NSS Issues Political Action Network Alert in Support of Commercial Crew

On June 5, 2014 NSS issued an alert to the NSS Political Action Network concerning support for Commercial Crew in the current Senate Appropriations Bill.  The alert can be found at:

http://www.nss.org/legislative/alerts/NSS.Legislative.Alert.2014.Jun.5.pdf.

The alert calls for requesting full funding for Commercial Crew at $848 million as requested by NASA, rather than the $805 million appropriated by the Senate, or the House allocation of $785 million.  In addition the alert calls for the removal of language that would impose FAR (Federal Acquisitions Regulations) accounting on fixed price Commercial Crew and Cargo contracts, with the intent of making these programs more expensive and slowing them down. Additional information on Commercial Crew can be found in the recent NSS position paper at:

http://www.nss.org/legislative/positions/NSS_Position_Paper_Commercial_Crew_2014.pdf

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In Memoriam: Peter E. Glaser (1923-2014)

The National Space Society is mourning the passing of NSS Board of Governors member Peter E. Glaser on May 29, 2014.

Peter E. GlaserDr. Peter E. Glaser was Vice President for Advanced Technology at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA, a company that he was associated with from 1955-1994. After his retirement in 1994, he continued to serve as a consultant to the company for many years.

Dr. Glaser is best known as the inventor of the Solar Power Satellite concept, which he first presented in the journal Science for November 22, 1968 (“Power from the Sun: It’s Future”). In 1973 he was granted a U.S. patent on the Solar Power Satellite to supply power from space for use on the Earth.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Glaser was a survivor of the Holocaust who came to the United States in 1948 and earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Columbia University.

Dr. Glaser was project manager for the Apollo 11 Laser Ranging Retroreflecter Array installed on the lunar surface of July 20, 1969, and two other arrays installed on subsequent missions — the only science experiments still in operation on the Moon. He also was responsible for the Lunar Heat Flow Probes and the Lunar Gravimeter which were operational during the Apollo program, and the Initial Blood Storage Experiment flown on the NASA shuttle Columbia (STS-61-C) in January 1986, to explore gravitational effects on human blood cells.

Dr. Glaser served on several NASA Committees including Task Force on Space Goals, NASA Advisory Council (1984-1989), and Lunar Enterprise Case Study (1988-89). He formed the SUNSAT Energy Council in 1978; an NGO associated with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and currently serves as its Chairman. He also chaired the Space Power Committee of the International Astronautical Federation (1984-89). He has served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of Technology Assessment of the United States Congress.

Dr. Glaser was President of the International Solar Energy Society (1968-69), and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Solar Energy (1971-1984). Dr. Glaser received the Farrington Daniels Award from the International Solar Energy Society in 1983.

He is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. In 1993 the International Astronautical Federation established the Peter Glaser Plenary Lecture to be given at the Annual Congresses. He was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame of the United States Space Foundation in 1996. Dr. Glaser has published more than 300 technical papers and books. His personal collection, the Peter E. Glaser Papers, have been donated to the MIT Archives and Special Collections.

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SpaceX Unveils Dragon 2 Spacecraft

15-minute video, May 29, 2014

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SpaceX Completes Qualification Testing of SuperDraco Thruster for Launch Escape System on Dragon Spacecraft

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced that it has completed qualification testing for the SuperDraco thruster, an engine that will power the Dragon spacecraft’s launch escape system and enable the vehicle to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy.

The qualification testing program took place over the last month at SpaceX’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The program included testing across a variety of conditions including multiple starts, extended firing durations and extreme off-nominal propellant flow and temperatures.

The SuperDraco is an advanced version of the Draco engines currently used by SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to maneuver in orbit and during re-entry. SuperDracos will be used on the crew version of the Dragon spacecraft as part of the vehicle’s launch escape system; they will also enable propulsive landing on land.  Each SuperDraco produces 16,000 pounds of thrust and can be restarted multiple times if necessary.  In addition, the engines have the ability to deep throttle, providing astronauts with precise control and enormous power.

The SuperDraco engine chamber is manufactured using state-of-the-art direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), otherwise known as 3D printing.  The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high-performance superalloy that offers both high strength and toughness for increased reliability.

“Through 3D printing, robust and high-performing engine parts can be created at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing methods,” said Elon Musk, Chief Designer and CEO.  “SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making our vehicles more efficient, reliable and robust than ever before.”

Unlike previous launch escape systems that were jettisoned after the first few minutes of launch, SpaceX’s launch system is integrated into the Dragon spacecraft.  Eight SuperDraco engines built into the side walls of the Dragon spacecraft will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch.

As a result, Dragon will be able to provide astronauts with the unprecedented ability to escape from danger at any point during the ascent trajectory, not just in the first few minutes.  In addition, the eight SuperDracos provide redundancy, so that even if one engine fails an escape can still be carried out successfully.

The first flight demonstration of the SuperDraco will be part of the upcoming pad abort test under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCap) initiative. The pad abort will be the first test of SpaceX’s new launch escape system and is currently expected to take place later this year.

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3rd Space Solar Power International Student and Young Professional Design Competition

The Space Generation Advisory Council is pleased to announce its partnership with the International Astronautical Federation’s Space Power Committee (SPC) to organize and run the 3rd Space Solar Power International Student and Young Professional Design Competition.

The competition aims to challenge entrants to submit a technical paper for a new and innovative technical concept for Space Solar Power (SSP). SSP, in its typical implementation and for the purposes of this competition, is the idea of transmitting power harvested from the sun in space down to Earth.

The winning entrant will be given up to USD 2000 to cover travel costs to Toronto, Canada, to present their paper at the 2014 Space Generation Congress (SGC) and to present a poster at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

MORE INFORMATION

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ISDC Space and Media Track: Ted Schilowitz

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Innovator and futurist Ted Schilowitz is founding team member & first employee of Red Camera Co and consultant for digital cinema technology company Barco and 20th Century Fox. Ted is speaking at the Space and Media Track at the ISDC National Space Conference along with a list of scheduled speakers in segments encompassing movies & television, social media, art & books, games, simulations, news, filming in space, classroom, and music. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) was excited to hear what Ted Schilowitz had to say about his Friday talk “The Future Is Immersion.”

QGITS: How did you earn the title futurist-consigliere?

Ted Schilowitz: It comes from the radical nature of my career, I’m one of the founding members and 1st employee of a movie camera company called Red Digital Cinema. Red has become very much a force in the motion picture world and it’s been a main stream tool for making movies. When I started, it was just me and Jim Jannard putting it all together and then it blew up into something significant. My title early on was “Leader of the Rebellion.” That was kind of an interesting moniker to establish in what we were doing by being very radical and very disruptive in a space that was right for disruption. Years later once the rebellion was well in hand, I had to change the business card title and it just said “insert title here” that just drove the press crazy. I retired from Red about 9 months ago, it was a very short lived retirement because one of my friends who is one of the studio heads at Fox, who used the Red camera quite a bit, essentially asked me to help look around the next corner of technology and all the things it means from a storytelling stand point. We had to come up with a title that would reflect that and not be some sort of business title. So the studio said that I was here to look at the future so we should call you “futurist” and you’re here to be our “consigliere” to the future and advise us. Since I was bold enough to stand up in meetings, have the courage and say what I think, that’s why the studio wanted me there, so they put on my business card “futurist-consigliere” which of course gives everybody a little chuckle, it’s nothing more than that, it’s just funny.

QGITS: Your Friday presentation talk at the ISDC conference is on “The Future is Immersion.” Can you talk a little bit about that?

Ted Schilowitz: I am talking about the learning and the exploration of forms, functions and how it relates to the field of motion pictures entertainment and what that means and how it’s changing. Also what’s important and what’s around the next corner. I am involved in a number of these efforts and what I believed is the next generation of cinema which is a project called “Escape” which I am doing with a company called Barco, the worldwide leader in cinema projection. We have created an experience extending the vision of cinema around you. I have another fun and interesting title at Barco called “CinemaVangelist.” I also have a very high interest in virtual reality which is an extension of this visual experience to have a personalized vision of the future with a headset on you. So my talk covers pieces and parts of that and an understanding of form, function and a future.

QGITS: What were your thoughts when asked to be a part of the ISDC Conference Space & Media Track added this year?

Ted Schilotwitz: I’m thrilled to be a part of it, I am a huge space fan. I grew up in central Florida so I am a child of the space generation and have been enamored with it since I was a little kid. I track this stuff, I know a lot about it, I love the excitement and the exploration of it. I was thrilled when asked to be a part of the conference in some fashion to talk about my vision of the future and how it relates to entertainment and storytelling. I love to meet all the other people that are speaking and talking. They have wonderful things to say and stories that get me all excited about space all over again.

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ISDC NASA Lunar Exploration Sub-Track: Dave Dunlop

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Dave Dunlop is the presenting and managing Track Chair of the Lunar Sub-Track during the NASA Exploration session. Dave has been part of the International Committee of the National Space Society in partner with other organizations that share the same vision of a future in which the free enterprise human economy expands to include settlements on the Moon and elsewhere. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) had the pleasure in speaking with Dave Dunlop about the panelists presenting on the Lunar Sub-Track.

QGITS: Last year’s lunar track was about lunar lava tube exploration on the Moon, will there be any talks about them again this year?

Dave DunlopDave Dunlop: This year we are having a number of presentations involving the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. We are getting updates about the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) competition and their recent Milestone awards to several teams from Dr. Andrew Barton, Chief Technology Officer of the GLXP. He will be presenting at the Lunar Track, Friday May 16th, in the afternoon. Google Lunar XPRIZE teams that are also presenting at ISDC conference are: Moon Express, Penn State Lunar Lions, and Team Synergy Moon.

Although we devoted an entire day of our two day lunar track last year to lava tubes this year we have a more diverse range of topics and presentations. Last year we talked about lava tubes on the Moon but there are also a number pits on the Mars shield volcanos that would seem to be evidence of underlying lava tubes there as well. Astrobotic is another GLXP team that is planning a future lunar lava tube mission. This continues to be a hot topic for exploration. To get something into the lunar lava tube is something that has never been tried before – it’s quite challenging. I hope they can pull that off.

QGITS: What will you be speaking about at this year’s Lunar Sub-Track 2014?

Dave Dunlop: I am giving a talk on the International Lunar Geophysical Campaign. We are trying to do is to stimulate international interest in sending more small affordable science missions to the Moon. At present only three countries have managed to soft land on the Moon. If you look at a number of missions that are being planned over the next 10 years, there’s quite a few. What I have counted amount about 24 missions in development right now. Mostly those come from major spacefaring powers like China, India, Japan, Canada and Russia. If you look at these missions, there only 8 countries out of the major G-20 economies. Why aren’t there more lunar missions coming from G-20 countries? Our campaign is trying to encourage the number of these affordable Lunar CubeSat scale missions and more nations to be engaged.

We hope for example that some of the GLXP teams that have not had the ability to raise enough capital or adequate time to meet the GLXP deadline can repurpose their efforts and subsequently find both national as well as private sponsors for lunar science missions. NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual network has a number of international nodes and I understand that some additional nations are also joining that network. Perhaps there can be some collaborative project that these initiatives can mutually develop. We could see a new paradigm of small scale affordable science missions undertaken by more countries than ever before as a result.

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ISDC Film Screening: “I Want to Be an Astronaut” – David Ruck

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

David J. Ruck is a photographer, filmmaker and educator, currently based in Maryland where he and his producing partner, Anne Menotti, are working on several documentaries and projects. David specializes in emotive imaging – creating film, video, and photographic projects that inspire an emotional reaction from audiences. David is founder of Rubangfilms he produces cutting edge science, exploration, history, and space-related documentary films. His latest production, “I want to be an Astronaut”, was premiered aboard the International Space Station and has been widely covered in the national media advocating for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programs. David will be screening his film this summer at the National Academy of Sciences Building’s historic amphitheater to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the American Astronautical Society, in Washington, DC his film will also be featured at this year’s ISDC National Space Society conference in Los Angeles on Sunday May 18. QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) was thrilled to talk with David Ruck about his film documentary “I want to be an Astronaut” and the importance of having a space program.

QGITS: What inspired you to become a filmmaker and storyteller that highlights important issues like space?

David RuckDavid Ruck: I have been making films for about 14 years, I have never made anything like this one before but I was really inspired by hearing Neil DeGrasse Tyson on the Bill Maher show talking about NASA’s budget and how we spent more money bailing out the banks in 2008/2009 than we had in the 50 years in the space program. While I was not paying attention to space at the time, however; I knew that NASA was a source of inspiration for young people that wanted to be astronauts.  A contextual example of why you need to learn science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). So are we paving the way to be a nation that’s setting the bar high for our the future, serving the ultimate American dream, if you will, this idea of wanting to be an astronaut? If we don’t have a space program even capable of getting humans into space then have we completely lost that dream? I really wanted to know what the consequences of that would be on the everyday person. Through this journey identifying this young man, who not only wanted to be an astronaut since he was 3 but at 17 he really had a full body vision of wanting to remove humanity beyond earth for political, economic, social and cultural reasons. I found this kid who had this vision of why this important and I received more than what I bargained for and that’s when I felt what he was really up against because nothing inspires kids more like a vibrant space program. If we don’t have that then we are forfeiting not just our future in space but our economic future. I think the space program is a source of national pride an example of what the government can do when it’s doing its best and why the average citizen should be interested in space.

View the official trailer of “I want to be an Astronaut” documentary below – The dream of one boy. The fate of one nation. Our future in space.

QGITS: What was it like documenting someone like 17 year old Blair?

David Ruck: Meeting Blair and following his First Robotics team, really gave me hope. Teams at 15 and 16 years old build robots to help solve common problems.  I just didn’t even know these things were possible for them to do at this age or to even be working on – I think that’s a testament to the First Robotics program and other programs like it.  I saw the potential of our future and if these kids were given exciting opportunities down the road, then that just gave me a lot of hope. It also really frustrated me when I see that, in spite of the fact, there are clearly qualified individuals out there ready and willing to commit themselves for these challenges, yet we haven’t committed ourselves as a nation to making this a huge priority. That’s why I made this film and that’s why I have gone from being someone who wasn’t paying attention to space, into someone who now understands and appreciates the young people who want to pursue these things and what they are going to be offering us in the future. We need to pave the way for them to be successful.

QGITS: Anything else you would like to add?

David Ruck: Ultimately the goal of this film is to emphasize the importance of the space program, what the space program has done for us, furthermore; what it could do for us as a nation and in the future if we decide to make space exploration a priority.

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ISDC NASA Space Exploration Track: Carl Schueler

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Carl Schueler is a Satellite remote sensing system architect, EO sensor systems engineer and applications scientist, study and proposal lead. He received degrees in Physics & Astronomy at Louisiana State University, followed by two years at Hughes Aircraft Company teaching F-14 radar, Maverick missile theory and field repair. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical & Computer Engineering at UC Santa Barbara in 1980 under a Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellowship. He is currently President at Schueler Consulting with clients that include LexerdTek, MEI Technologies, Orbital Sciences, and Cornell Technical Services. Carl is the Main Track Chair kicking off the first day of introductions for the NASA Exploration Track for the ISDC 2014 National Space Society conference May 14-18. QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) had the pleasure of talking to Carl about the NASA 4-day track.

QGITS: The Nasa Exploration Track at the ISDC conference is a four day event that will cover four subtracks: 1) Asteroids; 2) Emerging Science & Technology; 3) Lunar; and 4) Space Exploration. Which track will you be speaking on?

Carl SchuelerCarl Schueler: We have a really packed schedule, well over 30 invited speakers plus 4 students to present during the track in which I had the pleasure working with 5 Co-Chairs for the subtracks. The Asteroid sub-track is being managed by Dan Kwon from Orbital Sciences Corporation and the Lunar sub-track by David Dunlop. Saturday we have an all day science and technology sub-track by Samantha Infeld and Bill Gardiner and finally Sunday morning we have space exploration managed by Matt Ondler. My job was really made pretty easy and I am not giving a presentation. I introduce the 1st speaker of the track Thursday morning and turning the rest to the sub-track leads; the work I have done has been stage manager/background. I’m just really pleased to be able to have done that relatively small contribution to the effort and be a part of it. I think it’s a really exciting track. We’ve got people from NASA of course, JPL, NASA Headquarters, Johnson Space Center, the Associate Director of JPL talking about their space exploration program, and several talks on the NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission. We have a talk on DAWN, a mission launched in 2007 exploring a couple of the larger asteroids in the belt, and presentations on extraction of materials from the asteroids, similar for lunar, and prospects for getting to the Moon again, talks on space manufacturing, discussions on propulsion techniques and lots of other great topics. (View full agenda of scheduled speakers.)

QGITS: What type of projects have you worked on?

Carl Schueler: This conference is sort of like the movie “Back to the Future” for me as I started out after I got my degree in Physics & Astronomy as an Astronomy Professor and Planetarium Director back in the early 70’s. Then got redirected into Engineering at Hughes Aircraft Company and remote sensing from space which involves looking down from earth orbit rather than out to space. I had to turn my back on space and look back at earth, spent 35 years doing development of earth remote sensing missions for NASA, that was great. I had a really good time with it, but this conference is an opportunity to get back to what I was doing many years in the past and find out what’s going on in space these days after having spent 35 years looking at earth from space.

QGITS: What are you most excited about the NASA Exploration Track?

Carl Schueler: I am just really pleased that we have been able to assemble a cast of excellent speakers every single day. This track I think is educational, entertaining, and inspirational: all three! The conference overall is great and there are terrific speakers across the board so I am just really excited to be part of the entire effort and glad that I could participate.

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ISDC Space Solar Power Track: Gary Barnhard

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Gary BarnhardGary Barnhard is a robotic space systems engineer whose professional work includes a wide range of robotic, space, and computer systems engineering projects. Gary has received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1982 combining Aerospace Engineering, Materials Science, with graduate work in science policy, solar physics, and artificial intelligence. He was awarded a grant to participate in NASA’s Graduate Student Researchers Program under the auspices of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the UMCP Aerospace Engineering Department. Some of his work included supporting the development of the Space Station User Information System Requirements. Over the last 34 years he has been extensively involved in the space advocacy community.

QGITS (an online publication for STEM students) had the opportunity to chat with Gary Barnhard who is speaking on the panel at this year’s ISDC National Space Society Conference May 14-18 on the Space Solar Power track.

QGITS: You have an extensive background in space related educational programs and working with different organizations in the space field, how did you get started in the space advocacy community?

Gary Barnhard: For me I had an interesting habit of hanging out in the Nasa headquarters library back in junior high school and early high school and one day the librarian there who I was good friends with came up to me and said you know Gary there is something you need to read and she handed me a copy of the publication “Physics Today” and it had an article by this interesting Physicist in it from Princeton named Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill dealing with the issue of “Was the surface of the planet really the best home for an expanding technological civilization?” (Physics Today, September 1974). I had wanted to be an Astronaut since I became aware watching the Gemini launches go up in space. Unfortunately, despite memorizing the eye chart, it was clear I could never pass a real vision test. What Dr. O’Neill offered was the vision of a positive future that I could help with, helping to provide for space development and build large space structures and space stations. That’s how I went on to.. what turned out to be a career in robotics space systems engineering.

QGITS: Can you tell us about the projects you have worked on?

Gary Barnhard: I started off as part of the Solar Maximum Mission (SMM) which was a satellite doing solar observations in the early 80’s. I provided real time images of the sun in hydrogen alpha to the control room as part of the cooperative research in physics & astronomy agreement between University of Maryland and NASA Goddard. I went on from there as a NASA grantee in NASA graduate researchers program where I was working on the applications of knowledge based systems to the domain of spacecraft systems engineering. I had the opportunity to be a part of the Space Station Program Mission Requirements Working Group in the original efforts to breathe life into the space station program and from there I ended up on the contractors side of the fence working with Goddard Space Station Office.

QGITS: What are you addressing on the panel for the Space Solar Power Track (SSP)?

Gary Barnhard: There are five sessions: 1 – Overview Perspectives; 2 – SSP Concepts, research and technology development; 3 – Supporting Infrastructure; 4 – Fostering international cooperation – focusing the government/industry/NGO mix; and, 5 – SSP Industry Day. One of the more unique sessions is “space solar power industry day” which is intended to draw out where help is needed ..once a upon a time NASA used to have these events called “industry days” where technical people working a program would explain where the problems are and where we need help. The idea being to view the contractor community as resource to help solve the tough problem a program faces. Today space solar power is tough systems engineering problem but is one of the few options that we can potentially bring to the table that can scale to not only make a dramatic contribution to the energy to the United States but to the world.

QGITS:  Lastly, why do people attend the ISDC conference?

Gary Barnhard: We need to be about the question of not just thinking about the future we like to see come to pass but what are we doing to make it real? The National Space Society is effectively the big tent space advocacy organization with the goal trying to provide a path to engagement in space for anyone that has an interest. Regardless of whether it is just a vicarious interest, those who wish to be advocates for helping make things happen, and/or those who actually who want to be involved in building things and making it happen directly. The ISDC pulls together a diverse community of individuals across all disciplines and perspectives.

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