Suborbital launch used to be a sleepy field that rarely attracted much public attention. Let’s face it, atmospheric research and student experiments are not front-page news. Sounding rockets don’t have the majesty and power of a Falcon 9 or Atlas V.
In recent years, exciting new entrants in the field and widespread streaming of launches have made suborbital flights exciting. Last year saw important suborbital flight tests by SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and Skyrora that garnered worldwide interest.
As NASA is funding research into lighter and more capable thermal protection systems (TPSs) producing using additive manufacturing (3D printing) as it looks to land ever larger payloads on other worlds and return extraterrestrial soil samples to Earth.
The space agency recently selected four heat shield proposals from corporate-university partnerships for funding under its Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The phase 1 grants are worth up to $125,000 over 13 months.
As 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.
Gift enables research on supersonic engine Collegiate Times
Aeronautic research conducted by a Virginia Tech and University of Virginia team hopes to lead to a more dependable, efficient and faster operation of aircraft with the help of a recent $50,000 gift from Tech alumni through the Aerojet Corporation.