"The latest in cutting-edge manufacturing is already making a significant impact in the future of space exploration. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif., the prime contractor for the J-2X engine, recently used an advanced 3-D printing process called Selective Laser Melting, or SLM, to create an exhaust port cover for the engine. SLM uses lasers to fuse metal dust into a specific pattern to build the cover, which is essentially a maintenance hatch for the engine's turbo pumps." More
Recently in Marshall Spaceflight Center Category
"Imagine a young engineer examining an artifact from the Apollo era that helped send people on humankind's first venture to another world. The engineer has seen diagrams of the rocket engine. She has even viewed old videos of the immense tower-like Saturn V rocket launching to the moon. Like any curious explorer, she wants to see how it works for herself. She wonders if this old engine still has the "juice." Like a car mechanic who investigates an engine of a beloved antique automobile, she takes apart the engine piece by piece and refurbishes it. This is exactly what a small team of young NASA engineers did. The engineers, who have been trained in fields from rocket propulsion to materials science, took apart and refurbished parts from Saturn V F-1 engines--the most powerful American rocket engines ever built. Why resurrect an Apollo-era rocket engine? The answer is simple: to mine the secrets of the F-1 -- an engine that last flew before these engineers were born -- and use it as inspiration for creating new advanced, affordable propulsion systems." More
"After two successful years of on-orbit operations, NASA's Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, mission is coming to an end. FASTSAT successfully demonstrated a capability to build, deploy and operate a science and technology flight mission at lower costs than previously possible. The satellite was designed, developed and tested over a period of 14 months at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., in partnership with the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation and Dynetics, both of Huntsville, and the Department of Defense's Space Test Program. FASTSAT used off-the-shelf commercial hardware provided by NASA and a group of industry partners. Weighing slightly less than 400 pounds and carrying six technology and atmospheric science experiments, FASTSAT provided an opportunity to conduct innovative research and mature the readiness of new technologies for future missions." More
"Organizers of the NASA Student Launch Projects have announced the 57 student teams whose inventive creations will soar skyward in April during the space agency's 2012-13 rocketry challenge. Representing schools in 26 states around the country, participating teams each will design and build a large, high-powered rocket, complete with a working science or engineering payload and capable of flying to the target altitude of 1 mile. NASA created the rocketry challenge to encourage young people to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. "Every year, the NASA Student Launch Projects build on our students' classroom studies in an energizing, exciting way," said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Academic Affairs Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., which organizes the event. "It's great fun, but it also reflects the real-world complexity of planning missions, building flight hardware and completing tough pre-flight checks and reviews. It tests their problem-solving skills and gives them practical, hands-on experience. We hope the experience is so unforgettable it leads many of them to become the nation's next generation of scientists, engineers and space explorers." More
"Registration is now open for the 20th annual NASA Great Moonbuggy Race, which challenges high school, college and university students around the world to build and race fast, lightweight "moonbuggies" of their own design. The students' work will culminate in two days of competitive racing April 26-27, 2013, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA created the event two decades ago to complement classroom learning, provide young thinkers and builders with real-world engineering experience and inspire them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- the STEM fields. "It's our goal to keep the wheels turning," said Tammy Rowan, manager of the Academic Affairs Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, which organizes the race each year. "The ingenuity and enthusiasm we see among racers begins in the classroom. That first spark of interest -- whether it's in basic chemistry or astronomy or the history of spaceflight -- starts the wheels turning. The Great Moonbuggy Race helps sustain that momentum, turning interest into passion, and dreams into a lifelong pursuit of new answers and new horizons." More
"NASA's University Student Launch Initiative, or USLI, is a competition that challenges university-level students to design, build and launch a reusable rocket with a scientific or engineering payload to one mile above ground level. The project engages students in scientific research and real-world engineering processes with NASA engineers. Once selected, teams design their rockets and payloads throughout the academic year. USLI requires a NASA review of the teams' preliminary and critical designs. The project also requires flight and launch readiness reviews before the rockets and payloads are approved for launch. Teams complete a Post-Launch Assessment Review to include conclusions from their science or engineering experiment and the overall flight performance." More
"The Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) Program Office at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is seeking to sponsor the development of a curriculum to demonstrate the principles of the technology demonstration mission concepts currently in development within the office. The goal of this curriculum is to provide engineering design challenges on the ground that simulate the application of the technology demonstration missions to provide a hands-on inquiry-based learning experience. This scope outlines the curriculum development, pilot program, and evaluation program for FY13." More
"More than 500 students from middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities in 29 states will show their rocketeering prowess in the 2011-12 NASA Student Launch Projects flight challenge. The teams will build and test large-scale rockets of their own design in April 2012. NASA created the twin Student Launch Projects to spark students' imaginations, challenge their problem-solving skills and give them real-world experience. The project aims to complement the science, mathematics and engineering lessons they study in the classroom."
"NASA is challenging student inventors to gear up for the agency's 19th annual Great Moonbuggy Race. Registration is open for the engineering design and racing contest set to culminate in a two-day event in Huntsville, Ala., on April 13-14, 2012. The race is organized annually by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, both in Huntsville. Since 1994, NASA has challenged student teams to build and race human-powered rovers of their own design. These fast, lightweight moonbuggies address many of the same engineering challenges overcome by Apollo-era lunar rover developers at Marshall in the late 1960s."
"NASA successfully completed the final flight in a series of tests of a new robotic lander prototype at the Redstone Test Center's propulsion test facility on the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. Data from this test series will aid in the design and development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of performing science and exploration research on the surface of the moon or other airless bodies in the solar system, such as asteroids or the planet Mercury."
"NASA has postponed Friday's 10:30 a.m. CDT 100-foot robotic lander altitude flight test to allow engineers more time to assess data from a recent test regarding an issue with the vehicle's propellant usage. The test now is targeted for no earlier than Friday, Nov. 9, from the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. On Thursday, managers from the Robotic Lander Development Project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., decided that more time is needed to analyze the test data to confirm the vehicle's propellant rate usage."
NASA's Robotic Lander Development Project in Huntsville, Ala., has successfully completed seven autonomous outdoor flight tests of a lander prototype, dubbed Mighty Eagle. On Oct. 14, Mighty Eagle ascended to three meters, translated 30 feet sideways and turned 90 degrees before setting down safely. On Oct. 17, Mighty Eagle successfully flew to a height of 30 feet, translated sideways 30 feet before landing. These tests are paving the way for a Nov. 4 100-foot flight test.
23 August 2011: "During a recent test at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the robotic lander prototype, known as Mighty Eagle, performed a hover test flying up to three feet and then translated, or moved itself sideways, to perform a controlled, safe landing 13 feet from the launch pad." More information.
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