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NASA looks to Partner with U.S. Industry to develop high power Electric Propulsion Spacecraft

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – As part of the agency’s Exploration Campaign, NASA’s Gateway will become the orbital outpost for robotic and human exploration operations in deep space. Built with commercial and international partners, the Gateway will support exploration on and near the Moon, and beyond, including Mars.

NASA released a draft solicitation through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) June 21st, 2018, for proposals for partnership for the first element of the Gateway. NASA is seeking a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position as well as move it between lunar orbits as needed.

NASA is seeking a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position. (NASA)

NASA is seeking a high-power, 50-kW solar electric propulsion (SEP) spacecraft to maintain the Gateway’s position. (NASA)

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NASA makes break through in Additive Manufacturing for Rocket Propulsion

 

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – NASA is breaking ground in the world of additive manufacturing with the Low Cost Upper Stage-Class Propulsion project. Recently, the agency successfully hot-fire tested a combustion chamber at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama made using a new combination of 3-D printing techniques.

“NASA continues to break barriers in advanced manufacturing by reducing time and costs involved in building rocket engine parts through additive manufacturing,“ said John Fikes, project manager for the Low Cost Upper Stage-Class Propulsion Project. “We are excited about the progress of this project. We demonstrated that the E-Beam Free Form Fabrication produced combustion chamber jacket can protect the chamber liner from the pressures found in the combustion chamber.”  

A new study involving long-term monitoring of Alpha Centauri by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that any planets orbiting the two brightest stars are likely not being pummeled by large amounts of X-ray radiation from their host stars. This is important for the viability of life in the nearest star system outside the Solar System. (Optical: Zdenek Bardon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Colorado/T. Ayres et al.)

A new study involving long-term monitoring of Alpha Centauri by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that any planets orbiting the two brightest stars are likely not being pummeled by large amounts of X-ray radiation from their host stars. This is important for the viability of life in the nearest star system outside the Solar System. (Optical: Zdenek Bardon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Colorado/T. Ayres et al.)

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NASA successfully tests lightweight, Aircraft Wings that fold during Flight

 

Written by Matt Kamlet
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – NASA has successfully applied a new technology in flight that allows aircraft to fold their wings to different angles while in the air.

The recent flight series, which took place at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, was part of the Spanwise Adaptive Wing project, or SAW. This project aims to validate the use of a cutting-edge, lightweight material to be able to fold the outer portions of aircraft wings and their control surfaces to optimal angles in flight.

SAW, which is a joint effort between Armstrong, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, or GRC, Langley Research Center in Virginia, Boeing Research & Technology in St. Louis and Seattle, and Area-I Inc. in Kennesaw, Georgia, may produce multiple in-flight benefits to aircraft in the future, both subsonic and supersonic.

The subscale testbed PTERA flies over NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California with the outer portions of its wings folded 70 degrees upwards. The aircraft took off with its wings zero degrees deflection, keeping them level during takeoff. The wings were folded during the flight using a thermally-triggered shape memory alloy, developed at Glenn Research Center and integrated into an actuator at Boeing Research & Technology. (Area-I Inc.)

The subscale testbed PTERA flies over NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California with the outer portions of its wings folded 70 degrees upwards. The aircraft took off with its wings zero degrees deflection, keeping them level during takeoff. The wings were folded during the flight using a thermally-triggered shape memory alloy, developed at Glenn Research Center and integrated into an actuator at Boeing Research & Technology. (Area-I Inc.)

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Tennessee Titans head to Cleveland Browns Sunday

 

Tennessee Titans (3-3) vs. Cleveland Browns (0-6)

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 | 1:00pm EDT/Noon CDT
Cleveland, OH | FirstEnergy Stadium | TV: CBS

Tennessee TitansNashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (3-3) travel this week to face the Cleveland Browns (0-6). Kickoff at FirstEnergy Stadium (capacity 67,431) is scheduled for 1:00pm EDT/Noon CDT on Sunday, October 22nd, 2017.

This is the first of four consecutive games for the Titans against teams from the AFC North. Following a Week 8 bye, they will host consecutive contests against the Baltimore Ravens (November 5th) and Cincinnati Bengals (November 12th) before visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers (November 16th).

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) rushes against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at Nissan Stadium. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) rushes against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half at Nissan Stadium. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

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NASA on QueSST for Low Noise Supersonic Flight

 

Written by Jimi Russell
NASA Glenn Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCleveland, OH – Can you imagine flying from New York to Los Angeles in half the time?

Think about it. Commercial flight over land in a supersonic jet would mean less time in-flight; less time in a cramped seat next to your new, and probably unwanted, best friend; fewer tiny bags of peanuts; and more time at your destination.

Couldn’t Concorde do that? Nope. Concorde, which last flew in 2003, utilized 1950s technology, was only supersonic over the ocean and was deemed too noisy to fly over people.

A NASA Glenn technician prepares the QueSST experimental aircraft for testing in the 8’ x 6’ wind tunnel. (NASA)

A NASA Glenn technician prepares the QueSST experimental aircraft for testing in the 8’ x 6’ wind tunnel. (NASA)

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Basic Leader Course Forward held at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Eliodoro Molina
U.S. Forces Afghanistan

U.S. Forces AfghanistanBagram Airfield, Afghanistan – The Basic Leader Course is currently being held on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan for the first time. The first accelerated two week course began on June 26th and will end on July 9th, 2017.

One hundred and eighty soldiers from across Afghanistan will no longer have to worry about attending the BLC as soon as their deployment is over thanks to the efforts of United States Forces Afghanistan and the Mobile Training Team from Fort Bliss, Texas.

Soldiers discuss a scenario based question during the Basic Leaders Course on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. This is the first time the course has been held in Afghanistan. (Sgt. 1st Class Eliodoro Molina, U.S. Forces Afghanistan)

Soldiers discuss a scenario based question during the Basic Leaders Course on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. This is the first time the course has been held in Afghanistan. (Sgt. 1st Class Eliodoro Molina, U.S. Forces Afghanistan)

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NASA explores using Nanotechnology for Aerospace Applications

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Mastering the intricacies of controlling matter at the nanoscale level is part of a revolutionary quest to apply nanotechnology to benefit industrial processes. A key element of that technology is the use of carbon nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are small hollow tubes with diameters of 0.7 to 50 nanometers and lengths generally in the tens of microns. While ultra-small, carbon nanotubes offer big-time attributes.

For instance, materials can be manufactured that exhibit superior strength but are still extremely lightweight. Think in terms of 200 times the strength and five times the elasticity of steel. For good measure, add in that they offer highly-efficient electrical and thermal conductivity.

A carbon nanotube Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel (COPV) is to fly this month as part of the SubTec-7 mission using a 56-foot tall Black Brant IX rocket launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Shown here is the SubTec7 payload undergoing final testing and evaluation at Wallops Flight Facility. (NASA/Berit Bland)

A carbon nanotube Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel (COPV) is to fly this month as part of the SubTec-7 mission using a 56-foot tall Black Brant IX rocket launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Shown here is the SubTec7 payload undergoing final testing and evaluation at Wallops Flight Facility. (NASA/Berit Bland)

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NASA tests new Boundary Layer Ingesting Propulsor Jet Engine Design

 

Written by Jan Wittry
NASA’s Glenn Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCleveland, OH – Car, truck, train and aircraft manufacturers have made great strides in recent years to reduce fuel consumption, resulting in consumer savings and lower emissions. With NASA’s help, the aircraft industry is striving to increase fuel efficiency even more.

One way to do that is to create new aircraft engine designs. Engineers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland are testing a new fan and inlet design, commonly called a propulsor, which could increase fuel efficiency by four to eight percent more than the advanced engine designs airlines are beginning to use.

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Future NASA Mars Rover to examine Habitat, Weather using MAHRS instruments

 

Written by Nancy Smith Kilkenny, ATS
NASA Glenn Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCleveland, OH – When human explorers embark on the journey to Mars, they need to know the natural conditions of the red planet before they arrive.  That’s why NASA sends rovers to the surface of Mars to photograph the landscape and operate scientific experiments to understand the habitat for humans or other kinds of life.

One of those future rover missions may host the Martian Aqueous Habitat Reconnaissance Suite (MAHRS), a set of five instruments that can take surface measurements in the search for habitable environments.

NASA Glenn engineer Norman Prokop refines microscope that could study Martian soil. (NASA)

NASA Glenn engineer Norman Prokop refines microscope that could study Martian soil. (NASA)

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NASA looks to develop an Electric Propulsion System for Space Travel

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. of Redmond, Washington, to design and develop an advanced electric propulsion system that will significantly advance the nation’s commercial space capabilities, and enable deep space exploration missions, including the robotic portion of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) and its Journey to Mars.

The Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) contract is a 36-month cost-plus-fixed-fee contract with a performance incentive and total value of $67 million. Work performed under the contract could potentially increase spaceflight transportation fuel efficiency by 10 times over current chemical propulsion technology, and more than double thrust capability compared to current electric propulsion systems.

Advanced solar electric propulsion will be needed for future human expeditions into deep space, including to Mars. Shown here is a 13-kilowatt Hall thruster being evaluated at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Hall thrusters trap electrons in a magnetic field and use them to ionize the onboard propellant. It uses 10 times less propellant than equivalent chemical rockets. (NASA)

Advanced solar electric propulsion will be needed for future human expeditions into deep space, including to Mars. Shown here is a 13-kilowatt Hall thruster being evaluated at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Hall thrusters trap electrons in a magnetic field and use them to ionize the onboard propellant. It uses 10 times less propellant than equivalent chemical rockets. (NASA)

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