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NASA Hack Space: September 2010


Here we are demonstrating the very first prototype of a hacked Sensetta rover platform, controlled instead by an Arduino 'breakout' board controlled over Bluetooth by a custom scripted Google Android app. The use of the Android-Arduino combination on-board the vehicle reduces the weight, energy consumption, and maneuverability by removing the Max Kernel computer and router.

"NASA ARC has a requirement for engineering support services for the transition of technical and operational material and knowledge from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to NASA ARC for sustaining engineering and operation of the Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) hardware and software systems. NASA desires to transform the SPHERES small satellite systems resident on International Space Station (ISS) in orbit, into a National Laboratory Facility for use by a wide variety of researchers and educators. To do this, NASA HQs has directed NASA ARC to work with the SPHERES systems developer, MIT, to quickly become capable of maintaining, scheduling, and operating the SPHERES flight and ground systems." More

NASA has announced the award of the Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployers, or P-POD, service contract to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif. This new contract is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity award for five years with a maximum cumulative potential value of $5 million. The award will provide a broad range of P-POD services for NASA's CubeSat program.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites are approximately four inches long, have a volume of about one quart and weigh less than 2.2 pounds.

What does a scientist do to visualise a space journey? Build a model, of course. A model of Europe's Rosetta comet-chaser made out of LEGO(R) blocks started out in this small way and has grown into a high-fidelity Rosetta Lander Education Kit. Engineering and art students of the University of Rome gathered yesterday to test the prototype of the Rosetta Lander Education Kit. Not only did they build the LEGO MINDSTORMS comet lander, they also learnt why ESA's mission is travelling all the way to Jupiter's orbit to rendezvous with comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. More.

On an exploration mission, an astronaut has an accident and appears to have serious injuries as the spacecraft speeds to its destination. The ensuing scene is hectic as the other crew members try to get a grasp on the situation and provide appropriate treatment. Efficient use of time and resources may be the difference between life and death.

Engineers funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) are developing a system that will provide an accurate patient history, assist in treatment, and help astronauts be more efficient when providing medical care. Even though the integrated system is being developed for use in space, it can be used in many different locations, such as the emergency room, on the battlefield or at an accident scene. More

NASA is challenging U.S. and international undergraduate and graduate student teams to design and build a remote-controlled or autonomous excavator that could be used on the moon. The excavator must be able to collect and deposit a minimum of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of lunar simulant in 15 minutes.

Design teams must include one faculty advisor from a college or university and two or more undergraduate or graduate students. A group of universities may work in collaboration, and multidisciplinary teams are encouraged.

Selected teams will compete in the Lunabotics Mining Competition at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 23-28, 2011. Teams must apply no later than Feb. 28, 2011. There will be a limited number of teams allowed to compete.

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 BEXUS (Balloon-borne Experiments for University Students) 12 and 13 balloons will be launched in October 2011 and the REXUS (Rocket-borne Experiments for University Students) 11 and 12 sounding rockets will be launched in March 2012, all from Kiruna in northern Sweden.

The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).

CubeSat User Manuals now online

"To help speed up the CubeSat design process, Clyde Space have published their full User Manuals online."

Small could be the next big thing in satellite tech, Hindu Business Line

"It happened with our desktop computers shrinking into laptops and palm-sized gadgets and our mobile phones getting tinier. In the satellite industry too, 'small' could be the next big thing in the coming years. A small satellite can equally suit communications, earth observation or surveillance, disaster monitoring or scientific experiments -- the jobs that its bigger cousins do. It would weigh a few hundred kilos versus the 2-to-10-tonne giants that circle the earth today. 'Smallsats' cost less, weigh less, can be built fast and launched quickly in multiples and pack in just as much punch, according to Mr D.V.A. Raghav Murthy, ISRO's Project Director for Small Satellites."

Small satellites fire up colleges, The Hindu

"Bangalore: Buoyed by space projects taken up in universities abroad and by the success of Indian student satellite StudSat, a bevy of colleges have approached ISRO to help them create miniature satellites. B.Tech. students from around 25 universities across the country have approached the space agency for technical guidance to develop small satellites, and to provide them a free launch-pad, said Project Director of Small Satellites, ISRO, Raghav Murthy in his presentation at the Bengaluru Space Expo 2010 on Thursday."

NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have selected university teams from Maryland, Oklahoma and Wisconsin as finalists in a competition to design, manufacture, assemble and test an inflatable loft.

NASA is challenging college students to design and rapidly develop prototype concepts for inflatable habitat lofts for the next generation of space explorers. The loft will be integrated onto an existing NASA operational hard-shell prototype habitat. The winning concepts may be applied to space exploration habitats of the future. "This competition gives these students the opportunity of a lifetime," said NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "They'll design and build new hardware. If their team wins, they'll get the chance to integrate their designs into a NASA hard shell habitat and see it field tested next summer."

The inaugural eXploration Habitat, or X-Hab, Academic Innovation Challenge finalists are: Oklahoma State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Maryland