Southwest Research Institute to Study Pluto Orbiter

This high-resolution image captured by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft combines blue, red and infrared images taken by the Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC). The bright expanse is the western lobe of the “heart,” informally called Sputnik Planum, which has been found to be rich in nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane ices. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (SwRI PR) — NASA has funded Southwest Research Institute to study the important attributes, feasibility and cost of a possible future Pluto orbiter mission. This study will develop the spacecraft and payload design requirements and make preliminary cost and risk assessments for new technologies.

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SWRI, CSF Announce Suborbital Space Researchers, Educators Conference

BROOMFIELD, Colo., October 31, 2019 (NSRC PR) — As a new generation of space vehicles prepares the groundwork for space research and education, the 2020 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) will bring together hundreds of suborbital researchers, educators, flight providers, spaceports and government officials in Broomfield, Colorado, March 2-4, 2020.

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NASA’s Lucy Mission Clears Critical Milestone

An artist’s concept of the Lucy Mission. (Credit: SwRI)

LITTLETON, Colo. (NASA PR — NASA’s Lucy mission successfully completed its Critical Design Review on Oct. 18. 

During this review, Lucy team members presented the completed mission design, demonstrating that the team has met all the technical challenges of the mission and is ready to begin building hardware. After the review completion, NASA’s independent review board provided a green light for proceeding into the fabrication/manufacturing stage of the mission.

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NASA to Discuss Planetary Protection Review’s Findings and Recommendations

This scene from the panoramic camera on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looks back toward part of the west rim of Endeavour Crater that the rover drove along, heading southward, during the summer of 2014. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 3:30 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 18, to discuss recommendations presented by the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB), established in June 2019 by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live on NASA’s website.

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Lockheed Martin to Build Lucy Asteroid Spacecraft

An artist’s conception of the Lucy spacecraft (left) flying by the Trojan Eurybates – one of the six diverse and scientifically important Trojans to be studied. Trojans are fossils of planet formation and so will supply important clues to the earliest history of the solar system. (Right) Psyche, the first mission to the metal world 16 Psyche will map features, structure, composition, and magnetic field, and examine a landscape unlike anything explored before. Psyche will teach us about the hidden cores of the Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus. (Credit: SwRI, SSL/Peter Rubin)
An artist’s conception of the Lucy spacecraft (left) flying by the Trojan Eurybates – one of the six diverse and scientifically important Trojans to be studied. Trojans are fossils of planet formation and so will supply important clues to the earliest history of the solar system. (Right) Psyche, the first mission to the metal world 16 Psyche will map features, structure, composition, and magnetic field, and examine a landscape unlike anything explored before. Psyche will teach us about the hidden cores of the Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus. (Credit: SwRI, SSL/Peter Rubin)

DENVER (Lockheed Martin PR)  — Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has been selected to design, build and operate the spacecraft for NASA’s Lucy mission. One of NASA’s two new Discovery Program missions, Lucy will perform the first reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids orbiting the sun in tandem with the gas giant. The Lucy spacecraft will launch in 2021 to study six of these exciting worlds.

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SwRI to lead NASA’s Lucy Mission to Jupiter’s Trojans

Southwest Research Institute is leading NASA’s Lucy mission, which will launch in 2021 for the first reconnaissance of the Trojans, a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter. In this artist’s concept (not to scale), the Lucy spacecraft is flying by Eurybates, one of the six diverse and scientifically important Trojans to be studied. (Credit: SwRI)
Southwest Research Institute is leading NASA’s Lucy mission, which will launch in 2021 for the first reconnaissance of the Trojans, a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter. In this artist’s concept (not to scale), the Lucy spacecraft is flying by Eurybates, one of the six diverse and scientifically important Trojans to be studied. (Credit: SwRI)

BOULDER, Colo., January 4, 2017 (SwRI PR) — NASA has selected Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) to lead Lucy, a landmark Discovery mission to perform the first reconnaissance of the Trojans, a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter. The Lucy spacecraft will launch in 2021 to study six of these exciting worlds.

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World View Completes Successful NASA Flight Mission

Credit: World View
Credit: World View

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View has successfully completed a high-altitude balloon mission for the Southwest Research Institute, a flight funded by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program (FOP) office.

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Smallsat 2016: NASA Program & Mission Updates

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)

NASA officials have been providing updates this week on agency programs and missions during the 2016 Small Satellite Conference and the CubeSat Workshop that preceded it. I have pulled together summaries of their presentations drawn from Twitter.  Information has come from the following Tweeters:

  • Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust
  • David Hurst ‏@OrbitalDave
  • Hanna Steplewska ‏@spacesurfingirl
  • Augie Allen ‏@AugieAllen
  • RITSpaceExploration ‏@RITSPEX

Enjoy!
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Alan Stern Awarded NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal

New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, CO., left, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Director Ralph Semmel, center, and New Horizons Co-Investigator Will Grundy Lowell Observatory hold a print of an U.S. stamp with their suggested update since the New Horizons spacecraft has explored Pluto, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Boulder, CO., left, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Director Ralph Semmel, center, and New Horizons Co-Investigator Will Grundy Lowell Observatory hold a print of an U.S. stamp with their suggested update since the New Horizons spacecraft has explored Pluto, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

BOULDER, Colo. , June 28, 2016 (SwRI PR) — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration today bestowed its highest honor, the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, to Dr. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute. As principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, Stern led the team that returned remarkable imagery and other data from the Pluto system last summer, generating headlines worldwide and setting a record for the farthest world ever explored.

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Research Payloads Arrive on International Space Station

Lowe's Innovation Labs/Made in Space 3D printer in action. (Credit: Jim Sulley/Newscast Creative)
Lowe’s Innovation Labs/Made in Space 3D printer in action. (Credit: Jim Sulley/Newscast Creative)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., March 26, 2016 (CASIS PR) – The most recent series of payloads have berthed with the International Space Station (ISS) today onboard the Orbital ATK Cygnus capsule.

Many of the investigations transported by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket and Cygnus capsule are payloads sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space is tasked with managing and promoting research onboard the ISS National Laboratory, and all manifested payloads must contain the potential for Earth benefits.

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Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference Returns in June

NSRC 2016 logoBOULDER, Colo., March 16, 2016 (SwRI PR) — As a new generation of space vehicles prepares to come online over the next two years, the 2016 Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) will bring together hundreds of suborbital researchers, educators, flight providers, spaceports, and government officials in Broomfield, Colo., just outside Denver June 2–4.

NSRC is the premier conference for the suborbital space research and education community. NSRC-2016 follows on four highly successful NSRC meetings, the first of which was held in 2010. Information about NSRC’s program, sponsors, and various logistical and other information are available at the conference website, http://nsrc.swri.org.

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SwRI Team Part of NASA’s New Solar System Exploration Virtual Institute

NASA_SSERVI-LOGOBOULDER, Colo. (SwRI PR) — NASA has selected a team led by Southwest Research Institute to be a founding member of the agency’s new Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

The recently formed team, known as the Institute for the Science of Exploration Targets, or ISET, will help build fundamental knowledge of the worlds directly accessible by astronauts in the future — such as the Moon, near-Earth asteroids and the satellites of Mars — by researching their origin, evolution and physical properties, as well as what their relatively pristine records tell us about the history of the Solar System.

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SwRI to Build Solar Observatory to Fly on XCOR’s Lynx

Full-scale mockup of XCOR's Lynx suborbital space plane. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
A full-scale Lynx mockup. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Boulder, Colo., Oct. 22, 2012 (SWRI PR) — Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has received funding from NASA to build a miniature, portable solar observatory for developing and testing innovative instrumentation in suborbital flight.

The SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP) will fly on new, commercial manned suborbital craft, such as XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft, to enable spaceborne science and instrument development at a fraction of the cost of unmanned sounding rockets.

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SwRI Moves Up XCOR Lynx Experiment Flights

Boulder, Colo. — Feb. 27, 2012 — Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has reached an agreement with XCOR Aerospace, Inc. to conduct pioneering suborbital space missions with Institute payload specialist astronauts flying aboard one or two test missions in the XCOR Aerospace Lynx Mark I vehicle. The flights will test capabilities of the Lynx vehicle with actual researchers and research experiments aboard.

In 2011, SwRI and XCOR Aerospace inked a deal for six SwRI suborbital flights aboard Lynx, with options for three more. Today’s announcement moves the first such flights ahead of XCOR’s commercial services to be a part of XCOR’s Lynx test flight program.

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