Florida Tech, Embry Riddle to Collaborate on Spaceflight Research

A spacesuit is tested as part of the collaboration between Florida Tech and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (Credit: Florida Tech)

Goal to Improve Human Performance on Flight Decks, in Cabins

MELBOURNE, FLA. (Florida Tech PR) — Florida Institute of Technology and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have announced a year-long collaboration on research involving spaceflight with the goal of improving human performance inside spacecraft.

The joint effort involves Florida Tech’s Human Spaceflight Lab, or HSF, directed by Ondrej Doule, and Embry-Riddle’s S.U.I.T. (Spacesuit Utilization of Innovative Technology) Lab, and its principal investigator, Ryan Kobrick.

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Crowded Skies: Embry-Riddle Studies Financial Impacts of Space Launches on Aviation

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy begins its first flight. (Credit: NASA)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 13, 2018 (ERAU PR) — Researchers with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s College of Business in Daytona Beach, Florida, are calculating the specific financial impacts of space launches on aviation.

Rodrigo Firmo, a graduate research assistant and M.B.A. candidate, recently presented preliminary results of the project at an international conference at ESTACA University in France.

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NASA Announces Ninth Round of Candidates for CubeSat Space Missions

Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 11 small research satellites from seven states and Puerto Rico to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

The selections are part of the ninth round of the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. CubeSats are a type of spacecraft called nanosatellites, often measuring about four inches on each side and weighing less than three pounds, with a volume of about one quart. CubeSats are built using these standard dimensions as Units or “U”, and are classified as 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in total size.

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Embry-Riddle Research Payloads Flew Aboard New Shepard

New Shepard capsule after landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Embry-Riddle experiments in space could help with cancer treatment

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ­(Embry-Riddle PR) — For less than four minutes at the edge of space, T-cells from mice in an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University experiment in partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Medical University of South Carolina were exposed to microgravity onboard a successful Blue Origin launch in the hope of one day finding new treatments for cancer.

The payload from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus flew Dec. 12 on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle to assess how microgravity impacts the cellular processes of T-cells or T-lymphocytes, which develop from stem cells in the bone marrow and are key to the immune system.

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Project PoSSUM Graduates 13 Scientist-Astronaut Candidates

Project PoSSUM graduates (Credit: ERAU)
Project PoSSUM graduates (Credit: ERAU)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (ERAU PR) — Project PoSSUM, a non-profit research program devoted to the study of Earth’s upper atmosphere, announced that it has graduated 13 new Scientist-Astronaut Candidates as part of PoSSUM Class 1601.

The PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut program, designed by former NASA astronaut instructors and hosted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., gives its candidates the skills to effectively conduct research on commercial space vehicles as part of an international research campaign dedicated to the study of our global climate.

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NIAC Focus: Novel Atmospheric Satellite Concept

Schematic of prototype “twin” aircraft. (Credit: W. Engblom)
Schematic of prototype “twin” aircraft. (Credit: W. Engblom)

Flight Demonstration of Novel Atmospheric Satellite Concept
NASA Innovative Advance Concepts Phase II Award

William Engblom
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The Dual-Aircraft Platform (DAP) is a novel concept for achieving a low-cost atmospheric satellite in the lower stratosphere which utilizes a combination of wind and solar energy capture. DAP consists of two glider-like unmanned aircraft connected via a thin, ultra-strong cable. Long duration flight simulations have shown the platform could literally sail without propulsion, using levels of wind shear persistently found near 60,000-ft, and substantially increase the energy available for useful payload operations.

The central objective of the proposed Phase II effort is to perform autonomous proof-of-concept flight demonstrations of the DAP concept using a small-scale prototype at low altitude. Related objectives are develop specific flight maneuvers and mechanisms required for station keeping, and validate the autonomous guidance and control software.

Flight demonstrations of the sailing mode of operation, as well as all other required maneuvers for stratospheric station keeping, will be conducted using the atmospheric onshore wind shear produced at low altitudes (< 500 feet) at Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility. Optimal dates/times for flight testing will be selected based on an historical weather assessment. Off-the shelf aircraft will be modified for DAP operation. The aircraft will be remotely controlled by KSC pilots during the first year, and will gradually shift towards complete autonomous flight control in the second year. Flight software will be developed and validated within the hardware-in-the-loop DAP flight simulator at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Atmospheric satellites represent a long-standing, grand challenge to the aeronautics community, and have enormous potential societal and economic impact. Such airborne platforms are expected to diversify and expand surveillance capabilities (e.g., NASA’s earth science missions) and communications bandwidth and availability (e.g., for underserved remote areas of the US, emergency communications), at a fraction of the cost of orbital satellite networks. Successful proof-of-concept DAP flight demonstrations are expected to lead to commercial investment to build a large scale prototype.

Citizen-Science Astronautics Program to Explore Intersections of Art and Science

PoSSUM students learn to operate space-qualified instrumentation in spacesuits. (Credit: Project PoSSUM)
PoSSUM students learn to operate space-qualified instrumentation in spacesuits. (Credit: Project PoSSUM)

BOULDER, Colo. , March 14, 2016  (Project PoSSUM PR) — Project PoSSUM announced today that it will host an interdisciplinary forum, titled “Project PoSSUM and the Art of Science Communication”, at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on April 9, 2016. The first of a series of workshops, this forum will focus on how astronautics enables science communication through human stories and artistic interpretation.
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NASA Developing Flying Drones for Other Worlds

A prototype built to test Extreme Access Flyer systems in different environments. (Credits: NASA/Swamp Works)
A prototype built to test Extreme Access Flyer systems in different environments. (Credits: NASA/Swamp Works)

By Steven Siceloff
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Swamp Works engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are inventing a flying robotic vehicle that can gather samples on other worlds in places inaccessible to rovers. The vehicles – similar to quad-copters but designed for the thin atmosphere of Mars and the airless voids of asteroids and the moon – would use a lander as a base to replenish batteries and propellants between flights.

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Terminal Velocity Aerospace to Demonstrate Payload Return Capsule

Terminal_VelocityATLANTA, GA, April 14, 2015 (TVA PR) – Terminal Velocity Aerospace, LLC (TVA) was recently selected by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program (FOP) for demonstration of a small payload return capsule and associated technologies via a high-altitude drop test. Flight test of the prototype capsule will demonstrate mission-enabling communications technologies and verify integrated performance, including functionality of its parachute recovery system. This activity is directly aligned with TVA’s efforts to develop a small reentry device, RED-4U, capable of returning the payload mass and volume equivalent of four or more CubeSats. In addition, as part of this drop test, a payload provided by Dr. Abba Zubair of the Mayo Clinic in collaboration with the Center for Applied Space Technology (CAST-ARMM) and Morehead State University will serve as a pathfinder for the transportation of high value space-based research products from space back to a terrestrial laboratory.

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FSDC Urges Florida Legislators to Focus on Key Space Priorities

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

FSDC PR — The Florida Space Development Council has urged elected officials to provide more support to the space industry during the ongoing Florida Legislative Session. FSDC President Gabriel Rothblatt asked Senate and House leaders to take steps to diversify the state’s involvement in space research and technology development; continue financing programs for space industry growth; fund conversion of the Shuttle Landing Facility for new programs; establish a high school space education academy; and fund a demonstration program for space tourism and point-to-point spaceflight.

The five issues were prioritized by FSDC’s membership through an online survey. They were conveyed in letters to the Senate President, House Speaker, and appropriation subcommittee chairs.

A copy of the letter is below.

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Florida Legislative Space Priorities Come Into View as Session Nears

space_florida_logoFebruary 23, 2015 (FSDC PR) — Florida’s 2015 Legislative Session will begin on March 3 and end on May 1 in Tallahassee. The biggest task for elected officials will be to approve a $77 billion spending plan, including millions of dollars for space-related programs. Governor Rick Scott in January revealed his proposed budget, which includes $12.5 million for Space Florida programs.

The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) has tracked the progress of annual space-focused funding and policy issues in Tallahassee. FSDC is gearing up for the 2015 Session with an updated chart of space-related issues, a chart that is sure to evolve several times over the next two months.

FSDC 2015 FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE SPACE ISSUES
ISSUE/BILLHOUSE STATUSSENATE STATUSCOMMENTS*
Space Florida Ops Budget ($10M)Included in Gov. Scott’s budget request, with $4M of recurring funding and $6M non-recurring.
Space Florida Financing/
Investment Fund

Provided in 2014 but not included in Gov. Scott’s 2015 request. May be a legislative priority.
Space Transportation
Infrastructure Funding
“TIP” program funded at $15M in 2014 within FDOT budget allocation. Status unclear for 2015.
Shuttle Landing Facility Transition ($2.5M)Proviso earmark of $2.5M in 2014, and intended for two years by sponsoring legislators. Status unclear for 2015.
Space Industry Tourism Funding ($1.5M)Included in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding for coordination with VISIT Florida to support tourism attractions and space tourism flight business.
Florida/Israel Joint Aerospace Development ($1M)Included in Gov. Scott’s budget request. Continued funding of joint aerospace projects with Space Florida and Israel.
Qualified Defense/Space
Contractor Tax Refund
Incentive program requires statutory change to renew application window for companies to qualify for refunds.
Quick Response Training
(QRT) Incentive

Supported in 2014 by Gov. Scott. Status unclear for 2015.
Embry-Riddle high school aerospace academiesSigned by Governor in 2014 as a recurring budget item to
support/expand network of high school aerospace academies.

* Note: Most budget items are subject to the Governor’s line-item veto authority.

Project PoSSUM Graduates First Class of Scientist-Astronauts

Project_PoSSUMDAYTONA BEACH, Fla., February 23, 2015 (Project PoSSUM PR) — Project PoSSUM, a non-profit suborbital research project devoted to the study of our upper atmosphere, announced today that it had graduated its first class of Scientist-Astronauts. The PoSSUM Scientist-Astronaut Qualification Program, designed by former NASA astronaut instructors and hosted by the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., provides its candidates with the skills required to effectively conduct research on commercial space vehicles as part of an international research campaign dedicated to the study of global climate.

PoSSUM, an acronym for Polar Suborbital Science in the Upper Mesosphere, uses commercial suborbital spacecraft and high-altitude manned balloons to study rare “space clouds” called noctilucent clouds. These elusive clouds can help scientists address critical questions about the Earth’s climate, but they can only be seen from polar latitudes during a small window of time in the summer. The project evolved from the Noctilucent Cloud Imagery and Tomography experiment, selected by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program in March 2012 as experiment 46-S.

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Project PoSSUM to Hold Scientist-Astronaut Class at Embry Riddle

Project_PoSSUMBoulder, Colo., December 29, 2014 (Project PoSSUM PR) — Project PoSSUM, a non-profit suborbital research program, announces the first PoSSUM scientist-astronaut class to be held at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., Feb. 7 – 10, 2015. This unique opportunity allows individuals to train with some of the world’s leading upper atmospheric scientists and to fly to space as part of an international research campaign dedicated to the study of global climate. The four-day, fully immersive qualification program was designed by former NASA astronaut instructors to provide its candidates with the skills required to effectively conduct research on commercial space vehicles as part of Project PoSSUM.

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Final Frontier Design to Collaborate With NASA on Spacesuits

Spacesuit pressurization (Credit: Final Frontier Design)
Spacesuit pressurization (Credit: Final Frontier Design)

BROOKLYN, NY and HOUSTON (FFD PR) — Final Frontier Design (FFD) is proud to announce the signing of a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA to collaborate on the development, design review, and testing of its launch and re-entry space suit for orbital space flight.

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NASA Funds Additional Smallsat Research Projects

Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)
Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

With CubeSats and other types of small satellites are being launched in increasing numbers, there’s a race on to develop new technologies to vastly improve their capabilities and extend their range to the moon, Mars and other deep space destinations.

NASA has been at the leading edge of this technology development effort. Last week, the space agency announced its plans to fund four small-satellite research projects. The projects include phase II funding for three Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program proposals and one NASA Innovative Advance Concepts (NIAC) proposal.

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