Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the rocket-engine manufacturer that helped power American astronauts to the moon during the Apollo era, has completed the last in a series of hot-fire tests on a J-2X engine with a stub-nozzle extension at simulated altitude conditions. This latest chapter in the development of America’s next rocket engine paves the way toward full-motion testing of the J-2X engine, which is designed to power humans to Mars. NASA has selected the J-2X as the upper-stage propulsion for the evolved 143-ton (130-metric-ton) Space Launch System (SLS), an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Reaches Milestone in Development of Next Rocket Engine for Human Spaceflight
Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. (NYSE: GY) company, recently test-fired a Viking flight spare rocket engine assembly in order to help design a new engine which will deliver the next rover to the surface of Mars in 2009. The rocket engine used in the test was originally built, tested and delivered in 1973 for the Viking program. The engine was put into storage after the successful landing of the Viking 1 and Viking 2 spacecraft on Mars in 1976. “Aerojet hardware has flown on every U.S. mission to Mars,” said Aerojet President Michael Martin. “We are extremely proud that the hot fire testing of the Viking Lander rocket engine assembly further proved Aerojet’s heritage capabilities in design, manufacture, test and production of propulsion systems. Our role in the Mars Science Laboratory mission will bring our work full-circle.”
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) was awarded a contract for space exploration concept studies by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Sept. 1. The initial value of the contract is $3 million for the first six months with an option for another six-month, $3 million study in the next phase. Lockheed Martin is one of 11 companies NASA selected to provide concepts for the development of a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) as well as overall architecture concepts for human exploration of the moon. The CEV will carry future astronauts to space and provide transportation for astronauts to explore the moon and Mars. Among the key factors that Lockheed Martin will keep foremost in all of its concepts and recommendations are safety, reliability, sustainability, affordability and evolvability.
Last January the people around the world were captivated by the landing of two robot geologists on Mars, Spirit
and Opportunity. At the Space 2004 Conference and Exposition, Dr. Firouz
Naderi, the head of the Mars Exploration Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL), and Dr. Steve Squyres, the head of the Science Team on the
mission and a professor at Cornell University, will recount their experiences
on this mission through a highly engaging presentation. This fascinating
presentation begins at 6:00 p.m., 29 September 2004.
Demron(TM), the world’s first anti-radiation fabric, was chosen as a key material for the creation of the Mars Spacesuit. In an article entitled “Material Choices for Mars” in The Journal of Materials Engineering and Performance, authors Marcy, Shalanski, Yarmuch, and Patchett listed Demron(TM) as a choice material for the future thermo-mechanical spacesuit that could be used by astronauts during a voyage to Mars. Because the planned spacesuit needs to be lightweight, flexible, and provide superior radiation protection, Demron(TM) was selected.
Testifying before the President’s Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond at the Georgia Centers for Advanced Telecommunications Technology in Atlanta, GA, Teal Group senior space analyst Marco Caceres yesterday recommended that one way to improve the long-term sustainability of President Bush’s new Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) is to “de-link” the Moon-Mars missions and aim to accomplish each of them in timeframes of within 10 years. Caceres cautioned the Commission, “De-link the two missions, otherwise there is a better than even chance that you end up dooming both.”
The President’s Commission on Moon, Mars and Beyond, chaired by Edward C. “Pete” Aldridge, has announced four more public hearings to be held in locations around the country.
As NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers prepare to land on the red planet, The New Detroit Science Center will be bringing Mars to Detroit in the traveling exhibition MarsQuest, opening Saturday, Jan. 24, 2004. MarsQuest was developed by the Space Science Institute of Boulder, Colo., with major funding by the National Science Foundation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
SPACE: A Journey To Our Future opens to the public on Saturday, November 22, 2003 at Pacific Science Center. The exhibit will be on display in Seattle until May 9, 2004. Space is made possible by General Motors, the SPACE Day Foundation and Lockheed Martin. The exhibit is produced by Clear Channel Exhibitions in educational collaboration with NASA and the NSTA and presented locally by SUBWAY Restaurants, KOMO TV and The Seattle PI and Infinity Radio Group.
Having demonstrated its capabilities on a vast array of flight vehicle applications here on Earth, Athena Technologies’ patented flight control algorithms may be used to fly a planetary research aircraft on Mars. NASA announced on Friday it has chosen Athena client NASA Langley Research Center of Hampton, Virginia as one of four team finalists for the first Mars Scout mission, planned for launch in 2007.