NASA Selects Promising Purdue Space Technologies for Commercial Flight Tests

Steven Collicott, Purdue University professor of aeronautics and astronautics, shown here in zero gravity, will have four projects under grants.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Faculty members in Purdue University’s schools of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Mechanical Engineering are among a list of 28 researchers whose technologies have been selected to receive funding under NASA’s Tech Flights solicitation.

Steven Collicott , professor of aeronautics and astronautics, will receive four separate grants totaling $1.8 million for four different experiments. Issam Mudawar, the Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering, will receive one grant in the amount of $649,851.

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NASA Selects 31 Promising Space Technologies for Commercial Flight Tests

by Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program

NASA has selected 31 promising space technologies for testing aboard parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital rocket-powered systems. By exposing the innovations to many of the rigors and characteristics of spaceflight – without the expense of an orbital flight – NASA can help ensure these technologies work correctly when they are deployed on future missions.

“By supporting suborbital flight testing, our Flight Opportunities  program aims to help ensure that these innovations are well-positioned to address challenges and enable NASA to achieve its lunar ambitions, while also contributing to a growing and vibrant commercial space industry,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The Flight Opportunities program is part of STMD.

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NASA Looks to Advance 3D Printing Construction Systems for the Moon and Mars

ICON illustration of a conceptual lunar base with 3D printed infrastructure, including landing pads and habitats. (Credits: ICON/SEArch+)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — The process of building landing pads, habitats, and roads on the Moon will likely look different than the common construction site on Earth. Excavation robots, for one, will need to be lightweight yet capable of digging in reduced gravity. A large-scale construction system could be autonomous and equipped to work without astronauts’ help.

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NASA Seeks Partnerships with U.S. Companies to Advance Exploration Space Tech

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA partnerships are crucial for expanding capabilities and opportunities in space. The agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is seeking new partnerships with U.S. companies through an Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO) solicitation.

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STMD has five strategic thrust areas, representing the capabilities needed for robotic and human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

  1. Go – Enable safe and efficient transportation into and through space
  2. Land – Increase access to planetary surfaces
  3. Live – Enable humans to live and explore in space and on planetary surfaces
  4. Explore – Expand capabilities through robotic exploration and discovery
  5. Prosper – Accelerate the industrialization of space

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Top 10 iTech Finalists Announced, Will Present to NASA Chief Technologists


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Innovators don’t always have space on their mind, but NASA iTech can help. The competition challenges entrepreneurs to consider how their biomedical, software and other technology ideas could be adapted and used for future space exploration missions.

NASA has selected 10 competition finalists to present their ideas at the iTech forum in Hartford, Connecticut, on Oct. 25-26, 2018. Chief technologists from various NASA centers, other federal agencies and industry will listen to presentations and meet with participants. NASA judges will ultimately determine three winners of the 2018 NASA iTech Cycle III competition.

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NASA iTech Semifinalists Rethink Terrestrial Technologies for Space


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and 3D printing are just a few of the technology threads pitched during the third cycle of the NASA iTech competition. With an eye on how these promising ideas could benefit space exploration, NASA has selected 25 competition semifinalists.

An initiative by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), iTech aims to find innovative ideas that have the potential to overcome critical technology hurdles facing future exploration of the Moon and Mars, even though many were originally meant to solve important problems here on Earth.

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2017: A Year of Progress and Poised for the Future

ISARA’s three antenna panels feature a printed circuit board pattern that narrowly focuses the CubeSat’s radio transmission beam in much the same way a parabolic dish reflector does. (Credit: Nanoracks)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — Throughout 2017, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) made noteworthy progress in maturing and demonstrating technologies to bolster America’s space agenda, while setting the stage for vital advancements within the next several years.

From expanding the utilization of space in low-Earth orbit and enabling new scientific discoveries, to advancing capabitilties for robotic and human exploration of deep space destinations – STMD is executing a broad cross-cutting agenda, one that is pioneering groundbreaking technologies and knowhow.

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NASA Partners With 8 Companies in Spacecraft, Launch Technology

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is partnering with eight U.S. companies to advance small spacecraft and launch vehicle technologies that are on the verge of maturation and are likely to benefit both NASA and the commercial space market.

These partnerships are the result of a solicitation released in August 2016 by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), titled Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies. They mark the second round of public-private opportunities that enable industry to develop promising commercial space technologies that also may benefit future NASA missions.

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NASA Seeks Tech Partnerships With Commercial Companies

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) additive manufactured injector by was successfully hot fire tested by Vector Space System on Dec. 8, 2016 using Liquid Oxygen/Propylene propellant (LOX/LC3H6). This work was performed under a 2015 STMD ACO Space Act Agreement. (Credit: Vector Space System)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is seeking partnerships with U.S. companies focused on industry-developed space technologies that can advance the commercial space sector and benefit future NASA missions through the “Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity (ACO)” solicitation released by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

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NASA Announces Early Stage Innovation Space Technology Research Grants

NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 13 university-led proposals for the study of innovative, early stage technologies that address high priority needs of America’s space program.

The Early Stage Innovations (ESI) grants from NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program are worth as much as $500,000 each. Universities have two to three years to work on their proposed research and development projects.

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NASA Establishes the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute

Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)
Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA announces the addition of its newest virtual institute to advance the field of small spacecraft systems. The Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI), hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will leverage the growing small spacecraft community, promote innovation, identify emerging technology opportunities, and provide an efficient channel for communication about small spacecraft systems with industry, academia, and other government agencies.

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.
Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 13 space technology payloads to flight test on parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new technologies. The selections were made through the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington.

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NASA Challenge Aims to Grow Human Tissue to Aid in Deep Space Exploration

A stack of active tissue culture flasks in a temperature controlled compartment. (Credit: NASA)
A stack of active tissue culture flasks in a temperature controlled compartment. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA, in partnership with the nonprofit Methuselah Foundation’s New Organ Alliance, is seeking ways to advance the field of bioengineering through a new prize competition.

The Vascular Tissue Challenge offers a $500,000 prize to be divided among the first three teams that successfully create thick, metabolically-functional human vascularized organ tissue in a controlled laboratory environment.

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NASA Working on Advance Solar Array Technology

Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology undergoes testing (Credits: Deployable Space Systems, Inc.)
Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) technology undergoes testing (Credits: Deployable Space Systems, Inc.)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) worked with two private firms to develop advanced structures for high power solar arrays that are stronger, lighter, and package more compactly for launch. This technology investment furthers the agency’s deep space exploration goals and aids the commercial communications satellite industry, the provider of direct-to-home television, satellite radio, broadband internet and a multitude of other services.

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NASA’s Nodes CubeSats Deployed From Space Station

Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)
Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — After a five-month stay aboard the International Space Station, NASA’s two Nodes satellites were deployed on May 16 from the NanoRacks platform and into low-Earth orbit to begin their much anticipated technology demonstration. These tiny satellites have dimensions of only four by four by six inches. The ground controllers for the Nodes mission received confirmation that both satellites are transmitting and are in good health when they passed over the tracking station for the first time, soon after deployment. The first transmission of science data is expected by May 18.

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