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NASA’s Mars Mission Spinoffs Part 3: Harnessing Power

 

Written by Joshua Buck
Public Affairs Officer, NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – It will be the most powerful rocket ever built. More powerful than the mighty Saturn V that took humans to the moon, the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA’s newest rocket currently under development, will have the capability to send astronauts deeper into space than ever before.

With SLS and the Orion capsule, humans will no longer have to dream of walking on Mars: They finally will do it.

While the Dawn spacecraft is visiting the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, has been developing the next generation of ion thrusters for future missions. NASA's Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Project has developed a 7-kilowatt ion thruster that can provide the capabilities needed in the future. (NASA)

While the Dawn spacecraft is visiting the asteroids Vesta and Ceres, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, has been developing the next generation of ion thrusters for future missions. NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) Project has developed a 7-kilowatt ion thruster that can provide the capabilities needed in the future. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars Mission Spinoffs Part 1: Stayin’ Alive With Life Support Spinoffs

 

Written by Joshua Buck
Public Affairs Officer, NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Imagine a world with extreme temperatures that can wreak havoc on unprotected spacecraft and habitat components; a world where water is so scarce that plants are outfitted with sensors so farmers can avoid overwatering them; a world where precious water supplies are found in underground oases by satellites in orbit; a world where systems filter, recycle and purify air for the survival of inhabitants huddled in shelters.

Although images of human habitation on Mars may have filled your mind, the world just described is actually Earth, and the technologies cited are spinoffs, or technologies developed by the American space program that have gone on to benefit the public.

GFT LLC’s highly flexible polyimide foam—seen here during testing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida—provides an ideal insulation for pipes in cryogenic and other industrial and marine applications. (GFT LLC)

GFT LLC’s highly flexible polyimide foam—seen here during testing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida—provides an ideal insulation for pipes in cryogenic and other industrial and marine applications. (GFT LLC)

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NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) completes second test flight, Briefing Tuesday

 

Written by Joshua Buck
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project completed its second flight test when the saucer-shaped craft splashed down safely Monday in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

A post-flight media teleconference will be held at 10:00am PDT (1:00pm EDT / 7:00am HST), Tuesday, June 9th to review the test.

NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator test vehicle attached to launch tower just prior to take off. (NASA)

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator test vehicle attached to launch tower just prior to take off. (NASA)

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NASA reports International Space Station builds Rachet Wrench with 3-D Printer

 

Written by Joshua Buck
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The International Space Station’s 3-D printer completed the first phase of a NASA technology demonstration by printing a tool with a design file transmitted from the ground to the printer. The tool was a ratchet wrench.

“For the printer’s final test in this phase of operations, NASA wanted to validate the process for printing on demand, which will be critical on longer journeys to Mars,” explained Niki Werkheiser, the space station 3-D printer program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “In less than a week, the ratchet was designed, approved by safety and other NASA reviewers, and the file was sent to space where the printer made the wrench in four hours.”

The ratchet wrench was designed by Noah Paul-Gin, an engineer at Made In Space Inc., a northern California company that NASA contracted to design, build and operate the printer. Paul-Gin created a 3-D model of the ratchet and made several wrenches, such as the one shown here on an identical printer. (Made In Space)

The ratchet wrench was designed by Noah Paul-Gin, an engineer at Made In Space Inc., a northern California company that NASA contracted to design, build and operate the printer. Paul-Gin created a 3-D model of the ratchet and made several wrenches, such as the one shown here on an identical printer. (Made In Space)

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NASA to Beam Data down from International Space Station using new OPALS technology

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA will use the International Space Station to test a new communications technology that could dramatically improve spacecraft communications, enhance commercial missions and strengthen transmission of scientific data.

The Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), an optical technology demonstration experiment, could improve NASA’s data rates for communications with future spacecraft by a factor of 10 to 100.

This artist's concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA.)

This artist’s concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA.)

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