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Topic: International Space Station

NASA Ames Research Center Wind Tunnels performs Ground Testing before you Fly

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ve probably been in a vehicle that NASA helped develop. Because before something can fly in the sky, it needs to “fly” on the ground – and for that you need a wind tunnel. Several of these often huge and essential facilities are found at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley – including the biggest (two!) in the world.

A wind tunnel works by moving air past a stationary object, making it seem like the object is flying. The tunnel is essentially a giant tube with air flowing through it, usually moved along by fans.

This system of fans moves air through the world’s largest wind tunnels, at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Each of the six fans is 40 feet in diameter and is driven by a 22,500-horsepower electric motor. Two figures near fan 5 give a sense of scale. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Tom Trower)

This system of fans moves air through the world’s largest wind tunnels, at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Each of the six fans is 40 feet in diameter and is driven by a 22,500-horsepower electric motor. Two figures near fan 5 give a sense of scale. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Tom Trower)

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NASA Science continues from Home Offices, Video Conferencing in response to Coronavirus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Across NASA’s many missions, thousands of scientists, engineers, and other experts and professionals all over the country are doing what they do best, but now from home offices and via video conferencing.

With most personnel supporting missions remotely to keep onsite staff at a minimal level in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Agency is moving ahead strongly with everything from space exploration to using our technology and innovation to help inform policy makers.  

NASA missions continue during Coronavirus outbreak. (NASA)

NASA missions continue during Coronavirus outbreak. (NASA)

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NASA says Growing Plants on International Space Station has applications on Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA states that understanding the effects of gravity on plant life is essential in preparing for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.

The ability to produce high-energy, low-mass food sources during spaceflight will enable the maintenance of crew health during long-duration missions while having a reduced impact on resources necessary for long-distance travel.

Interior view of the Advanced Astroculture (ADVASC) experiment plant growth chamber showing the emergence of mustard seedlings. (NASA)

Interior view of the Advanced Astroculture (ADVASC) experiment plant growth chamber showing the emergence of mustard seedlings. (NASA)

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NASA uses SHIIVER tank to test keeping liquid fuel cool

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCleveland, OH – When deep space exploration missions launch, like NASA’s future Artemis missions to the Moon, they carry liquids with them for fuel and life support systems. These liquids are stored at cryogenic temperatures, which range from -243 to -423 degrees F, and to be usable, they need to remain cold and in a liquid state.

But as the extreme environment of space warms a spacecraft, the fuels begin to evaporate or “boiloff.”

“As energy from the Sun, Earth, and even the Moon enters the cryogenic propellant tanks, the liquid has to absorb that energy, which causes it to boiloff,” explains Wesley Johnson, cryogenic fluid management technical lead at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

SHIIVER is 13-foot diameter test tank built by NASA to evaluate technologies aimed at reducing the evaporation or “boiloff” losses in large cryogenic storage tanks for human exploration missions. (NASA)

SHIIVER is 13-foot diameter test tank built by NASA to evaluate technologies aimed at reducing the evaporation or “boiloff” losses in large cryogenic storage tanks for human exploration missions. (NASA)

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NASA to send equipment to International Space Station to research Improving Shoes, Showers, 3D Printing

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – A variety of science investigations, along with supplies and equipment, launch to the International Space Station on the 20th SpaceX commercial resupply services mission.

The Dragon cargo spacecraft is scheduled to leave Earth March 2nd from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Its cargo includes research on particle foam manufacturing, water droplet formation, the human intestine and other cutting-edge investigations.

Airbus workers unpack the Bartolomeo platform at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station. The platform, manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, hosts multiple external payloads in low-Earth orbit. (NASA)

Airbus workers unpack the Bartolomeo platform at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station. The platform, manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, hosts multiple external payloads in low-Earth orbit. (NASA)

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NASA’s Langley Research Center receives visit from Vice President, Administrator for Artemis Program Update

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the National Space Council, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine got a glimpse Wednesday into how NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia is at the forefront of space exploration and has been vital to missions from Apollo to Artemis.

“It’s an honor to be among men and women who will play a decisive role when in four years’ time we return American astronauts to the Moon and make sure the first women and the next man on the moon will be Americans,” Pence told employees during his remarks.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to employees during his visit to NASA's Langley Research Center Wednesday. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to employees during his visit to NASA’s Langley Research Center Wednesday. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

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NASA sends new Scientific Investigations to International Space Station aboard Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply Spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with about 7,500 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 2:21pm CT Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the space station at about 3:05am Tuesday, February 18th. Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival will begin at 1:30am on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops at 2:21pm CT Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (NASA)

A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops at 2:21pm CT Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (NASA)

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NASA sending New Research to International Space Station, Sunday

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – NASA says investigations studying tissue culturing, bone loss and phage therapy will be launching, along with more scientific experiments and supplies, to the International Space Station on a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft. The vehicle launches no earlier than February 9th, 2020 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

This is the second mission under Northrop’s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract with NASA.

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with a Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Saturday, November 2, 2019, in Virginia. (NASA)

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with a Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Saturday, November 2, 2019, in Virginia. (NASA)

These resupply missions help NASA deliver critical research to the orbiting lab and increase its ability to conduct new investigations.

Here are details on some of the scientific investigations Northrop Grumman’s 13th commercial resupply services mission (NG CRS-13) is delivering to the space station:

Better tissue and cell culturing in space

Mobile SpaceLab, a tissue and cell culturing facility, offers investigators a quick-turnaround platform to perform sophisticated microgravity biology experiments. Such experiments are critical for determining how microgravity affects human physiology and identifying ways to mitigate negative effects.

The platform can work in multiple configurations, allowing investigators to tailor the facility to their needs.

Mobile SpaceLab launches and returns on resupply spacecraft. It performs experiments autonomously with ground monitoring. The crew is responsible for moving the payload from the resupply vehicle to a designated ISS EXPRESS Rack and back to a vehicle for return to ground.

This process allows investigators to get their research in orbit quickly and gather sophisticated data using the automated capabilities. Experiments can run for up to one month.

A close-up view

The Mochii investigation provides an initial demonstration of a new miniature scanning electron microscope (SEM) with spectroscopy. Mochii will demonstrate real-time, on-site imaging and measurements of micro- and nanostructures aboard the space station.

This capability could accelerate answers to many scientific inquiries and mission decisions and serve the public as a powerful and unique microgravity research platform.

The ability to identify small particles is needed for crewed flight and deep space exploration beyond low-Earth Orbit (LEO) since samples cannot be sent back to Earth. Rapid identification of these particles can help keep crews and vehicles safe.

 


Examining Bone Loss in Microgravity

Commander Peggy Whitson works on the OsteoOmics bone cell study that uses the Microgravity Science Glovebox inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory in May 2017. OsteoOmics investigates the molecular mechanisms that dictate bone loss in microgravity by examining osteoblasts, which form bone, and osteoclasts, which dissolve bone. (NASA)

Commander Peggy Whitson works on the OsteoOmics bone cell study that uses the Microgravity Science Glovebox inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory in May 2017. OsteoOmics investigates the molecular mechanisms that dictate bone loss in microgravity by examining osteoblasts, which form bone, and osteoclasts, which dissolve bone. (NASA)

Crew members experience bone loss in orbit, stemming from the lack of gravity acting on their bones. OsteoOmics investigates the molecular mechanisms that dictate this bone loss by examining osteoblasts, cells in the body that form bone, and osteoclasts, which dissolve bone. A better understanding of these mechanisms could lead to more effective prevention of astronaut bone loss during space missions.

Understanding the cellular mechanisms of bone loss associated with microgravity also helps researchers better understand bone loss associated with a wide range of disorders. This insight could help identify better preventative care and therapeutic treatments for people who experience bone loss due to diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis or from prolonged bed rest.

Fighting bacteria with phages

Bacteriophages, or phages, are viruses that specifically invade and destroy bacteria. Discovered in 1915, phages have been used to fight infectious diseases, most notably in Eastern Europe.

With increasing types of bacteria developing resistance to antibiotics, phage therapy offers a possible alternative to traditional antibiotics. In addition, phages can eliminate harmful bacteria without causing large-scale damage to the body’s beneficial bacterial population or microbiome.

Scientists also can evolve phages in the laboratory to remain potent even if phage-resistant bacteria develop.

Phage Evolution examines the effects of microgravity and radiation exposure on phage and bacterial host interactions, including phage specificity for a bacterial host and host resistance to specific phages. A better understanding of the effects of microgravity and cosmic radiation on bacteriophages and hosts could result in significant developments for phage technology, ultimately helping protect the health of astronauts on future missions.

(Do not) light my fire

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft on June 14, 2016. After Cygnus was a safe distance away, ground controllers at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio initiated the sequence for Saffire-1, the first in a series of fire experiments. Saffire-IV will launch on NG-13. (NASA)

NASA astronaut Tim Kopra commanded the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to release the Cygnus spacecraft on June 14, 2016. After Cygnus was a safe distance away, ground controllers at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio initiated the sequence for Saffire-1, the first in a series of fire experiments. Saffire-IV will launch on NG-13. (NASA)

The Spacecraft Fire Experiment-IV (Saffire-IV) investigation examines fire development and growth in different materials and environmental conditions, fire detection and monitoring, and post-fire cleanup capabilities. It is part of a series of fire investigations conducted in the Cygnus resupply vehicle after its departure from space station, eliminating exposure of humans or occupied spacecraft to fire danger.

Saffire-IV contributes to fire safety efforts in similar environments on Earth, from submarines to mines, and helps improve general understanding and modeling of fire phenomena.

These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations currently happening aboard the orbiting laboratory. For daily updates, follow @ISS_ResearchSpace Station Research and Technology News or our Facebook. For opportunities to see the space station pass over your town, check out Spot the Station.

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NASA Astronaut Christina Kock, Crewmates return to Earth from International Space Station

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – After setting a record for the longest single spaceflight in history by a woman, NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth Thursday, along with Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency).

The trio departed the International Space Station at 11:50pm CST and made a safe, parachute-assisted landing at 3:12am (3:12pm Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is helped out of the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft just minutes after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano, landed their Soyuz MS-13 capsule in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA astronaut Christina Koch set record for longest single Spaceflight by any Woman

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA astronaut Christina Koch is set to return to Earth on Thursday, February 6th, 2020 after 328 days living and working aboard the International Space Station. Her mission is the longest single spaceflight by any woman, which is helping scientists gather data for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

Koch will return to Earth alongside ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov. She has been a crew member for three expeditions – 59, 60 and 61 – during her first spaceflight.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is pictured during a spacewalk on January 15, 2020. (NASA)

NASA astronaut Christina Koch is pictured during a spacewalk on January 15, 2020. (NASA)

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