket is from 6:45 to 10:15 a.m. Backup launch days are March 28 to April 10.

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission Performs First Supersonic Parachute Test

A 58-foot-tall Black Brant IX sounding rocket launches from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Oct. 4. This was the first test of the Mars 2020 mission’s parachute-testing series, the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment, or ASPIRE. (Credit: NASA/Wallops)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — Landing on Mars is difficult and not always successful. Well-designed advance testing helps. An ambitious NASA Mars rover mission set to launch in 2020 will rely on a special parachute to slow the spacecraft down as it enters the Martian atmosphere at over 12,000 mph (5.4 kilometers per second). Preparations for this mission have provided, for the first time, dramatic video of the parachute opening at supersonic speed.

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ASPIRE Successfully Launches from NASA Wallops

Black Brant IX sounding rocket launches the ASPIRE experiment. (Credit: NASA)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — A NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket carrying a parachute test platform was successfully launched at 6:45 a.m. EST, October 4, from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The 58-foot tall rocket carried the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The mission is to evaluate the performance of the ASPIRE payload, which is designed to test parachute systems in a low-density, supersonic environment.

The flight was conducted through NASA’s Space Mission Directorate.

The payload flew to an altitude of approximately 31.62 miles and then landed in the Atlantic Ocean. The payload is being recovered for data retrieval and inspection.

NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program is conducted at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility. Orbital ATK provides mission planning, engineering services and field operations through the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract. NASA’s Heliophysics Division manages the sounding-rocket program for the agency.

The next launch currently scheduled from Wallops is Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft with supplies and experiments to the International Space Station. Antares is scheduled for launch no earlier than November 10.

ARCA Space to Test Aerospike Engine at Spaceport America

ARCASpace booster with aerospike engine. (Credit: ARCA Space)

ARCA Space Corporation has announced plans to flight test its Executor aerospike engine for its Haas 2CA single-stage-to-orbit small satellite launch vehicle at Spaceport America in New Mexico in August.

The Demonstrator 3 vehicle will conduct the first test of an aerospike engine in flight during a suborbital mission that will reach an altitude of up to 100 km, the company said in a press release.

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Nanotechnology Flight Test: Material Impact on the Future

A Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket with the SubTec-7 payload launches frm NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on May 16, 2017. (Credit: NASA Wallops)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — Mastering the intricacies of controlling matter at the nanoscale level is part of a revolutionary quest to apply nanotechnology to benefit industrial processes. A key element of that technology is the use of carbon nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are small hollow tubes with diameters of 0.7 to 50 nanometers and lengths generally in the tens of microns. While ultra-small, carbon nanotubes offer big-time attributes.

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Sounding Rocket Mission May 16 Providing Real-World Test for New Technologies

Photo caption: SubTec7 payload undergoes final testing and evaluation at Wallops. (Credit: NASA/Berit Bland)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (NASA PR) — New rocket and spacecraft technology can be tested on the ground, such as in labs.  However, in some cases a new technology needs to be flight tested to see how it performs in the “real-world” environment.

A NASA sounding rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on May 16 will provide the flight testing needed for 24 experiments and new technologies.

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Cygnus Delivers NanoRacks’ Largest CubeSat Mission to ISS

HOUSTON (NanoRacks PR) — Orbital ATK’s Cygnus (OA-7) spacecraft successfully berthed to the International Space Station (ISS) early this morning after launching Tuesday, April 18th from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This mission is NanoRacks’ largest CubeSat mission to date – carrying 38 CubeSats to be deployed from NanoRacks deployers on both the ISS and on the outside of Cygnus.

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Mikulski Puts $10 Million in Budget for Wallops Upgrades

Sen. Barbara Mikulski
Sen. Barbara Mikulski

WASHINGTON (Sen. Mikulski PR) – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced that the fiscal year (FY) 2017 CJS spending bill provides $10 million for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Wallops Island Flight Facility’s 21st Century Launch Complex.

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Launch Pad Repairs Completed on Wallops Island

An aerial view of the Wallops Island launch facilities taken by the Wallops Incident Response Team Oct. 29 following the failed launch attempt of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket Oct. 28. (Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach)
An aerial view of the Wallops Island launch facilities taken by the Wallops Incident Response Team Oct. 29 following the failed launch attempt of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket Oct. 28. (Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach)

NORFOLK, Va. (Virginia Space PR) – Today, September 30, marks the completion of the major repair work at the Virginia Space – MARS Launch Pad-0A, located on NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. This is a significant milestone in support of Orbital ATK resuming cargo resupply service with the upgraded Antares launch vehicle to the International Space Station for NASA.

The rebuild effort restored to flight readiness the facility and all systems that were damaged during the October 28, 2014 launch mishap. This work included repairs or replacement to the Deluge, HVAC, Fire Alarm, Electrical systems, Controls, Liquid Fueling Facilities and any damaged structures. The work was completed as scheduled, and within the overall budget while keeping a small management reserve for final system performance testing, which started September 25, 2015.

NASA to Test Space Tech in Wallops Launch on Tuesday

The NASA sounding rocket payload carrying two space technology development projects goes through GPS checks at the Wallops Flight Facility by technicians Tom Malaby (left) and Darren Ryan. (Credit: NASA/Berit Bland)
The NASA sounding rocket payload carrying two space technology development projects goes through GPS checks at the Wallops Flight Facility by technicians Tom Malaby (left) and Darren Ryan. (Credit: NASA/Berit Bland)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Virg. (NASA PR) — NASA will test two space technology development projects during the flight of a Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket at 5:45 a.m. EDT, July 7, from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch window for the 54-foot tall rocket runs until 8 a.m. The backup launch days are July 8 – 10.

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NASA Declares First LDSD Test Success

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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Maryland Sees Space Growth Opportunities From Wallops Island

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Virginia.  NASA's commercial space partner, Orbital Sciences Corporation, is scheduled to launch Antares on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.  Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Virginia. NASA’s commercial space partner, Orbital Sciences Corporation, is scheduled to launch Antares on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Study assesses opportunities for the space and aerospace industry around NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

Baltimore, MD, February 20, 2014 (Maryland DBED PR) – Governor Martin O’Malley today released the Unmanned Aerial & Space Systems & Launch Industry Feasibility Study, which identifies opportunities for investment and growth in aerospace and space on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore. The study was funded by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) and prepared by LJT & Associates, Columbia, Md., for the Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore.

“Space is more than just ‘the final frontier’ for scientific exploration – it is a promising economic frontier for our nation, for our state, and, as this study attests, for our Lower Eastern Shore,” said Governor O’Malley. “With Maryland residents comprising nearly 50 percent of its workforce, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility has had a significant impact on the economy of the Lower Shore for more than six decades. This feasibility study outlines the potential for further development of the industry around Wallops, attracting new businesses to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, creating jobs for Marylanders and strengthening the nation’s space science and exploration capabilities.”

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Minotaur I Launch Updates and Viewing Options

Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation
Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation

Live coverage available at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops

UPDATE 4:  Launch at 8:15 p.m. was nominal. The primary payload, a defense satellite, was deployed as planned.  The deployment of 28 Cubesats will take place out out of the range of ground tracking stations. We’re awaiting word on the success of those deployments.

UPDATE 3 at 7:30 p.m. EST: Count has resumed. New launch time is 8:15 p.m. EST.

UPDATE 2 at 7:11 p.m. EST:  Issue with tracking site identified. Will resume count at T-1 hour after tests completed.

UPDATE 1 at 6:48 p.m. EST:  T-1 hour and holding at 6:30 p.m. Continuing to work tracking site issue. Launch window runs until 9:15 p.m. EST

Via NASA — A United States Air Force Minotaur I rocket is scheduled to lift-off at 7:30 p.m. EST, Nov.19, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The Minotaur will launch the Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office’s ORS-3 mission, which features the deployment of 29 satellites in space.

The launch window is 7:30 to 9:15 p.m.  The backup launch days run through November 26.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge/Assateague Island National Seashore will be open for viewing the launch.  Visitors to Assateague need to be on the island by 6 p.m. before the entrance gate closes.

The night launch will be visible up and down the East Coast (see above map). Orbital Sciences Corporation has an additional map showing elevations as well as images with sample views from different locations along the East Coast here.

Live coverage of the launch is available via UStream beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST on launch day at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops.

Launch status can be followed on launch day on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/NASA_Wallops and Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NASAWFF.

Launch status also is available on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.

For more information on the ORS-3 mission, visit: http://go.usa.gov/Wgbd.

Antares Cleared for Launch on Wednesday Evening

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Virginia.  NASA's commercial space partner, Orbital Sciences Corporation, is scheduled to launch Antares on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.  Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket has been cleared for its maiden flight on Wednesday evening. The launch window opens at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT. NASA Television will begin at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT.

The flight from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island in Virginia will test the company’s new rocket and also launch a mass simulator that will approximate Orbital’s Cygnus freighter, which is designed to carry cargo to the International Space Station later this year.

Orbital Sciences will be providing updates on Twitter @orbitalsciences and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OrbitalSciencesCorp. The company will post photos on its Flickr page www.flickr.com/photos/orbitalsciences/.