Thursday, January 10, 2013

NASA contract May Put Inflatable secretive Module on Space Station

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NASA and Bigelow Aerospace have reached a contract that could cover the method for attaching a Bigelow-built inflatable space habitat to the International Space Station, a NASA spokes man said.

The $17.8 million agreement was signed in late December, NASA spokesman Trent Perrotto told Space News Monday. Perrotto declined to offer other conditions of the accord, except to speak that it centers on the Bigelow extended Aerospace Module. He said an official statement is in the works.

The contract signed in December follows a nonpaying NASA agreement Bigelow got in 2011, under which the North Las Vegas, Nev., company worked up a catalog of rules and protocols for totaling BEAM to the space station. Bigelow got that agreement, which did not call for any flight hardware, in response to a 2010 NASA Broad Agency Announcement seeking thoughts for support equipment and services meant to help the U.S. part of the International Space Station live up to its billing as a countrywide laboratory.

SpaceX and Orbital are below agreement for space station cargo deliveries through 2016. So far, only SpaceX has flown to the location. The company, which flies Dragon cargo capsules atop Falcon 9 rockets, finished its initial contracted run in October. Orbital, which is raising a cargo freighter called Cygnus for begin aboard its new Antares rocket, is now listed to start a demonstration cargo run in February from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.

Monday, January 7, 2013

NASA Eyes Wild Plan to haul Asteroid close to the Moon

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Capturing a near-Earth asteroid and dragging it into path around the moon could aid humanity put boots on Mars sometime, proponents of the design say.

NASA is allowing for a $2.6 billion asteroid-retrieval assignment that could transport a space rock to tall lunar orbit by 2025 or so, New Scientist reported last week. The plan could help jump-start manned examination of deep space, carving out a pathway to the Red Planet and maybe even more far-flung destinations, its developers keep.

"Experience gained via human expeditions to the little returned NEA would move straight to follow-on global expeditions beyond the Earth-moon system: to other near-Earth asteroids, Phobos and Deimos, Mars and potentially sometime to the main asteroid strap," the mission idea team, which is based at the Keck organization for Space Studies in California, wrote in a viability learn of the map last year.

Space organization officials verify that NASA is indeed looking at the Keck suggestion as a way to help extend humanity's footprint out into the solar system. But the appraisal is still in its early stages, with nothing determined yet.

Up-close test of a captured asteroid would also yield insights into the financial value of space rock capital and hut light on the top ways to deflect potentially unsafe asteroids away from Earth.

Friday, January 4, 2013

NASA could revolve space waste into radiation shields

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NASA researchers are testing strips made of trash — including plastic water bottles; clothing scraps, canal tape and foil drink pouches — in a try to twist astronauts' garbage into a space mission’s treasure.

Like their earthbound counterparts, astronauts make junk in their day-to-day lives, but different us; they can’t just bag it and abscond it on the curb.

"If NASA doesn't do something about it, then the spacecraft will become like a landfill, with the astronauts totaling waste to it all day."
Each tile is just over a centimeter broad, roughly 20 cm in diameter — which is a bit bigger than a normal compact disk — and made from about a day’s worth of rubbish.

Mary Hummerick, another microbiologist working on the project, sees possible in all the plastic packaging the astronauts discard.

If the plastic content of the disks is high enough, "they could really shield radiation," she said. NASA’s website explains that the strips could be arranged to shield the astronaut’s sleeping region or strengthen the spacecraft’s "storm shelter."

If all goes as intended, the end product could be particularly significant for crews living in space for up to two years — which is, NASA points out, the anticipated period of a Mars mission.

"If the instance and temperature tests seem to be achieving what we want, we'll go to long-range storage space testing," said Hummerick.