NASA Space Exploration Research

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propforce

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I just got a list of which NASA center contract awards on the "intramural" BAA for the Space Exploration. I don't know if this is posted on NASA website or not. If someone finds the link, please post them.<br /><br />This is interesting because it tells you what technologies receive the most attention and interests for space exploration.<br /><br />It appears that Johnson (JSC) has the biggest share of pie (31%), with biggest chunks goes to <br />- Inflatable Aeroshells for Aeroassist Functions, <br />- Advanced Docking/Berthing System, Extraction and <br />- Resource Separation experiment for lunar lander.<br /><br />JPL has the 2nd largest share (22%) with bigger work share goes to <br />- Rough and Steep Terrain Lunar Surface Mobility, <br />- Micro-Inspector Spacecraft for Space Exploration Missions, and <br />- Advanced Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems.<br /><br />Marshall (MSFC) got the 3rd largest share (16%) of work focusing on <br />- In-space Cryogenic Propellant Depot, <br />- Modular, Reconfigurable High-Power Technology Demonstrator, and <br />- Lightweight Non-Metallic Thermal Protection Materials Technology. <br /><br />Langley (LaRC) is not far behind Marshall at 12% focusing on <br />- Flexible Fabrics with High Thermal Conductivity for Advanced Spacesuits, <br />- Advanced Materials and Structures for the Modular Assembly of Large Space Platforms, and <br />- Reconfigurable Scalable Computing for Space Applications.<br /><br />Kennedy (KSC) has received only 1 award on <br />- A First Ever Application of 21st Century Supply Chain Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis to ETO. <br /><br />Each contract would be performed by a NASA center with possible subcontract to industry partners. Total award was $570 million for 4 years. Not big money but not bad for technology development. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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propforce

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Hmmm... 43 views and no response. Must not be too much interest in technologies here.<br /><br />Here's a complete list of NASA 'intramural' technology research projects.<br /><br /><b>Ames Reserach Center (ARC)</b><br />* Embedded Real-Time Advisory System for Crew-Automation Reliability<br />* Fully-Automated Mission-Operations Systems: Technologic, Economic, and Human-Centered Tradeoff Assessment<br />* A Plug-and-Play Architecture for Real-Time Intelligent Avionics<br />* Peer-to-Peer Human-Robot For Assembly and Maintenance <br />* Automated Design of Spacecraft Systems <br /><br /><b>Dryden Flight Research Center (DRFC)</b> <br />* Aero-Assist Mars Transfer Vehicle System Technology Design<br /><br /><b>Glenn Research Center (DRC)</b> <br />* Advanced Mechanisms and Tribology Technologies for Durable Lightweight Actuation and Mechanical Power Transmission Systems<br />* Multi-100 kW, Long Life Hall ThrusterTechnology<br />* Nanomaterials and Nanostructures for Space PV <br />* Experimentation for the Maturation of Deep Space Cryogenic Refueling<br /><br /><b>Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)</b><br />* Laser 3D Vision for Robotic and Manned Lunar Surface Exploration<br />* Laser/Lidar Technologies For Exploration <br /><br /><b>Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) </b><br />* Self-Reconfigurable Analog/Mixed-Signal Electronics for Extreme Environments<br />* Advanced Electrochemical Energy Storage Systems for Future Robotic and Human Exploration Missions <br />* A Structural Health System for Crew Habitats <br />* NASA Exploration Design Team <br />* End-to-End Hardware and Link Modeling of OpticalCommunications Systems<br />* Reliable Software Systems Development <br />* Decision Support System for Health Management <br />* Micro-Inspector Spacecraft for Space Exploration Missions <br />* Rough and Steep Terrain Lunar Surface Mobility <br />* Ultralight Zero-Boil-Off Cryogenic Propellant Storage System <br /><br /><b>Johnson Space Center (JSC)</b><br />* Advanced Docking/Bert <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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nopatience

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<font color="yellow">Aero-Assist Mars Transfer Vehicle System Technology Design </font><br />is this a flying vehicle that would traverse the sky's of mars?<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Experimentation for the Maturation of Deep Space Cryogenic Refueling</font><br />what is this? storing fuel? using planetary bodies to refuel using hydrogen from Jupiter? I don't know, my google search pulled up alot of things that I don't understand.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">* Advanced Materials and Structures for the Modular Assembly of Large Space Platforms</font>they need to hurry up with this one.<br /><br />
 
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propforce

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I can only 'guess' to what each means. <br /><br />The Deep Space Cryogenic Refueling is an interesting one. Basically someone is proposing a deep space "gas station", for example, at Mars, so that a spacecraft need not be designed to carry the return propellant required, and just "re-fuel" before the return trip. <br /><br />Now how does the propellant get there? Where did they come from? Will they need to be shipped from Earth, or produced on Mars (<i> in-situ</i>), I do not know. <br /><br />But in any case, the design of cryogenic propellant storage system would most likely focusing on minimizing heat losses, thus avoiding the "... boil off..." of cryogenics. It would probably involve extensive vacuum-jacketed tank liners and extensive insulations.<br /><br />Now the "... Aero-Assist Mars Transfer Vehicle System Technology Design ..." would probably be a dedicated vehicle to go back & forth between the Mars surface and it's orbit, I would reckon to guess. <br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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najab

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><i>But in any case, the design of cryogenic propellant storage system would most likely focusing on minimizing heat losses...</i><p>If they are considering storage of hydrogen then they also have to figure out materials that aren't pourus to Hydrogen.</p>
 
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propforce

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<font color="yellow">This is a space based vehicle. Plenty of vacuum all around! </font><br /><br />Yes... so is plenty of sunshine. Sunshine warms, good for skin, bad for liquid hydrogen <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br /><font color="yellow">Why the Aero? That I do not understand unless it uses aero braking. </font><br /><br />That's what I would <i>guess</i> what they meant. <br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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propforce

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<font color="yellow">If they are considering storage of hydrogen then they also have to figure out materials that aren't pourus to Hydrogen. </font><br /><br />Yup. Also need to avoid embrittlement problem with hydrogen, which makes the metal weak and crumbles, not a good choice. <br /><br />Both nickel-based alloys, e.g., stainless steel, and aluminum-based alloys can meet both requirements. Trouble is <i>long term</i> storage requires even less boil off than your typical ground storage. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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spacester

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At the risk of being less than gracious, I feel the need to point out that several of these topics have been raised over the years here at sdc but got little attention because they were deemed too far-fetched. But now that the same ideas are broached by NASA, they are legitimate enough to discuss. <img src="/images/icons/rolleyes.gif" /> IOW, we had our chance to understand these before but missed it. Be that as it may . . . <br /><br /><font color="yellow">Aero-Assist Mars Transfer Vehicle System Technology Design</font>is clearly, at least to me, referring to technology used for atmospheric braking upon arrival at Mars after an interplanetary <i>transfer</i>. Ballutes, parachutes, aeroshells, etc.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Deep space cryogenic refueling </font>is about storing of LOX and LH2, a heretofore much maligned concept here. Uh, yeah, space has vacuum to spare, but uh, that's not where you want your propellant. So a vacuum bottle is an obvious design alternative. What I've envisioned is a large dewar flask with scavenging of the LH2 which leaks thru the inner bottle. This would reduce the requirement on the inner bottle for low hydrogen porosity.<br /><br /><font color="yellow">Development of a Regolith Extraction and Resource Separation and Characterization Experiment for the 2009/2010 Lunar Lander</font>is very exciting to me. I do not consider it too far fetched to imagine the near-term production of lunar glass for construction of dewar flasks and other neat stuff. This is one of many things amenable to private development and exploitation, and I hope NASA seriously considers x-prize type prizes for them.<br /><br />Of course, the big question is which, if any, of these concepts will result in actual hardware being flown as opposed to the mere creation of thick reports with lots of pretty pictures. NASA has a vested interest in <i>studying</i> these things, but are they serious about actually <i> doing </i>these things? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="red">"The escape tower for Apollo was ejected before a lot of the boost phase was over. " </font><br /><br /><font color="yellow">"All you need is a sun shade. "</font><br /><br />That 'Cut & Paste' stuff makes you say the strangest things when you jump from thread to thread. <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br />
 
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nacnud

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Ah ha, I understand now I was very confused for a while there. <br /><br /><font color="yellow">- Micro-Inspector Spacecraft for Space Exploration Missions</font><br /><br />Does this mean the basket ball sized free flying robot that I have heard of from various source?<br />
 
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mrmorris

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<font color="yellow">"Just add a sun shade like on Messenger"</font><br /><br />Why stop at a sun shade? Use a solar cell array to block the sunlight from reaching the tanks. The resulting power can be used to run a cryocooler similar to that used on Hubble (a Stirling engine run in reverse, if I recall) which can actually assist in actively cooling the LH/LOX. At that point you have both passive and active cooling.
 
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propforce

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<i>"... At the risk of being less than gracious, I feel the need to point out that several of these topics have been raised over the years here at sdc but got little attention because they were deemed too far-fetched. ..."</i><br /><br />Maybe some NASA guys read SDC? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br /><br /><i>"..... Of course, the big question is which, if any, of these concepts will result in actual hardware being flown as opposed to the mere creation of thick reports with lots of pretty pictures. NASA has a vested interest in studying these things, but are they serious about actually doing these things? ...."</i><br /><br />That's the nature of R&D. I am sure many concepts will fall out by the wayside, either they do not work out or not applicable to the mission at hand. But assuming they at least get to some ground test demonstration, I do not think the effort is wasted. The understanding and documentation will benefit future generation of scientists and engineers. Heck, some may very well get commercialized and benefit the rest of mankind (microelectronics, composites, etc.). <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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