Showing posts with label space technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label space technology. Show all posts

Friday, 23 February 2018

NASA Developing 3D Printable Tools to Help Analyse Biological Samples without Sending Them Back to Earth

NASA builds up 3D printable apparatus to help evaluate biological samples without transporting them back to our planet

To make possible astronauts on the ship the International Space Station (ISS) to study biological samples without transferring them back to our planet, NASA scientists, together with an of Indian scientist, are budding 3D printable apparatus that can hold liquids such as blood biological samples with no spill out into micro-gravity.

To understand, how to have an effect on team physical condition, how to formulate an enduring role to Mars furthermore afar, NASA told on 8 February. The innovative NASA’s mission, known as Omics in Space, plans to build up expertise to cram "omics" - in microbiology that are imperative to the health of humans. Omics comprises of exploration hooked on genome, microbiomes as well as proteomes.

NASA has by now deliberated omics by way of attempts such as the Microbial trailing 1 research that check up microbial multiplicity lying on the space station. However there is no method to route biological samples lying on the station, thus they enclose to be propel down to globe. It may possibly be months between the moment biological samples are taken as well as an examination is done, told Kasthuri Venkateswaran of NASA's (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and chief researcher meant for the Omics in Space mission.

He is a former pupil of Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu, told: This mission intends to widen an programmed structure meant for learn molecular biology by means of least team intercession.

This researcher proclaimed that this is one of the major achievements in microgravity. Astronauts amass a range of biological samples, takes account of their own saliva as well as blood, and microbes washed down from the hedges of the ISS. These biological samples could subsequently be jumble through water. Exclusive of the suitable apparatus, biological samples can dribble, glide or else structure air bubbles that could conciliate consequences.

Two years ago, NASA obtains a huge leap through progressive DNA hooked on space meant for the initial time. Astronauts make use of a small, hand-held succession utensil known as the MinION, founded by Oxford Nanopore Technologies. It is a corporation having its head office at Oxford, England.

NASA told the Space mission tactics to put up this sensation by means of budding a programmed DNA / RNA extractor that may put in order biological samples intended for a MinION apparatus. A significant component of this extractor is a 3D printable synthetic sealed unit required to haul out nucleic acids from the biological samples intended for the Minion progression.

Camilla Urbaniak, a Postdoctoral investigator on JPL in addition to co-investigator on Omics in Space, told this has been checked on our Planet. "We are obtaining what is on our planet to study DNA along with uniting the entire rung hooked on an programmed method," Urbaniak told. "What is innovative is a single stop store that could haul out and route the entire of these biological samples," Urbaniak said.

Friday, 1 December 2017

MIT Team Wins Mars City Design Contest

Redwood Forest idea by MIT team helps them win Mars City Design contest

We aren’t going to Mars anytime soon but NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) are simply giving wings to our aspiration with a unique competition. A competition conducted by these two premium space research organization has asked the participants to bring innovative solution for problems likely to be faced while journeying to the Mars. This particular competition focused on building design habitats which can be utilized on the Red Planet in future and it has been aptly titles International Mars City Design competition. Winner for 2017 edition of this completion is a bunch of engineers and architects from the Massachusetts of Technology (MIT).

Aiming for Mars City

A number of contests are conducted all round the world by different space research organization and private players to solve the problems associated with journeying or living on the Red Planet. The Mars City Design competition is quite well known and notable as it exclusively aims to some up with such solutions which help in building livable and sustainable spaces on Mars. It is also looking forward that the participants will come up with some solution which will allow astronauts to make a return journey with unique and exotic Martian resources with limited cargo.

Redwood Forest is a design for Mars city

MIT team has termed their winning design ‘Redwood Forest’ which as the name suggests has a collection of tree habitats and it is connected together using a system of tunnels termed ‘roots’. These roots effectively helps in navigating through the Redwood Forest as one can move from one tree habitat to another safely. It will also feature a number of private spaces along with a unique and amazing ‘shirtsleeve transportation’ system. Making use of the tunnels in the Mars City design will help in providing the residents the much needed protection against the abundant cosmic radiation, extreme atmospheric changes and other calamities present on the Martian surface.

The Redwood Forest wouldn’t be going to find itself as a sprawling habitat rather it will be made in the form of dome housing as many as 50 people. MIT engineers are looking forward to get 200 of just domes constructed which will be more than enough to support the group of 10,000 first settlers on the Red Planet. The best thing about this structure is that it easily offers private and public spaces along the possibility of harvesting plants and water on the northern plains of Mars.

MIT Engineers has stated that their Mars City will mimic the functionality and feel of the forest to its very core and it will utilize the existing Martian soil called regolith and ice or water along with the ‘sun’ to support life on the planet. This team even spiritually defines that having a design of forest brings the potential to showcase the outward growth which is seen in the nature and it will help in spreading the habit across the Red Planet in the future.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

NASA Contracts with BWXT Nuclear Energy to Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology


NASA wants to reach Mars with nuclear power

How powerful does a space rocket have to get to Mars? Apparently, rather more than the more modern we have. This is what NASA thinks, which has reopened the door to Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology whose possibilities in space exploration seemed forgotten: nuclear fusion.

Nuclear power propulsion is a fairly popular idea in science fiction. NASA has already done some experiments with it in the 1970s, although the risks of using it outweighed the benefits. Instead, he sent Apollo missions to the Moon with conventional fuel, much less powerful and efficient. The tests will take place at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Its ultimate goal is to provide enough energy on the surface of the Red Planet for the production of fuel, habitats and other equipment, when humans settle there.

The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power (SNAP) program, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system - thermoelectric generators of radioisotopes, or RTGs - takes advantage of the heat released from the natural decomposition of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have fueled dozens of space probes over the years, including the explorer Curiosity currently exploring Mars.

The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom division fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first - and so far, only - US nuclear power plant to operate in space. Launched on April 3, 1965, the SNAP-10A operated for 43 days, producing 500 watts of electrical power, before an unrelated equipment failure ended the show. The spacecraft remains in Earth orbit.

Russia has been much more active developing and flying spacecraft powered by small fission reactors, Radar Ocean Reconnaissance including 30 Satellites, or RORSAT, which flew between 1967 and 1988, and increased power TOPAZ systems. TOPAZ is an acronym for Thermionic Experiment with Conversion in Active Zone.

However, if the agency wants to meet its goal of sending a manned mission to Mars, it must get a whole rabbit out of the hat. It needs an energy source that will shorten the journey to the red planet for several months, thus reducing the exposure of astronauts and spacecraft to space radiation. The options are not too many, so they have ended up turning a blind eye to nuclear power.

To investigate whether it is possible to equip Advance Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Technology by testing such a motor in a manned spacecraft, NASA has awarded a contract worth 18 million to BWXT, a company specializing in generating atomic energy. His challenge is to create an atomic engine powerful enough to go and return to Mars without risking - at least not too much - the life of astronauts.

On the previous occasion they encountered a seemingly insurmountable problem: for an engine of this type to work, it should be heated to more than 2,000 degrees centigrade, a fairly high temperature that can cause an explosion.

The dilemma is there: if we want to explore the Solar System we need a better source of energy for our rockets. Otherwise, they will never be able to go beyond Mars with the greatest possible risks.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Open Rotor Jet Engine That Could Revolutionize Air Travel

Open Rotor

A new design of with an open rotor jet engine is expected to revolutionize air travel

Aerospace will see a new egg shaped jet engine which has the potential to dramatically cut down the fuel consumption and simply change the scenario of modern air travel. This new technology or more importantly the new ‘open rotor’ prototype has been designed by a French engine maker going by the Safran and he is hoping to see them in action by the year 2030. This new technology based engine was developed in association with European Union and it is being tested currently at a French military based present near Marsellie. The Open Rotor engine technology simply bring out the usually hidden whirring part outside in order to capture more air and provide more powerful thrust to the plane.

How it works?

This new technology based engine design is expected to help in cutting down fuel consumption which will in turn help in reducing the air fares. This engine is designed like an elongated egg having two rows of blades present at the back end. This engine is designed with an aim of burning 15 percent lesser amount of fuel than the current generation of turbofan engines. Even the traditional technology used in the turbofan had improved significantly in the recent past but the prospects & potential of the new egg shaped engine is massive.

This newly engine will be placed right at the back of the airplane rather than being placed right under the wings which has been common place with today’s technology. It will also leave some room for the two rows carbon blades shaped like scimitar which will swirl in the opposite direction.

Tinkering with the traditional engine technology & design

This isn’t the first that people had decided to tinker with the traditional engine technology and design of our airplanes. In the 1980 a number of US engine makers worked on the unducted fans but this design and technology was dropped as the oil prices steeply declined. During that time airplane engines were considered to be extremely noisy. The current study and change in the popular engine design and technology is powered by the continuous rise in the energy costs and the impositions of different resolution for fewer emissions.

One of the researchers has stated that if we are looking forward to turn this engine into reality by 2030 then the development has begin from today. In case the oil prices ever jumped over $100 then the whole industry will get more interested in such a viable engine technology which reduces the amount of fuel consumption.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Rolls Royce has shown its interest in this new peculiar engine technology. A another question which is being thrown at the developers is how the passengers are going to react to find two find two naked engine right at the back of the airplane. Developers have no answer for it and this technology still has to be certified by the regulator before it debuts on the modern planes.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Fuzz Fibers Can Take Rockets Heat

 Fuzz Fibers
Rocket engines of latest design have much vigor, and produces heat. Recently, NASA has made a joint effort in order to create some fibers for taking the heat of rockets.

The special fibers are manufactured with silicon carbide, which may be comparable to Velcro. They are able to resist the pressure, which is experienced by materials in many applications of aerospace. Such fibers give enough support to composite materials, which are often applied in the latest rocket engines with a capability of enduring high level of temperature. Ceramic materials, present in these rockets, make use of the fibers for toughening the system. However, at any time, brittleness or cracks may turn up, especially because of oxygen exposure.

Use of nanotubes along with fibers-

The researchers of Rice laboratory have implanted nanowires and tubes into fibers’ surface. The uncovered spots of these fibers have coiled design. They work almost as a hook to add value to Velcro. After making the experiment, the scientists have concluded that it leads to the development of powerful interlocking links with lots of knots of fibers. As a result, a composite has reduced level of cracking risk. Moreover, due to sealing, the chemical structure of fibers is not changed.

Amelia Hart, one of the students of Rice University, has stated that fuzzy fibers could be improved with the application of nanotubes (made of silicon carbide), which are interwoven with one another, while is placed inside composite. It also increases the resistance level and strength to endure intense heat.

A test on compression and friction confirmed about the force, which was essential for moving the nanotubes over one another. This force seemed to be quite higher than what is required for sliding the simple fibers or nanotubes. They could also pull through extreme compression, created with the help of nano-indenter. The indenters prevented breakdown for much extensive period.

The complete work has been explained in detail in one of the journals. It had been started, while Hart had met Meador, one of the researchers of NASA. Presently, Meador is a manager of nanotechnology program, while Hart was engaged in the study, related to carbon nanotubes development.

It had brought about a good partnership, which would increase the possibility of combining her thoughts with the engineer of NASA. A partial conversion of silicon carbides was accomplished. In fact, Hart had applied the skill for growing nanotubes to create fresh composite.

Tests on different fibers-

Hart along with other researchers blended the fiber in iron-based catalyst. After that, they applied a deposition of chemical vapor for inserting carbon nanotube system to a surface. It turned out to be the model of ultimate product. Then, these fibers had been heated under severe temperature.

 It is considered by researchers that the fibers would modify heat and light resistant silicon carbide strand. The later one is able to stay consistent to almost 1,600 C. It gives the scientists a confidence on the success that they would get by integrating nanotubes, made of silicon carbide.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Space Farming: Satellite's Greenhouses to Simulate Moon, Mars Gravity

Space Farming
 The space science has crossed over a long way and registered some memorable achievements, which have changed the scenario and the basic approaches to the scientific research and applications. Almost half a century ago, the first step of a human was made on the lunar surface and now people, attached to the space research, are planning for Mars and beyond to stretch the horizon of the study and to touch newer feats. One of the major issue in the space research is the quest for the presence of life in other planet and or in somewhere in this universe and there are some magnificent achievements have already been acquired by the team of scientists, working in various space research agencies.

Today, there are in-depth studies are being carried out to ascertain the condition or creating an atmosphere, where life can be sustained and a favorable condition for the sustenance of the living bodies may be possible in one way or other. As part of this mission, there is a planning to launch a satellite, in the later part of the year, which will conduct an experiment on plant growth in both the lunar and also on the Martian gravity, to provide some useful assistance in the preparation of the future settlements for the human, along with, other living creatures and bodies.

Some Important Features

  • As per the plan, the EU: CROPIS space capsule will be rotating around the own axis in the low-Earth orbit and at an approximate altitude of 600 km. In the initial stage of first six months, the satellite will produce almost the same gravitational force of the moon and after that, in the next six months, it will replicate the Martian gravity. 
  • It can be noted that at this time in space, tomato seeds be germinated and the same will grow into tiny space tomatoes and this incident will be covered by 16 nos. of onboard cameras, which will capture and document the progress of these tomatoes. To support this program, microorganisms, which are contained in a drip filter, will use an ingredient like synthetic urine that would produce effective fertilizer for those important tomatoes. 
  • As said by the EU: CROPIS team members; the Euglena microbes will provide support in producing oxygen for the entire system and it would be supplied with necessary protection against the presence of excess ammonia. The Euglena microbes and tomatoes are requiring day/ night rhythm and to make it possible, LED lights will be used to get the perfect ambiance and condition and also a pressure tank is being used, which is having the potential of replicating Earth’s atmosphere. 
  • In essence, the principal plan is to simulate and test the greenhouses, which will be assembled inside the Martian or Lunar habitat and provide localized source of fresh food for the crew members. The entire process of farming will be supported, managed and controlled by the theme of "Waste to Fertilizer"- as mentioned by Hauslage, the head of the scientific component of this much hyped EU: CROPIS mission.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Deep Spacecraft Will Be Guided by X Ray Pulses from Distant Stars


China’s First Satellite Guided by X-ray Pulses

China has launched the first satellite in the world which will not be guided from Earth but instead will be guided by the powerful x-ray pulses of distant stars.In order to support the big strategies for deep space exploration, comprising of a manned Lunar mission together with Martian lander, China has launched its first x-ray navigation system in the world.

 The X-ray Pulsar Navigations 1 - XPNAV1 satellite, launched on November 10 aboard a solid-fuelled Long March 11 rocket from the Jiuquan Space Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert, is said to be the first x-ray navigation system in the world that will go in orbit, that will defeat NASA;s Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology –SEXTANT, scheduled to be installed on the ISS somewhere next year.

The navigation system is said to be dependent on x-ray pulsars set up in systems with two stars. Basically a dense neutron star’s strong magnetic field tends to pull in gas from the other star and when the gas influences the neutron star, it generates a strong X-ray hotspot.

Millisecond Pulsars Generate X-ray Pulses at Short Intervals

If the spin axis and the magnetic axis of the neutron star are not aligned, while the neutron star tends to rotate, pulses will be generated as the X-ray hotspots move in and out of the view of the observer. This is a beneficial tool for navigation.

Millisecond pulsars have a tendency to generate x-ray pulses at short intervals which by measuring the time differential from multiple known pulsars, such as GPS utilising pulsars rather than satellites, a spacecraft has the tendency of determining its location in the solar system within 5 km, which is good for deep space. The purpose is to find pulsars which tend to offer pulses at a reliable pace. X-ray pulsars frequently speed up or slow down the regularity of their bursts.

If it goes as intended, the XPNAV1 would accumulate data to build the pulsar x-ray database and would then be capable of using the data to verify its location independently. The 529-pound satellite is said to have two detectors for measuring x-rays generated by pulsars. XPNAV1, over the next five to ten years would build a database of x-rays from 26 pulsars which would measure their frequencies against other electromagnetic action in space.

X-ray Navigation – Superior Precision/Reliability

Moreover it would also measure the accuracy as well as its consistency of pulsar x-rays against the background noise in space without the need to worry about atmospheric interference. It would verify the usability of the data by checking the data to see if the same can predict the location of the satellite without depending on other navigation aids.

The benefit of x-ray navigation comprise of superior precision and reliability and the spacecraft would not need to depend on radio signals which tend to take longer in travelling into deep space and miss signal fidelity. X-ray navigation tends to be much cheaper and the spacecraft would not need large expensive ground based radio antennae for navigations signals.

Besides this the spacecraft would also be more autonomous wherein it would save bandwidth for the transmission of scientific data back to earth. The achievement of XPNAV1 would mean that China has not only been successful in achieving a most important milestone in space technology but has also enabled Chinese talkonauts as well as robotic probes to travel more easily further than orbit.

Monday, 12 December 2016

NASA’s Double Bubble D8

Double Bubble D8
NASA has long been longing at ways to revolutionize the air travel which has not seen any great technological advancement in the recent past. NASA has come up with a new design which can be fitted right into the aircraft’s wings. This new radical design is related to the segment of Double Bubble D8 which focuses on fitting the plane with extra equipment to increase its agility, speed and performance. NASA study has shown that this new design will help in boosting the fuel efficiency of the air crafts by eight percent through dramatically reducing the drag as well as weight of the future planes.

NASA working on a super project

NASA is actively engaged in testing new fan and inlet design at its Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Currently the design of jet aircraft ensures that the engines are located quite away from the aircraft body in order to avoid the slow flowing air which usually develops along the plane’s surface. This is also known as boundary layer.

NASA engineers have devised a new way of reducing the fuel burn through embedding the aircraft engine into these surfaces. Doing away with the boundary layer aircraft will generate the propel ability right through its mission with less fuel usage. NASA engineers are currently in testing phase but they are hopeful that the new design and required enabling technologies will help in revolutionizing the air transportation in near future.
How the testing is carried out?

Testing is an integral part of development of new design and its enabling technologies in order to make it safer for wide usage in future. NASA is conducting highly experimental test which will certainly require years of preparation but it will help in removing all the doubts about it in the right fashion. Research team will be testing out the new technology and hardware by pushing it against varying wind speeds and boundary layer thickness as well as the fan operation. This research will also help a number of aircraft design being pursued by the NASA along with other private and academic industry partners.

NASA has plan to get this ‘double bubble or D8’ into a twin hull plane for better fuel efficiency and lesser load and unload time factor. The design for Double Bubble D8 craft was developed in 2008 by Aurora Flight Sciences and MIT. NASA has given a contract worth $2.9 million to a company for developing a scale model of the aircraft. So far in terms of innovation only X planes has made distinct name for itself by breaking the sound barrier.

Benefits of the D8

In a nutshell this new design forwarded with the D8 will bring about a number of benefits which includes increased fuel efficiency, less community noise, improved air quality, heightened passenger experience, greater airport compatibility and faster boarding and deplaning. However the best thing worth noting about the D8 is that it will help in enhancing the efficiency of the planes at transonic cruise speeds.

Monday, 25 July 2016

PAK-DA Bomber Capable Of Launching Nuclear Weapons From Space

PAK-DA Bomber

Russia’s Hypersonic Rocket-like-Jet - Five Times Speed of Sound

Russia intends developing a hypersonic rocket like jet that could strike targets from space with nuclear missiles. PAK-DA Bomber, Flying five times the speed of sound, the rocket would be capable of reaching any point on the earth in less than two hours. Said to be the first of its kind, it would be capable of dropping a nuclear warhead before coming back to its base in Russia. According to Colonel Alexei Solodovnikov, who has been working on the project, by 2020, a well-designed engine will be established.

He had informed that PAK-DA Bomber would be a strategic aircraft and will fly into outer space in order to strike; utilising nuclear bombs and will then return to the airfield. The test engine for the PAK-DA bomber is said to be shown at the Army 2016 International Military Technology Forum near Moscow in September.

The commander of Russian Strategic Missile Forces, Colonel General Sergei Karakayev, has confirmed that the model engine for the PAK-DA Bomber has been built and has been tested successfully. He had stated that `an engine for a promising space plane has been created at Strategic Rocket Forces Academy and the unit’s operational ability has been verified.The notion is that the bomber would be taking off from a normal home airfield to patrol Russian airspace’.

Strike Target with Nuclear Warhead & Return to Home Base

He further added that on command it will ascend into outer space, striking a target with nuclear warheads and return to its home base. It will be using hypersonic speed in rocket mode. As per the Strategic Missile Forces Academy, the engine would be operated in two modes wherein one would be utilising kerosene fuel for conventional flight while the other would be using methane and oxygen to power the craft into space.

Reaction Engines, a British firm states that its own hypersonic engine would be ready by 2020. Over £7.5 million has been invested by the European Space Agency towards the development of the SABRE engine that would enable aircraft to fly anywhere in four hours. The U.S. officials have not been revealed whether their own next generation bomber would be flying at hypersonic speed, though the US Air Force in 2007 had stated that its aircraft would probably be subsonic in order to control the cost. Flying hypersonic would mean flying at Mach 5, five times the speed of sound at around 3,840mph or quicker.

Taranis Aircraft – Most Advanced Built by British

The closest programme of Britain to the Russian hypersonic jet is said to be a confidential stealth drone which is being developed by BAE Systems and the £200 million Taranis aircraft is said to be the most advanced built by the British engineers. It is likely to offer the basis for fleets in supersonic unmanned bombers which could attack into the enemy territory while escaping sophisticated defences. A RAF source had commented that the RAF has a futuristic programme `Taranis’ which is stealth drone having similar capabilities though does not operate in outer atmosphere.

The presently fastest jet of Britain is the Eurofighter Typhoon which tends to have a top speed of about Mach 2 or 1,550 mph. With regards to US capabilities compared to the Russians’ the source of RAF has stated that whatever one can imagine in the wildest dreams, the US has perhaps been ahead by thirty years on it. If the Russians have been developing it, the US would already be much ahead.

Friday, 22 July 2016

4,000mph Hypersonic Plane Backs Revolutionary Sabre Engine

Our world is becoming so fast that even a few minutes or seconds delay can cause huge losses and problems for us. Transportation and communication sector has gone through a rapid phase of development in the recent past which helped in lowering the costs and time taken for travel along with increasing the mobility.

European Space Agency is looking to make people lives more fast literally by investing $11 million for developing a hypersonic engine with the ability to fly anywhere across the planet within four hours. Reaction Engines has landed up with the job of developing such engine turbine which encompasses the technologies of both jet and rocket in order to achieve an unbelievable five times the speed of sound. Reaction Engines have confirmed that they will be able to come up with the first prototype for testing by the year 2020.

Reaction Engines were going through the period of securing investment from the companies and agencies. So far it has secured about $66 million from the British government and $55 million from the UK Space Agency. The development of the aircraft is still in its preliminary stages and it will take about 20 more years to make it reality on a grand scale.

How Sabre Jet engine works? 

Reaction Engines are working on the revolutionary Sabre engine which would eventually allow aircrafts to take off from the runway and get to the fives times the speed of sound within few seconds. Later on aircraft can switch to the rocket mode thereby propelling the craft right into the orbit. The important part about the Sabre engine is that it works on the theme of burning the atmospheric air in its combustion chambers. Then it makes use of the heat to turbo-charge its engine.

It should be noted that currently rockets have to carry extremely expensive fuel in the name of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen in order to power. Sabre engine will certainly help in cutting down the cost as it creates its own liquid oxygen which happens within a blink of an eye. Sabre engine comes in the new class of aerospace engine which has been designed to enable crafts to get to five times the speed of light from the standstill within few seconds.

Sabre Engine is set to revolutionise the transportation

Once the aircraft loaded with the Sabre engine gets its space then it will be able to switch to the rocket mode. In the rocket mode aircraft can travel the orbit for a stimulated period of 36 hours. Thereby such aircrafts can even be used for launching the satellites into the orbit at a fraction of current costs.

UK Space Agency is investing and collaborating with the Reaction Engines to develop the Sabre engine and aircraft which can be used to travel longer distances within shortest time intervals. UK Space Agency has invested 60 million pounds in 2013 with an aim of developing some ground breaking technology and Sabre engine is a result of its effort.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Why DARPA is Pursuing the Reusable Military XS-1 Spaceplane


SpaceX to Inspect Rockets – Plans to Re-Fly

Elon Musk, the optimistic and according to some a visionary, the founder of SpaceX has plans of colonizing Mars. Heading the considered technology office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Brad Tousley, had stated on May 15 that Elon wants to go beyond that. Musk, after landing three first stage rockets, had said that SpaceX would inspect the rockets with plans to re-fly most of them later. Tousley supervises DARPA’s space programs that tend to handle the Defense Department’s most complex expansion challenges.

He defined the landing of first stage rockets by SpaceX as well as Blue Origin as `a very impressive accomplishments’. The agency had added that DARPA had pointed out that the satellite launches on rockets need to be scheduled well in advance and tends to cost a lot of money. `DARPA developed its Experimental Spaceplane – XS-1 program in order to overcome challenges, creating a new model for more routine, responsive as well as affordable space operations. However, Tousley, during a speech at the GEOINT 2016 conference said that the XS-1 which was the experimental spaceplane of the agency, also had ambitious plans and he wants to launch again in 24 hours.

Launch 10 Times in Ten Days

DARPA’s XS-1 spaceplane preferably would launch 10 times in 10 days, carrying payloads that tend to weight as much as 1,369 kilograms in low earth orbit for $5 million. DARPA has been confirming a request for proposals for the second phase of the XS-1 progress program. That acquisition document could be released by the agency as early as this month, according to DARPA officials. As part of a public-private partnership, a contract award may come as early as 2017 with the first flight tests in 2020.

 Tousley has mentioned that DARPA would be contributing `a healthy fraction’ towards the growth of the spaceplane. The agency’s top funded space program has been XS-1, the last two years. White House had asked for $50 million for the program for fiscal year 2016, in its budget request. Three industry teams seemed to have worked on the first phase of the program, namely Boeing and Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems and XCOR Aerospace and Northrop Grumman and Virgin Galactic.

XS-1 – As Warning for Defense Department

During his speech, Tousley had emphasized on the importance of the quick turnaround for the spaceplane. He had stated that `one of the critical parameters coming out of the solicitation of the Phase 2, for XS-1, is the need that before the launch of this asset for the first time, vendors would be proving to DARPA through ground test of the propulsion system 10 times in 10 days and that they were going to burn a lot of risk down’. Tousley had also mentioned that XS-1 could also act as a warning for the Defense Department as threats to national security satellites have occurred in recent years.

He added that `if you have the ability to launch an asset in 24 hours, essentially on a moment’s notice, then it could cause an adversary to think twice about justwhat is it they want to do from a threatening standpoint. We think just having that competence as being of a preventive value’.

Friday, 29 April 2016

World's Largest Aircraft Airlander 10


The Airlander 10 – World’s Largest Aircraft

The world’s largest aircraft, the Airlander 10 has ultimately been given its official name – Martha Gwyn, which had uncharitably earned the nickname of the `Flying Bum’ owing to its characteristic shape when seen from front.

The name had been disclosed at a ceremony at its hanger in Shortstown, Bedfordshire, just days after regulators had given the go-ahead for its first flight which was to take place later in the year, by Duke of Kent. Hybrid Air Vehicles, building the Airlander has also revealed that it hadraised-up over £1 billion in crowdfunding push this month and the airship is named after the wife of the chairman of Hybrid Air Vehicles, Philip Gwyn.

Mrs Gwyn had stated that she can’t really take it in and had a shire horse named after her in the past and this is the first airship. She adds that when The Duke had stood back and she read and then looked again and read it, it took some time for it to sink in and that it has been an enormous surprise.

Offer Business/Leisure Flights

The Duke of Kent, who is the pilot himself, during his visit to the First World War era hanger where the Airlander is retained, was shown around the flight deck and cabin of the aircraft before being given the occasion of experiencing what it would be like to fly in the aircraft in its flight trainer.

Over 302 ft. long, the aircraft which is part plane and partairship is about 50 feet longer than the largest passenger jets. It is said that the design of the hybrid airship had been first developed for the US government as a long endurance surveillance aircraft though it fell short of defence falloffs.

 The British firm Hybrid Air Vehicles has launched a campaign in May 2015, to return the Airlander 10 to the skies and would now carry out ground testing before 200 hours of test flights which tends to begin later in the year. The ship is said to be converted to offer business as well as leisure flights in a hanger in Cardington, Bedfordshire.

Conception – Lighter than Air Technology-Airships/Aerodynamic Lift - Airplanes

The conception behind it is to combine the lighter than air technology that is used in airships with the aerodynamic lift that is seen in airplanes, enabling it to travel long distances with comparatively less fuel and set down without the need for large measure runways.

Last October, one of its fins which measures 29 feet by 36 feet was filled with 1.3 million cubic feet of helium adequate to fill 15 Olympic sized swimming pools, in a test run. However in spite of its impressive size and design, which is anticipated to give a boost, in using airships, the vehicles tend to attract more attention due to its appearance.

The test in October resulted in a stir on Twitter, with several spotting the airship rather unfortunate resemblance to a human bottom. In one of the case, head-on image of the airship had been changed with the inclusion of a picture of Kim Kardashian who is said to be famous for her derriere. In November, the aircraft had already been tested with successful float test with the hull being filled with helium and floated external of the aircraft hangar, though it would be the first test once the engines are attached successfully.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Kepler Spacecraft in Emergency Mode


Kepler Entered Mode on April 6

According to an update of April 8 from Charlie Sobeck, mission manager at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California, Kepler seemingly entered the mode on April 6. Kepler had burnt more of its dropping supplyof fuel in an emergency mode, which is essential to ignite its thrusters and position the spacecraft in communicating with Earth.

The turning manoeuvre which would have begun the new planet hunt had not yet been executed by the spacecraft. Kepler, till now had discovered planets by observing the slight dimming of starlight triggered by an orbiting planet that passed in front of a star. The investigation has been enthusiastically successful, discovering over 1,040 confirmed planets as well as more than 4,700 planet candidates since the launch of 2009.

The new campaign is said to have run from April 7 to July 1 and it would have looked out for the temporary brightening of star due to a different effect known as gravitational microlensing. The gravity of an intervening object, in microlensing, like in the case of planet, tends to focus and intensify the light from a background star, causing it to brighten.

Microlensing Targets Big Planets at Great Distances

Contrasting to Kepler’s other discoveries that seem to be smaller planets comparatively close to their host stars, microlensing tends to target big planets at great distances from their stars or even lonely planets seem to bewandering on their own through the depth of space. Ground-based telescopes have revealed 46 planets through microlensing and the astronomers expect that Kepler would discover 10 or more during the campaign.

 These kinds of discoveries would be helpful in narrowing the statistics on how common free-floating planets could be throughout the Galaxy. Astronomers have synchronized an intricate plan wherein around two dozen ground-based telescopes that have been spread across six continents, would be gazing at the same area of the sky at the same time as Kepler.

 They comprise the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment – OGLE survey that tends to hunt for microlensing events from the Las Campanas Observatory, in Chile. OGLE intended to shift its observing strategy slightly to overlap with the same fields which Kepler had been looking at. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope was to have joined in the hunt too, in late June.

Kepler’s Microlensing Campaign Presently on Hold

It could have been the first microlensing survey directed at the same time from the ground as well as from space. The different vantage points could have enabled astronomers to research the potential microlensing planets much more easily than just utilising one or two ground-based telescopes. Andrew Cole, astronomer at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia had stated that `there is a strong feeling like it’s Christmas morning and we were all set to unwrap a shiny new toy and then we had to put everything on hold owing to power outage or something’.

His team had scheduled to use a 1.3-metre telescope in Tasmania in order to track on microlensing alerts from Kepler. The start of Kepler’s microlensing campaign presently is on hold till engineers tend to get the telescope working again. It is presently about 120 million kilometres from Earth, which means that each message tends to take 13 minutes to reach Kepler and back. Days that are lost from the microlensing campaign would be difficult to make up later.

 NASA’s director of astrophysics, Paul Hertz, had touted that the Kepler microlensing survey is a step towards the next big space telescope of the agency, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, that is intended to do microlensing searches after it launches in 2020.