NASA reveals DIY projects it will launch on Orion mission

  • CubeSats were developed by citizen inventors for NASA’s Cube Quest Challenge
  • Each were awarded $20,000 for their satellites about the size of a shoebox
  • They’ll deploy with the first integrated launch of the SLS rocket and Orion craft
  • In the next step, they’ll take part in the first-ever deep space competition 

NASA has selected the three ‘DIY’ satellites that will blast into space with the Orion spacecraft’s Exploration Mission-1.

The CubeSats were developed by citizen inventors for the space agency’s Cube Quest Challenge – and, after launch, they’ll take part in the first-ever deep space competition.

Each of the satellites is about the size of a shoebox, and will be required to demonstrate their ability to communicate from at least four million kilometers (2.5 million miles) from Earth, and achieve a lunar orbit.

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The CubeSats were developed by citizen inventors for the space agency¿s Cube Quest Challenge ¿ and, after launch, they¿ll take part in the first-ever deep space competition. The CU-E3 CubeSat prototype is shown 

The CubeSats were developed by citizen inventors for the space agency’s Cube Quest Challenge – and, after launch, they’ll take part in the first-ever deep space competition. The CU-E3 CubeSat prototype is shown 

THE THREE CUBESATS

Cislunar developed their CubeSat around the idea of using water as rocket fuel, and as a result, it relies on a water-electrolysis propulsion system.

CU-E3’s craft will be equipped with a ‘planar’ antenna. The design allows for high data rates for optimal communications with the ground, the team explains – and, they say it could even transmit data from more than 2.5 million miles in space.

Team Miles’ CubeSat uses a Model-H ion thruster design, and will be flown completely autonomously by its onboard computer system.

The winning teams, which were each awarded $20,000, include Cislunar Explorers from Cornell University, CU-E3 from University of Colorado, and Team Miles, from Fluid & Reason LLC.

‘We are delighted in the profound achievements of these teams,’ said Steve Jurczyk, STMD associate administrator.

‘Each team has pushed the boundaries of technology and innovation. 

Now, it’s time to take this competition into space – and may the best CubeSat win.’

The Cislunar team developed their CubeSat around the idea of using water as rocket fuel, and as a result, it relies on a water-electrolysis propulsion system.

‘By zapping H2O with electricity, the bond between hydrogen and oxygen can be overcome, decomposing the liquid into a gaseous mixture that readily combusts,’ according to the team.

CU-E3’s craft will be equipped with a ‘planar’ antenna.

The winning teams, which were each awarded $20,000, include Cislunar Explorers (pictured) from Cornell University, CU-E3 from University of Colorado, and Team miles, from Fluid & Reason LLC

NASA has selected the three ¿DIY¿ satellites that will blast into space with the Orion spacecraft¿s Exploration Mission-1. The Team Miles design is pictured

The winning teams, which were each awarded $20,000, include Cislunar Explorers (left) from Cornell University, CU-E3 from University of Colorado, and Team Miles (right), from Fluid & Reason LLC.

Team Miles¿ CubeSat uses a Model-H ion thruster design, and will be flown completely autonomously by its onboard computer system. A plume from thruster testing is shown 

Team Miles’ CubeSat uses a Model-H ion thruster design, and will be flown completely autonomously by its onboard computer system. A plume from thruster testing is shown 

This is a ‘deployable array in which all of the elements are on one plane, yet provide a large aperture for directional beam control.’

The design allows for high data rates for optimal communications with the ground, the team explains – and, they say it could even transmit data from more than 2.5 million miles in space.

Team Miles’ CubeSat uses a Model-H ion thruster design, and will be flown completely autonomously by its onboard computer system.

In the final phase of the Challenge, teams will be tested in the Deep Space Derby and the Lunar Derby.

The Cislunar team developed their CubeSat around the idea of using water as rocket fuel, and as a result, it relies on a water-electrolysis propulsion system

The Cislunar team developed their CubeSat around the idea of using water as rocket fuel, and as a result, it relies on a water-electrolysis propulsion system

NASA SAYS IT WON’T PUT HUMANS ON ORION’S EM-1 MISSION

NASA ‘s top staff was given instructions earlier this year to assess the possibility of sending humans to space with the first flight of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, which was initially slated to launch, uncrewed, in 2018.

While the study found it ‘technically feasible to put crew on EM-1,’ the agency has decided instead to move forward with their baseline plans for the mission, NASA said during a press teleconference.

In addition, NASA confirmed that the EM-1 mission will be pushed back to 2019 following a number of challenges, including funding and scheduling.

NASA has decided to move forward with their baseline plans for the first Orion mission, the agency revealed during a press teleconference

NASA has decided to move forward with their baseline plans for the first Orion mission, the agency revealed during a press teleconference

The researchers reviewed issues already being considered for an uncrewed EM-1, including the craft’s heat shield, as well as those planned for EM-2 that would need to be accelerated, such as the life support system, and the onboard software.

Based on the findings, NASA and the White House decided that ‘the baseline plan that we had was best,’ which would mean ‘leaving EM-1 uncrewed,’ Lightfoot said.

According to Lightfoot, NASA wanted to ensure the addition of the EM-1 crew would not ‘disrupt that flow’ of their baseline plan, ‘because we are in this for the long haul.’ 

The first will have them demonstrate communications capabilities from at least four million km away from Earth, while the latter requires they achieve lunar orbit to compete for near-Earth communications and longevity goals.

The competition will be the first to ever be conducted in deep space, and teams will be competing for a share of $5 million.

‘Opening our first SLS test flight beyond the moon to citizen inventors and the scientific community creates a rare opportunity for these small spacecraft to reach deep space,’ said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

‘These CubeSat-class payloads are expanding our ability to explore by demonstrating affordable and innovative capabilities relevant to future deep space missions.’ 

Nasa's Orion, stacked on a Space Launch System rocket capable of lifting 70 metric tons will launch from a newly refurbished Kennedy Space Center in 2019

Nasa’s Orion, stacked on a Space Launch System rocket capable of lifting 70 metric tons will launch from a newly refurbished Kennedy Space Center in 2019

 





Courtesy: Daily Mail Online

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