AFRL/AFOSR Conducts Successful Rocket Launch at NASA Wallops for Hypersonic Research

AFRL/AFOSR BOLT II Rocket launching from NASA/Wallops Flight Facility on March 21, 2022. (Credit: NASA/Wallops/Brian Bonsteel)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL PR) – The BOLT II “In memory of Mike Holden” flight experiment, managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFRL/AFOSR), launched on the evening of March 21 from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Dr. Michael Holden, who, up until his passing in 2019, had been a leader in the hypersonics field since the 1960s. The flight experiment successfully flew the planned flight path and acquired tremendous scientific data to further our understanding of boundary layer transition, turbulent heating, and drag at hypersonic conditions.

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AFRL/AFOSR to Conduct Sound Rocket Launch at NASA Wallops for Hypersonics Research

Sounding rocket lifts off from Wallops Flight Facility. (Credit: NASA/Allison Stancil-Ervin)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFRL) – A launch of a two-stage suborbital sounding rocket for the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research’s BOLT II flight experiment is set to take place the evening of March 21 at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Live coverage of the launch will be provided on NASA Wallops YouTube channel. Officials at NASA Wallops project the launch to be visible anywhere from 10 to 120 seconds from parts of seven states: Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as well as Washington, D.C.

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AFRL Selects 10 Universities for Prestigious Satellite Program

Graphic representation of Arachne, the first solar power beaming experiment for the Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations & Research Project. (Credit: AFRL)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s University Nanosatellite Program (UNP) has selected 10 universities to participate in the upcoming 2-year partnership to design, fabricate and test small satellites.

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NSF and CASIS Select Three Tissue Engineering Projects to Leverage the ISS National Lab

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., September 8, 2021 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced three awarded projects from a joint solicitation focused on transformative tissue engineering and mechanobiology research. Through this partnership, NSF awarded $1.2 million to the selected projects to leverage the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to advance fundamental science and biomedical engineering. CASIS, manager of the ISS National Lab, will facilitate hardware implementation in-orbit access, and astronaut crew time to support the investigations on the orbiting laboratory.

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ISS National Lab Supporting Life Science Payloads Launching on Cygnus Resupply Ship

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (ISS National Laboratory PR) – When Northrop Grumman’s 13th commercial resupply services (CRS) mission launches to the International Space Station (ISS), it will carry with it a multitude of research to benefit life on Earth.

Among the ISS U.S. National Laboratory-sponsored payloads on this mission are two investigations from leading academic institutions. Although both projects fall within the area of life sciences, the two are studying very different things—one is seeking solutions to a common health ailment and the other aims to improve bioproduction of a commercially important industrial chemical.

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Cygnus to Carry Multiple R&D Payloads Sponsored by the ISS National Lab

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL), January 30, 2020 (ISS National Lab) – Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft will be packed with a wide variety of research investigations for its 13th commercial resupply services mission (contracted by NASA) to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch—which is slated for no earlier than Sunday, February 9 at 5:39 p.m. EST from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia—will carry a diverse set of research and technology development projects sponsored by the U.S. National Laboratory. This launch represents the first commercial resupply services mission to the ISS in 2020.

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Suborbital Flights Stopped Being So Humdrum in 2018

Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo’s first flight above 50 miles on Dec. 13, 2018. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

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by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Throughout the Space Age, suborbital flight has been the least exciting segment of the launch market. Operating in the shadow of their much larger orbital cousins, sounding rockets carrying scientific instruments, microgravity experiments and technology demonstrations have flown to the fringes of space with little fanfare or media attention.

The suborbital sector has become much more dynamic in recent years now that billionaires have started spending money in it. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic both made significant progress last year in testing New Shepard and SpaceShipTwo, respectively. Their achievements have raised the real possibility of suborbital space tourism flights in 2019. (I know. Promises, promises…. But, this year they might finally really do it. I think.)

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