Space

January 23, 2013

NASA selects experimental commercial suborbital flight payloads

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected 13 cutting-edge space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, balloons and a commercial parabolic aircraft in 2013 and 2014.

The flights will allow participants to demonstrate their technologies to the edge of space and back, before committing them to the harsh and unforgiving conditions of spaceflight.

The vehicles that will carry these payloads will include Las Vegas-based Zero-G Corporation’s parabolic airplane and high altitude balloons from Near Space Corp. in Tillamook, Ore. They also will include reusable launch vehicles from Masten Space Systems in Mojave, Calif.; UP Aerospace in Highlands Ranch, Colo.; and Virgin Galactic in Las Cruces, N.M.

“These payloads represent more real progress in our goal of fostering a viable market for American commercial reusable suborbital platforms – access to near space that provides the innovation needed for cutting-edge space technology research and development,” said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program. “American leadership in the commercial suborbital flight market will prove to benefit technology development across NASA, universities, industries and in our new technology economy.”

A wide range of innovative payloads are represented in this selection. The Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System payload from the University of Maryland in College Park will use the parabolic flights to perform preliminary tests on a technology that seeks to hold a cluster of satellites in formation using magnetic fields.

A payload from Astrobotic Technology Inc. of Pittsburgh will be tested on a suborbital reusable launch vehicle that takes off and lands vertically. The demonstration will examine how the company’s automated landing system may enable future unmanned missions to land on another planet or the rocky and hazardous terrain of an asteroid.

Nine of the selected payloads will fly on parabolic aircraft flights, which provide brief periods of weightlessness. Four will fly on suborbital reusable launch vehicles. Two will be carried on high-altitude balloons that fly to 100,000 feet. One will fly on a vertical launch and landing suborbital vehicle. One payload will fly on both a suborbital launch vehicle and a high-altitude balloon.

The selected payloads, listed with their principal investigators, are:

Flight on a parabolic aircraft:

  • “Structural Dynamics Test of STACER Antenna Deployment in Microgravity,” Kerri Cahoy of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge
  • “UAH ChargerSat-2 Parabolic Flight Testing,” Francis Wessling of the University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • “High Eccentric Resistive Overload (HERO) Device Demonstration during Parabolic Flight,” Aaron Weaver of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland
  • “Assessing Otolith-Organ Function with Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials (VEMPs) in Parabolic Flight,” Mark Shelhamer of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore
  • “On the Performance of a Nanocatalyst-based Direct Ammonia Alkaline Fuel Cell under Microgravity Conditions for Water Reclamation and Energy Applications,” Carlos Cabrera of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan
  • “Dynamic and Static Behavior of a Flexible Fuel Hose in Zero-G,” Allyson Buker of Jackson and Tull in Washington
  • “In-Flight Lab Analysis Technology Demonstration in Reduced Gravity,” Emily Nelson of Glenn
  • “Caging System for Drag-free Satellites,” Robert Byer of Stanford University in California
  • “Reduced Gravity Flight Demonstration of the Resonant Inductive Near-field Generation System,” Raymond Sedwick of the University of Maryland in College Park Flight on a vertical launch and landing suborbital vehicle:
  • “Autolanding for Robotic Precursor Missions,” Kevin Peterson of Astrobotic Technology Inc. in Pittsburgh Flight on a high altitude balloon:
  • “Deployable Rigid Adjustable Guided Final Landing Approach Pinions,” Jonathan Powers of Masten Space Systems Inc. in Mojave, Calif.
  • “Guided Parafoil High Altitude Research,” Allen Lowry of Airborne Systems North America of CA Inc. in Santa Ana, Calif. Flights on multiple platforms:
  • “Flight Testing of a UAT ADS-B Transmitter Prototype for Commercial Space Transportation Using Reusable Launch Vehicles,” Richard Stansbury of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

 

NASA manages the Flight Opportunities Program manifest, matching payloads with flights, and will pay for payload integration and the flight costs for the selected payloads. No funds are provided for the development of these payloads.

NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., manages the Flight Opportunities Program for NASA’s Space Technology Program in Washington. NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., manages the payload activities for the program. NASA’s Space Technology Program is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA’s future missions.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 
 

NASA seeks proposals for commercial Mars data relay satellites

NASA has issued a Request for Information to investigate the possibility of using commercial Mars-orbiting satellites to provide telecommunications capabilities for future robotic missions to the Red Planet. We are looking to broaden participation in the exploration of Mars to include new models for government and commercial partnerships, said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASAR...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory celebrates 15th anniversary

NASA photograph To celebrate the 15th anniversary of NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, four new images of supernova remnants are being released. These spectacular cosmic vistas are the glowing debris fields that were crea...
 

 
NASA photograph

NASA begins engine test project for space launch system rocket

NASA photograph RS-25 rocket engine No. 0525 is positioned onto the A-1 Test Stand at NASAís Stennis Space Center in Mississippi preparation for a series of developmental tests. Engineers have taken a crucial step in preparing...
 
 

SSL selected to study asteroid retrieval for NASA

Space Systems/Loral, a leading provider of commercial satellites, announced July 18 that it was one of the companies selected by NASA to study system concepts and key technologies for NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, which is expected to be a key part of the agency’s path to sending humans to Mars. SSL will conduct two studies;...
 
 
NASA image

NASA turns over next-gen air traffic management tool to FAA

NASA image As seen in this image, Terminal Sequencing and Spacing technology enables air traffic controllers to better manage the spacing between aircraft as they save both time and fuel and reducing emissions, flying more effi...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>