Meanwhile on the Space Station…

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko have begun a one-year mission in space. The mission will help researchers better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to long-duration spaceflight. While on the ISS, Kelly’s identical twin brother, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, will undergo comparative genetic studies. Differences, or lack thereof, between the Kelly brothers after Scott’s year in space and Mark’s year on Earth could shed new light on the effects of spaceflight on the human body.

Posted in: Articles, UpFront, Aerospace


Editor's Choice: May 2015 - NASA Tech Briefs

A MEMS micro-translation stage features large linear travel capability, and can translate across long distances using just three-phase power. Essentially a linear motor built from a silicon base using microfabrication techniques, the device can be as small as 100 mm and can house lenses, mirrors, absorbers, and sampling compartments for applications in optics, communications, sensors, and biotechnology. Find out more here.

Posted in: UpFront, MEMs


A Very Special Delivery

Recently, engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama unboxed some special cargo from the International Space Station: the first items manufactured in space with a 3D printer.

Posted in: UpFront, Manufacturing & Prototyping


Freezing for Survival

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will have to survive the mechanically stressing conditions of launch, and the telescope and scientific instruments will have to survive the thermal shrinkage that occurs when cooling down from room temperature to the cryogenic temperatures at which they operate. This is a significant engineering challenge because the JWST and its instruments operate at extremely cold temperatures, but they are built at room temperature.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace


Editor’s Choice

For 20 years, I’ve been interacting with engineers in all different industries as the Editorial Director of NASA Tech Briefs. I’ve talked with our readers about their work and the products they use. Many of them are CAD users, and many of them are unhappy with some aspect of their CAD software.

Posted in: UpFront, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Software


Watching Alloys Change Could Lead to Better Metals

If you put a camera in the ice machine and watched water turn into ice, the process would look simple. But the mechanism behind liquids turning to solids is actually quite complex, and understanding it better could improve design and production of metals. A recent investigation aboard the International Space Station (ISS) involved experiments using transparent alloys to observe microstructures that form at the point the material solidifies.

Posted in: UpFront, Materials, Physical Sciences


3D Printed Jet Engine Debuts

Researchers at Monash University in Australia have produced a 3D printed jet engine. Professor Xinhua Wu, head of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing (MCAM), is leading initiatives to develop 3D printing. The Centre is working to provide answers for manufacturers seeking new manufacturing processes that make components lighter and cheaper than traditional ones, but without any reduction in performance.

Posted in: UpFront, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Propulsion


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