Small Hitchhikers Ride Through The Galaxy

Small Hitchhikers Ride Through The Galaxy

On the first launch of the Space Launch System (SLS), America’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Orion Stage Adapter (OSA) will carry some small, Space Hitchhikers in the form of 13 CubeSats, or boot box-sized science and technology investigations, that will help pave the way for future human exploration in deep space. Engineers and technicians at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have built the main structure of this hardware that will be part of the rocket when it lifts off from Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s modernized spaceport at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

 

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Jennifer Takeshita, the lead for friction stir welding at Teledyne Brown Engineering, compares a model of the Orion Stage Adapter (OSA), including brackets to secure CubeSats (space hitchhikers) during their spaceflight, to the flight hardware nearing completion at Marshall Space Flight Center.

The Orion Stage Adapter does exactly what its name indicates: it connects the Orion spacecraft to the second stage of the launch vehicle. Using enormous friction-stir welding machines, engineers just finished welding three large panels into a ring that is 18 feet in diameter and 5 feet high. With this welding complete, it’s time for analysis. The main structural ring is currently undergoing nondestructive analysis using 3-D structured light scanning and photogrammetry, which creates a computer model using photography, to ensure hardware was built to design specification.

 

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Engineers use 3-D structured light scanning and photogrammetry to analyze the main structure of the Orion Stage Adapter (OSA) at Marshall Space Flight Center. Targets for the optical scanner and SLR camera can be seen on the aluminum structure. Solid modeling software will combine the images into a single computer model so engineers can compare finished hardware to the design.

Next, engineers will trim it, weld upper and lower rings onto the large ring, machine it to final dimensions, apply paint, and install the diaphragm, a barrier that separates SLS from Orion. After that, installation of cables and the brackets that will secure the secondary payloads during their spaceflight will complete this critical piece of flight hardware.

The 13 CubeSat secondary payloads will be some of the first small satellites to explore deep space and answer critical questions relevant to NASA’s future exploration plans. These small but mighty scientific investigations include ten satellites from U.S. industry, government, and commercial partners as well as the three CubeSats being built by international partners. These small hitchhikers not only will save money, they will advance scientific research by leaps and bounds.

Written By: Beverly Perry


UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.

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CUBESATS DEPLOYED – STUDY CREW PHYSIOLOGY

New Cubesats have been deployed and study continues on ISS crew bones and muscles among other objectives in research.

Commander Tim Kopra, from Austin, Texas, poses inside the cupola as the station orbits over the Earth below.

A new wave of Cubesats was shot into space today for a wide variety of Earth observations and communications research. The crew also explored life science and worked on high-flying plumbing tasks.

Today’s set of Cubesat deployments from the Kibo lab module’s airlock was the second of three consecutive days of deployment operations. The Dove Satellites deployed today are built and operated by Planet Labs Inc. and take images of Earth for several humanitarian and environmental applications.

Back inside the International Space Station, the crew took bone density measurements in mice in the Microgravity Science Glovebox to learn how living in space affects muscles and bones. The Rodent Research-3 experiment is testing an antibody used on Earth that may prevent muscle and bone wasting in space possibly improving the health of astronauts and humans on the ground.

The Waste and Hygiene Compartment (WHC), one of the orbital lab’s restrooms, experienced a problem last week requiring some part replacement work. That maintenance work coincided with the installation of a new Advanced Recycle Filter Tank Assembly in support of transition to new pre-treat formula which aims to increase the amount of urine that is recycled into potable water.

Written By: Mark Garcia NASA


UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.

Universal Digest is committed to providing its audience with the finest and most objective, yet informative reporting of worldwide events as they occur, when possible. We are not a news reporting site. We are all of the above. Thank you for reading and viewing. More to come is the least that can be said, at this time.

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Station Reaches 100,000 Orbits

STATION REACHES 100K ORBITS – CONGRATULATIONS ISS!

Milky Way and Lightning

This image taken from a time lapse sequence aboard the space station shows the Milky Way and a lightning strike on Earth.

The International Space Station completed its 100,000th orbit early this morning after its first component, the Zarya cargo module, launched Nov. 20, 1998. That is over 2.6 billion miles traveled, nearly the distance from Earth to Neptune (2.9 billion miles), or ten round trips from Mars to Earth.

Click here to view the embedded video.

A few hours after the station reached this morning’s orbital benchmark, a several types of Cubesats were deployed from the Kibo lab module’s airlock. More Cubesats will deployed through Wednesday contributing to a wide variety of research designed by students and scientists.

The crew is measuring the grip strength of mice today for the Rodent Research experiment. That study is exploring an antibody used on Earth that may prevent the weakening of muscles and bones in space.

A laptop computer is being readied ahead of next week’s expansion of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). The computer will monitor sensors and prepare for upcoming BEAM operations.


UNIVERSAL DIGEST is pleased to be a conduit for some of NASA’s projects and work. This article and some others were written by NASA and are mostly unedited. We do not claim credit, we simply want to make them more available to the general public.

In addition, Universal Digest wishes our space explorers well. We salute the bravery of each person who takes part in our future of exploration and colonization of our solar system and beyond. Thank you, each and every one of you and thank you, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for your continued efforts. Godspeed.

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The Rocket Comes to the Rocket City

Over the next year, the rocket comes to the Rocket City in a big way.

Huntsville, Alabama, a.k.a. “Rocket City,” is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where today the Space Launch System (SLS), the powerful rocket NASA will use for human exploration of deep space, is being developed.

More than six decades ago – before NASA even existed – Huntsville laid claim to the nickname thanks to its work on missiles and rockets like the Juno that launched the first American satellite or the Redstone used for the first Mercury launches.

In the years since, Huntsville, and Marshall, have built on that legacy with work on the Saturn V rockets that sent astronauts to the moon, the space shuttle’s propulsion systems, and now with SLS.

 

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A steel beam is “flown” by crane into position on the 221-foot-tall (67.4 meters) twin towers of Test Stand 4693 during “topping out” ceremonies April 12 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

While the program is managed at Marshall Space Flight Center, contractors around the country are building the rocket. Engines are being tested in Mississippi. The core stage is being built in Louisiana. Booster work and testing is taking place in Utah. Aerospace industry leaders and more than 800 small businesses in 43 states around the country are providing components.

The Marshall team has also been involved with the hardware, largely through testing of small-scale models or smaller components. The center also produced the first new piece of SLS hardware to fly into space – a stage adapter that connected the Orion crew vehicle to its Delta rocket for Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014 (See Orion’s First Flight for more.) The same adapter will connect Orion to SLS for their first flight in 2018.

 

SLS Top Half Test Version

In image above workers prepare the top half of a test version of the SLS Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter. The completed adapter will undergo structural testing at Marshall later this year.

Now, however, big things are happening in the Rocket City. The new Orion stage adapter for the upcoming launch is being built. The larger Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter, which will connect the core and second stages of the rocket, is being built at Marshall by contractor Teledyne Brown Engineering. This year, test versions of those adapters and the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) will be assembled into a 56-foot-tall stack, which will be placed in a test stand to see how they handle the stresses of launch.

Those test articles built locally will be joined by larger ones produced at the Michoud Assembly Facility outside New Orleans. Test versions of the rocket’s engine section, oxygen tank and hydrogen tank will be shipped by barge from Michoud to Marshall. Two new test stands – one topped out last month at 221 feet tall – have been built at Marshall, joining historic test stands used to test the Saturn moon rockets.

The Payload Operations Center at Marshall Space Flight Center

In addition to rocket development, Marshall is involved in numerous other efforts, including supporting all U.S. scientific research conducted aboard the International Space Station.

Fifty-five years ago this month, Alan Shepard became the first American in space riding on a Redstone rocket, named for the Huntsville army base where his rocket had been designed – Redstone Arsenal. Today, Marshall, located on the same red clay that gave the arsenal and rocket their name, is undertaking perhaps its largest challenge yet – building a rocket to carry humans to the red stone of Mars.

Huntsville grew substantially from its small Southern town roots during its early days of rocket work in the 1950s and ‘60s, and Marshall has gone on to be involved in projects such as Skylab, Spacelab, the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station, to name a few. But despite branching out its work both in space and other technology areas, Huntsville remains the Rocket City.

…After all, we built this city on a rocket role.

Written By: David Hitt


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