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NASA Hack Space: March 2013


"Citizen science, in which volunteers work with professional scientists to conduct research, is expanding due to large online datasets. To plan projects, it is important to understand volunteers' motivations for participating. This paper analyzes results from an online survey of nearly 11,000 volunteers in Galaxy Zoo, an astronomy citizen science project. Results show that volunteers' primary motivation is a desire to contribute to scientific research. We encourage other citizen science projects to study the motivations of their volunteers, to see whether and how these results may be generalized to inform the field of citizen science." More

"A team of scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed the world's smallest medical implant to monitor critical chemicals in the blood. The 14mm device measures up to five indicators, including proteins like troponin, that show if and when a heart attack has occurred. Using Bluetooth, the device can then transmit the data to a smartphone for tracking. The device can also track levels of glucose, lactate, and ATP, providing valuable data for physiologic monitoring during activity, or in possible disease conditions like diabetes. As far as tricorders go, this device may be the one you have been waiting for, provided you are on board for the implant." more at ExtremeTech

Imagine the potential of such technology to monitor the health of astronauts. No more wires.

"Run tracking and calorie counting apps can certainly be regarded among the successes of the smartphone, but without dedicated sensor hardware, the philosophy of "there's an app for that" only goes so far. A host of products now available for Android let users with a little bit of technical know-how create powerful devices previously found only in the domain of hospitals and law enforcement. One of the most successful expansion boards that allows Android devices to control external instruments and to orchestrate the collection of a variety of sensor data is the IOIO board. The system works well in wireless mode with most Bluetooth dongles, and its on-board FPGA gives 25 I/O channels, including plenty for analog input. It also handles analog output via pulse width modulation (PWM)." More at ExtremeTech

"The tiny spacecraft passenger for Vega's upcoming Flight VV02 is getting the same "white glove" treatment as the launch's two larger payloads, with Estonia's ESTCube-1 student satellite now mission-ready at the Spaceport in French Guiana. In the Spaceport's S1B clean room, ESTCube-1 has been integrated in its box-type dispenser - readying the cubesat for integration in the Vega launcher's payload "stack," along with the Proba-V and VNREDSat-1A passengers. ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite, built by a collaboration of students from Tartu University, Estonian Aviation Academy, Tallinn University of Technology and University of Life Sciences, and was developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR)." More

"Four teams of university students have been chosen to develop and conduct hypergravity experiments during ESA's fourth 'Spin Your Thesis!' campaign. The campaign will take place from 23 September to 4 October 2013 at the Large Diameter Centrifuge facility located at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Each week two teams will use the centrifuge equipment. During the preparation of their experiments, the students will be supported by ESA's Education Office and hypergravity experts. A member of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) will also be on hand to provide advice and expertise in gravity-related research." More

"The Silicon Valley Space Center will develop four scientific payloads to fly on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, which is currently under construction in Mojave, California. The payloads will fly on missions sponsored by the United States Rocket Academy's Citizens in Space program. The payloads are part of a cooperative agreement between the Silicon Valley Space Center and Citizens in Space, which was announced today. "The Silicon Valley Space Center is proud to support the Citizens in Space program," said Dr. Sean Casey, co-founder of the Silicon Valley Space Center. "This is a unique opportunity to leverage the technical expertise of the Silicon Valley community in support of citizen science and the emerging suborbital spaceflight industry." More

"After conquering the seventh continent in its 100th birthday year, the World's Favorite Cookie has decided to take on the universe in its 101st with a new, ground-breaking star chart messaging app; OREO Skies. Putting its own, playful twist on traditional mobile messaging, OREOteamed up with Nokia to develop a smartphone app designed to connect people in a never-been-done before way: through the stars. Using augmented reality technology, the OREO Skies mobile app, now available exclusively onNokia Lumia Windows smartphones, allows users to ignite the "child" inside by writing messages and attaching them to actual constellations revealed in the app. As the best-selling global cookie brand,OREO is offering people around the world a chance to connect with each other in a way that's never been done before." More

"NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) recently selected E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) as one of 24 small satellites to fly as secondary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016. EcAMSat is being developed through a partnership between NASA's Ames Research Center and the Stanford University School of Medicine. It will be the first NASA mission in the "6U" configuration, with six times the volume of a single cubesat unit ("1U"). Cubesats belong to a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about four inches on each side, have a volume of about one quart, and weigh less than three pounds. Though it is large for a nanosatellite, the 6U EcAMSat weighs only about 30 pounds and measures approximately 14.4 inches long, 8.9 inches wide and 3.9 inches tall." More

"ESA is offering software developers the opportunity to use its new testbed in space. The robust nanosat will allow individuals, companies and institutions to try out pioneering software without the danger of losing a mission. Satellites are so complex and costly that their controllers cannot afford to take risks. The need for reliability means that onboard and ground control software has not altered significantly in the past 20 years. But the tiny Ops-Sat, a CubeSat combining commercial off-the-shelf technology and ESA expertise, is a chance to try out new ideas in space as early as 2015. "This satellite is designed for experimenting with mission-critical software both on board and on the ground," says Dave Evans, Ops-Sat project manager at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. "This means it must be flexible, powerful and robust." More

"NASA recently selected cubesat projects for flight opportunities as part of its CubeSat Launch Initiative in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Three of these projects are sponsored by the Space Technology Mission Directorate and are managed by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and will be launched by the Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla. These cubesats are research spacecraft that weigh less than five pounds and measure approximately four by four by 12 inches. These miniature spacecraft will be launched to Earth orbit as auxiliary payloads between 2014 and 2016." More

"The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is seeking support from the public as it continues its efforts to recover and enhance Moon images from the 1960s using modern technology.

"NASA unveiled an Exploration Design Challenge on Monday to give students from kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to play a unique role in the future of human spaceflight. The innovative educational opportunity was announced in a special event at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The challenge asks students in the U.S. and abroad to think and act like scientists to overcome one of the major hurdles for deep space long-duration exploration -- protecting astronauts and hardware from the dangers of space radiation.This education-focused effort was developed through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., in collaboration with the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Va. The goal is to help students see their role in America's future exploration endeavors. "America's next step in human space exploration is an ambitious one and will require new technologies, including ways to keep our astronauts safe from the effects of deep-space radiation," Bolden said. "That is the focus of this challenge, and we are excited students will be helping us solve that problem." More

San Francisco - (March 8, 2013) - Today DIYROCKETS and Sunglass are announcing a partnership to launch the world's first open source competition to create 3D printed rocket engines through collaborative design.

The competition opens for registration at South By Southwest (SXSW) on March 9, and challenges makers, designers and space entrepreneurs to create open source rocket engines that will serve the growing market for small payload delivery into low earth orbit and ultimately, disrupt the space transportation industry.

Although several companies have recently made strides in showcasing the power of the private sector in space exploration, DIYROCKETS is taking this a step further by creating the first of many competitions that encourages the fusion of creativity, technology and collaboration by people across the globe. Utilizing Sunglass's cloud-based platform to visualize, collaborate, manage versions and exchange feedback on each design with team members and the public from anywhere on the globe, the contest aims to dramatically drive down design costs, while creating innovative technology for all types of space hardware and parts, ranging from space propulsion to space medical sensors. Teams will have the freedom to work in a 3D design environment of their choice such as SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Rhino or CATIA, while syncing their project to the Sunglass cloud.

"STRaND-1, the nanosatellite carrying a smartphone, has been declared operational in orbit by the mission team from the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). The satellite successfully separated from the Indian PSLV launcher in low Earth orbit after its launch on 25th February, and first contact with STRaND-1 was made on its second pass over the Guildford ground station. STRaND-1 is being commissioned and operated from the Surrey Space Centre's ground station at the University of Surrey. Initial checks have confirmed that critical systems are all functioning as expected." More

"NASA has selected 24 small satellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The proposed CubeSats come from universities across the country, a Florida high school, several non-profit organizations and NASA field centers. CubeSats belong to a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about 4 inches on each side, have a volume of about 1 quart, and weigh less than 3 pounds. The selections are from the fourth round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. After launch, the satellites will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions. The selected CubeSats will be eligible for flight after final negotiations and an opportunity for flight becomes available." More