Tag: NASA

Made in Space 3D Printer Installed on Space Station

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NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore installs a 3-D Printer in the Microgravity Science Glovebox on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA-TV)

NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore installs a 3-D Printer in the Microgravity Science Glovebox on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA-TV)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Today, NASA took a big step toward changing the way we plan for long-duration space voyages when astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore successfully installed and prepared the first 3-D printer for upcoming manufacturing operations on the International Space Station.

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ATK, Orbital Sciences Going Forward With Merger Despite Antares Accident

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ATK_LogoARLINGTON, Va. (ATK/Orbital Sciences PR) – Alliant Techsystems Inc. (“ATK”) (ATK) and Orbital Sciences Corporation (“Orbital”) (ORB) announced today that the two companies have set January 27, 2015 as the new date for their separate, special stockholder meetings in connection with the proposed transaction to spin off ATK’s Sporting Group business and immediately thereafter, merge ATK’s Aerospace and Defense Groups with Orbital. On October 28, 2014, both companies communicated they would hold separate, special stockholder meetings on December 9, 2014 for ATK stockholders to vote on the issuance of shares to stockholders of Orbital and for Orbital stockholders to vote on the proposed transaction. Following this announcement on October 28, 2014, a failure occurred during Orbital’s Antares launch.  Since the incident, the companies have conducted a thorough review and analysis of the launch failure and Orbital’s proposed recovery plan and long-term competitive position.  Following this review, ATK’s board of directors continues to support the strategic merits of the transaction and recommends that ATK stockholders vote to approve the issuance of shares to Orbital stockholders. Orbital’s board of directors also continues to recommend that Orbital stockholders vote to approve the proposed transaction.

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Airbus to Build Orion Service Module

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BERLIN, Germany — Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second space company, has signed a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) for the development and construction of the service module for Orion, the future American human space capsule. The contract is worth around 390 million euros. The service module will provide propulsion, power supply, thermal control and the central elements of the life support system of the American capsule.

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Google Backs Moffett Field Education Center

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.  (EASEF PR) –
The Earth, Air and Space Educational Foundation (EASEF), a Silicon Valley non-profit corporation, today announced that it has received a commitment of funds and material support from Google, Inc. The development grant will help EASEF advance its goal of establishing a public use Collaboratory for science and technology education and cultural activities in the Silicon Valley region.

Created with a commitment to the restoration and revitalization of facilities at Moffett Federal Airfield, which includes facilities that comprise a National Historic District, the EASEF plans to establish a Grand Challenges Learning, Exhibition, Conference and Event Collaboratory on Moffett property. The support pledged by Google to EASEF includes a cash donation and commitment to help establish the proposed Collaboratory.

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Towed Twin-Fuselage Glider Launch System First Test Flight Successful

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One of NASA Armstrong’s DROID small unmanned research aircraft tows the twin-fuselage towed glider into the blue sky on its first test flight. (Credit: Tom Tschida/NASA Armstrong)

One of NASA Armstrong’s DROID small unmanned research aircraft tows the twin-fuselage towed glider into the blue sky on its first test flight. (Credit: Tom Tschida/NASA Armstrong)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has successfully flight-tested a prototype twin-fuselage towed glider that could lead to rockets being launched from pilotless aircraft at high altitudes – a technology application that could significantly reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of sending small satellites into space. The first flights of the one-third-scale twin fuselage towed glider took place Oct. 21 from NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

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Blue Origin Commercial Crew Development Status Report

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At Blue Origin’s West Texas facility, the BE-3 engine demonstrated a full simulated suborbital mission profile, igniting, throttling, and restarting on command. (Credit: NASA)

At Blue Origin’s West Texas facility, the BE-3 engine demonstrated a full simulated suborbital mission profile, igniting, throttling, and restarting on command. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has announced an extension of its unfunded Space Act Agreement with Blue Origin that adds three unfunded milestones to the space agency’s collaboration with Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’ space company. Those milestones include additional testing of a propellant tank, the BE-3 engine and the pusher escape system.

NASA also announced the completion in September of the Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. The milestone included a review of space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C.

Blue Origin began its partnership with NASA in 2010. To date, it has received $25.38 million in funding from the space agency. All work since 2012 has been conducted with NASA expertise but without direct funding from the agency.

Blue Origin Space Act Agreements Milestones
Award Period: 2010 – 2015
Milestones: 23
Milestones Completed: 20
Milestones Remaining: 3
Total Amount Awarded: $25.38 million
Total Amount Remaining: $0

NO. DESCRIPTION ORIGINAL DATE
STATUS AMOUNT
COMMERCIAL CREW DEVELOPMENT 1
A1 Project Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape system maturation plan. March 2010 Complete $835,000
A2 1-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 1-degree of freedom trust measurement stand. July 2010 Complete $835,000
A3 6-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 6-degree of freedom trust measurement stand. October 2010 Complete $835,000
A4 Rocket Sled Test. Conduct non-separating test of full CC OML and mass simulator on rocket sled track. March 2011 Complete $0
B1 Composite Pressure Vessel Maturation Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the implementation plan. March 2010 Complete $290,000
B2 Test Article Composite Parts Received. Receive all parts necessary to complete assembly of one composite pressure vessel, closing supplier risk. May 2010 Complete $290,000
B3 Test Article Assembly Complete. Completion of the test article. August 2010 Complete $290,000
CCDEV 1 TOTAL: $3,375,000
COMMERCIAL CREW DEVELOPMENT 2
1.1 Space Vehicle Kickoff Meeting. A meeting at Blue Origin headquarters in Kent, WA to brief NASA personnel on the project implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $905,000
1.2 Space Vehicle Mission Concept Review. A review of the Space Vehicle Mission Concept. September 2011 Complete $900,000
1.3 Space Vehicle Systems Requirements Review. A review of systems requirements for the Space Vehicle. May 2012 Complete $900,000
2.1 Pusher Escape Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $2,000,000
2.2 Pusher Escape Vehicle #1 Shipment. Assembly of the first Pusher Escape Flight Test Vehicle is complete, except for installation of the pusher escape subsystem and separation mechanisms. Shipment to test range. December 2011 Complete $2,000,000
2.3 Pusher Escape Ground Firing. Conduct an initial ground test of the pusher escape rocket motor and thrust vector control system to be used during the flight test campaign. January 2012 Complete $3,000,000
2.6 Escape Pad Escape Test. Conduct a test of one of the fight test vehicles simulating an escape from a booster on the launch pad. April 2012 Complete $1,900,000
3.1 Engine Kickoff Meeting. Meeting to brief NASA personnel on engine risk reduction implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $3,400,000
3.2 Engine TCA and Test Plan Review. Meeting to review test article interface data, Interface Control Diagram (ICD) and test plan. September 2011 Complete $4,000,000
3.4 Engine TCA Test. Conduct pressure-fed test of the full-scale thrust chamber assembly (TCA). May 2012 Complete $3,000,000
CCDEV 2 TOTAL: $22,005,000
UNFUNDED SPACE ACT AGREEMENT
3.6 BE-3 Engine Test. Conduct a test firing of the pump-fed engine simulating a sub-scale booster suborbital mission duty cycle (MDC). September 2013 Complete $0
3.7 Subscale Prop Tank Assembly Review. Conduct a review of the design, manufacture and assembly of a subscale booster propellant tank. December 2013 Complete $0
1.4 Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. Review space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C. March 2014 Complete $0
Propellant Tank Testing. Additional testing of the propellant tank. Pending $0
BE-3 Engine Test. Additional testing of the pump-fed BE-3 engine. Pending $0
Pusher Escape System. Additional testing of the pusher escape system designed to save the crew from a malfunctioning booster. Pending $0
TOTAL, ALL AGREEMENTS: $25,380,000

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Continue System Advancements

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s industry partners continue to complete development milestones under agreements with the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The work performed by Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX during partnership and contract initiatives are leading a new generation of safe, reliable and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit destinations.

Blue Origin conducted an interim design review of the subsystems in development for its Space Vehicle spacecraft designed to carry people into low-Earth orbit. The September review was performed under an unfunded Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) agreement with NASA. In October, NASA and Blue Origin agreed to add three additional unfunded milestones to the agreement to continue the development work and partnership. Those milestones will include further testing of Blue Origin’s propellant tank, BE-3 engine and pusher escape system.

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NASA Moves First Orion Spacecraft to Launch Pad

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NASA's Orion spacecraft passes into Space Launch Complex-37 SLC-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to complete its move from the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. (Credit:  NASA/Kim Shiflett)

NASA’s Orion spacecraft passes into Space Launch Complex-37 SLC-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to complete its move from the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s Orion spacecraft moved Nov. 11 from the Launch Abort System Facility (LASF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in preparation for its upcoming flight test.

The assembled Orion crew module, service module, launch abort system and adapter that fits the service module to the rocket had remained inside the LASF since Sept. 28 until the scheduled move to the pad.

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Consumer Watchdog Attacks Google Lease of Moffett Field

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SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Consumer Watchdog PR) –
NASA’s just announced lease agreement with a Google subsidiary to manage Moffett Federal Airfield wrongly rewards the Internet giant’s executives for longstanding abuses at Ames Research Center, Consumer Watchdog said.

NASA claimed the lease would save the agency approximately $6.3 million annually in maintenance and operation costs and provide $1.16 billion in rent over the initial 60-year lease term.

“In fact the lease gives Google unprecedented control of a federal facility to use as its own playground,” said John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project.

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Investigators Cite Turbopump as Likely Cause of Antares Failure

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The bottom of the Antares explodes right after liftoff.

The bottom of the Antares explodes right after liftoff.

Space News reports that investigators have zeroed in on the cause of a spectacular rocket failure at Wallops Island last month:

Initial analysis of data from the Oct. 28 failure of an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket indicates that a turbopump in one of the two main engines on the rocket’s first stage malfunctioned seconds after liftoff, company executives said Nov. 5.

“Current evidence strongly suggests that one of the two AJ-26 main engines that powered Antares’ first stage failed about 15 seconds after ignition,” David W. Thompson, chief executive of Orbital Sciences, said in a conference call with financial analysts.

“At this time, we believe the failure likely originated in, or directly affected, the turbopump machinery of this engine,” he said, adding that more analysis was needed before the company could reach a definitive conclusion about the failure.

The AJ-26 engine, a refurbished version of the Soviet-era NK-33 engine provided by Aerojet Rocketdyne, has been the focus of speculation about the failure since the accident. Video of the launch showed the plume from the engines brighten about 10 seconds after liftoff, followed by an explosion at the aft end of the first stage. The rocket then fell back to Earth, triggering a larger explosion that destroyed the rocket and the Cygnus cargo spacecraft it was carrying.

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