NASA Funds Demo of 3D-Printed Spacecraft Parts Made, Assembled in Orbit

From NASA – Re-Blogged From WUWT

NASA has awarded a $73.7 million contract to Made In Space, Inc. of Mountain View, California, to demonstrate the ability of a small spacecraft, called Archinaut One, to manufacture and assemble spacecraft components in low-Earth orbit. The in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly technologies could be important for America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach.

The contract is the start of the second phase of a partnership established through NASA’s Tipping Point solicitation. The public-private partnership combines NASA resources with an industry contribution of at least 25% of the program costs, shepherding the development of critical space technologies while also saving the agency, and American taxpayers, money.

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NASA Testing Method to Grow Bigger Plants in Space

By Danielle Sempsrott of NASA – Re-Blogged From WUWT

In an effort to increase the ability to provide astronauts nutrients on long-duration missions as the agency plans to sustainably return to the Moon and move forward to Mars, the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment is currently underway aboard the International Space Station.

The present method of growing plants in space uses seed bags, referred to as pillows, that astronauts push water into with a syringe. Using this method makes it difficult to grow certain types of “pick and eat” crops beyond lettuce varieties. Crops like tomatoes use a large amount of water, and pillows don’t have enough holding capacity to support them.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

NASA astronaut Christina Koch initiates the Veg-PONDS-02 experiment on the International Space Station within Veggie by filling the upper reservoir on April 25, 2019. Credits: NASA/David Saint-Jacques

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Liftoff of SpaceX’s CRS-17 Dragon Cargo Craft

Re-Blogged From WUWT

A cool image as space exploration marches onward. ~ctm

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SpaceX’s Dragon lifted off on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday, May 4, with more than 5,500 pounds of research, equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of investigations aboard the International Space Station. On Monday, May 6, while the station was traveling over the north Atlantic Ocean, astronauts David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Nick Hague of NASA grappled Dragon at 7:01 a.m. EDT using the space station’s robotic arm, Canadarm2.

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Space: The Final Frontier for War?

 By Omar Lamrani – Re-Blogged From Stratfor
Highlights
  • The U.S. military will continue to debate the relative merits of creating a Space Force that is separate from the other branches of the U.S. armed forces.
  • In the absence of international standards regulating conduct in space, the risks will grow that the United States, China and Russia will accelerate their own efforts to militarize the theater.
  • Treaties stipulating a blanket ban on weapons in space are unlikely to succeed in the foreseeable future because of their significant limitations and concerns over the ability to verify compliance.

Neutrons Over the USA

Re-Blogged From Space Weather

[Experiments at CERN are showing that Cosmic Rays are responsible for much rain droplet formation. Quieter Sun means less Solar Wind, which allows in more Cosmic Rays, which means more Clouds & Rain. Interesting stuff. -Bob]

Want to experience space weather? Just step onboard an airplane. At typical cruising altitudes, cosmic rays from deep space penetrate the hulls of commercial jetliners, dosing passengers with levels of radiation comparable to dental X-rays. To measure this radiation, Spaceweather.com has been flying cosmic ray sensors onboard airplanes over 5 continents. Our latest results show something interesting about the continental USA.


Above: Neutrons detected during a flight from Portland to DC on April 9,2019.

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Space Weather Probes Shatter GPS Record

By Dr Tony Phillips – Re-Blogged From Space Weather

NASA’s MMS probes, which use GPS signals to orbit Earth in tight formation, have just shattered the record for long-distance GPS navigation. The four probes recently located themselves 116,300 miles above Earth’s surface, surprising experts who once thought that GPS could function no higher than about 22,000 miles.

“When we began the mission, we had no idea high-altitude GPS would be such a robust capability,” says Trevor Williams, the MMS flight dynamics lead at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


Above: an artist’s concept of the 4 MMS spacecraft

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CHINA’S MISSION TO THE FARSIDE OF THE MOON

By Dr Tony Phillips – Re-Blogged From Spaceweather

China is about to go where no one has gone before–the farside of the Moon. On the morning of Dec. 8th (Chinese time), a Long March 3B rocket is scheduled to blast off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province, propelling a lander and rover toward the lunar farside. If the mission succeeds, it will catapult China into the forefront of lunar exploration with a landing that no other nation has even dared to attempt.


Above: An artist’s rendering of China’s Chang’e-4 lunar rover

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Russia Announces Nuclear Powered Reusable Rocket Program

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

Russia has just raised the stakes in the space race, by going public with a reusable commercial nuclear powered launch vehicle which has been under development for the last decade.

Russia says it’s going to beat Elon Musk and SpaceX’s ‘old tech’ with a nuclear rocket

Elon Musk and SpaceX won’t be leading the reusable rocket space race long, at least not if Russia has anything to say about it. Russia’s Keldysh Research Center has been working on a reusable rocket solution for nearly a decade now, and now it’s ramping up the hype with a new concept video showing how its spacecraft works.

Speaking with reporters, Vladimir Koshlakov explained that Elon Musk and SpaceX pose no real threat to the group’s plans. Musk, Koshlakov says, is relying on technology that will soon be antiquated, while Russia is looking towards shaping the future of spaceflight.

1 December 1967: The first ground experimental nuclear rocket engine (XE) assembly is shown here in “cold flow” configuration, as it makes a late evening arrival at Engine Test Stand No. 1 at the Nuclear Rocket Development Station in Jackass Flats, Nevada. The US nuclear rocket programme was shelved in the 1970s. Source Wikimedia

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Space Race Game Changer? Chinese Space Elevator Breakthrough

By Eric Worrall – Re-Blogged From WUWT

South China Morning Post has published a claim that Chinese researchers have successfully synthesised a sample of a carbon nanotube material so strong it could be used to construct the tether cable of a space elevator.

China has strongest fibre that can haul 160 elephants – and a space elevator?

Scientists say just 1 cubic centimetre of the carbon nanotube material won’t break under the weight of more than 800 tonnes

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Luxembourg, Japan Team up to Explore and Mine Space Resources

By   Re-Blogged From Mining.com

Luxembourg seems to be in a rush to become Europe’s hub for space mining, as it announced Wednesday yet another deal aimed at boosting boost the exploration and the commercial utilization of resources from near earth objects, such as asteroids.

The fresh agreement, this time with Japan, is part of Luxembourg’s SpaceResources.lu initiative launched last year to promote the mining of celestial bodies for minerals.

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