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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Northrop Grumman Partners with University, NASA to Provide STEM Education in Florida

Participating in the check presentation at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Rocket Garden are, from left, Robert Crabbs, associate director of UCF's Florida Space Institute; Jaydeep Mukherjee, director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, and interim director, Florida Space Institute; Sreela Mallick, assistant director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium; Roy D. Bridges, Jr., director, Space and Science Services, Northrop Grumman Technical Services, and Roy Tharpe, director, Space and Science Services, Northrop Grumman Technical Services and chairman of the National Space Club Florida Committee.
Participating in the check presentation at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Rocket Garden are, from left, Robert Crabbs, associate director of UCF's Florida Space Institute; Jaydeep Mukherjee, director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium, and interim director, Florida Space Institute; Sreela Mallick, assistant director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium; Roy D. Bridges, Jr., director, Space and Science Services, Northrop Grumman Technical Services, and Roy Tharpe, director, Space and Science Services, Northrop Grumman Technical Services and chairman of the National Space Club Florida Committee.

NORTHROP GRUMMAN PRESS RELEASE

Northrop Grumman Corporation recently partnered with the University of Central Florida (UCF) Research Foundation and the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium to sponsor several programs that will encourage students to continue their studies in science-based programs at universities and colleges in Florida. The programs will be administered using a $25,000 grant Northrop Grumman awarded to UCF Research Foundation.

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