NASA Awards Universities $1.2M for Space Station, Suborbital Research

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded $1.2 million to nine universities and organizations across the country for research and technology development projects in areas critical to the agency’s mission, including studying radiation effects and growing food for long-duration space travel.

NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) supports science and technology research and development at colleges and universities. All projects are applicable to NASA’s work in Earth science, aeronautics, and human and robotic deep space exploration.

The schools will transfer research resulting from the projects to NASA, where it may be used as part of ongoing agency work.

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Plans for Dream Chaser Landings in Huntsville Move Forward

Conceptualized image of SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft landing on the runway at Houston’s Ellington Field. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., August 23, 2017  (SNC PR) – Huntsville/Madison County is another step closer to landing a space vehicle at the Huntsville International Airport. The Airport has signed a contract to apply for licensing through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to land Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser® spacecraft on one of its commercial runways. This Phase II contract follows a Phase I contract completed in 2015 that examined the compatibility of SNC’s Dream Chaser with the existing runway and taxiway environments at the Airport.

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Space Station Crew 3-D Prints First Student-Designed Tool in Space

The Mulitpurpose Precision Maintenance Tool, created by University of Alabama in Huntsville student Robert Hillan as part of the Future Engineers Space Tool Challenge, was printed on the International Space Station. It is designed to provide astronauts with a single tool that can help with a variety of tasks, including tightening nuts or bolts of different sizes and stripping wires. (Credit: NASA)
The Mulitpurpose Precision Maintenance Tool, created by University of Alabama in Huntsville student Robert Hillan as part of the Future Engineers Space Tool Challenge, was printed on the International Space Station. It is designed to provide astronauts with a single tool that can help with a variety of tasks, including tightening nuts or bolts of different sizes and stripping wires. (Credit: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — When NASA fired up the Additive Manufacturing Facility on the International Space Station to begin more testing of the emerging 3-D printing technology in orbit, one college student in particular watched intently.

In autumn of 2014, a high school senior in Enterprise, Alabama, Robert Hillan entered the Future Engineers Space Tool design competition, which challenged students to create a device astronauts could use in space. The catch was that it must upload electronically and print on the new 3-D printer that was going to be installed on the orbiting laboratory.

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Huntsville Students Eye CubeSat Market

Mark Becnel, left, and his brother, Eric Becnel, with a mockup of the Chargersat-1 in the UAH Engineering Design and Prototyping Facility. The brothers plan to start a cube satellite production company after graduating with master’s degrees in aerospace engineering. (Credit:  Michael Mercier | UAH)
Mark Becnel, left, and his brother, Eric Becnel, with a mockup of the Chargersat-1 in the UAH Engineering Design and Prototyping Facility. The brothers plan to start a cube satellite production company after graduating with master’s degrees in aerospace engineering. (Credit:
Michael Mercier | UAH)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (November 12, 2013) – Two students soon to earn their master’s degrees in aerospace engineering at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) see so much opportunity in small satellites that they have formed a company to develop the technologies.

Mark and Eric Becnel are aiming their company Radiobro at providing turnkey cube satellite services to researchers who have experiments they’d like to fly, but who don’t have the resources to build their own satellites to fly them.

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