Human Spaceflight

Red Dragon: Low Cost Access to the Surface of Mars using Commercial Capabilities

Space X DragonAbstract: One of Ames' long standing science interests has been to robotically drill deeply into Mars' subsurface environment (2 meters, or more) to investigate the habitability of that zone for past or extant life. Large, capable Mars landers would ease the problem of landing and operating deep robotic drills.

Updating Policies for Space Exploration and Use - Balancing Science, Technology and Activities in the coming Decade

space policyCurrently , the UN is studying questions of long term sustainability of space activities-- but there is scant focus beyond Earth Orbit as they deliberate updated policies. Most space activities have occurred in LEO and GEO over the past 5 decades-- and have involved a variety of activities and launchers..

Surface exploration of small solar system bodies: challenges and prospects

Rover conceptIn recent years, space agencies worldwide have shown an increasing interest in the exploration of small solar system bodies. Of special importance is direct access to their surfaces, as it allows precise characterization of soil properties and surface physics, and, in turn, holds the potential to lead to a much improved understanding about the origins and evolution of the solar system.

Advances in Fast Burning Fuels and High Performance Hybrid Rocket Propulsion

The hybrid rocket concept has been around for more than seventy-five years. The idea is to store the oxidizer as a liquid and the fuel as a solid producing a design that is immune to large-scale chemical explosion. The fuel is contained within the combustion chamber in the form of a cylinder with one or more channels called ports hollowed out along its axis. Combustion takes place between vaporized oxidizer flowing through the ports and fuel evaporating from the solid surface.

The Trillion Dollar Space Enterprise --> Or How The Lynx Suborbital Vehicle Will Change The World

Fully resuable spacecraft are the critical enabler for regular, low cost and safe access to space, and such access will enable space utilization in ways we've only dreamed about in the past. Much as the early ARPANET laid the foundation for a multi-trillion dollar enterprise revolving around the internet, early reusable spacecraft like the Lynx suborbital vehicle will establish the beginnings of a multi-trillion enterprise revolving around the Earth and our solar system.

Smart Coatings on Spacecraft Surfaces - New Tools for the Spacecraft Designer's Tool Belt

As we enter the era of manned space flight and habitation beyond low Earth orbit, much longer duration human occupation and much less frequent resupply will be the norm, stretching the capacities and capabilities of life support systems. The myriad internal surfaces aboard ISS and the various crew compartments on drawing boards today are viewed as a liability due to contamination and fouling. Yet, if such surfaces operate synergistically with life support systems, these same surfaces become an asset with practically no increased load weight penalty.

SpaceX and the Dragon Spacecraft

With the retirement of the Space Shuttle this past summer the United States entered a new era, one in which U.S. astronauts will be flying only aboard the Russian Soyuz vehicle in order to access Low Earth Orbit and the International Space Station. California headquartered Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has developed and twice launched a brand new launch vehicle (Falcon9), as well as launched and recovered a space capsule designed for humans (Dragon). SpaceX will soon begin delivering cargo, and ultimately plans on launching crew, to the International Space Station from U.S. soil.

Moon Express - Pioneering the NewSpace Frontier

The health of our home planet and the survival of our species will only be secured through the use of space resources and the expansion of Earth's economic sphere to the Moon and beyond. Creating an off-Earth economy and multi-planet civilization will safeguard the long term prospects of humanity.

Fly Cheap, Fly Often, Fly Safe — Science research & education opportunities on commercial suborbital vehicles

Access to suborbital space, the realm above 100 km altitude, by vehicles not traveling fast enough to go into orbit about the planet, has a long history, from the 1950's early unmanned scientific sounding rockets for meteorological and upper atmosphere studies, to Alan Shepard's historic Freedom 7 flight 50 years ago, continuing today with multi-science disciplined sounding rocket programs launched from spaceports around the globe. These vehicles follow a parabolic-arc trajectory that also provides many minutes of low gravity enabling "microgravity" experiments.

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