As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the moon, the spaced agency is funding a series of research and development (R&D) projects focused on turning lunar regolith into landing pads, blast shields and other useful structures.
NASA recently selected four R&D projects for funding under its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The projects, which partner small businesses with academia, will each receive up to $150,000 apiece for studies lasting 13 months.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (NSF PR) — The instrument platform of the 305-meter telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico fell at approximately 7:55 a.m. Atlantic Standard Time Dec. 1, resulting in damage to the dish and surrounding facilities.
No injuries were reported as a result of the collapse. The U.S. National Science Foundation ordered the area around the telescope to be cleared of unauthorized personnel since the failure of a cable Nov. 6. Local authorities will keep the area cordoned off as engineers work to assess the stability of the observatory’s other structures.
Engineers are reviewing the new damage and assessing how to best stabilize the facility.
by Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala University of Central Florida News
A main cable that supports the Arecibo Observatory broke Friday at 7:39 p.m. Puerto Rico time.
Unlike the auxiliary cable that failed at the same facility on Aug. 10, this main cable did not slip out of its socket. It broke and fell onto the reflector dish below, causing additional damage to the dish and other nearby cables. Both cables were connected to the same support tower. No one was hurt, and engineers are already working to determine the best way to stabilize the structure.
ARECIBO, PR (University of Central Florida PR) — One of the auxiliary cables that helps support a metal platform in place above the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, broke on Monday (Aug. 10) causing a 100-foot-long gash on the telescope’s reflector dish. Operations at the UCF-managed observatory are stopped until repairs can be made.
Masten Space Systems will continue to work on developing reliable, high-fidelity models of lunar regolith thrown up by landing vehicles with the help of NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
The goal is to ensure reliable and safe landings for robotic and crewed spacecraft that will land on the moon under NASA’s Artemis and Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) programs.
Although orbital launch vehicles get all the glory (and infamy when they fail), 2016 was also a busy year for the far less glamorous suborbital launch sector. There were 19 suborbital launches at various sites around the world, and two more sounding rocket launches of note where the payload didn’t go above 100 km. (more…)
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Good things really do come in small packages.
When we think of space satellites that assist with communications, weather monitoring and GPS here on Earth, we likely picture them as being quite large—many are as big as a school bus and weigh several tons. Yet there’s a class of smaller satellites that’s growing in popularity. These miniaturized satellites, known as nanosatellites or CubeSats, can fit in the palm of your hand and are providing new opportunities for space science.