Globalization, the personal computer, and changing priorities set the stage for R&D 100 Award Winners.
Evoking memories of the earliest shuttle flights that started with a mate-demate device atop a modified jumbo jet, the space shuttle Discovery this morning departed on its final flight from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. The Discovery was bound for Washington, where it will become a museum piece at the Smithsonian Institution.
Starting Friday, NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group began accepting ideas and abstracts online from the worldwide scientific and technical community as part of NASA's effort to seek out the best and the brightest ideas from researchers and engineers in planetary science. They hope to develop a new strategy for the exploration of Mars.
The giant explosion that gets a rocket off the ground isn't that complicated. In the case of North Korea’s failed rocket launch last week, two liquid propellants ignite when mixed. Controlling that explosion, and keeping the pointy end of the rocket pointed skyward, is what keeps engineers up at night, and is why rocket science is really, really hard.
A person whispering is 20 decibels and a lawn mower is 90 decibels. Jet noise from tactical aircraft can reach 150 decibels on the flight line, and can cause permanent hearing loss to sailors and marines. The Office of Naval Research is funding a new project to help reduce this noise.
Last Friday, the National Science Foundation held a congressional briefing to call attention to its research successes, particularly the process of bringing relevant fundamental research from the laboratory to the marketplace. Particular attention was called to Small Business Innovation Research grant beneficiaries, some of whom shared their success stories at the briefing.
Using sonar, an expedition spearheaded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has discovered what he claimed were discarded engines from the 1969 Apollo 11 mission lurking 14,000 feet deep. In an online announcement Wednesday, Bezos said he is drawing up plans to recover the sunken engines, jettisoned from the mighty Saturn V rocket just minutes after launch.
The largest solar flare in the past five years triggered a major geomagnetic storm over Alaska on March 8. The same day, a nanosatellite operated by researchers from SRI International and the University of Michigan took a measurement of naturally occurring auroral turbulence. The data was the first-ever recorded using a nanosatellite radar receiver.
The International Space Station may provide the setting for a 500-day pretend trip to Mars in another few years. NASA said Tuesday that consideration is underway to use the space station as a dry run for a simulated trip to and from Mars.
For 27 years, the Concorde provides its passengers with a rare luxury: time saved. However, on Nov. 26, 2003, the Concorde retired from service due to high fuel costs and noise disruption form the jet's sonic boom. Since then, a number of groups have been working on designs for the next generation of supersonic jets. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher has come up with a concept that may solve many of the problems that grounded the Concorde.
A sub-scale solid rocket motor designed to mimic NASA's Space Launch System, or SLS, booster design successfully was tested recently by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The 20-second firing tested new insulation materials.
"Fearless Felix" Baumgartner has jumped 2,500 times from planes and helicopters, as well as some of the highest landmarks and skyscrapers on the planet. After a successful dress rehearsal last Thursday from 13 miles up, Baumgartner hopes to hurtle toward Earth at supersonic speed from a record 23 miles, breaking the sound barrier with only his body.
General Motors (GM) and NASA are jointly developing a robotic glove that automotive workers and astronauts can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
In mid-December 2011, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory received a call from the Air Force Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). At the time, laboratory scientists were working with JSpOC to upgrade their command and control software. But this call was about something very different.
After touring the Rolls-Royce Crosspointe jet engine disc manufacturing facility in Prince George, Va., on March 9, President Obama announced his intention to build a network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes to serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence. The move is intended to make U.S. manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment.
A new research program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute seeks to define the next generation of low-orbit satellites that are more maneuverable, cheaper to launch, easier to hide, and longer lived. Additionally, this research holds the promise of guiding dead satellites and other space debris more safely to the Earth's surface.
A mysterious phenomenon detected by space probes has finally been explained, thanks to a massive computer simulation that was able to precisely align with details of spacecraft observations. The finding could not only solve an astrophysical puzzle, but might also lead to a better ability to predict high-energy electron streams in space that could damage satellites.
A new study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that the rapid rise in low-wage manufacturing industries overseas has had a significant impact on the United States. The disappearance of U.S. manufacturing jobs frequently leaves workers unemployed for years, if not permanently, while creating a drag on local economies and raising the amount of taxpayer-borne social insurance necessary to keep workers and their families afloat.
Tomorrow's aircraft could contribute to their power needs by harnessing energy from the wheel rotation of their landing gear to generate electricity. They could use this to power their taxiing to and from airport buildings, reducing the need to use their jet engines. This would save on aviation fuel, cut emissions, and reduce noise pollution at airports.
Near-Earth space is full of junk. NASA keeps close tabs on at least 16,000 objects larger than 10 cm in diameter. In an effort to tidy up the mess, the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (EPFL) is building an $11 million satellite called CleanSpaceOne that will force debris toward Earth, burning it up in the atmosphere.
As integrated circuits and environmentally friendly technologies emerged, R&D 100 Award winners set the pace.
With a $100 million dollar investment beginning in 2009, Alcoa embarked on a complete redesign and modernization of a 50,000-ton forging press. The 92-foot structure, with five stories above and seven below the ground, began production in 1955 and is one of just five left in the United States.
Providing high-bandwidth communications for troops in remote forward operating locations is not only critical but also challenging because a reliable infrastructure optimized for remote geographic areas does not exist. DARPA recently announced the Fixed Wireless at a Distance program seeks to tackle the problem of stationary infrastructure designed specifically to overcome the challenge inherent with cell communication in remote areas.
NASA scientists are in the midst of preparing their Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Testbed for launch later this year. Its mission will be to push the limits of software-defined radio, a communication system in which components typically implemented in hardware are instead provided by means of software.
NASA says it still has confidence in the quality of Russia's manned rockets, despite an embarrassing series of glitches and failures in the Russian space program. The Soyuz is still consider by NASA officials to be the world’s most reliable space system.