"On 24 April 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal - a nation woefully unprepared to respond to such an event. Dozens of aftershocks have rattled the country daily for the past month. One especially large aftershock of magnitude 7.4 on 12 May caused the already-shattered infrastructure to collapse further. Nepal needed help - help that did not rely upon a non-functional infrastructure. Much of the help was traditional. But some of that help arrived in the form of assets in space and space-derived assets on the ground."
Recently in NASA Hackspace Category
"NASA has selected 13 university teams for collaborative projects to develop and demonstrate new technologies and capabilities and spur innovation in communication, navigation, propulsion, science instruments, and advanced manufacturing for small spacecraft.
Selected project teams will work with engineers and scientists from six NASA centers. The goal of these efforts is to transform small spacecraft, some of which weigh only a few kilograms, into powerful but affordable tools for science, exploration and space operations."
Can CubeSats do quality science? For one group, yes NewSpace Journal
"While interest in CubeSats--spacecraft as small as ten centimeters on a side and weighing one kilogram--has grown in recent years, one challenge facing the community of CubeSat developers is whether such spacecraft can perform useful missions, beyond education (many satellites are built by student groups) and technology development and demonstration. For one group at the University of Colorado, it appears that CubeSats can carry out research worthy of publication in scientific journals."
The Silicon Valley of space could be Silicon Valley, The Space Review
"For nearly a decade, many have called the Mojave Air and Space Port the Silicon Valley of the entrepreneurial space, or NewSpace, industry, and understandably so. The spaceport is home to Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic's The Spaceship Company, XCOR Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, Stratolaunch Systems, and others, filling the spaceport's hangars and buildings to capacity. More recently, the Seattle area as tried to brand itself as a Silicon Valley for NewSpace, with a diverse set of companies ranging from Blue Origin to Planetary Resources.
...During that time, few considered Silicon Valley as an entrepreneurial space hub...
...What's different this time around is that the space companies taking root in the region are looking less like the large, established aerospace companies--sometimes dubbed, at least somewhat pejoratively, as "OldSpace"--but more like the other entrepreneurial companies in the region..."
Marc's note: With a half-a-dozen and growing small "NewSpace" companies setting up in the Valley and surrounding area, a change is underway. While traditional companies still dominate, and will for some time, these small new companies and others in other regions are worthing noting. The economics are changing. Are we seeing the groundwork for a sustained, broader and larger industry emerging? If so, then the next phase in the space age may be upon us.
"What can survive blazing temperatures of almost 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit without melting? What did not break apart at extreme pressures? What is made by a new process that forms a complex part in just one piece? What takes less than three weeks to go from manufacturing to testing? What can reduce the costs of expensive rocket parts by 60 percent or more?
Answer: 3-D printed parts
Engineers know that 3-D printed rocket parts have the potential to save NASA and industry money and to open up new affordable design possibilities for rockets and spacecraft. But until recently, no one had tested rocket parts critical to engine combustion in a hot-fire environment."
Marc's note: I believe SpaceX has already tested 3D printed parts in a hot-fire. Nonetheless, the premise of saving money by using 3D printed parts is the focus of the story and is a cost-saving measure that will reduce the cost of flight.
"The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected a group from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., as one of the teams entitled to move forward from the Virtual Robotics Challenge, the first event of the DARPA Robotics Challenge.
... The top teams, including JPL, were entitled to funding and an ATLAS robot from DARPA to compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials in December 2013 (The agency is also funding several other teams, including JPL, to construct their own robot and compete in the Trials). The Trials are the second of three DARPA Robotics Challenge events, and the first physical competition."
"This month, NASA engineer Eric Stackpole hiked to a spot in Trinity County, east of California's rough Bigfoot country. Locals whisper the cave's deep pools hold a cache of stolen gold, but Mr. Stackpole isn't here to look for treasure. He had, under his arm, what might appear to be a clunky toy blue submarine about the size of a lunchbox. The machine is the latest prototype of the OpenROV-an open-source, remotely operated vehicle that could map the cave in 3D using software from Autodesk and collect water in places too tight for a diver to go. It could change the future of ocean exploration. ... NEEMO caught the eye of NASA after winning a regional International Space Apps Challenge, where 2000 hacker participants gathered across the internet and worked collaboratively on 71 problems over a 48-hour deadline."
"I think it is inexcusable that NASA has not made more of an effort to promote things such as the International Space Apps Challenge - especially when the White House places such a priority on things like this. There is much risk in this ad hoc and dysfunctional public engagement policy at NASA. Now that the first apps challenge event was such a success, efforts like this could continue - without overt NASA involvement - thus making NASA less - rather than more relevant. If that happens NASA only has itself to blame."
- NASA and a Green Workforce
- STEM Education at NASA
- Consider Supporting Shackleton Energy Company's Fuel Depot Business
- ESA's Mission X Astronaut Training Program
- Flight Opportunities for Microgravity - Suborbital Science
- ESA's Cubesats Readied For Inaugural Launch of Vega
- Vermont Lunar Cubesat Project
- XCOR Competition for Free Suborbital Research Flight
- UCF Parabolic Flights Ahead
- White House Honors STEM Mentors