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A nice write-up from one of the participants from +NASA​ Cross Industry Innovation Summit Volume 2
It was a great two days of frank discussion and insight from thought leaders around the world.

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NASA SUITS Needs College Students
NASA Spacesuit User Interface Technologies for Students (SUITS) is looking for undergraduate and/or graduate student teams to submit a written proposal to design, build and test an information display system within an augmented-reality environment to assist astronauts in completing spacewalk tasks
Proposals are due Friday, Dec. 15.
The challenge demonstrates different modes of visual and audio communication to determine the best methods for displaying and communicating information to astronauts. The test week will take place May 21 to 25 at JSC.
Interested students should start by forming a team within their educational institution, including at least one faculty sponsor. For more information and to submit a proposal click the link.
Proposals are due Friday, Dec. 15.

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A habitable planet just a mere 11 light years away
A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the Solar System by a team using ESO’s unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world has the designation Ross 128 b and is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. Ross 128 b will be a prime target for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, which will be able to search for biomarkers in the planet's atmosphere.

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Today and tomorrow 8-5 central time +NASA​ Cross Industry Innovation Summit
lots of interesting speakers from Amazon, Daimler x, Google, Gatorade, fleet, bbva, and more
You can watch the ustream of the Cross Industry Innovation Summit

Ustream link the password is SpaceFlight

Agenda is on at

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50 years later it is still the big rocket champion
NASA is still working on their replacement to try and beat the mighty Saturn V but it continues to slip to the right. Yesterday they announced first flight no earlier than December 2019 though given the track record it won't take much more than the flap of a butterfly's wings for it to slip until June 2020.
Just over a month until the Falcon 9Heavy first flight which has taken less time and money to develop but for Congress it isn't about spending money to build rockets it is about building rockets to spend lots of money in Alabama, Utah and elsewhere.
November 9th 1967, the biggest Rocket ever made lifted off for the first time

The Apollo-4 mission was launched on Nov 9 1967 marking the first use of the Saturn V rocket. Launching for the first time from Pad 39-A which was constructed for the mighty Saturn V with the unmanned Apollo capsule atop the rocket. Even today it is still the most powerful rocket ever flown by NASA a milestone that may not be topped until the Space Launch System (SLS) is fully capable in 2030.

Apollo 4 Mission Objective
Demonstrate structural and thermal integrity and compatibility of launch vehicle and spacecraft; confirm launch loads and dynamic characteristics. Verify operation of command module heatshield (adequacy of Block II design for reentry at lunar return conditions), service propulsion system (SPS; including no ullage start), and selective subsystems. Evaluate performance of emergency detection system in open-loop configuration. Demonstrate mission support facilities and operations needed for launch, mission conduct, and CM recovery. All mission objectives achieved.

Launch: November 9, 1967; 07:00:01 a.m. EST.
Mission duration 8 h 36 m 59 s
Number of orbits 3
Apogee 101.5 nmi (188.0 km) (initial) 9,769 nmi (18,092 km) (maximum)
Perigee 98.8 nmi (183.0 km) (initial) −40 nmi (−74.1 km) (final orbit)
Orbital period 88.3 minutes
Orbital inclination 32.6°
Distance traveled ~85,000 mi (~140,000 km)

Mission Highlights
During third orbit and after SPS engine burn, spacecraft coasted to a simulated translunar trajectory, reaching an altitude of 18,079 kilometers. The AS-501 launch marked the initial flight testing of the S-IC and S-II stages. The first stage S-IC performed accurately with the center F-1 engine cutting off at 135.5 seconds and the outboard engines cutting off at LOX depletion at 150.8 seconds when the vehicle was traveling at 9660km/h at an altitude of 61.6km. Stage seperation occured only 1.2 seconds off the predicted time. Cutoff of the S-II occured at 519.8 seconds.

The Mighty Saturn Still the biggest rocket ever constructed
The Saturn V was a multistage liquid-fuel expendable rocket used by NASA's Apollo and Skylab programs and a massive representation of the power generated when Boeing, McDonnell, Douglas and North American coordinated their efforts.
Boeing built the Saturn V's first stage, North American the second stage, and McDonnell Douglas, the third. Each first and second stage was test fired at the Stennis Space Center located near Bay St. Louis, Miss.

The largest production model of the Saturn family of rockets, the Saturn V was designed under the direction of Wernher von Braun at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., with Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft and IBM as the lead contractors. By 2007, it was still the most powerful launch vehicle ever flown. The Saturn V had 13 missions: the first 12 for the Apollo program and the 13th placed the McDonnell Douglas Skylab into orbit.

The Saturn V could put a 120-ton payload into Earth orbit or a 45-ton payload near the moon. It contained 5.6 million pounds of propellant (or 960,000 gallons). The assembled vehicle was so heavy that when it was rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Cape Canaveral, Fla., it pulverized the special gravel roadbed designed to accept its weight.

The first stage came by barge from the Boeing plant at Michoud, La., then was placed on a block-long dolly and taken by barge to Cape Kennedy (Cape Canaveral), where it was raised and made ready for the second stage, which was shipped from California aboard the Point Barrow, a converted Navy landing ship. The third stage came from Sacramento, Calif., aboard the Super Guppy, a swollen version of the Boeing Stratocruiser.

In addition, North American's Rocketdyne built the five F-1 engines for the first stage, the J-2 engine for the second and third stage, the backup injector for the ascent engine of the Lunar Excursion Module, and the Command Module's reaction control system used for capsule repositioning during re-entry. North American's Space and Information Systems division built the command and service modules and the launch escape subsystem.

The S-IC first stage was built by Boeing at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. It was 138 feet tall and 33 feet in diameter and had five engines. It was the largest rocket produced in the United States with a dry weight of 300,000 pounds. When fueled, it weighed 5 million pounds.

Boeing responsibility to NASA included detailed design, fabrication and assembly of the S-IC in New Orleans and testing of the first stage at the former Mississippi Test Facility (renamed the National Space Technology Laboratories) at nearby Bay St. Louis. Subsequent assignments included systems engineering, vehicle integration and mission support for the entire Saturn V vehicle at Huntsville, Ala., spacecraft engineering and assessment at the Kennedy Space Center, and technical staff support to the Apollo program office at NASA headquarters, Washington, D.C.
The S-II, built by North American Aviation at Seal Beach, Calif., used liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. It had five J-2 engines in a similar arrangement to the S-IC and accelerated the Saturn V through the upper atmosphere. When loaded, 97 percent of the weight of the stage was propellant. Instead of having an intertank structure to separate the two fuel tanks as was done in the S-IC, the S-II used a common bulkhead consisting of two aluminum sheets separated by a honeycomb structure made of phenol, which insulated against the 70°C (125°F) temperature difference between the two tanks and saved 3.6 metric tons in weight.

The S-IVB, built by the Douglas Aircraft (later McDonnell Douglas) at Huntington Beach, Calif., had one J-2 engine and used the same fuel as the S-II. It also used a common bulkhead to insulate the two tanks. The S-IVB was used first for the orbit insertion after second stage cutoff; and then for the translunar injection burn. Two liquid-fueled auxiliary propulsion system (APS) units, at the aft end of the stage, controlled attitude control during the parking orbit and the translunar phases of the mission. The two APS were also used as ullage engines to help settle the fuel prior to the translunar injection burn.

McDonnell Douglas converted one of its S-IVB sections into Skylab, America's first space station, which was placed into orbit May 14, 1973, by the 13th Saturn V. The section's internal fuel tanks were converted into an orbital workshop for a three-person crew, with sleeping quarters and storage areas for food, water and other supplies.

Three different three-person crews staffed Skylab and performed hundreds of solar and microgravity experiments. The last astronauts departed Skylab in February 1974. The abandoned space station re-entered Earth's atmosphere and burned up on July 11, 1979. Weighing nearly 100 tons, Skylab orbited Earth for more than 171 days and provided invaluable information about how people are affected by long periods in space, as well as data about comets, the cosmos and solar flares.

2011-11-09 (7 photos)
7 Photos - View album

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Still trying to understand the dynamics of Enceladus and it's potential for life
The latest theory is that the core is made of unconsolidated, easily deformable, porous rock that water can easily permeate. As such, cool liquid water from the ocean can seep into the core and gradually heat up through tidal friction between sliding rock fragments, as it gets deeper.

Water circulates in the core and then rises because it is hotter than the surroundings. This process ultimately transfers heat to the base of the ocean in narrow plumes where it interacts strongly with the rocks. At the seafloor, these plumes vent into the cooler ocean.

One seafloor hotspot alone is predicted to release as much as 5 GW of energy, roughly corresponding to the annual geothermal power consumed in Iceland.

Such seafloor hotspots generate ocean plumes rising at a few centimetres per second. Not only do the plumes result in strong melting of the ice crust above, but they can also carry small particles from the seafloor, over weeks to months, which are then released into space by the icy jets.

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Interesting concept something for elon's colonization plans once the BFR gets up and running. This is from from the usual tin cans that NASA and others are looking at.

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a bit of space history from JPL that started things off.
The Spark of a New Era

Seventy-five years ago this Halloween, at 9 a.m., a truck from the California Institute of Technology turned on to a road owned by the Pasadena Water Department and after heading down a small hill came to a stop. Its tired occupants - they had spent the night before preparing and had only three hours sleep - clambered out and began the laborious job of carrying a truck full of cumbersome test equipment another 400 yards into the dirt and scruffy brush of Pasadena's Arroyo Seco.
They were there in an isolated, dry, scrub-strewn gulch three miles north of the Rose Bowl to scientifically measure the thrust developed by one of the world's first liquid-fueled rocket motors. They were there to accurately calculate the efficiency of the motor. They were there because, there, they most likely would not kill anyone - except perhaps themselves.

The "they" were Frank Malina, Jack Parsons, Ed Forman, A.O. Smith, William Bollay, Carlos Wood and William Rockefeller. Malina was a graduate student at nearby Caltech. He had read Jules Verne as a child and considered propellers to be an unnecessary limitation to the potential of aircraft. His associate Parsons was a freethinking explosives expert who dabbled in pagan rituals and liked to keep volatile rocket fuels in his home. And Forman was an area mechanic who, like his friend Parsons, liked to see things go boom.

Forman and Parsons met Malina through Caltech professor Theodore von Karman. Although both Parsons and Forman's education ended at the high school level, their enthusiasm for the new field of rocketry won over von Karman. But the methodical professor realized the young duo's 'kick the tire and light the fire' attitude had to be tempered. To achieve breakthroughs in rocket propulsion, von Karman appreciated, would require a healthy respect for the scientific method. He pointed them in the direction of Malina, who was also quickly won over by their passion. In February 1936, Malina requested the two assist him in his doctoral thesis on rocket propulsion.

Nine months of hard work later, Malina, Parsons and Forman were standing in the dusty gully in the Arroyo Seco with Smith, Bollay, Wood and Rockefeller - all inquisitive, aeronautically minded Caltech graduate students willing to break a sweat.

By one in the afternoon the now sweaty septet had had their fill of the lugging and assembling of heavy cylinders, gauges and hoses. Before them stood a nearly five-foot-tall rocket motor made of duralumin, surrounded by a water jacket to keep the combustion chamber cool. The rocket nozzle pointed skyward and, when firing, the plan was it would push down on a diamond tipped arm that would scratch a clock-driven glass drum, providing the experimenters with an accurate assessment of the motor's thrust. All this was attached by a series of rubber tubes to a mélange of valves, flow meters, pressure regulators, pressurized bottles of fuel and oxidizer, and surrounded by sandbags.
Nine months of work led to this moment. Most in attendance huddled behind a wall of sandbags. A few took refuge behind a nearby trash dump. All waited anxiously. A lit fuse quickly covered the distance between sandbag and rocket. It entered the rocket chamber and then - nothing.

After confirming it was relatively safe to approach, the team gathered by the rocket engine and attempted some on-scene analysis. Soon after, two more attempts led to the same humbling result. Prior to the fourth and final attempt of the day the team made a modification to the fuse. The fuse was lit. When its flame entered the combustion chamber the regulators for gaseous oxygen and methyl alcohol were opened.


A foot-long plume of fire rose from the engine's nickel-plated nozzle only to be quickly snuffed out when the oxygen hose broke loose. The intrepid rocket pioneers ran for the hills as the hose snaked across the ground spouting flame. When the coast was clear they compared notes. All in attendance that October day agreed the motor had only fired for only three seconds. But they also agreed that the most important thing was that they had fired a liquid rocket engine -- and history had been made.

One month after their initial success, the team more than quadrupled their initial firing time; and by January of the following year the rocket motor was putting out between 5 and 8 pounds of thrust for up to 44 seconds. Rocket propulsion, and more importantly, the science of rocket propulsion, had come to Pasadena.

Today, space probes designed, built and managed within earshot of that first Arroyo rocket firing have reached every planet in our solar system and peered well beyond its boundaries. Each probe carries on it the logo of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But more importantly, each probe carries with it the legacy of scientific and engineering excellence that began some three-quarters of a century ago in an isolated, scrub-strewn gulch in the Arroyo.

3 Photos - View album

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Boggles my mind this still needs to be made almost 50 years later but with the rise of the flat earthers I feel the need to share.

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What Lurks Below NASA’s Chamber A?
Hidden beneath Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston is an area engineers used to test critical contamination control technology that has helped keep NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope clean during cryogenic testing.

This voluminous area is called the plenum, and it supports the weight of the chamber above as well as houses some of the cabling and plumbing for it. Before Webb’s cryogenic testing in the chamber commenced, engineers ventured to the plenum’s depths to test NASA-developed technology designed to remove molecular contaminants from the air.
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