Using Tethers to Protect Earth from Asteroid Impacts

These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions

NEW YORK (Springer PR) — Our planet exists within the vicinity of thousands of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs), some of which — Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) — carry the risk of impacting Earth causing major damage to infrastructure and loss of life. Methods to mitigate such a collision are highly desirable.

(more…)

Masten Space Working on Lunar Regolith Models

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

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.

(more…)

NIAC Award — Aqua Factorem: Ultra Low-Energy Lunar Water Extraction

Graphic depicting the Aqua Factorem: Ultra Low-Energy Lunar Water Extraction concept. (Credits: Philip Metzger)

NASA Innovative Advance Concept (NIAC)
Phase I Award
Amount: $125,000

Aqua Factorem: Ultra Low-Energy Lunar Water Extraction

Philip Metzger
University of Central Florida

We propose a new method we call Aqua Factorem to extract lunar water. It will drastically reduce energy and complexity of lunar mining operations helping to establish this industry.

(more…)

NASA Sponsored Experiment on Board Failed SARGE Launch

A cloud of dirt rises after the impact of the SARGE booster. (Credit Exos Aerospace webcast)


UPHAM, NM (NASA PR) — On Oct. 26, Exos Aerospace launched its SARGE suborbital reusable launch vehicle from Spaceport America, New Mexico, with a NASA Flight Opportunities–supported payload onboard: the University of Central Florida’s Suborbital Particle Aggregation and Collision Experiment-2 (SPACE-2). The flight was aborted 48 seconds after launch due to what the company reported to be a structural failure. 

Exos is in the process of evaluating video and telemetry data from the flight and intends to implement lessons learned from its first three SARGE launches. The company stated in a press release its plans to work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration on a return-to-flight protocol and planned vehicle upgrades in advance of flying again by mid-2020.

NASA Selects Teams to Study Our Moon, Mars’ Moons, and More


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected eight new research teams to collaborate on research into the intersection of space science and human space exploration as part of the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

“The discoveries these teams make will be vital to our future exploration throughout the solar system with robots and humans,” said Lori Glaze, director of the Planetary Science Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

(more…)











Steam-Powered Asteroid Hoppers Developed through UCF Collaboration

By using steam rather than fuel, the World Is Not Enough (WINE) spacecraft prototype can theoretically explore “forever,” as long as water and sufficiently low gravity is present. (Credit: UCF)

By using steam rather than fuel, the microwave-size spacecraft prototype
can theoretically explore celestial objects “forever.”

By Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
University of Central Florida News

Using steam to propel a spacecraft from asteroid to asteroid is now possible, thanks to a collaboration between a private space company and the University of Central Florida.

UCF planetary research scientist Phil Metzger worked with Honeybee Robotics of Pasadena, California, which developed the World Is Not Enough spacecraft prototype that extracts water from asteroids or other planetary bodies to generate steam and propel itself to its next mining target.

(more…)











New Shepard to fly 9 NASA-sponsored Payloads to Space on NS-10

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket lifted off July 18 carrying five NASA-supported technologies to flight test in space.

VAN HORN, Texas (Blue Origin PR) — Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission (NS-10) is currently targeting liftoff tomorrow at 8:30 am CST / 14:30 UTC. This will be the 10th New Shepard mission and is dedicated to bringing nine NASA-sponsored research and technology payloads into space through NASA’s Flight Opportunities program.
(more…)











NASA Flight Opportunities Program Selects 15 Space Technologies for Tests

New Shepard booster over the landing pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 15 promising space technologies to be tested on commercial low-gravity simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons and suborbital rockets. These flights will help advance technologies for future spaceflight, taking them from the laboratory to a relevant flight environment.

During an Aug. 28 visit to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, where the Flight Opportunities program is managed, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency will focus on funding more of these payload flights in the future.

(more…)











NSRC Day 3 Summary

Test flights will eventually take place on Masten Space Systems' Xaero vehicle. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)
Test flights will eventually take place on Masten Space Systems’ Xaero vehicle. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference finished up today in Colorado. There were provider presentations from Masten Space Systems and Virgin Galactic. Three researchers also presented results from suborbital microgravity flights.

Below are summaries of the sessions based on Tweets.
(more…)











ISS Experiment Studies Solar System Formation

WEBSTER, Texas, Nov. 25, 2014 (NanoRacks PR) – The University of Central Florida’s experiment, NanoRocks, currently on board the International Space Station (ISS), is producing promising results. The experiment, studying solar system formation, was brought to the ISS through a NanoRacks’ partnership with Space Florida’s International Space Station Research Competition.

NanoRocks is one of seven competition winners to be flown to low-earth orbit through the NanoRacks-Space Florida program.

(more…)











UCF to Host NASA Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science

asteroid_eros
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCF PR) —
UCF will be home to NASA’s Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (referred to as CLASS) beginning later this year, thanks to a $6 million grant awarded this week to UCF physics professor Daniel Britt.

The research center puts UCF on the agency’s space-exploration map. CLASS will provide critical research in areas NASA has identified as key to future robotic and human space-exploration missions. The CLASS was one of nine organizations selected under NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute program, which NASA announced Wednesday.

(more…)











Space Florida, UCF Team Up for Tech Business Competition

space_florida_logoORLANDO, Fla., October 8, 2013 (Space Florida/UCF PR) – This week, representatives from Space Florida and the University of Central Florida (UCF) Office of Research and Commercialization (ORC) announced a call for applications by companies interested in participating in an event that will match financing sources with small, high-tech businesses based in Florida.

The “CAT5 Awards,” (which stands for “Capital for the Acceleration of Technologies in early stage companies) will showcase 10 selected companies in an event that will enable them to present their business cases to venture capitalists, angel investors and financiers, among others. In addition to having the opportunity to present to potential funding sources, the top two business plans will receive $150,000 in monetary awards – with first place receiving $100,000 and second place receiving $50,000, both through Space Florida sponsorship.

(more…)











New Center for Microgravity Research and Education in Florida

ORLANDO, Feb. 27 (UCF PR) — More jobs and economic investment may be coming to Central Florida thanks to the creation of the new Center for Microgravity Research and Education.

The center (microgravity.physics.ucf.edu) will conductfundamental research in ground-based laboratories, on parabolic microgravity airplane flights, with a laboratory drop tower, and on suborbital rocket flights. The center will also develop experiments for the International Space Station.

(more…)