Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



TECH SPACE
Titan Transtage to be studied by orbital debris scientists
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Jun 07, 2016


The Titan Transtage sits outside Building 9S. The hardware will be studied by JSC's Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division to gather information to help interpret telescope measurements and data to incorporate into computer models of the space environment. Image courtesy NASA/David DeHoyos. For a larger version of this image please go here.

The Titan Transtage, an upper stage of the Titan III rocket family, arrived at NASA's Johnson Space Center May 26, where it will be studied by scientists in the Orbital Debris Program Office (ODPO) to obtain information to complete forensics that will help us understand why things break up in space.

Developed in the 1960s to lift heavy payloads, or multiple small payloads, to specific locations in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), the Transtage was the world's first "space tug" capable of multiple restarts of its engine and could deliver multiple spacecraft to precise orbits in a single mission.

As the global leader and expert on orbital debris, or "space junk," the ODPO-a branch of JSC's Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division-is interested in gleaning information to help interpret telescope measurements and data to incorporate into computer models of the space environment.

"Anything in space today could be involved in a collision, and objects still containing stored chemical or mechanical energy can explode," said Dr. Phillip Anz-Meador, a project manager with NASA support contractor Jacobs. "Studying old-as well as new objects-is relevant to our understanding of the entire environment and its potential hazard to today's robotic and crewed missions."

The Transtage was at the U.S. Air Force's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, better known as "the Boneyard," at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. After scientists discovered a photo of the Transtage online, posted in a history forum taken by a runner in a 5K race at the Boneyard, they knew they'd found something special.

In the summer of 2015, Anz-Meador and Dr. Heather Cowardin, the University of Texas at El Paso's optical lead scientist with NASA support contractor Jacobs, traveled to Tucson to visit the site. She determined that while the Transtage object was likely an engine test article rather than an unflown vehicle, it contained sufficient original components and details that it would make it valuable for scientists at JSC.

Anz-Meador notes that interest in the Earth's orbital environment considers all objects launched to orbit, as well as the debris created in collision, explosions and environmental degradation, extending all the way back to the oldest remaining satellite, Vanguard 1, launched in 1958.

"While we will make a general survey of the vehicle to confirm sizes, shapes and masses, our main effort will be to characterize the spectral features of the materials used in the construction of this rocket body," Anz-Meador said. "To accomplish this, we will use a handheld field spectrometer to collect spectral data."

NASA orbital debris scientists are responsible for determining the total amount of orbital debris and predicting the risk to spacecraft, including the International Space Station. While Transtage flew several LEO and high-Earth orbit missions, its usual destination was GEO.

NASA used the Transtage to launch the agency's Applications Technology Satellite 6, which pioneered GEO three-axis stabilization, deployable and steerable large antennas, electric thrusters, direct broadcast TV and educational TV programming in concert with the Indian Space Research Organization.

Orbital debris scientists conduct telescopic observations of the GEO region to characterize the debris environment down to a limiting magnitude or size, as several Transtages are known to have fragmented.

Anz-Meador said that some pieces from those events have officially been cataloged, but many remain that are not cataloged but still observable by telescopes.

"When a breakup occurs, fragments are created that span the size range from large components to very small, irregular debris," Anz-Meador said. "Each of these has a spectral fingerprint that's unique to the material, or materials, that it's made from. We will collect spectra of the Transtage materials, and the data will be entered into a spectral database, a catalog of material fingerprints that uniquely identifies a given material and its application."

The database will be used with existing spectral observations of GEO debris to look for matches. If orbital debris scientists find a match for a given object, it can then be recorded as most likely being an object of a particular material if cataloged, or maintained statistically for objects not cataloged.

"This means that a certain percentage of the un-cataloged population could be regarded as being metallic versus other materials such as plastics or insulation blankets," Anz-Meador said. "In this way, we can better define the hazard posed to other space objects."

The Transtage will be housed in Building 9S while it is being inspected and studied.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Orbital Debris Program Office
Space Technology News - Applications and Research






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
TECH SPACE
Schafer Corp launches new venture in Commercial Space Situational Awareness
Arlington VA (SPX) May 31, 2016
Recognizing the rapid growth in commercial space satellites and the need for technically accurate, timely, and relevant information about an increasing number of objects in space, Schafer has formed a Commercial Space Situational Awareness (CSSA) business unit. In conjunction with the formation of this organization, Schafer has appointed Colonel (Ret) Donald Greiman as Vice President and G ... read more


TECH SPACE
Airbus Defence and Space to guide lunar lander to the Moon

A new, water-logged history of the Moon

Russian Firm Develops Project of Reusable Spacecraft for Lunar Missions

SwRI scientists discover fresh lunar craters

TECH SPACE
Red and Golden Planets at Opposition

Opportunity investigating soil exposed by rover wheel

Mars makes closest approach to Earth in 11 years

SwRI scientists discover evidence of ice age at Martian north pole

TECH SPACE
India Presses Ahead With Space Ambitions

Fun LoL to Teach Machines How to Learn More Efficiently

International Partners Provide Science Satellites for first SLS mission

'Metabolomics: You Are What You Eat' video

TECH SPACE
Bolivia to pay back loan to China for Tupac Katari satellite

NASA Chief: Congress Should Revise US-China Space Cooperation Law

Chine's satellite industry eyes global satellite market

China launches new satellite for civilian hi-res mapping

TECH SPACE
BEAM Leak Checks Before Crew Enters Next Week

HERA Mission 10 Crew to "Splashdown" on Wednesday

One Carbon Metabolism on the Space Station

Zuckerberg streams live chat with men in space

TECH SPACE
United Launch Alliance gets $138 million Atlas V contract

EchoStar XVIII and BRIsat are installed on Arianespace's Ariane 5

SpaceX makes fourth successful rocket landing

Arianespace to supply payload dispenser systems for OneWeb constellation

TECH SPACE
Astronomers find giant planet around very young star

Planet 1,200 Light-Years Away Is Good Prospect for a Habitable World

Kepler-223 System Offers Clues to Planetary Migration

Star Has Four Mini-Neptunes Orbiting in Lock Step

TECH SPACE
3D printing opens door to rapid advances in membrane technology

Calculating the mechanics of a rough sphere

Airbus presents 3D-printed mini aircraft

Microsoft wants Windows to open into mixed reality




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement