Recently in the Suborbital Category


NASA successfully launched the RockSat-X education payload on a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket at 7:33:30 a.m. EDT Aug. 17 from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

NASA launched a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket carrying the RockSat-X payload with university and community college student experiments at 6:04 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Aug. 12, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

NASA successfully launched a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket carrying student experiments with the RockOn/RockSat-C programs at 6 a.m., today.

At any given moment, our sun emits a range of light waves far more expansive than what our eyes alone can see: from visible light to extreme ultraviolet to soft and hard X-rays.

Probes Launched Into The Northern Lights

In the cold, nighttime skies over Alaska, a NASA Oriole IV suborbital sounding rocket blasted off from the Poker Flat Research Range today at 3:41 a.m. (MST)

The RockOn Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket containing multiple student-built experiments launched successfully at 7:21 a.m. EDT on June 26, 2014 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The payload was recovered and has been returned to Wallops.

This year's Rocket Experiments for University Students (REXUS) campaign has been completed. Eight student experiments reached the stratosphere on two rockets. Now the hard work of analysing the results begins.

An enthusiastic group of suborbital space researchers arrived at Spaceport America in New Mexico in early November to prepare and load their experiments on an UP Aerospace rocket that would place their technologies in a space-like environment where they will eventually operate.

CanSat Competitions On The Rise

Across Europe, more student teams than ever before are drawing up their plans for launching CanSats. These tiny 'satellites' fit into a drinks can yet perform a scientific 'mission' when launched from a small rocket.

Copenhagen Suborbitals Sapphire Mission

This is a documentary of the launch of the "Sapphire" rocket by Copenhagen Suborbitals (CS) from June of this year. The video shows the preparations and the launch itself - from all available camera angles - including footage from the surveillance airplane.

A reusable suborbital rocket launched by UP Aerospace soared aloft from Spaceport America in New Mexico, carrying multiple technology payloads for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate's Flight Opportunities Program.

NASA has selected 21 space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, balloons, and a commercial parabolic aircraft. This latest selection represents the sixth cycle of NASA's continuing call for payloads through an announcement of opportunity. More than 100 technologies with test flights now have been facilitated through NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate's Flight Opportunities Program.

For a second year, NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals for suborbital technology payloads and spacecraft capability enhancements that could help revolutionize future space missions. Selected technologies will travel to the edge of space and back on U.S. commercial suborbital vehicles and platforms, providing opportunities for testing before they are sent to work in the unforgiving environment of space.

Dr. Andrew Rader has outlined plans to conduct a student's science experiment if he wins a suborbital contest. Recently, along with numerous radio and television appearances, Andrew has been invited to speak with students at schools across Canada to spark interest in science and engineering. "Students are excited - I've already received dozens of highly creative experiment ideas."

Copenhagen Suborbitals is just weeks away from our first actively guided rocket flight. The Sapphire rocket has a liftoff mass of 200 kg, and stands six meters tall. Its nitrous oxide / polyurethane HATV type hybrid, controlled by servo operated copper jet vanes in the rocket jet. These powerful motors have a flawless record. The instrumentation and payload is now passing parachute separation tests - and the two test performed confirmed our expectations for the parachute system. The purpose of Copenhagen Suborbitals is to launch a human into space. You can god to space with a passive stable finn only rocket - but the initial acceleration needed to stay on course is too high for humans to endure. Therefore CS must master active guidance. The fist and last purpose of the Sapphire mission is to test active guidance.


"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

"NASA Dryden Flight Research Center has released a solicitation entitled "NASA Announcement of Flight Opportunities (AFO) for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Missions to Flight Readiness Status. The current solicitation cycle, AFO #6, provides access to flights on parabolic flights, suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (sRLV), and high-altitude balloons. Applications are due on or before 11:59 PM Eastern Time December 21, 2012, and selections will be announced in February 2013 (target)." More

NASA Tests New Launcher at Wallops

"NASA successfully tested a new suborbital sounding rocket today from the agency's launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Launched at 7:00 a.m. EDT, the Talos-Terrier-Oriole flew to an altitude of 167.4 miles and then reentered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Wallops Island. The payload was not planned to be recovered. This was the first flight of the 65-foot tall Talos-Terrier-Oriole that is being developed to support high-altitude space science research." More

"NASA successfully launched four university experiments this morning on a Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket from the agency's launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Launched at 7:16:30 a.m. EDT, the rocket lofted the experiments to an altitude of 95.4 miles. The experiments have been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean and they will be delivered to the university teams this afternoon at Wallops. The launch was part of the RockSat-X educational project, which is designed to provide students hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, testing and conducting experiments for space flight. The project is a joint effort between NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. The participating schools for this year's RockSat-X launch are from Baylor University in Waco, Texas; University of Colorado at Boulder; the University of Puerto Rico; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg." More.

European CanSat Competition

"Students in different age groups are being invited by ESA to participate in three educational programmes that will take place during 2013. Each programme is an exciting opportunity to design an experiment and conduct scientific research. ESA is now inviting proposals for the Spin Your Thesis! campaign. This programme enables university students to carry out experiments in hypergravity, using the Large Diameter Centrifuge at the Agency's ESTEC space research and technology centre in the Netherlands. It is open to undergraduate students and those following a Masters or PhD course. Up to four teams will be selected. The deadline for proposal submissions is 10 December. Another call is for the European CanSat competition. The CanSats, similar in volume and shape to a soft-drink can, will be launched on a small rocket from the Netherlands. The primary task of each CanSat will be to measure atmospheric temperature and pressure during the flight." More

8th Annual CanSat Competition

"The Naval Research Laboratory supported the 8th Annual CanSat competition where 26 college rocket teams came together from all over the world to compete. This year's "mission" was to launch an autonomous CanSat (a satellite in a can) with a deployable lander containing one large raw hen egg that cannot be damaged on landing. The "CanSat " refers to the complete system-the carrier and the lander. The event was held on June 8-10, 2012, in Abilene and Burkett, Texas.

The CanSat is deployed from a rocket at an altitude of about 610 meters (2001 feet). Once released from the rocket, the CanSat descends between 10 and 20 meters per second using any type of descent control system or device. At an altitude of 200 meters, the CanSat reduces the descent rate to within 4 and 6 meters per second. At 91 meters altitude, the CanSat carrier releases the lander that contains one large raw hen's egg. The lander hopefully lands without damaging the egg. The lander cannot free fall. It must contain a descent control system or device to reduce the descent rate to less than 5 meters per second. The carrier telemetry data may be stored on-board for post processing in the event of a communications failure. Teams must build their own ground station. Telemetry from the carrier is displayed, in real-time, on a team-developed ground station." More.

"NASA's Flight Opportunities Program has selected two new technologies to fly on commercial reusable suborbital vehicles. The flights will test the payloads' functionality before full deployment on future missions. One technology will be tested on a suborbital reusable launch vehicle and the other will be tested on a high altitude balloon. NASA's Flight Opportunities Program seeks to provide low-cost access to suborbital space, where researchers can expose technologies to the edge of Earth's atmosphere and brief periods of weightlessness in a reduced gravity environment using commercial space vehicles. NASA is encouraging the growth of this emerging suborbital space industry through frequent flights at the edge of space and beyond to advance technologies that benefit space exploration." More

"University students will put their academic skills to the test when atmospheric and technology experiments they developed fly on a NASA suborbital sounding rocket. The launch will take place between 6:30 and 10 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 23, from the agency's Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Va. Four university experiments will be flown as part of an educational project called RockSat-X, which is designed to provide students hands-on experience in designing, fabricating, testing and conducting experiments for space flight. The project is a joint effort between NASA and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium at the University of Colorado at Boulder."

NASA Space Tech Program Selects Technologies For Development And Demonstration On Suborbital Flights

"NASA'S Space Technology Program has selected 14 technologies for development and demonstration on commercial reusable suborbital launch vehicles. The selected proposals offer innovative cutting-edge ideas and approaches for technology in areas including active thermal management, advanced avionics, pinpoint landing and advanced in-space propulsion. They also address many of the high-priority technology needs identified in the recent National Research Council's Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities report. These payloads will help NASA advance technology development needed to enable NASA's current and future missions in exploration, science and space operations."

NASA Rocket Carrying Student Experiments Launched From Wallops Flight Facility

"A NASA rocket carrying seventeen educational experiments was successfully launched at 6:40 a.m. today from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The experiments built by university instructors and students from across the country were developed through programs conducted with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. The programs are designed to provide participants an introduction in building small experiments that can be launched on sounding rockets."

Rocket Week Launching at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility

"Students and educators from across the country will experience what it is like to be a rocket scientist during "Rocket Week," June 16-22, at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. More than 100 participants will receive hands-on training in building payloads for spaceflight, learn the basics of rocketry and develop activities for the classroom through the fifth annual RockOn! workshop for university-level participants and the concurrent second annual Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) for high school teachers."

Crowdsourcing Yourself Into Space

The Crazy DIY Spaceflight Project That Just Might Work

"Keith Cowing, editor of NASAWatch.com, said Copenhagen Suborbitals has yet to convince anyone that they've built something safe to fly in. Spine-severing vibration, blackout-inducing acceleration and catastrophic hardware failures could each doom a would-be passenger. "But the fact that I'm not making fun of this and worrying about detailed technical aspects is fascinating. We don't giggle at it anymore," said Cowing, a former biologist who did payload integration for NASA and has completed suborbital scientist astronaut training. "In the past few years, it's no longer considered lunacy to try and build a rocket ship that you or someone could get into and take you to edge of space," he said. "I think we're watching something that may be bigger than we realize it is. Copenhagen Suborbitals is an extreme example."

NASA Announcement of Flight Opportunities #4 Now Open

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) seeks to mature towards flight readiness status crosscutting technologies that perform relevant environment testing and advance multiple future space missions. To facilitate this goal, NASA is providing access to certain flight opportunities available to the Agency, on a no-exchange-of funds basis, to entities that have technology payloads meeting specified criteria. They may be exposed to a near-zero or reduced gravity environment by flying on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on sRLVs that are potentially capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km. For flight tests that do not require microgravity, but do require the temperature, pressure and atmospheric conditions of high altitudes, balloon flights are available."

NASA Seeks Suborbital Payloads

NASA Seeks Game Changing Technology Payloads for Suborbital Research Flights

"NASA is seeking proposals for small technology payloads that could fly on future NASA-sponsored suborbital flights. These future flights will travel to the edge of space and back, testing the innovative new technologies before they're sent to work in the harsh environment of space."

Armadillo Aerospace Launches Their Third "STIG-A" Rocket from Spaceport America

"Saturday's Armadillo launch successfully lifted off at approximately 11:15 a.m. (MDT), which was within the dedicated, five-hour launch window, and flight data indicates the rocket attained a maximum altitude of approximately 82-km (~50 miles). A failure of the ballute (balloon-parachute) recovery system meant that the GPS-steerable main parachute could not be deployed as intended; however, the vehicle was successfully recovered within the predicted operating area and the nose cone and ballute were separately recovered intact on the Spaceport property."

Armadillo Aerospace Launches Successfully from Spaceport America

"New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced today a successful launch over the weekend of an advanced sounding rocket designed and built by Armadillo Aerospace. The launch took place from Spaceport America's vertical launch complex on Sun., Dec. 4. The test flight was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of Armadillo Aerospace, as the company is testing proprietary advanced launch technologies."

NASA Solicitation: Payloads Requiring a Near-zero or Reduced Gravity Environment

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) seeks to mature towards flight readiness status crosscutting technologies that perform relevant environment testing and advance multiple future space missions. To facilitate this goal, NASA is providing access to certain flight opportunities available to the Agency, on a no-exchange-of funds basis, to entities that have technology payloads meeting specified criteria. They may be exposed to a near-zero or reduced gravity environment on high-altitude balloons, flying on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs) that are potentially capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km."

Suborbital Research Flight Giveaway Announced by XCOR Aerospace & Southwest Research Institute

"In a first of its kind prize for the reusable suborbital research community, XCOR Aerospace and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announced today that a research flight will be awarded to one lucky paid registrant at the NSRC-2012 Conference to be held 27-29 February 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Resort in Palo Alto, California."

"The NASA Airborne Science Program announces the opportunity for highly motivated junior and senior undergraduate and early graduate students to participate in an 8-week summer 2012 internship program in Earth system science using its P-3 flying laboratory. The NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) is managed by the National Suborbital Education and Research Center SARP 2012 will take place in Southern California with research locations based at the University of California, Irvine and at the NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale."

More information

On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Derek Deville's Qu8k (pronounced "Quake") launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' before returning safely to earth. Above 99% of the atmosphere the sky turns black in the middle of the day and the curvature of the earth is clearly visible.

Photos

NASA Selects Technology Payloads For Reduced-Gravity Flights

"NASA has selected nine proposals to demonstrate new technologies for the second set of payloads to fly on commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles and the Zero-G commercial parabolic aircraft. NASA is using commercially available vehicles to carry these technology demonstration payloads to help develop the U.S. commercial reusable suborbital transportation industry."

"Studying space and the physical sciences at Singularity University provoked significant thought and consideration. In the belief that experience is the best method of learning, many of the students felt it necessary to experience lunar and Martian gravity, and weightlessness to better understand space and space exploration. ZERO-G made this experience possible. From the first seconds of experiencing reduced gravity, the surreal experience left an indelible mark of excitement and happiness on each participant. Moving into weightlessness, we finally understood what it exactly feels like to be in space," said Carlo Bellini, Graduate Studies Program Participant, Singularity University." More

Designing Suborbital Spacesuits

Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company currently providing human space mission opportunities to the world marketplace, along with their partner Armadillo Aerospace, LLC, released a Request for Information (RFI) solicitation today in an effort to gather information on the industry's capabilities in designing and fabricating a space suit for suborbital spaceflight. Last year, Space Adventures entered into an exclusive marketing agreement with Armadillo Aerospace, a leading manufacturer of reusable rocket power vehicles, and together the companies are developing a commercial passenger suborbital space program. More

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Innovative Partnership Program (IPP) and Earth Science Division will be hosting a Commercial Suborbital Vehicles Workshop at the GSFC on September 7, 2011. The purpose of the proposed workshop is to provide information for Earth and Space scientists about these vehicles capabilities, and to examine and discuss science topics that might be conducted from these platforms. Suborbital reusable launch vehicles could enable researchers to directly access the mesosphere, lower thermosphere (MLT) region of the atmosphere (50-140 km altitude), repeatedly, many times per day, at low-cost, and at very low velocities in many different environmental locations around the planet (no hypersonic shock).More

Payloads selected under this announcement will fly on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs) that are capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km, providing exposure to reduced gravity and near-zero gravity environments. In exchange for the opportunity to fly, the proposer will provide data, designs, processes, and other relevant information to help NASA accomplish its mission. NASA is presently not considering human-tended payloads to be flown on sRLVs, and there will not be any NASA sponsored participants on sRLV flights relating to this particular announcement. The payloads to be flown on sRLV flights must operate autonomously. More

F-104 jet fighters just like the ones astronauts trained in for decades will become a more regular part of the skyscape above NASA's Kennedy Space Center as a private company expands its fleet of jets with plans to conduct more research flights, launch very small satellites into space and even take paying passengers into the stratosphere. The developments come four years after the company made its first flight from the Shuttle Landing Facility, or SLF, at Kennedy in April 2007.

NASA is Making Hot, Way Cool

Close-up of pump being tested on a Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket mission from the Wallops Flight Facility in June. Credit: NASA Larger image

The more advanced the electronics, the more power they use. The more power they use, the hotter they get. The hotter they get, the more likely they'll overheat. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand what typically happens next: The electronics fry.

Click to enlarge

A new microsatellite designed to give scientists less expensive access to space will be demonstrated during a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket flight between 7 and 10 a.m., June 9, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The backup launch day is June 10.

When Space Shuttle Endeavour makes its final trip into space it will be under the watchful eye of a high altitude balloon built and flown by students and volunteers from across the U.S. This will be the second flight of a camera-equipped payload, the first having been successfully flown during in February 2011 when images were obtained of Space Shuttle Discovery's launch from a vantage point of over 100,000 feet.

NASA has selected 16 payloads for flights on the commercial Zero-G parabolic aircraft and two suborbital reusable launch vehicles as part of the agency's Flight Opportunities Program. The flights provide opportunities for space technologies to be demonstrated and validated in relevant environments. In addition, these flights foster the development of the nation's commercial reusable suborbital transportation industry. The payloads and teams from ten states and the District of Columbia were selected from applications received in response to a NASA call issued last December. Of the payloads, 12 will ride on parabolic aircraft flights; two on suborbital reusable launch vehicle test flights; and two on both platforms.

Students and educators nationwide will have the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and scientists through two newly developed NASA flight initiatives. The programs, developed at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, are designed to give students and educators hands-on flight experiences using NASA sounding rockets and scientific balloons.

At the commencement of the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) being held in Orlando, Florida, XCOR Aerospace announced its initial team of suborbital payload integration specialists who will begin taking orders and facilitating experiment development and integration for commercial, educational and government suborbital research missions aboard XCOR's Lynx reusable suborbital launch vehicle. Capable of up to four flights per day, the Lynx is expected to provide three to four minutes of micro-gravity and/or exposure to the harsh environment of space and the opportunity to investigate largely unknown regions of our upper atmosphere critical to environmental studies.

The Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) will be held February 28 - March 2, 2011, at The University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space and the capability to carry research and education crew members. They will also carry experiments for technology demonstrations, for scientist in-the-loop research, and for educational/public outreach demonstrations. More info.

"Garver toured the facilities of Sierra Nevada Corporation, a company with wide involvement in developing technologies for space exploration. The company's Dream Chaser vehicle is under development with support from NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program to provide crew transportation to and from low Earth orbit." More

Blue Origin Patent Application: Sea Launch of Space Launch Vehicles and Associated Systems and Methods

Sea Launch of Space Launch Vehicles and Associated Systems and Methods

"Abstract: Launch vehicle systems and methods for landing and recovering a booster stage and/or other portions thereof on a platform at sea or on another body of water are disclosed. In one embodiment, a reusable space launch vehicle is launched from a coastal launch site in a trajectory over water. After booster engine cutoff and upper stage separation, the booster stage reenters the earth's atmosphere in a tail-first orientation. The booster engines are then restarted and the booster stage performs a vertical powered landing on the deck of a pre-positioned sea-going platform.

NASA will launch a Virginia Tech University experiment to measure nitric oxide in the upper atmosphere this winter from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. The Polar Night Nitric Oxide experiment will be launched on a suborbital flight aboard a NASA Black Brant IX sounding rocket. The launch is scheduled for no earlier than January 30. Scott Bailey, assistant professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech, is leading the experiment called "Polar NOx." The experiment is designed to measure the intensity of nitric oxide in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere in the polar region.

NASA is seeking proposals from researchers interested in testing new technologies during suborbital flights. The agency also is requesting information from commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicle providers and commercial payload integrators about carrying the technology payloads.

ESA Wants Your Suborbital Research Ideas

ESA is looking for new ways to conduct interesting research in space, on Earth - and in between. A number of commercial suborbital vehicles are being considered in Europe, and ESA is looking at the possibilities they might offer for microgravity research. If you think you could help, then we would be pleased to hear from you. 'Suborbital' means the vehicle reaches space but does not have the much greater speed required to enter orbit. Even so, the flights provide some 4 minutes of weightlessness. The main drivers for this new kind of vehicle are tourism and other commercial uses, but the craft may also offer a platform for scientific studies and to prepare experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). Several commercial suborbital spacecraft are being developed by industrial consortia supported by private investors, and ESA is now asking for more information.

Fly your experiment to the edge of space

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).

Danish inventors produce first amateur rocket designed to send humans into space (and one of them is going to test it out himself), Daily Mail

"It might not look much. In fact, it looks practically suicidal. But two Danish inventors hope to launch the world's first amateur-built rocket for human space travel. The homemade rocket is the brainchild of Danish firm Copenhagen Suborbitals, headed by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen."

Copenhagen Suborbitals

"Welcome to Copenhagen Suborbitals Our mission is very simple. We are working towards launching a human being into space. This is a non-profit suborbital space endeavor lead by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, based entirely on sponsors and volunteers."

NASA's Ames Research Center and Mavericks Civilian Space Foundation, Moffett Field, Calif., today announced a collaboration to develop a high-altitude high-velocity air sampling system for NASA biological experiments.

Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement, Mavericks, in collaboration with NASA scientists, will develop and operate airborne science platforms to carry biological sampling devices and retrieve organisms, such as microbes, algal spores, viruses, and fungi, and other evidence of life from lower atmosphere to the upper atmosphere, or more than 78 miles above the surface of Earth. Mavericks will provide payload launch capabilities, instrumentation on sounding rockets and research balloons, and facilitate NASA flights on other space vehicles.

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., -- Not much bigger than a child's toy block, two spacecraft designed and built by university students in Kentucky and California will fly in space for a short period this month to gather information that may be applied to future small Earth orbiting space vehicles.

The spacecraft will fly on a NASA suborbital Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket between 6 and 9 a.m.(EST), March 11, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The backup launch days are March 12 and 13.

Blue Origin has selected three unmanned research payloads to fly on the New Shepard suborbital vehicle as a part of Phase 1 of the New Shepard Research Flight Demonstration Program. These payloads were selected from an excellent field of submitted proposals.

The three investigations selected are:

* Three-Dimensional Critical Wetting Experiment in Microgravity. The principal investigator of this effort is Dr. Stephen Collicott, of Purdue University.

* Microgravity Experiment on Dust Environments in Astrophysics (MEDEA). The principal investigator of this effort is Dr. Joshua Colwell, of the University of Central Florida.

* Effective lnterfacial Tension lnduced Convection (EITIC). The principal investigator of this effort is Dr. John Pojman, of Louisiana State University.

These flights are planned to begin in the coming years to demonstrate the integration and operation of scientific experiments into the New Shepard system.

More information on Blue Origin, the New Shepard program, and its research and education applications can be found at www.blueorigin.com. Further inquiries should be directed to Dr. Alan Stern, Blue Origin's advisor for Research and Education Mission applications: astern@blueorigin.com.

Further information at http://www.blueorigin.com/nsresearch.html

Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC2010)

Abstract Deadline: November 12, 2009, 5:00 p.m. CST.

"A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line beginning in 2010. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space. Fields that will potentially benefit include atmospheric science, solar physics, microgravity science, planetary science, space life science, space physics, and education and public outreach (EPO). NSRC2010 will provide a forum to learn about the research and EPO capabilities of these new systems, along with their experiment and EPO integration processes, and to provide input on vehicle design requirements for science and education. The meeting will be held from 18-20 February 2010 in Boulder, Colorado."