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Improved Hall Thrusters Fed by Solid Phase Propellant

Mg is more abundant than Xe and provides a much higher specific impulse. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Hall thrusters normally use Xe propellant, which is expensive and scarce in the solar system. The weight of Xe is such that typical Hall thrusters are limited in specific impulse to approximately 3,000 s. The objective of this program was to improve and demonstrate Mg Hall thruster systems. Mg is abundant in the solar system and has an atomic mass approximately one-fifth that of Xe, which means much higher specific impulse is achieved than with Xe at typical thruster operating conditions (power, voltage).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Aerodynamics Model for a Solid Rocket Booster

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA required an aerodynamics model of a spent solid rocket booster (SRB) to predict trajectory and impact location of the Ares I first stage after separation. The software needed to be integrated into new simulations written in C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) had previously developed a solid rocket booster re-entry simulation for the Space Transportation System (the Space Shuttle). The simulation was written in Fortran, and the aerodynamics model was embedded in a single function with other parts of the flight dynamics model. It could not be extracted easily for reuse in another simulation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Intranasal Scopolamine — INSCOP

This drug, in intranasal form, is an effective treatment for motion sickness. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Space motion sickness (SMS) commonly experienced by astronauts during a space mission often requires treatment with medication. However, exposure to a microgravity environment results in a myriad of physiological changes that alter bioavailability. In particular, studies indicate that the bioavailability of oral scopolamine (SCOP) is decreased during spaceflight. Although altered gastrointestinal function, including delayed gastric emptying, appears to contribute to decreased bioavailability of oral medications, other factors typical of spaceflight may influence the pharmacokinetics of medications administered via a variety of other non-parenteral routes.

Posted in: Briefs

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Microbial Isolates from Research Activities as a Biological Resource

A collection of 1,530 individual isolates is used to evaluate the potential hazard of introducing sterilization-resistant microorganisms onto planetary spacecraft. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California International treaty requires spacecraft landing on planetary surfaces that may have water present, or may have supported life in the past, to adhere to strict guidelines governing the microbial contaminants that are incidentally present in, and on, spacecraft hardware introduced to those environments. Precautions to prevent microbial contamination of flight hardware are taken throughout assembly, test, and launch operations to minimize transferring biological contamination to the planet. Effectiveness of these precautions is assessed by conducting bioassays of spacecraft surfaces and assembly areas to estimate the number of microorganisms present. Microorganisms discovered are preserved as a living document and compendium for the mission. The organisms that are of greatest concern are those that are highly resistant to desiccation and spacecraft sterilization by dry heat.

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Chromatid Painting for Chromosomal Inversion Detection

Applications include clinical cytogenetics, biomedical research, and biodosimetry. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Chromosomal inversions, such as those occurring following exposure to ionizing radiation, are especially difficult to detect by current techniques. Therefore, their true frequency and importance have been underappreciated. Even the impressive technology of whole genome sequencing, which is becoming more readily and rapidly available, is useless for the detection of many chromosomal rearrangements within a chromosome. Likewise, stateof- the-art cytogenetic mBAND analysis of irradiated normal human tissue can only occasionally reveal radiationinduced inversions. A novel and innovative approach called differential Genomic Hybridization (dGH) or chromatid painting has been developed to further explore, expand, and capitalize on this new frontier of molecular cytogenetics.

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Guidelines for Meal Replacement Bars in a Space Food System

Emergency relief organizations, food banks, the military, and food service markets all have use for the bars due to their nutritional offering and long shelf life. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas To decrease the mass of the space food system and still maintain the nutritional intake of a mission crew, meal replacement bars and beverages are desired to supplement the menu and serve as meal alternatives. Nutritional requirements for such replacement products for breakfast and lunch have been established based on the current nutritional delivery of the International Space Station standard menu.

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Selective Access and Editing in a Database

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California A complex organization with many tasks and sub-tasks, many phases, and many workers often will have an associated database with many users and groups, each of whom has a limited “need to know” (e.g. fine-grained security access controls) that does not extend to all information in the database. A group of users having access to information in a particular portion of the database may need to edit one or more documents to restate the original information more conveniently or accurately.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers

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