NIAC Phase II Award: Self-Guided Beamed Propulsion for Breakthrough Interstellar Missions

Self-guided beamed propulsion (Credit: Chris Limbach)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase II Award: Up to $500,000 for 2 Years

Self-Guided Beamed Propulsion for Breakthrough Interstellar Missions
Chris Limbach
Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

New and revolutionary propulsion systems are needed to undertake challenging long-distance missions, such as to the Kuiper belt, Oort cloud and nearby stellar systems. We propose an innovative beamed propulsion architecture that would enable interstellar missions to Proxima Centauri b at nearly 10% the speed of light.

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Kleos Space Announces Initial Product Range, Opens Pre-ordering Moving Towards Commercialisation

LUXEMBOURG, 16th April 2019 (Kleos Space PR) — Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1), space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data provider, has moved towards commercialisation of its global maritime geolocation Data-as-a-Service products with the launch of a new website at kleos.space with pre-order functionality.

Kleos’ RF Reconnaissance data products are available on the site in three levels – Guardian RF, Guardian LOCATE and Guardian UDT – and can be pre-ordered by registered users on a monthly or annual basis.

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Kepler Communications, Magellan Aerospace Sign Letter of Intention to Fly Innovative Smart Radiator Device

TORONTO, Ontario, April 16, 2019 (Kepler Communications PR) – Kepler Communications (“Kepler”), a Canadian satellite telecommunications provider, and Magellan Aerospace Corporation (“Magellan”) have signed a Letter of Intention to fly an innovative Smart Radiator Device (SRD) on Kepler’s third satellite, scheduled for launch later this year. The unique SRD, designed to significantly improve temperature management on-board future satellites, is being developed by MPB Communications (“MPB”) in partnership with Magellan Aerospace.

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NEOWISE Celebrates Five Years of Asteroid Data

This artist’s concept shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth. In its NEOWISE mission it finds and characterizes asteroids. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission released its fifth year of survey data on April 11, 2019. The five years of NEOWISE data have significantly advanced scientists’ knowledge of asteroids and comets in the solar system, as well as the stars and galaxies beyond.

The data from all five years of the survey are available at:

http://wise2.ipac.caltech.edu/docs/release/neowise/.

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Moon’s South Pole in NASA’s Landing Sites

In this multi-temporal illumination map of the lunar south pole, Shackleton crater (19 km diameter) is in the center, the south pole is located approximately at 9 o’clock on its rim. The map was created from images from the camera aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credits: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is working right now to send American astronauts to the surface of the Moon in five years, and the agency has its sights set on a place no humans have ever gone before: the lunar South Pole.

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This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, April 15, 2019; 2-3:30 PM PDT (4-5:30 PM CDT, 5-6:30 PM EDT): No show for today. Monday is for special and timely programs only.

2. Tuesday, April 16, 2019: 7-8:30 PM PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT): We welcome back DR. DR. GREG AUTRY for space economics, budgets, ISDC 2019, and US China space policy.

3. Wednesday, April 17 2019: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, April 19, 2019; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT. No show today as am at Space Access Conference.

5 .The Sunday, April 21, 2019 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): No show today due to Easter and the Space Access Conference.

Cargo Spacecraft Adding Techshot Equipment to International Space Station

GREENVILLE, Ind., April 15, 2019 (TechShot PR) – With this week’s launch of the Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems uncrewed Cygnus cargo spacecraft on resupply mission NG-11 to the International Space Station, Techshot Inc., begins what is expected to be its most active year in space operations. The commercial space payload developer expects to launch its equipment to the station aboard every American resupply mission in 2019.

Onboard NG-11 will be 12 plant growth devices Techshot developed for NASA in partnership with Tupperware Brands. First launched to the station one year ago (see https://bit.ly/2U85OaK), PONDS, or the Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System, has been designed to help optimize the growth of plants, such as lettuce and tomatoes, while reducing the amount of time astronauts must dedicate to monitoring and watering them.

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Meteoroid Strikes Eject Precious Water From Moon

Artist’s concept of the LADEE spacecraft (left) detecting water vapor from meteoroid impacts on the Moon (right). (Credits: NASA/Goddard/Conceptual Image Lab)

by Elizabeth Zubritsky
NASA

Researchers from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, report that streams of meteoroids striking the Moon infuse the thin lunar atmosphere with a short-lived water vapor.

The findings will help scientists understand the history of lunar water — a potential resource for sustaining long term operations on the Moon and human exploration of deep space. Models had predicted that meteoroid impacts could release water from the Moon as a vapor, but scientists hadn’t yet observed the phenomenon.

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NIAC Phase II Award: Solar Surfing

Solar surfing (Credit: Doug Willard)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase II Award: Up to $500,000 for 2 Years

Solar Surfing
Doug Willard
NASA Kennedy Space Center

In 2018 the Parker Solar Probe launched, planning to approach the Sun to within 8.5 solar radii of its surface. This is seven times closer than any previous mission, allowing first-time particle, radiation, and magnetic field measurements of the Sun’s corona. The Parker Solar Probe utilizes a solar shield comprising a lightly-coated carbon composite layer on top of four inches of carbon foam. However, the temperature limits of the shield restrict the closest approach distance.

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NASA Astronaut Owen Garriott Passes Away at 88

Scientist-Astronaut Owen K. Garriott, science pilot of the Skylab 3 mission, is stationed at the Apollo Telescope Mount (ATM) console in the Multiple Docking Adapter of the Skylab space station in Earth orbit. From this console the astronauts actively control the ATM solar physics telescope. (Credit: NASA)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — Former astronaut and long-duration spaceflight pioneer Owen Garriott, 88, died today, April 15, at his home in Huntsville, Alabama. Garriott flew aboard the Skylab space station during the Skylab 3 mission and on the Space Shuttle Columbia for the STS-9/Spacelab-1 mission. He spent a total of 70 days in space.

“The astronauts, scientists and engineers at Johnson Space Center are saddened by the loss of Owen Garriott,” said Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester. “We remember the history he made during the Skylab and space shuttle programs that helped shape the space program we have today. Not only was he a bright scientist and astronaut, he and his crewmates set the stage for international cooperation in human spaceflight. He also was the first to participate in amateur radio from space, a hobby many of our astronauts still enjoy today.”

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NASA’s Landmark Twins Study Reveals Resilience of Human Body in Space

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Results from NASA’s landmark Twins Study, which took place from 2015-2016, were published Thursday in Science. The integrated paper — encompassing work from 10 research teams — reveals some interesting, surprising and reassuring data about how one human body adapted to — and recovered from — the extreme environment of space.

The Twins Study provides the first integrated biomolecular view into how the human body responds to the spaceflight environment, and serves as a genomic stepping stone to better understand how to maintain crew health during human expeditions to the Moon and Mars.

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UAE Selects Astronaut to Fly to International Space Station in September

Hazzaa Al Mansoori (Credit) MBRSC)

UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has selected Emirate Air Force pilot Hazzaa Al Mansoori to fly to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft in September.

Al Mansoori will become the first Emirati in space. Sultan Al Neyadi will serve as backup astronaut for the 8-day mission. Both men have been undergoing months of training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.

Al Mansoori’s mission includes 15 students experiments that will be selected via MBRSC’s ‘Science in Space’ competition.

A graduate of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Air College, Al Mansoori is a functional check pilot for the F-16 fighter.

“He was one of the first Arab and Emirati pilots to take part in the Dubai Air Show’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary of UAE Armed Forces,” the official UAE news agency WAM reports. “He also presented a show on the UAE National Day 2017 and the 50th anniversary of UAE Air Force 2018.

“Al Neyadi holds a PhD in Information Technology (Data Leakage Prevention),” WAM added. “He worked as Network Security Engineer for the UAE Armed Forces before joining the UAE Astronaut Programme.”

Al Mansoori and Al Neyadi were selected from among 4,022 applicants who applied to the UAE Astronaut Programme.

Spotlight: Flight Opportunities Program Manager John Kelly

John Kelly (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — In late 2018, Flight Opportunities welcomed John Kelly back to the program in the role of program manager. We sat down with John to get his thoughts on how the program has changed over the years, and his goals moving forward.

You originally worked with the Flight Opportunities program as program manager back in 2010. How has the program changed since then?

Initially, Flight Opportunities matched technology payloads to commercial vehicles. We’ve now moved to a principal investigator (PI)-oriented model where recipients of a NASA Tech Flights award have the opportunity to identify a suitable commercial vehicle and engage directly with the flight provider to execute their flight testing. These vehicles are adding to the breadth of flight profiles and capabilities that PIs have access to and the data they can gather to help mature their technologies. This new PI-centric model and the increasing number of commercial vehicles combine to give Flight Opportunities the promise of attracting a healthy supply of promising technologies. These innovations will in turn contribute to NASA’s goals as well as the expansion of space commerce.

Can you share how your vision for the program is beginning to take shape?

It is my vision to maintain a healthy supply of high-quality technologies coming in to the program pipeline that can help NASA achieve its mission objectives. The latest Tech Flights solicitation provides for a significant increase in individual award amounts. This should generate a higher quantity of proposals, resulting in more high-quality technologies entering the program. With a steady supply of technologies ready to fly, Flight Opportunities is also poised to successfully stimulate transactions in the commercial space market — an objective of the program.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for the commercial space community at the moment?

The challenge is to determine the true size of the marketplace, which will in turn determine the number of viable suppliers. Commercial suborbital flight providers offer services that NASA needs to perform payload testing, and NASA will continue to consume those services so long as they are provided.

>And the greatest opportunity?

With NASA’s renewed emphasis on returning to the Moon, as well as a manned mission to Mars, commercial suborbital flight providers have an opportunity to serve the technology development community to help us get there. Commercial providers are ideally positioned to get those technologies up the readiness curve prior to infusion into NASA’s missions to the Moon and Mars.

NIAC Phase II Award: Diffractive Lightsails

Diffractive lightsails (Credit: Grover Swartzlander)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase II Award: Up to $500,000 for 2 Years

Diffractive Lightsails
Grover Swartzlander
Rochester Institute of Technology

Solar sails are propelled by the free and abundant momentum afforded by sunlight. Propulsion and navigation are achieved by directing reflected or transmitted light away from the natural direction of sunlight. The magnitude and direction of this radiation pressure force depends on factors such as the light deflection angle, the angle of the sail with respect to the sun, and the distance from the sun. Sail areas spanning hundreds of square meters have been envisioned for nearly 100 years for a wide range of space missions that are not practical for chemical rockets.

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