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In Flight Propellant Generation For Advanced Space Transportation

Under a DARPA Phase I seedling Andrews is testing advanced packing designs for its Air Collection and Enrichment System at its ARPL facility
by Staff Writers
Seattle WA (SPX) Mar 28, 2006
Andrews Space, Inc. (Andrews) was awarded additional Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) / Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) funding to demonstrate operational capabilities of its Alchemist Air Collection and Enrichment System (ACES). The Alchemist ACES is an in-flight propellant generation system that allows future launch vehicles to take of and land horizontally at conventional airports.

Col. Michael L. Wolfert (USAF, Retired), Andrews Space Director of Military and Homeland Security Programs, said, "The current partnership between DARPA/AFRL and Andrews is continuing to develop technologies, which will permit the Air Force to field future systems earlier to meet its space launch, satellite deployment and global strike missions.

Development and demonstration of these technologies offers a new hybrid approach to rocket propulsion which can significantly reduce takeoff gross weight and offers interesting new capabilities for the nation's national security and space exploration programs."

Initial Alchemist ACES technology assessments were funded by NASA and verified overall feasibility. Last year, DARPA awarded Andrews a contract to conduct system testing. Under this initial contract, valued at $653,000, Andrews demonstrated basic system technologies. In addition, Andrews designed and built a rotating test apparatus to conduct advanced cryogenic testing.

Under the new contract, valued close to $350,000, Andrews will advance the state-of-the-art and demonstrate critical ACES components and operating parameters. This bridge funding permits early demonstration of the technologies required and reduces significantly program risk for the demonstration program.

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Air Collection and Enrichment System (ACES)

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NASA Reinstates Dawn Asteroid Mission
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 27, 2006
NASA officials announced Monday that the agency has decided to reinstate the Dawn mission, a robotic exploration of two major asteroids that had been canceled earlier this month because of technical problems and cost overruns.

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