Tag: SwRI

New Horizons to Arrive at Pluto in 3 Months

New Horizons spacecraft (Credit: JHUAPL/SwRI)

New Horizons spacecraft (Credit: JHUAPL/SwRI)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is three months from returning to humanity the first-ever close up images and scientific observations of distant Pluto and its system of large and small moons.

“Scientific literature is filled with papers on the characteristics of Pluto and its moons from ground based and Earth orbiting space observations, but we’ve never studied Pluto up close and personal,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut, and associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington.  “In an unprecedented flyby this July, our knowledge of what the Pluto systems is really like will expand exponentially and I have no doubt there will be exciting discoveries.”

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NASA Extends Campaign to Name Features on Pluto

New Horizons spacecraft (Credit: JHUAPL/SwRI)

New Horizons spacecraft (Credit: JHUAPL/SwRI)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The public has until Friday, April 24 to help name new features on Pluto and its orbiting satellites as they are discovered by NASA’s New Horizons mission.

Announced in March, the agency wants to give the worldwide public more time to participate in the agency’s mission to Pluto that will make the first-ever close flyby of the dwarf planet on July 14.

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SwRI Unveils Solar Observatory for Suborbital Human Space Missions

SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (Credit: Southwest Research Institute)

SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (Credit: Southwest Research Institute)

SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 11, 2014 (SwRI PR) — Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is preparing to unveil a new, miniature portable solar observatory for use onboard a commercial, manned suborbital spacecraft. The SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP) will be on exhibit at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), Dec. 16-19, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif.

Using reusable suborbital commercial spacecraft for the SSIPP development effort improves on a traditional space instrument development process that goes back to the dawn of the space age, according to principal investigator Dr. Craig DeForest, a principal scientist in SwRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division.

“Development and testing of space instrumentation has been essentially unchanged since World War II: New instruments were mated to sounding rockets, which are hand-built, miniature spacecraft that fly five-minute missions but require months, and sometimes years, between flights because the payloads typically need reconditioning after each flight.

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XCOR Presents New Platforms For Suborbital Science at AGU

Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

Full-scale Lynx mockup (Credit: XCOR)

MOJAVE, Calif., Dec. 11, 2014 (XCOR PR) – XCOR Aerospace presents new instruments for solar observation and atmospheric phenomena measurement, alongside its full scale Lynx® spacecraft, December 15–19 at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco. Both instruments – the Southwest Research Institute’s (SwRI) Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP) and KickSat’s sprite, will demonstrate future platforms for commercial suborbital science.

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SwRI: NSRC 2012 Was Awesome!


BOULDER, Colo.–(SWRI PR)–The 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Research Conference (NSRC-2012), held Feb. 27-29 in Palo Alto, Calif., set attendance and corporate sponsorship records that show an accelerating interest in the field by researchers, educators and commercial firms. NSRC was jointly organized by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and NASA’s Ames Research Center.

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SwRI Researchers Test Next-Gen Suborbital Spacesuits


Dr. Alan Stern performed 20 runs aboard a NASTAR STS-400 High Performance Human Centrifuge, with some runs reaching the 6-G accelerations that many suborbital launches will create. (Credit: Southwest Research Institute)

Worcester, Massachusetts — Nov. 16, 2011 — Two researchers set to fly aboard suborbital spacecraft as a part of Southwest Research Institute’s next-generation suborbital research program completed another milestone on November 2nd when they evaluated David Clark Company’s latest version of aerospace crew protective equipment designed for the commercial spaceflight industry. The two research scientists conducted evaluations of the Contingency Hypobaric Astronaut Protective Suit (CHAPS) during an intensive series of centrifuge runs designed to simulate the anticipated launch and entry profiles that will be experienced aboard suborbital spacecraft.

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XCOR, SwRI Announce Lynx Flight Giveaway


XCOR/SwRI PR — November 15th, 2011, Mojave, California and Boulder, Colorado:
In a first of its kind prize for the reusable suborbital research community, XCOR Aerospace and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announced today that a research flight will be awarded to one lucky paid registrant at the NSRC-2012 Conference (nsrc.swri.org) to be held 27-29 February 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort in Palo Alto, California.

“This is a great day for the researcher, educator or the innovative college student who will be attending NSRC-2012 in Silicon Valley at the end of February,” said Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of XCOR Aerospace. “They now have a chance to win a flight that would otherwise cost $95,000 with XCOR, or up to $200,000 on competing vehicles. We are pleased to make this contribution to further the suborbital research and education community.”

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NGSRC 2012 Registration is Open


A note from Cindy Conrad over at the Southwest Research Institute:

Greetings friends of the suborbital frontier!

Both registration and abstract submission for the 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2012) are now OPEN!

Hosted by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, NASA and the Southwest Research Institute, NSRC is a meeting for researchers and educators wanting to participate in, learn about, and contribute to the new era of commercial, reusable suborbital spaceflight; NSRC-2011 was attended by over 350 individuals and we expect upwards of 400 this year!

Reserve your seat by registering today at http://nsrc.swri.org/. Abstracts for talks can also be submitted at this web site. The conference will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort in Palo Alto, California Feb 27 to Feb 29, 2011, with a welcome reception the evening of Feb 26.

On behalf of the sponsors, conveners and hosts of NSRC-2012, we look forward to your participation in the Bay Area this February!

SwRI to Provide Payload Flight Integration Services to Suborbital Companies


Boulder, Colo. — SwRI PR — Aug. 30, 2011 — Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been selected to provide payload flight integration services as part of three suborbital flight provider contracts recently announced by NASA to Virgin Galactic, XCOR and Masten Space Systems. These contracts are an important step forward for the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, funded by NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist and managed by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., and affirm the need for commercial space access for a range of research and educational applications.

“We’re excited for ourselves, for our flight provider partners and for NASA. These wins add to SwRI’s growing base of payload and payload specialist work and experience in the next generation of suborbital research being undertaken with reusable vehicles such as XCOR’s Lynx I, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip 2 and the bevy of vehicles Masten will be flying,” says Dr. Alan Stern, associate vice president of SwRI’s Space Science and Engineering Division, and the architect of SwRI’s next-generation suborbital programs using these and similar vehicles.

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Alan Stern on Virtually Speaking Science Tonight


Virtually Talking Science
Sunday, March 13
10 pm EST – 7 pm Pacific
Blog Talk Radio

MSNBCs Alan Boyle and Space Studies Institute Robin Snelson talk with planetary scientist Alan Stern, principal investigator for New Horizons, NASA’s mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, headed to a Pluto flyby in 2015. Associate VP at the Southwest Research Institute and leads SwRI’s suborbital space research effort. Organizing chairman for the annual Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference and serves as an adviser for suborbital space ventures. Stern will discuss the next frontier for spaceflight as well as what’s up with Pluto, exactly 81 years after the dwarf planet’s discovery was announced.