The educational CubeSat missions were selected through the CubeSat Launch Initiative as part of the 14th installment of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) missions. The ELaNa XIV mission was an auxiliary payload on the Nov. 18, 2017, launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 satellite (now NOAA-20), a collaborative effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA.
One CubeSat launched from the JPSS-1 rocket, RadFxSat, is a partnership between students at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and AMSAT, a worldwide group of amateur radio operators. The Vanderbilt team built the science payload while AMSAT did the integration onto their own CubeSat platform. Their experiment is designed to obtain early on-orbit data in support of modeling radiation effects in a commercial memory, currently used for consumer electronics.
So far the project is successfully sending back data. “Because we partnered with the company donating the memory, there were engineering challenges to make sure we could communicate with the memory properly. I learned about power allocation and making sure the memories were within their power budget. I didn’t realize how important power was for a spacecraft until I had to do it myself,” said Rebekah Austin, a graduating Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at Vanderbilt. Austin is also a returning engineering summer intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
A small group of students recently got to experience a rare, spaceflight thrill: seeing if the tiny satellite, called a CubeSat, they designed and built not only survived a rocket launch to space but also successfully gathered and transmitted data once on orbit.
Meanwhile, another CubeSat project, called EagleSat-1, is working through post-launch challenges. “It turns out we are not getting data back. There is still learning occurring, which is our main reason for doing the program. The students are learning the process of failure analysis and understanding the spacecraft a little bit better as a result of trying to figure out what could have gone wrong and try to figure out if there is anything we can do while it is on orbit,” said Dr. Gary Yale, associate professor of aerospace engineering and faculty mentor for EagleSat-1, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.
One possibility under consideration by the team of undergraduate researchers is that their antenna did not deploy after launch. The EagleSat-1 team hopes that if that is the problem, eventually the fishing line holding the antenna down will decay due to ultraviolet radiation in the space environment, causing the line to break and deploy the antenna, which was the backup plan for that eventuality.
For additional information about NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program, visit:
For additional information on JPSS: http://www.jpss.noaa.gov/
For additional information on RadFxSat: http://www.isde.vanderbilt.edu/wp/radfxsat1/
For additional information on EagleSat: http://prescott.erau.edu/about/labs/axfab-eaglesat/
NASA has selected 304 proposals from U.S. small businesses to advance research and technology in Phase I of its 2018 SmallBusinessInnovationResearch (SBIR) program and 44 proposals for the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, totaling $43.5 million in awards. These selections support NASA's future space exploration missions, while also benefiting the U.S. economy.
"This round of Phase I ideas look very promising and creative, and will enhance innovation throughout the Agency,” said Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “Many of the businesses that go through the SBIR program end up working with NASA on the research and technologies needed to advance our space exploration goals.”
Proposals were selected according to their technical merit and feasibility, in addition to the experience, qualifications and facilities of the submitting organization. Additional criteria included effectiveness of the work plan and commercial potential.
The selected proposals will support the development of technologies in the areas of aeronautics, human space exploration and operations, science, and space technology. Awards cover a breadth of research and development needs, including:
Phase I work and results provide a sound basis for the continued development, demonstration and delivery of the proposed innovation in Phase II and follow-on efforts. Phase III is the commercialization of innovative technologies, products and services resulting from either a Phase I or Phase II contract.
The SBIR and STTR programs encourage small businesses and research institutions to develop innovative ideas that meet the specific research and development needs of the federal government. The programs are intended to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector, increase the commercial application of research results, and encourage participation of socially and economically disadvantaged persons and women-owned small businesses. Since the 1970s, small businesses have created approximately 55 percent of all jobs in the United States.
The SBIR and STTR programs are managed for STMD by NASA's Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. STMD is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.
For more information about the SBIR/STTR program, including the selection list, visit:
For more information about NASA's investment in space technology, visit:
Israel’s Space Agency (ISA) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced on Tuesday that they were joining forces to protect astronauts in space from radiation exposure, tapping into technology developed by Israeli company StemRad for a radiation protection vest it created, the AstroRad, set to be tested in deep space.
NASA is set to launch the AstroRad into space as part of the last test flight of its Orion spacecraft, with dummies on deck, before manned missions begin. The launch is planned for 2019 and the spacecraft will spend about three weeks in space, including in retrograde orbit around the moon. The trial will involve testing the new protective suit against cosmic gamma rays as part of a feasability study for any future mission to Mars.
The AstroRad suit protects mainly bone marrow, the lungs, chest, stomach, colon, and the ovaries among women, organs which are particularly sensitive to the formation of malignant tumors as a result of exposure to radiation. The suit itself is made out of hydrogen-rich materials and worn like a vest.
The suit was developed following the success of the company’s first product – a special belt that protects the bone marrow in the pelvis – which is commonly worn by “first responders” to radiation accidents around the world. StemRad is collaborating with Lockheed Martin to adapt the suit’s technology to space use.
The agreement with NASA follows an agreement signed a year ago between the ISA and the German Space Agency to test the suitability of the suit to the effects of radiation in deep space and the extent of its absorption by the human body.
Source: NoCamels and The Jerusalem Post
On April 13, 1985, Space Shuttle Atlantis arrived at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to be prepped for its maiden flight. Over the following 26 years, Atlantis would go on to launch 33 times - deploying satellites & planetary probes Magellan & Galileo, delivering vital components to the International Space Station, & pioneering the Shuttle-Mir era. In July of 2011, NASA's final shuttle mission was flown by Atlantis (STS-135), marking the end of the Shuttle Era. Today, Atlantis is on full display at the historic Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.
This year's EPIC Space Coast Yuri's Night party will take place underneath Shuttle Atlantis exactly 33 years to the day since the orbiter arrived at KSC. Come join us on Friday April 13th, 2018, to celebrate this historic spacecraft, the excitement of space exploration, & the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's monumental flight into orbit.
Dancing Under the Space Shuttle Atlantis
The evening culminates with an epic dance party under the Space Shuttle Atlantis. We'll be bringing you sick space beats from two Miami-based DJ's past midnight. It is a unique opportunity to party under a national treasure. You are welcome to dress up, costumes encouraged!
More information: Get Tickets
Pittsburgh, PA – Astrobotic, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, has been selected by NASA for a Phase II SBIR Award to develop CubeRover, a class of 2-kg rover platform capable of small-scale science and exploration on the Moon and other planetary surfaces. This new small rover platform complements Astrobotic’s lunar payload delivery service by providing a low-cost mobility capability to the lunar surface for customers around the world.
CubeRover is based on the idea that a standard robotic mobility platform, built to survive the lunar environment, could be used by a wide range of companies, governments, universities, and non-profits to carry out their own small-scale lunar science and exploration missions. This standardized architecture will drive the space community to commoditize systems, components, and instruments that are compatible with the platform, lowering costs and vastly increasing functionality.
Just as the CubeSat revolution opened a new era of science and commerce in orbit, CubeRovers will make mobile lunar surface access available to everyone. When a CubeRover lands at the dawn of the next decade, it will change the paradigm for planetary surface operations, and create the infrastructure for off-world development and settlement from the ground up.
“CubeRover stands to give more people access to the Moon than ever before. Countries and organizations without multi-billion-dollar budgets now have a means of exploring other worlds for the first time. We are thrilled NASA is supporting our vision to innovate lunar surface mobility,” said Dr. Andrew Horchler, Principal Investigator of the program at Astrobotic.
In Phase I, Astrobotic and Carnegie Mellon University collaborated on a rigorous, system-wide development of a 2-kg rover prototype that could explore the surface of the Moon. The team, made up of more than 30 individuals, performed major engineering studies to determine the architecture of a novel chassis, body type, power system, and computing system, and produced novel flight software and navigational techniques for small rovers.
In Phase II the team will follow up this groundbreaking work with a rapid, two-year development to deliver a flight-ready rover to NASA. The team intends to fly the first CubeRover on Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander to the Moon in 2020.
Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is a lunar logistics company that delivers payloads to the Moon for companies, governments, universities, non-profits, and individuals. The company’s spacecraft accommodates multiple customer payloads on a single flight, offering flexibility at an industry-defining low price of $1.2 million per kilogram. Astrobotic is an official partner with NASA through the Lunar CATALYST program, has 24 prior and ongoing NASA contracts, a commercial partnership with Airbus DS, a corporate sponsorship with DHL, 11 deals for its first mission to the Moon, and 130 customer payloads in the pipeline for upcoming missions. Astrobotic was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.
WASHINGTON — A final fiscal year 2018 spending bill released by House and Senate appropriators March 21 would give NASA more than $20.7 billion, far above the administration’s original request.
The omnibus spending bill, completed after weeks of negotiations, restores funding for Earth science and education programs slated for cancellation by the White House and includes additional money for the agency to build a second mobile launch platform for the Space Launch System.
The appropriations bill gives NASA $20.736 billion for the 2018 fiscal year, which started more than five and a half months ago. That is more than $1.6 billion above the administration’s original request of $19.092 billion. A House appropriations bill offered NASA $19.872 billion and its Senate counterpart $19.529 billion. An overarching two-year budget deal reached earlier this year raised spending caps for both defense and non-defense programs, freeing up additional funding.
Appropriators used that additional funding to, in part, restore programs slated for cancellation in the original request. Four of the five Earth science programs the administration sought to cancel — the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, and ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission, the CLARREO Pathfinder and Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 instruments and the Earth observation instruments on the Deep Space Climate Observatory spacecraft — are explicitly funded in the request. A fifth program, the Radiation Budget Instrument, was already cancelled by NASA earlier this year because of technical and programmatic issues.
The budget also provides $100 million for NASA’s education program, which the administration had sought to close down. That proposal received wide bipartisan criticism in the House and Senate last year, whose appropriations bills restored funding. The Restore-L satellite servicing mission, which the administration sought to convert into a more general, and much smaller, technology development program, receives $130 million in the bill.
The White House once again seeks to shutter NASA’s education program in its fiscal year 2019 request, along with the same Earth science missions targeted for cancellation in the 2018 request.
NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), another mission slated for cancellation in the 2019 budget request, received $150 million in the 2018 omnibus bill. The report accompanying the bill makes no reference to the proposed cancellation but does direct NASA to provide to Congress a lifecycle cost estimate for the mission within 60 days, including any additions needed to make it consistent with a “class A” risk classification, as identified in an independent review of the program last fall.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope receives $533.7 million, the exact amount requested by the administration. As in past years, the bill includes language directing NASA to treat any increase as meeting a 30 percent under federal law. That law requires NASA to both provide a report on the size and cause of the overrun as well as prohibiting spending on it starting 18 months later unless authorized to continue by Congress. NASA officials said March 20 that a determination of any breach of the program’s $8 billion cost cap caused by further delays in its development could be announced as soon as next week.
The agency’s planetary science program received more than $2.2 billion in the bill, an increase of $300 million over the request. It includes $595 million to continue work on the Europa Clipper mission and follow-on lander, and retains provisions from prior bills calling on using the SLS for launching Europa Clipper by 2022 and the lander by 2024. The report also provides $23 million for a proposed helicopter NASA is considering including on the Mars 2020 rover mission.
NASA’s exploration programs also win additional funding in the bill, with the omnibus providing $2.15 billion for SLS and $1.35 billion for Orion, the same levels as in both the House and Senate bills but above the original request.
The bill includes $350 million to build a second mobile launch platform. NASA considered, but did not request, funding in its 2019 proposal for a second platform, which outside advisers said could shorten the gap between the first and second SLS missions by avoiding delays caused by modifying the platform to accommodate the larger version of the SLS used on second and subsequent missions.
The House is expected to take up the full omnibus bill on March 22, followed immediately after by the Senate. The government is currently operating on the latest in a series of stopgap funding bills, known as continuing resolutions, that expires March 23.
International correspondent in Sao Paulo, Brazil - The Planetário named after Prof. Aristotle Orsini in Ibirapuera Park hosted two important events Monday January 29th, 2018 in the area of space science.
The first was the appointment of 7 year old João Paulo Guerra Barrera as Official Ambassador of Science Days in Brazil. Following that, three space professionals, including a keynote speaker from NASA, presented in this extraordinary event.
The event highlights the announcement of Science Days Brazil 2018 running from March 3 - 17th. Science Days is an annual traveling multi-day event through Brazil aimed at youth to adults to promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) education. The event is full of hands on activities, speakers, and contributors from across the globe.
Joao Paulo, who turns 8 in March, gained international recognition when he won NASA Ames Space Settlement Competition directed at teens and consequently overcame six thousand opponents from around the world. His project on space colonization became a bilingual book, "In the World of the Moon and the Planets", and game. This led the Michaelis Foundation for Global Education, the primary supporter of Science Days, to invite him to become the ambassador for the entirety of the event as it travels throughout Brazil.
Space Educators and Speakers
Sponsored by the Michaelis Foundation, the speakers bring important professional views and knowledge linked to NASA.
George Francis "Gabe" Gabrielle was a civil engineer at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA, where he had the opportunity to witness and work with the launch of over 70 space shuttle missions.
Physicist Alex Greutman is a co-starter and lead instructor of an educational program called Space Trek at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and is currently a member of the OR1ON Center for Space Education team in Brazil.
Mechatronic engineer Vinicius Fantuchi has developed an educational program in collaboration with the Kennedy Space Center International Academy based on the Osiris-REX Asteroid Mission to teach about robotic programming and space to youth across South America.
For more information about Science Days Brazil 2018 please visit the following link: BrazilFlorida.org
Samantha Cristoforetti, Italian European Space Agency astronaut, who is also an Italian Air Force pilot and engineer, believes that humans are not going to Mars anytime soon.
"It will take a long time to fly to Mars. If from the ISS to go to the Moon it takes long time, then to Mars it takes even more. Currently there are many expectations regarding this, but we need investments,” Cristoforetti said during the space conference.
In an interview with Sputnik Italia, the first Italian woman-astronaut recalled her experience flying on a Russian Soyuz space rocket, saying that, "At the time of launch, the speed is very high. We reached orbit in less than 9 minutes, at a speed of 28,000 km/h.”
Cristoferetti, who at 40 has already achieved milestones in space exploration, has been a part of space missions such as Expedition 42, Expedition 43, and Soyuz TMA-15M.
Cristoferetti went on to say, "I think that space cooperation, and especially the flying of astronauts to the ISS, shows us that when you concentrate on common goals, rather than on differences, working together becomes possible even in times of tension. There remains no room for conflicts, because we need to focus on what we have in common, and on the greater goal for which we are all working.”
Cristoferetti, was a special guest at a recent a conference called "The Way to the Stars — from Moon to Mars" held in Rome, Italy.
During the conference, the current President of the Italian Space Agency, ASI, Roberto Battiston said that, "Space is one of the sectors where tension in relations between countries is being smoothened out. Space is very fertile soil for various fields of activity related to international relations.”
He added that, "Space is an instrument of peace.”
The conference was also attended by Franco Frattini, president of Italian Society for International Organization, SIOI, who said that space activities are among the few in which the great tensions between nations diminish.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has formalized its agreement with NASA under Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2), signing a contract to design and develop a prototype for a deep space habitat. The formal signing of the contract under NextSTEP Broad Agency Announcement, Appendix A: Habitat Systems, aimed at enabling potential long-duration human missions in deep space, clears the way for actual production of SNC’s prototype in the coming months.
SNC is partnering with Aerojet Rocketdyne and ILC Dover to begin the conceptual architectural design; they will build a full-scale ground prototype of the main habitable volume over the next 19 months.
“The future of human spaceflight includes long-duration travel in deep space and these prototypes will help develop the concepts to make it possible. The idea that humans are starting to expand farther into space than ever before is exciting and we’re thrilled to be a part of it,” said Fatih Ozmen, owner and CEO of SNC.
The public-private habitation development work supports NASA’s study of a deep space gateway concept in cislunar space. Located in lunar orbit, a gateway could enable a new level of space exploration never before possible. NASA gateway studies and prototypes will be used to look at commercial capabilities and risk reduction as the agency defines requirements and objectives for the spaceport. If the concept is approved, the gateway would launch in several elements, and the first would be power and propulsion.
SNC is studying this element under a separate NextSTEP Broad Agency Announcement contract award for Appendix C: Power and Propulsion Studies. SNC envisions the power and propulsion element utilizing the company’s logistics and control module (LCM) and solar electric propulsion module (SEPM) as initial building blocks for our proposed deep space gateway architecture concept.
SNC’s concepts could incorporate all of NASA’s key elements for a gateway:
The deep space gateway concept complements SNC’s extensive space portfolio which includes the Dream Chaser® spacecraft slated to start resupply missions to the International Space Station in 2020 under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract. SNC’s work under the NextSTEP-2 architecture leverages technology developed for the Dream Chaser vehicle including proximity operations systems for in-space vehicle docking, environmental control and life support systems, as well as other essential subsystems for on-orbit operation and control.
“Working on this technology shows SNC’s dedication to the future of spaceflight and long-duration exploration missions that are critical to NASA’s vision of space exploration,” said Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of SNC’s Space Systems business area.
SNC previously won a NASA award for Phase I of the project that allowed research on a concept study for a habitat life support system. The study incorporated the concept and development of a prototype for the Greenwall, an advanced plant growth system for long-duration human sustainability in deep space.