Archinaut Project Conducts First Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing Build in Space-like Environment

Archinaut project manager Eric Joyce, left, and fellow Made In Space engineer Deejay Riley fine-tune the Extended Structure Additive Manufacturing Machine — the core of the project’s innovative, in-space 3-D printing capability — during thermal vacuum testing at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. (Credit: NASA/Made in Space)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (NASA PR) — Archinaut, a NASA Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) project developing cutting-edge technology to build and assemble complex hardware and supersized structures on demand in space, achieved an unprecedented milestone this summer.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time additive manufacturing has been successfully tested on such a large scale in the vacuum and temperature conditions of space,” said Eric Joyce, Archinaut project manager for Made In Space Inc. of Mountain View, California, which spearheads the project for NASA.

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SpaceX Subcontractors Revealed!

When NASA released its CCDev 2 agreement with SpaceX, the space agency redacted the names of the company’s partners on human-rating the Dragon spacecraft. A recent PowerPoint presentation given by NASA official Maria Collura reveals them publicly. And the partners are…

Ahhhh, you didn’t think I’d tell you before the break, did you?

C’mon, click to continue reading. You’re dying to know…. 🙂

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Shuttle Veteran Bloomfield Joins Oceaneering

OCEANEERING PRESS RELEASE

Oceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE:OII) announced that ex-astronaut Michael J. (“Mike”) Bloomfield has joined Oceaneering as its Vice President and General Manager of Oceaneering Space Systems.

Mr. Bloomfield is a veteran Astronaut of three Space Shuttle flights.  Selected as a NASA Astronaut in 1994, Mike served as Pilot on STS-86 and STS-jj97 and as Commander of STS-110.  While at NASA he also held important positions with the Astronaut Office including Chief of Safety and Chief Instructor Astronaut. Additionally, Mr. Bloomfield was Director of Shuttle Operations and Chief of the Shuttle Branch. He also served as Deputy Director of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate (FCOD) before leaving NASA in 2007 to join ATK as Vice President for Houston Operations.  In his new role at Oceaneering, Mr. Bloomfield will lead Oceaneering’s Space System Division, where he has responsibility for all aspects of the business.

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New NASA Spacesuit Endangered by Budget?

lunarsuit2During a Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership round table on Saturday, Oceaneering vice president Mark Gittleman said he is concerned about whether the Obama Administration is providing enough funding to allow his company to build NASA’s new spacesuit. Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin shared the concern:

Griffin said Gittleman’s concerns are well placed in light of the proposed $3 billion-plus cut in the budget for the manned space program.

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NASA Awards Contract for Lunar Spacesuit

NASA PRESS RELEASE

NASA has awarded an interim letter contract to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston to begin work on the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system for the Constellation Program. The system will protect astronauts during voyages to the International Space Station and exploration of the moon’s surface.

The letter contract requires Oceaneering International to begin work on the basic period of performance while NASA and the company negotiate the contract’s final terms. The current award amount for the performance of the letter contract is limited to $9.6 million. It will become effective March 2 and be in effect until the full contract is defined, no later than Aug. 29, 2009.

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Lunar Suit Competitors to Cooperate

Competitors for space suit to work together
Associated Press

“Two companies that competed against each other in a contested bid to design the next-generation space suit for NASA will now work together in a joint enterprise.

“Dan Coulom, a spokesman for Hamilton Sundstrand, which is a partner of ILC Dover in the project, said Tuesday the venture will bid for the $745 million contract with Oceaneering International Inc.”

Dodd: Make Spacesuit Competition Fair

U.S. Senator Chris Dodd has weighed in on the NASA next generation spacesuit controversy on behalf of a company from his home state of Connecticut.

Hamilton Sundstrand – which has been making U.S. spacesuits for 40 years – recently lost the contract to Texas-based Oceaneering. NASA subsequently voided the contract after Hamilton Sundstrand filed an appeal with the Government Accountability Office and the NASA Inspector General’s Office raised concerns about the fairness of the bidding process.

“As NASA begins a new space suit competition, it is important that we get it right this time,” said Dodd.  “The people who know space-suits best— the Hamilton Sundstrand workers who have been making them since the early years of the Apollo program – should get the fair shot that they deserve.  I will remain vigilant in working to ensure that NASA executes an unbiased competition.  At the end of the day, I am convinced that Hamilton Sundstrand can win this competition fair and square and will continue manufacturing the suits that protect America’s astronauts for years to come.”

The text of Dodd’s letter is reproduced below:

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Hamilton Sundstrand Challenges Spacesuit Award to Oceaneering

Hamilton Sundstrand protests NASA contract
Associated Press

“Hamilton Sundstrand has protested NASA’s selection of a Texas company to supply the space agency’s next-generation space suit. The subsidiary of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. and a partner company filed the protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office on Monday. Company officials do not believe they got adequate information from NASA about why Hamilton Sundstrand lost out, the company said in a statement.

“The contract was awarded June 12 to Houston-based Oceaneering International Inc., best known for providing deep water services and products to the oil and gas industry. Hamilton Sundstrand and its partner, ILC Dover of Frederica, Del., have supplied the space suits since the 1960s.”

Oceaneering Suited NASA’s Needs Better than Hamilton Sundstrand, ILC Dover

NASA Eyed Management In Spacesuit Selection
Frank Morring, Jr.
Aviation Week & Space Technology

NASA picked a team headed by Oceaneering International Inc. (OII) to build its next-generation spacesuits because it felt the team’s systems engineering and management plans are more likely to get the job done than those proposed by veteran suitmakers Hamilton Sundstrand and ILC Dover.”

Harris will build next-generation space suit radios
David Hubler
Washington Technology

“Harris Corp. will provide the radio communications and navigation system for NASA’s next-generation spacesuit under a seven-year contract with a potential value of $58 million.”

NASA Awards Contract for Constellation Spacesuit for the Moon
Press Release
Paragon Space Development Company