Tag: NASA

Heat Shield Installed on First Orion Spacecraft

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Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians dressed in clean-room suits install a back shell tile panel onto the Orion crew module. (Credit:  NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians dressed in clean-room suits install a back shell tile panel onto the Orion crew module. (Credit:NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The heat shield on NASA’s Orion spacecraft gets all the glory when it comes to protecting the spacecraft from the intense temperature of reentry. Although the blunt, ablative shield will see the highest temperatures – up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit on its first flight this December – the rest of the spacecraft is hardly left in the cold.

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NASA Tests 3D Printed Engine Part

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Engineers just completed hot-fire testing with two 3-D printed rocket injectors. Certain features of the rocket components were designed to increase rocket engine performance. The injector mixed liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen together, which combusted at temperatures over 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, producing more than 20,000 pounds of thrust. (Credit:  NASA photo/David Olive)

Engineers just completed hot-fire testing with two 3-D printed rocket injectors. Certain features of the rocket components were designed to increase rocket engine performance. The injector mixed liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen together, which combusted at temperatures over 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, producing more than 20,000 pounds of thrust. (Credit: NASA photo/David Olive)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

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NASA Plans Citizen Forums on Asteroids

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asteroid_initiative_citizen_forumWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is finding asteroids, including those that might threaten our home planet, and sending humans to explore one. The agency is engaging the public in the Asteroid Grand Challenge to find all asteroid threats to human population and know what to do about them, accelerating NASA’s existing planetary defense work. NASA is also developing a first-ever mission to identify, capture and redirect a near-Earth asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon, where astronauts will explore it in the 2020s, returning with samples. This Asteroid Redirect Mission is part of NASA’s plan to advance the new technologies and spaceflight experience needed for humans to pioneer Mars in the 2030s.

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Smith, Palazzo Decry SLS Schedule Delay

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Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

Washington, D.C. (House Science Commitee PR) – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. about reported delays to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle. The news comes despite congressional support above the Administration’s full budget requests and repeated Administration assurances that the exploration priorities are on schedule.

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First SLS Flight Slips to Late 2018

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Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

UPDATE: NASA officials just completed a teleconference in which they said November 2018 is a No Later Than date. They are hoping to do much better; there’s still a chance of launching in December 2017 or sometime soon afterward.

NASA just announced an 11-month delay in the first Space Launch System flight from December 2017 to November 2018 in the fourth paragraph of a press release.

This decision comes after a thorough review known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), which provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.

The full press release is below.

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Boeing Docking System Passes Critical Design Review

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Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

HOUSTON, Aug. 26, 2014 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] will begin manufacturing a new docking system for the International Space Station (ISS), having recently completed the critical design review for the NASA Docking System Block-1 (NDSB-1). In compliance with the International Docking System standard, NDSB-1 will be compatible with any space craft.

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NASA Completes Successful Battery of Tests on Composite Cryotank

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One of the largest composite cryotanks ever built recently completed a battery of tests at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The tank was lowered into a structural test stand where it was tested with cryogenic hydrogen and structural loads were applied to simulate stresses the tank would experience during launch. (Credit: NASA/David Olive)

One of the largest composite cryotanks ever built recently completed a battery of tests at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The tank was lowered into a structural test stand where it was tested with cryogenic hydrogen and structural loads were applied to simulate stresses the tank would experience during launch. (Credit: NASA/David Olive)

HUNSTVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA has completed a complex series of tests on one of the largest composite cryogenic fuel tanks ever manufactured, bringing the aerospace industry much closer to designing, building, and flying lightweight, composite tanks on rockets.

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Shuttle Carrier 747 to be Displayed in Palmdale

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Space shuttle Atlantis being mated to shuttle carrier aircraft at NASA Dryden. (Credit: NASA)

Space shuttle Atlantis being mated to shuttle carrier aircraft at NASA Dryden. (Credit: NASA)

One of the modified 747 aircraft used to transport space shuttles will be going on display at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark in Palmdale, Calif., in about a month.

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center Director David McBride revealed the plan during a press event on Tuesday to mark the dismantling of the space shuttle mate-demate device, which was used to mount the orbiters on their carrier aircraft after they landed at Edwards Air Force Base.

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NASA to Test Green Thruster Propellant in Space

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Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Milestone progress is being made in readying NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) for launch in 2016, a smallsat designed to test the unique attributes of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit.

The GPIM marks the first time the United States will use a spacecraft to test green propellant technology, thereby showcasing the innovation needed to develop a fully domestic, green propellant solution for the next generation of space flight.

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Russia Could Agree to ISS Extension

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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)

Izvestia reports that Russia could continue to use the International Space Station after 2020 despite earlier threats would pull out of the program because of frayed relations over the Ukraine crisis.

“The issue of Russia’s participation at the ISS after 2020 remains open, but there is a 90-percent chance that the state’s leadership will agree to participate in the project further,” the paper wrote citing a source at Russia’s Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.

Russian space enterprises continue to make new modules for the space station according to the schedule, the paper said.

Meanwhile, Interfax reports that the Russian space agency Roscosmos plans continued expansion of the space station.

A proposed federal space plan for 2016-2025 envisions an expansion of the existing Russian segment of ISS in 2017, Interfax reported, citing a copy of the document. That year, Russia would launch its long-delayed Multipurpose Laboratory Module, as well as a new hub module and docking module — allowing five ships to dock with the station.

The overall cost of Russia’s ISS extension will be almost 4 billion rubles ($110 million).

The Multipurpose Laboratory Module was to have been launched by now. However, Khrunichev suffered delays in finishing it, and Energia then sent the module back to Khrunichev after it discovered multiple problems with it.

Initially, Russia had been enthusiastic about NASA’s proposal to extend operations of the station from 2020 until at least 2024. However, relations between the two nations have frayed due to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and support for a rebellion in the eastern part of that nation.

Following the U.S. decision to impose sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said his nation would not extend ISS operations beyond 2020. Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s space and defense sectors, also accelerated cooperation with China’s space program.

Since that time, Russia’s attitude toward the proposed ISS extension have softened, with indications that four more years of operations are possible.

In the past, Russian space officials have talked about taking their elements of ISS and using them as a basis for a new orbiting facility. It is not clear how far that idea has advanced, or whether officials are seriously considering it.