. 24/7 Space News .
Ball To Develop Aerocapture Under NASA Propulsion Study

Aerocapture technology uses a planetary atmosphere to alter the velocity of a vehicle. The incoming spacecraft makes a single pass deep into the atmosphere, using drag to establish a captured orbit, without the use of propellant. This fuel-free method could reduce the typical mass of an interplanetary spacecraft by half, allowing for a smaller cheaper vehicle - one better equipped to conduct robust, long-term science at its destination.
Boulder - June 12, 2003
NASA recently selected Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. to pursue advances in ballute aerocapture, an in-space propulsion innovation. Ball Aerospace was one of 15 organizations chosen to pursue 22 propulsion technology research proposals totaling $20 million that NASA says could revolutionize exploration and scientific study of the solar system.

These awards are part of the In-Space Propulsion Technologies, Cycle 2, which is designed to increase the efficiency of space missions and enable new missions that are impossible or impractical with current propulsion technologies.

"Ballute aerocapture is really on the cutting edge of space technology right now, and we feel very fortunate to be involved with NASA at this early stage in its development," says Harold Reitsema, director of Space Sciences Advanced Programs at Ball Aerospace.

"This technology will reduce the cost of planetary exploration, and increase the opportunity to gather valuable scientific data about planets we've previously been unable to study."

Aerocapture uses atmospheric drag to slow down an incoming satellite so that it enters an orbit around a planetary body more efficiently. Like a drag racer's parachute, the satellite is equipped with a "ballute," a combination of balloon and parachute, which slows the satellite enough to go into orbit around the target planet.

Attached ballutes also protect the satellite and its payload from the extreme environment encountered while entering the orbit by deflecting heat. The most important advantage of aerocapture is that it reduces the amount of propellant required to send a satellite into its proper orbit. This lowers launch costs and allows more room on the spacecraft for scientific payloads.

Because of the fuel savings and lower-cost launches, aerocapture techniques will allow scientists to study more types of planetary bodies, including Neptune, and Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.

The technique chosen for the NASA contracts leverages previous, successful aerocapture work contracted to Ball Aerospace over the past few years. The new contract includes concept development and hypersonic testing of materials.

Ball Corporation is one of the world's leading suppliers of metal and plastic packaging to the beverage and food industries. The company also owns Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. With the addition of Ball Packaging Europe, acquired in December 2002, Ball expects to report 2003 sales of approximately $5 billion, of which approximately $4.5 billion will come from its two packaging segments and $500 million from its aerospace and technologies segment.

Related Links
Ball Aerospace & Technologies
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

Lockheed Martin Awarded Patent for a Three-Axis Flap Control System
Sunnyvale - Jun 04, 2003
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted Lockheed Martin Corporation a patent for an innovative, three-axis flap control system that promises to revolutionize the steering of rocket-launched, hypersonic and supersonic reentry vehicles/projectiles.

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

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - 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. 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 All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.