Aerospace

NASA Selects American Small Business and Research Institution Projects for Further Development

NASA has selected 149 research and technology proposals from American small businesses and research institutions that will enable NASA's future missions into the solar system and beyond while benefiting America's technology-driven economy right here on Earth. The selected proposals now will enter into negotiations for contract awards as part of Phase II of the agency's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs.

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Nears Historic July 14 Encounter with Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is three months from returning to humanity the first-ever close up images and scientific observations of distant Pluto and its system of large and small moons. The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons has traveled a longer time and farther away – more than nine years and three billion miles – than any space mission in history to reach its primary target.

STEM Education in Space

The first technology to mention is the CubeSat- small (10 cm/side, about 1 kg)) satellites for student projects that stay in low-earth orbits for about a year (www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cubesats/). While most of the projects are done by college students, there is a special opportunity to expand this access to high school students. This project (ArduSat – http://www.ardusat.com) is based on the popular Arduino board used to send and receive data from all kinds of sensors and actuators. While most Arduino projects reside here on Earth, the Ardusat system lets students design and test experiments in their classroom that can then be sent to an Arduino-based CubeSat for testing in space.

NASA releases first color image of Pluto and its moon Charon

The portrait released Tuesday was taken by the piano-sized probe's Ralph color imager on April 9, from a distance of about 71 million miles (115 million kilometers). "Starting in May, Pluto will get the highest-resolution images ever, and it's going to get better every day from there," said Cathy Olkin, a planetary scientist from the Southwest Research Institute who serves as deputy project scientist for the mission.

Meet the largest aircraft on earth

A U.S. Army mega aircraft – a hybrid of plane, helicopter, hovercraft and airship- is going civilian. Designed by British design company Hybrid Air Vehicles for the U.S. military, this massive piece of next-gen tech can travel through the air at nearly 100 miles per hour. At 302 feet, the Airlander 10 is bigger than a Boeing 747 and its new big brother in development will be bigger than a football field.

Wichita elementary school to launch NASA-inspired space program

Wichita’s Mueller Elementary School is about to get some out-of-this-world playground equipment: a NASA-grade lunar rover, Mars rover and space plane. This fall, the aerospace and engineering magnet school near 18th and Grove will be the first school in the country to launch the NASA-inspired Space Discovery Institute program, which gives students hands-on experience with aerospace technology, officials announced this week.

NASA Hosts Student Rocket Fair, Helps Students Launch High-Power Rockets

More than 30 high school, college and university teams will launch student-built rockets during the 15th annual NASA Student Launch event April 10-11 near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Middle school and high school teams will launch their rockets to an altitude of one mile, deploy onboard science experiments and land safely using a system of recovery parachutes.

Workshop Sees Humans In Mars Orbit By 2033 At Current Funding

Briefing reporters on the outcome of a by-invitation workshop of scientists, engineers and spaceflight managers organized by The Planetary Society, workshop co-chairs Scott Hubbard and John Logsdon said a fast start now could put humans into a yearlong stay in Mars orbit by 2033, and down on the surface by 2039.

John Travolta and Buzz Aldrin to partner with ShareSpace education initiative

You don’t have to be an astronaut or rocket scientist to make a great contribution in aerospace and STEM education!  Read this article in CollectSpace about a new initiative called ShareSpace which John Travolta and astronaut Buzz Aldrin are partnering on with a launch in 2015. This is fantastic news for anyone who wants to encourage and support STEM education and STEM careers.  There are many kids who have passions and talents in these areas. And we still need more rocket scientists!

Experimental Wing Tests Electric Propulsion Technologies

Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech) project researchers at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center are performing ground testing of a 31-foot-span, carbon composite wing section with 18 electric motors. The LEAPTech project will test the premise that tighter propulsion-airframe integration, made possible with electric power, will deliver improved efficiency and safety, as well as environmental and economic benefits.

F-35 pilots to wear $400,000 helmets that can see through the plane

Pilots who climb into the cockpit of the F-35 stealth fighter to fly the costliest military plane ever built, will be wearing a helmet straight out of a science fiction movie. These pilots, flying at Mach-1 at 50,000 feet, will have the ability to essentially look through the floor of the plane and see the ground, The Washington Post reported in its series on military advancements called The Arsenal.

Why the U.S. Gave Up on the Moon

The tendency to want to skip a lunar settlement is not a new phenomenon. Even before the first landing on the moon, U.S. and NASA political leadership was contemplating the future of manned space, and few of the visions involved a lunar base. The early space program was driven by Cold War competition with Moscow, and the kinds of ideas that circulated at the time involved milestones that seemed novel such as reusable spaceplanes, nuclear-powered rockets, space stations and missions to Mars. When the United States was on the verge of a series of landings on the moon, building a permanent base just didn’t seem like much of a new giant leap.

NASA Announces New Partnerships with U.S. Industry for Key Deep-Space Capabilities

Building on the success of NASA’s partnerships with commercial industry to date, NASA has selected 12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) to advance concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellites. Through these public-private partnerships, selected companies will partner with NASA to develop the exploration capabilities necessary to enable commercial endeavors in space and human exploration to deep-space destinations such as the proving ground of space around the moon, known as cis-lunar space, and Mars.

Astronaut Kelly launches on record-setting trip

Astronaut Scott Kelly's year in space has begun. Cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, commander of the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft who will visit for a standard six-month expedition, joined them on the ride up.  By doubling that mission duration for two crew members for the first time on the International Space Station — four cosmonauts lived for at least a year on Russia's Mir station — NASA and its partners hope to learn more about the issues astronauts might face on even longer voyages to Mars. An eventual mission to Mars would last at least 500 days.

How does a long time in space affect human health?

As NASA astronaut Scott Kelly launches for the International Space Station Friday, March 27, Northwestern University scientists will be watching with more than a passing interest. Scott Kelly is half of their experiment. A Northwestern-led research team is one of 10 NASA-funded groups across the country studying identical twins Scott and Mark Kelly to learn how living in space for a long period of time — such as a mission to Mars — affects the human body. While Scott spends a year in space, his brother, Mark, also a veteran NASA astronaut, will remain on Earth, as a ground-based control.

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