New CubeSat Propulsion System Uses Water as Propellant

Purdue University graduate student Katherine Fowee and postdoctoral research associate Anthony Cofer work on a new micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats. (Credit: Purdue University/Erin Easterling)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue University PR)  – A new type of micropropulsion system for miniature satellites called CubeSats uses an innovative design of tiny nozzles that release precise bursts of water vapor to maneuver the spacecraft.

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NASA Selects Propulsion SBIRs & STTRs

NASA LOGOAs I was looking through NASA’s recent small business selection announcement for propulsion-related projects, I have found that the space agency has selected 29 Small Business Innovation Research and 8 Small Business Technology Transfer proposals for funding.

The proposals cover a wide range of areas, including in-space propulsion for CubeSats to technologies for new launch vehicles. Several proposals are also focused on in-space propellant depots.

A list of the selected projects with links to the proposals follows.

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Technology Tested on Spaceport America Rocket Launch

 SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NASA PR) — An UP Aerospace SpaceLoft sounding rocket soared into the sky Nov. 6 from Spaceport America, New Mexico, carrying four technology experiments for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program that funded the launch of these technologies.

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UP Aerospace Successfully Launches From Spaceport America

SL-10 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)
SL-10 launch (Credit: Spaceport America)

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM, November 6, 2015 (Spaceport America PR)  – Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport, announced the successful launch today of an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft™rocket carrying several scientific and engineering experiments. The launch took place this morning at 8:01 MST from Spaceport America’s Vertical Launch Complex-1 on the East Campus. This launch represents Spaceport America’s 24th overall launch and the fourth from Spaceport America with NASA Flight Opportunities Program payloads.

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Purdue Students Design Vehicle for Google Lunar X Prize

Students shoot for the moon in spacecraft contest
The Exponent (Purdue University)

After a semester of hard work and dedication, AAE 450 students are finally reaping the rewards. Students, faculty and a representative from NASA gathered Thursday morning to hear how the Project Xpedition Design Team plans to develop, test and fly the spacecraft they spent all semester designing.

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Purdue University Facility Works on Improving NASA Moon Engine

SOURCE: PURDUE UNIVERSITY NEWS SERVICE

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University engineers are conducting experiments using a new hydrogen facility to help NASA create designs to improve the cooling efficiency and performance of the J-2X rocket engine, critical for future missions to Mars and the moon.

More efficient cooling improves performance and reduces the need for costly overhauls, said William Anderson, an associate professor in Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The new hydrogen facility allows Purdue researchers to study fundamental processes in hydrogen-oxygen engines, such as the J-2X and the engine that will be used by astronauts during their descent to the moon.

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