Experimental Launches

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http://www.nasahackspace.org : Student RockSat Prepares For Launch
Posted by Keith Cowing on June 11, 2010 1:53 PM


University students and professors from across the country and Puerto Rico will converge on NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia this month to learn how to build small experiments that can be launched on sounding rockets. This is part of a week-long workshop, known as RockOn!, that begins June 19.

For more information on RockOn! and RockSat, visit: http://spacegrant.colorado.edu/rockon
rockon":3ity64v6 said:
RockOn 2010 Registration Is Now Active

For more information about NASA's education programs visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education

NASA's Sounding Rocket Program Office is providing the rocket for the workshop. For more information about the office, visit: http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/code810

RockSat 2010 Payload Canister User's Guide RockSat 2010 Payload Canister User's Guide


thefutureofthings.com : Spanish Students Aim for the Moon
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - Anuradha Menon

PicoRover – pico for picogram because it weighs less than 1kg, and rover because it is a lunar explorer – employs a spherical design that will allow it to move along the low gravity and uneven surface of rock and ash of the lunar surface. The team from the Castelldefels School of Technology (EPSC), part of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) - Barcelona Tech in Spain, has also developed a controller for the device. It works with a small computer built into the ball that weighs only 2g and is equipped with Wi-Fi.

For sending images back to Earth, the robot is equipped with a 353 high-definition camera manufactured by Elphel, one of the companies sponsoring the project. The group is working on developing antennas for sending the images captured with the camera back to Earth. The ESPC group has developed several prototypes of the PicoRover with the goal of developing a fully autonomous robot capable of moving or stopping as required on the lunar surface. The prototype on which the group is currently working is a ball measuring 12cm in diameter that houses a motor, battery, remote control system and a high-definition camera. The entire device weighs less than 250g and, like most school projects, the ball is built from low-cost, common-use materials such as light bulbs, aluminum foil, and steel wire. However, the ball is capable of protecting its inner components from the high lunar temperatures and of climbing up sandy slopes at angles of up to 30° – a feat that can tax wheeled vehicles.

(Source: Frednet)


www.delmarvanow.com : WALLOPS: NASA rocket launch is Thursday
June 21, 2010

WALLOPS ISLAND – Eleven university experiments, developed in part with a week-long workshop to teach participants how to build small experiments that can be launched on suborbital rockets, are scheduled for flight Thursday, June 24 on a Terrier-Orion suborbital sounding rocket from NASA’s Launch Range at the Wallops Flight Facility.

Based on the approved range schedule, the rocket is set for launch between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT. The backup launch days are June 25-28. The rocket will be visible to residents in the Wallops area. The NASA Visitor Center will open at 5 a.m. on launch day for viewing the launch.

The launch will be web cast beginning at 5 a.m. on launch day at: http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/webcast. Launch status can be followed on Twitter at: http://www.Twitter.com/NASA_Wallops.

Launch status also is available at the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050. Further information on the mission is available on the Internet at: http://www.nasa.gov/wallops


nasawatch.com : Yet Another Stealth Launch at Wallops (Update)
By Keith Cowing
on June 24, 2010 8:30 AM


Keith's 24 Jun 8:30 am EDT note: The launch occured as planned this morning. Yet the Wallops website still refers to it as "upcoming". I complained to Keith Koehler (again) at Wallops PAO. He sent this reply "We put out a launch advisory (see attached) on June 18. However, because of the visibility of the rocket in the local area, it was only issued to the local media. We put these out about 7 days before a launch and also post one when the launch is completed or delayed. In the future, I'll make sure you get these." Gee, by Wallops PAO logic, KSC should only send shuttle media advisories to the media in Florida and Georgia.

Keith's 24 Jun 10:50 am EDT note: Three hours since launch and no photo or press release at the Wallops home page - but there is a NASA photo on the Wallops Facebook page (below)


www.nasahackspace.org : Hacked Cameras Ride Balloon To The Edge of Space (w video)
Posted by Keith Cowing on June 26, 2010 2:48 PM

Pacific Star II from Colin Rich on Vimeo.

The Pacific Star Project recently launched a balloon with several digital cameras bought on eBay that were controlled by a hacked script and packaged inside a homemade insulated payload container. The cameras made it to an altitude of 24 miles where they took some amazing photos.



news.discovery.com : DIY Kit Puts Satellites Into Orbit for $8,000 (video)
By Irene Klotz

Wed Jul 28, 2010 09:30 AM ET


* A company is selling kits to build and fly small satellites for $8,000.
* Interorbital Systems has planned a test flight of its Neptune rocket in August.
* Customers include hobbyists, universities and government research labs.

Interorbital Systems

Bringing the do-it-yourself market to a whole new level, a California firm is selling kits to build a personal satellite -- and get it into space -- for $8,000.

The program, called TubeSat, is the brainchild of Randa and Roderick Milliron, a Mojave, Calif.-based couple who've been developing a bare-bones, low-cost rocket system for the past 14 years. Selling flights as a package deal with satellite-building kits is proving to be a winning combination, with more than a dozen customers signed up to fly on the debut launch early next year.

The first of four suborbital test flights is scheduled for August and there are customers for those as well.

"The acceptance and enthusiasm has been overwhelming," Randa Milliron, chief executive of Interorbital Systems, told Discovery News.

nasawatch.com : Video: Using Cellphones as Payloads
By Keith Cowing on July 29, 2010 12:55 AM

motorbikematt | July 25, 2010

Video from a Google NexusOne smartphone with specially programmed Android apps, installed aboard James Dougherty's Intimidator-5 on a CTI N4100 load. Launch from Black Rock Playa on 24-July-2010 thanks to Maverick Civilian Space Foundation.

The video has been edited to slow the video down just prior to parachute deployment to visualize the launch site.

Read more at Makezine Blog: http://bit.ly/96oCo5


http://www.wired.com : Cheaper, Better Satellites Made From Cellphones and Toys
By Jess McNally

July 30, 2010

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Instead of investing in their own computer research and development, engineers at the NASA Ames Research Center are looking to cellphones and off-the-shelf toys to power the future of low-cost satellite technology.

The smartphone in your pocket has about 120 times more computing power than the average satellite, which has the equivalent of a 1984-era computer inside.

“You can go to Walmart and buy toys that work better than satellites did 20 years ago,” said NASA physicist Chris Boshuizen. “And your cellphone is really a $500 robot in your pocket that can’t get around. A lot of the real innovation now happens in entertainment and cellphone technology, and NASA should be going forward with their stuff.”

The biggest challenge of sending cellphones and toys into space is whether the parts can get up there without shaking apart and work in a vacuum at extreme high and low temperatures.

http://www.wired.com : Extreme Hobbyists Put Satellites Into Orbit With $8,000 Kits
By Priya Ganapati
July 20, 2010
7:33 pm

Attention wannabe supervillains: Putting your own, personal satellite into orbit is not such a far-fetched idea after all. Interorbital Systems, which makes rockets and spacecraft, created a kit last year that lets almost anyone with a passion for electronics and space build a satellite. The $8,000 kit includes the price of the launch.

The company is now ready to launch its first sub-orbital test flights in California next month.

“$8,000? That’s just the price of a cool midlife crisis,” says Alex “Sandy” Antunes, who bought one of the kits for a project that will launch on one of earliest flights. “You could buy a motorcycle or you could launch a satellite. What would you rather do?”


http://www.universetoday.com : Danish Amateurs Hope To Launch Suborbital Rocket Next Week
Aug 22nd 2010

by Nancy Atkinson

Copenhagen Suborbital's HEAT rocket and Tycho Brahe capsule ready to launch. Credit: Copenhagen Suborbital

It’s something like the movie “Astronaut Farmer,” but this is for real. And it’s in Danish. Copenhagen Suborbitals, headed by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, hope to launch the world’s first amateur-built rocket for human space travel. As of this writing, the launch countdown clock on the Copenhagen Suborbitals’ website reads 7 days and 12 hours, which would put the launch on August 30 at about 1300 GMT. This upcoming flight will be an unmanned test flight, but if all goes well, Madsen hopes to be inside the single-passenger capsule named Tycho Brahe for a manned flight in the near future. They have a sea-launch site on the Baltic Sea near Bornholm, Denmark, and their HEAT 1-X rocket is ready to go.

Peter Madsen and Kristian von Bengtson. Credit: Copenhagen Suborbitals

Peter Madsen inside the Tycho Brahe capsule. Credit: Copenhagen Suborbitals.



Enclosed is a follow up from the Apr-24th attempt to launch a Hypersonic glider. Hopefully things will go better fr the second attempt, but in any case it appears there may be moredata coming in a montho or so.

Defense Department Is Wrapping Up Review Of HTV-2 Test Flight

The Pentagon is in the final phases of an internal review to determine why an unmanned, rocket-launched, hypersonic air vehicle failed to complete its test run over the Pacific Ocean earlier this year, according to a senior defense official.

A report on the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) test in April is expected "within the next month or so," Zachary Lemnios, director of defense research and engineering, told reporters during an Aug. 19 press breakfast. The program is seeking to develop a vehicle capable of quickly traversing the atmosphere to respond to unexpected threats around the world.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency lost contact with the HTV-2 nine minutes into its April 22 test flight. The vehicle launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on the back of a Minotaur IV Lite launch system. It was supposed to disconnect from the rocket and then glide for approximately 3,100 nautical miles before landing in the Pacific Ocean near the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll. DARPA did not intend to recover the sunken vehicle. After the flight, DARPA said it appeared that HTV-2 successfully separated from the launch system.

Lemnios told reporters that a flight review board is attempting to determine what transpired.

"When that review board finishes their work we'll come out with a statement on exactly what has happened," Lemnios said. "So I'd leave it to DARPA to kind of finish their analysis of that in terms of what actually happened in the flight."

Calling the HTV-2 a "remarkable concept," Lemnios said a second test is planned for early next year. He declined to comment on what cost or schedule changes he expects to see as a result of the first test until he sees the finished report. He said any adjustments to the next planned test will be based on the findings of the report.

According to DARPA's website, the agency is conducting the test flights to analyze the HTV-2's high temperature structures and materials; autonomous precision navigation, guidance and control; aerothermal performance; and an autonomous flight safety system.

The HTV-2, designed by Lockheed Martin, is intended to autonomously glide at speeds in excess of Mach 20 (15,000 miles per hour). For the April 22 flight, the total test run of 4,100 nautical miles was supposed to take about 30 minutes.

Lemnios said he would not characterize the April 22 test as a failure. "Any test flight you're always gathering data and I'm not just saying that," he said. "DARPA is in the business of high-risk, high-payoff development."

Lemnios said DOD is working with the Australians on a similar concept. He said he traveled to Australia earlier this year and expects to make a return visit later this year. -- Jordana Mishory

Copyright ) 2010 Inside Washington Publishers. All Rights Reserved


www.esa.int : Student competition 'in the can'
23 August 2010

High school students from different ESA Member States were able to watch their own ‘satellites’ soar into the sky aboard suborbital rockets during the first European CanSat competition, held at the Andøya Rocket Range in Norway.

The CanSat competition, organised by ESA’s Education Office and the Norwegian Centre for Space-related Education (NAROM), was open to teams of at least four students, assisted by a teacher or tutor. The selected teams had to build their own small CanSat ‘satellite’ in six months, with each team developing an experiment that would fit inside a 350 ml soft drink can. These investigations ranged from calculating variations in Earth’s magnetic field and tracking the Sun, to measuring solar radiation and levels of carbon dioxide.

A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a regular soft drink can. CanSats offer unique opportunities for students to experience their first real space-related project. The participating countries in the first competition were Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.



www.dlr.de : Controlled re-entry from space - DLR develops custom flight control system for SHEFEX II
18 August 2010

Unlike its predecessor, the experimental sharp-edged spacecraft SHEFEX II (SHarp Edge Flight EXperiment) will be actively controlled during its re-entry into the atmosphere. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has developed a custom aerodynamic flight control system for SHEFEX II, which will be used to control the craft as it returns to Earth.

SHEFEX II spacecraft during re-entry (artist's impression)

Diagram of the SHEFEX II canard control system

The final stage – testing the entire system – will take place at DLR Oberpfaffenhofen. In 2011, SHEFEX II will be launched to a height of over 200 kilometres from Woomera, in Australia. For the DLR researchers in Braunschweig, this is when evaluation of the intensive flight test begins. Then, they can properly see whether all the calculations and tests agree with reality and the complete system functions correctly under the harsh conditions encountered when re-entering Earth's atmosphere. The entire SHEFEX II test will last around ten minutes, and the duration of the DLR flight systems engineers’ test will occupy less than 60 seconds of this.


www.esa.int : Fly your experiment to the edge of space!
1 September 2010

ESA is inviting students to propose experiments to fly on sounding rockets and stratospheric balloons. The winning teams will have the opportunity to design and build an experiment for the BEXUS balloons or the REXUS rockets.

The deadline for applications is 24 October 2010. The flight opportunity is open to students aged between 18 and 28 at the time of the deadline. Applicants must hold the nationality of an ESA Member State or Cooperating State* and must be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or PhD student in a university in an ESA Member State or Cooperating State.


http://www.newscientist.com : Space ribbon deployed to surf Earth's magnetic field
18:09 02 September 2010

by David Shiga


The T-Rex experiment unfurled a tether during a suborbital rocket flight (Image: JAXA)

A Japanese rocket unfurled a 300-metre-long ribbon in space on Monday, testing technology that could one day allow spacecraft to navigate by surfing Earth's magnetic field.

Conventional spacecraft have to burn fuel to manoeuvre in orbit. But the fuel adds weight and cost to the launch and eventually gets used up, limiting the probes' lifetime.

In principle, it is possible to propel an orbiting spacecraft without fuel by using a long piece of metal to interact with the magnetic field surrounding our planet. "You're essentially pushing against the Earth's magnetic field," says Les Johnson of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

On Monday, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched a spacecraft to test the idea.

http://www.jaxa.jp : S-520-25 successfully launched
August 31, 2010 Updated


The sounding rocket S-520-25 was successfully launched at 5:00 a.m. on August 31, 2010 (Japan Standard Time,) from the Uchinoura Space Center. The vertical angle at the launch was 82.5 degrees. The S-520-25 was designated to conduct basic experiments on the electro-dynamic tether (EDT) in the ionosphere and to control the attitude of a robot using a tether under the micro-gravity environment while the rocket was making a sub-orbit flight for about 10 minutes to reach its maximum altitude of some 300 km.

Related NASA RFI :

http://www.spaceref.com : NASA MSFC RFI: Electrodynamic Tether Propulsion Demonstration Mission
Source: Marshall Space Flight Center

Posted Saturday, August 28, 2010

II. Mission Description and Preliminary Requirements

Responses to this RFI shall be commensurate with the requirements for the Electrodynamic Tether Propulsion Demonstration mission described below and the Guide for RFI (Attachment 1). These requirements are preliminary and are to be used as an example for the purpose of responding to this RFI.

The Electrodynamic Tether Propulsion Demonstration mission's primary objective is to demonstrate predictable and controlled orbital maneuvering (orbital altitude change and inclination change) using an electrodynamic tether propulsion system.

The Electrodynamic Tether Propulsion Demonstration mission is currently envisioned to consist of the Host Vehicle and End Mass Vehicle (which could be very similar), the tether and tether deployment mechanisms that connect the two vehicles, high voltage power supplies and electronics subsystem, and instrument packages.

Wiki : Electrodynamic tether
Electrodynamic tethers are long conducting wires, such as one deployed from a tether satellite, which can operate on electromagnetic principles as generators, by converting their kinetic energy to electrical energy, or as motors, converting electrical energy to kinetic energy. Electric potential is generated across a conductive tether by its motion through the Earth's magnetic field. The choice of the metal conductor to be used in an electrodynamic tether is determined by a variety of factors. Primary factors usually include high electrical conductivity, and low density. Secondary factors, depending on the application, include cost, strength, and melting point.


http://www.ns.umich.edu : Student-built satellite scheduled for launch
Sept. 8, 2010


Click for video

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A 6.5-pound satellite is scheduled to become the first stand-alone spacecraft built by Michigan students to go into orbit and perform a science mission.

The Radio Aurora Explorer (RAX) is slated for launch Nov. 19 from Kodiak, Alaska. Its primary mission is to study how plasma instabilities in the highest layers of the atmosphere disrupt communication and navigation signals between Earth and orbiting satellites.

Working with scientists, students will use the data from RAX to build models that can forecast when these anomalies will occur. This will enable satellite operators to plan communications and operations around these disruptions.

RAX is a three-unit CubeSat, which is three times the length of a standard CubeSat. CubeSats are approximately four inches per side (exactly 10 cm). They are designed to fit inside a standard pod mechanism that can be attached to launch vehicles when there is spare mass and volume for other satellites to share the launch.

RAX Website


www.nasa.gov : NASA Rocket Launch Completed

WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – The launch of a NASA Terrier-Orion sounding rocket was successfully launched at 9:07:30 a.m. today from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This launch was to test several new rocket technologies. Preliminary indications are that all payload experiment systems received good data.

Photo of the Terrier-Orion launch from the Wallops Flight Facility on September 21, 2010. Credit: NASA


www.flightglobal.com : DARPA explains Falcon HTV-2 flight failure

By Gayle Putrich

Six months after its maiden flight ended in the aircraft self-destructing, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) says it knows what went wrong with the Falcon Hypersonic Test Vehicle (HTV-2).

Nine minutes into the flight -- which was to take the HTV-2 7,700km (4,800mi) across the Pacific at M20 along the edge of space - eight DARPA telemetry assets lost signals from the from the dart-shaped glider because of "flight control limitations to operate at the angle of attack the vehicle was programmed to fly for the speed and the altitude of flight."

The US agency says the independent engineering review board concluded the probable cause of the anomaly was a "higher-than predicted yaw, which coupled into roll, thus exceeding the available control capability at the time of the anomaly."


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