NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program has selected 13 space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, and a commercial parabolic aircraft.
These flights provide cutting-edge technologies with a valuable platform to conduct tests, before they enter use in the harsh environment of space.
This latest selection represents the eighth cycle of NASA’s Announcement of Flight Opportunities, and raises the total number of technologies selected for test flights facilitated by the Flight Opportunities Program of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate to 138.
Eleven of these new payloads will ride on parabolic aircraft flights, which provide brief periods of weightlessness. Two will fly on suborbital reusable launch vehicle test flights. The flights are expected to take place in 2014 and 2015. The selected proposals requested flights on Zero-G Corporation’s Boeing 727 parabolic flight aircraft, UP Aerospace’s Space-Loft rocket and Masten Space Systems’ Xombie vertical takeoff/vertical landing rocket.
The payloads selected for parabolic aircraft flights are:
· “Reduced Gravity Flight Demo of SPHERES Universal Docking Ports” and “Reduced Gravity Flight Demonstration of SPHERES INSPECT,” Principal Investigator (PI) Alvar Saenz Otero of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.
· “Reinventing the Wheel: Parabolic Flight Validation of Reaction Spheres,”PI Alvin Yew of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
· “Enhanced Dynamic Load Sensors for ISS Operational Feasibility for Advanced Resistive Exercise Device,” PI Christopher Krebs of Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., in Manassas, Va.
· “Effects of Microgravity on Intracranial Pressure,” PI Benjamin Levine of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas
· “Validating Microgravity Mobility Models for Hopping/Tumbling Robots,” PI Issa Nesnas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.
· “Microgravity Rock Coring Drill Using Microspines” and “Gecko Adhesive Grippers in Microgravity,” PI Aaron Parness of JPL
· “Noninvasive Hemodynamic Monitoring in Microgravity Phase II (Arterial Stiffness),” PI Gregory Kovacs of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif.
· “Payloads Separation Performance of a 6U CubeSat Canisterized Satellite Dispenser,” PI Hans-Peter Dumm of the United States Air Force Space Vehicles Directorate in Albuquerque, N.M.
· “Dragon V2 Propellant Management Device Microgravity Testing,” PI Robin Titus of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., (SpaceX) in Hawthorne, Calif.
The payloads selected for flight on a suborbital reusable launch vehicle are:
· “Zero-gravity Green Propellant Management Technology,” PI Steven Collicott of Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind.
· “Fuel Optimal and Accurate Landing Systems Test Flights,” PI Andrew Johnson of JPL
NASA manages the Flight Opportunities 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.
The Flight Opportunities Program, part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, is managed at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif. NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., manages the solicitation and selection of technologies to be tested and demonstrated on commercial flight vehicles.