Development Of High-Power Solar Electric Propulsion

A prototype 13-kilowatt Hall thruster is tested at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. This prototype demonstrated the technology readiness needed for industry to continue the development of high-power solar electric propulsion into a flight-qualified system. On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, NASA awarded a contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. to design and develop an advanced …Read More

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UCF Physics Professor Lands Grant To Plan For Space Mining

University of Central Florida physics professor Dan Britt has been named to the New Horizons mission team as the spacecraft heads to the Kuiper Belt. He’s also just landed a grant to help create fake asteroid material, which will help NASA and private companies prepare the technology needed to mine asteroids and eventually other planets. …Read More

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The Art Of Landing On An Asteroid

Researchers in France have customised a drop tower to simulate landing a CubeSat on an asteroid in the near-absence of gravity – part of the preparations for ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission. “We’ve taken an existing drop tower, previously designated for aircraft and material drop-tests, to simulate a low-gravity landing,” explains Naomi Murdoch of the Institut …Read More

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Blue Origin’s Spacecraft, UCF Experiment Make History

Yes! Followed by a high five. That was University of Central Florida Physics Professor Joshua Colwell’s reaction as he watched the successful launch into suborbital space of his experiment aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle. “We have been waiting for this day for a long time,” Colwell said. “A lot of talented students have …Read More

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SwRI’s BORE Microgravity Payload Flies Aboard Commercial Suborbital Spaceflight

A Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) experiment designed to assess the surface properties and processes of near-Earth asteroids successfully flew aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle April 2. The Box of Rocks Experiment (BORE) consists of two transparent boxes enclosing two types of rocks that simulate an asteroid’s regolith — the layer of loose, heterogeneous …Read More

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Luxembourg To Launch Framework To Support The Future Use Of Space Resources

Earlier this month, the Luxembourg Government announced a series of measures to position Luxembourg as a European hub in the exploration and use of space resources. Amongst the key steps undertaken, as part of the spaceresources.lu initiative, will be the development of a legal and regulatory framework confirming certainty about the future ownership of minerals …Read More

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New Detector Perfect For Asteroid Mining

The grizzled asteroid miner is a stock character in science fiction. Now, a couple of recent events – one legal and the other technological – have brought asteroid mining a step closer to reality. The legal step was taken when the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a bill titled H.R. 2262—SPACE Act of …Read More

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Resource Prospector 2015 Field Testing Complete

Resource Prospector (RP) is an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) capability demonstration mission currently planned to launch in 2020. Expanding human presence beyond low-Earth orbit to asteroids and Mars will require the maximum possible utilization of local materials — so-called in-situ resources. RP aims to be the first mission to validate prospecting, extraction, and analysis of …Read More

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Comet Hitchhiker Would Take Tour Of Small Bodies

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn’t easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids and comets, which have low gravitational pull. A concept called Comet Hitchhiker, developed …Read More

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NASA Testing Sample Return Capsule

A prototype capsule that one day will return science experiments to Earth was tested by releasing it from a high-altitude balloon in Tillamook, Oregon. Technology like this capsule could one day return biological samples and other small payloads from space in a relatively short time. NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program funded the flight test for the …Read More

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