UpFront

Supercomputers Help NASA Understand Booster Separation

NASA’s new heavy-lift launch vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS), will carry three times the payload of the space shuttle, requiring innovative rocket design. The SLS configuration consists of a center core stage with four RS-25 engines and two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) that separate from the core as fuel is exhausted soon after liftoff.

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Editor's Choice: December 2015

A Fluid Preservation System (FPS) was developed to address NASA’s need for a way to preserve body fluids collected from astronauts during flight. Sample processing is done within the system container, and the samples are hermetically sealed in a small, convenient package. Blood sample collection has significant commercial demand in areas such as cancer research, and for certain assays and bio-indicators. This application also extends to veterinary analysis and widespread monitoring of livestock, as well as use by first responders during natural disasters. Find out more HERE.

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A Robotic Titan to Build Rocket Parts

A titan resides at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. One of the largest composites manufacturing robots created in America, it will help NASA build the biggest lightweight composite parts ever made for space vehicles. The robot will build structures larger than 26 feet in diameter, and is mounted on a 40-foot-long track.

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Vest Warns Construction and Rescue Workers

Working at a construction site is loud, dirty, and often dangerous. Virginia Tech researchers have combined small radio sensors that construction workers can wear on or inside vests with connected vehicle technology that allows cars to “talk” to one another, roadside infrastructure, and personal electronics such as mobile phones.

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Editor's Choice: November 2015

A safety system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) monitors crucial components and transmits system health information to a human operator, who can then trigger onboard emergency maneuvers. When operating close to the ground, this system lets the operator take over control of the vehicle entirely. Find out more HERE.

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Homesteading on Mars

When moving from one city to another, people rarely bring their house with them. They rent, buy, or build a new one. Astronauts have to bring everything they might need on their journey, no matter how small, which increases cargo mass and mission cost. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is asking: what if astronauts could simply use what they found when they arrived on a new destination like Mars? What if they could live off the land, and make tools, equipment, and even habitats with Martian dirt or a recyclable material?

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Flu Shot in Space Helps Understand Astronauts’ Immune Systems

It is that time of year when you see reminders to get your flu vaccine. For identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly, their flu shots will happen almost in tandem, but while one is orbiting the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, and the other is on Earth. Scott will receive his flu shot aboard the International Space Station, and Mark will receive his on Earth shortly thereafter. Blood will be drawn from both brothers before and after the vaccination, as well as throughout the duration of the one-year mission to compare how their systems respond to the vaccine.

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