NASA looks to university researchers for innovative space tech solutions
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Nov 09, 2018
University-led research could transform the future of space exploration, from small spacecraft to "smart" systems for the Moon, Mars and beyond. NASA has selected 14 proposals for the study of innovative, early stage technologies that address high-priority needs of America's space program.
The universities will work on their proposed research and development projects for up to three years and will receive as much as $500,000 each in Early Stage Innovations grant funding from NASA's Space Technology Research Grants program.
"Early Stage Innovations utilize the nation's brightest minds in academia to advance mission capabilities," said Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. "This research will help solve complex challenges facing future exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond."
The proposals, selected under the Early Stage Innovations 2018 solicitation, address unique, disruptive or transformational technologies in a variety of areas. The 14 selected proposals, which fall under five categories, are:
Topic 1: Modeling for Small Spacecraft Electric Propulsion
+ Data-Driven Predictive Modeling of Small Spacecraft Electric Propulsion Systems; University of Michigan
Topic 2: Smart and Autonomous Systems for Space
+ A Control Framework for Autonomous Physical Systems: Observation, Modeling, Prediction and Planning; University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Topic 3: Omni-Optical Antennas and Optical-Multiple-Access Technologies for Free-Space Near-Earth Satellite Communication
+ Electronically Controllable Metasurface Omnidirectional and Multiple Access Optical Antennas for Free-Space Near-Earth Satellite Communication; California Institute of Technology
Topic 4: Modeling Shock Layer Radiation and Chemical Kinetics for Planetary Entry
+ Air-Carbon Boundary Layer Chemistry for Hypersonic Ablation; Montana State University
Topic 5: Physical and Mechanistic Modeling of the Self-Reacting Friction Stir Welding Process
+ Development of a methodology for characterizing the tool/part interface in friction stir welding for improvement of predictive modeling in aluminum alloys; Brigham Young University
The Space Technology Research Grants program is funded by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.
For first time in decades, astronaut quits NASA training
Washington (AFP) Aug 29, 2018
For the first time in five decades, a NASA astronaut candidate has resigned from training, the US space agency said Tuesday. Robb Kulin resigned from NASA effective August 31 for personal reasons, spokeswoman Brandi Dean said, declining to provide further details. It's not an easy gig to get - some 18,000 people routinely seek the 12 spots that open each year. Kulin, who joined his class sounding upbeat, is the first would-be astronaut to leave training since a resignation in 1968. ... read more
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