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posted by martyb on Tuesday April 03 2018, @04:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the Commercial-Resupply-Services dept.

SpaceX has launched CRS-14 to the International Space Station (ISS) using a flight-proven Falcon 9 booster and Dragon capsule. This is the second time that both a flight-proven F9 (from CRS-12) and Dragon (from CRS-8) have been used.

The mission is carrying RemoveDebris, which will test technologies for removing space debris (simulated using two CubeSats) from orbit using a harpoon, net, and dragsail.

The Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM) is a European Space Agency project to add cameras and sensors to the ISS that will search the upper atmosphere for phenomena such as sprites, jets, and elves, and gamma-ray flashes caused by thunderstorms.

NASA, Tupperware Brands, and Techshot Inc. developed an upgraded system for growing plants in the ISS's "Veggie" facility. The semi-hydroponic Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System (PONDS) will ensure that plants (red romaine lettuce, and Mizuna) get just the amount of water that they need. The system is expected to grow tomatoes and peppers in the future.

Material International Space Station Experiments (MISSE) will allow materials experiments to be placed on the outside of the space station, exposed to radiation, temperature swings, and the vacuum of space, serviceable by a robotic arm.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Scientists Harvest First Vegetables Grown in the EDEN-ISS Antarctic Greenhouse 40 comments

Scientists have harvested the first vegetables grown in the EDEN-ISS greenhouse at Germany's Neumeyer-Station III in Antarctica. 3.6 kg of salad greens, 18 cucumbers, and 70 radishes were grown inside the greenhouse, which uses a closed water cycle with no soil.

An air management system controls the temperature and humidity, removes contaminants (such as ethylene, microbes, and viruses) and regulates the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide to optimize growth. Water-cooled LEDs deliver lighting with a spectrum that is 15% blue (400-500 nm), 10% green (500-600 nm), ~75% red (600-700 nm), and ~2% far-red (700-750 nm). A nutrient delivery system stores stock solutions, acids/bases, deionized water, and nutrient solution, and pumps them into the cultivation system as needed.

The final crop yield for the shipping container sized facility is estimated to be 4.25 kg per week (250g each of lettuce, chard, rugula, and spinach, 1 kg of tomatoes, 600g of sweet peppers, 1 kg of cucumbers, 250g of radishes, 100g of strawberries, and 300g of herbs). The purpose of the project is to test food production technologies that could be used on the International Space System, Moon, Mars missions, etc. It will also provide fresh food supplementation year-round for the crew of Neumeyer-Station III (estimated population of 9 in the winter, 50 in the summer).

EDEN-ISS has some advantages (open, DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.60431) (DX) over the ISS's current Veggie system, including a higher available growth surface, longer possible production cycle using complete nutrient solution circulation, better reliability and safety, and the ability to grow taller crops (up to 60 cm). The system is designed to be flown to the ISS as a payload of EDR II experimental inserts.

Related: Tomorrow, NASA Astronauts Will Finally Eat Fresh, Microgravity-Grown Veggies
SpaceX Launches CRS-14 Resupply Mission to the ISS (carried the competing Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System)

Original Submission

Space Junk Removal Testing Craft Ejected From the ISS 20 comments

Astronauts eject UK-led space junk demo mission

A UK-led project to showcase methods to tackle space junk has just been pushed out of the International Space Station.

The RemoveDebris satellite was ejected a short while ago with the help of a robotic arm.

The 100kg craft, built in Guildford, has a net and a harpoon.

These are just two of the multiple ideas currently being considered to snare rogue hardware, some 7,500 tonnes of which is now said to be circling the planet.

Previously: SpaceX Launches CRS-14 Resupply Mission to the ISS

Original Submission

Space Harpoon Pitched and Snags Target 19 comments

The research project called RemoveDEBRIS is

an effort to test various space junk removal technologies. The project, which involves a 220-pound satellite in low Earth orbit, is being led by the University of Surrey

In its third test, the project successfully snatched a piece of debris using its space harpoon. The harpoon shot out at 65 feet per second/20 meters per second (0.0007% of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum) its space-harpoon-claws successfully digging into the target and gaining a firm lock.

Previously, the satellite deployed a net to capture a simulated piece of space junk, and a laser-based camera system was used to locate a floating chunk of space debris. A fourth and final experiment will be conducted in March, when the satellite will pump the brakes by deploying a small sail.

At this point the satellite, and its low orbit loot, will plunge to Earth to burn up in the atmosphere.

The U.S. Space Surveillance Network estimates that around 29,000 objects larger than 10 centimeters are currently floating in Earth orbit, some at speeds approaching 10 kilometers per second, or 6 miles per second.

These bits and bobs can smash into other items in orbit creating even more debris in a cascading Earth enveloping satellite and astronaut destroying shower of doom referred to as the Kessler syndrome, named after Donald J. Kessler who first proposed it in 1978.

Lunar orbit is looking like a better place to be.

Previous Coverage: SpaceX Launches CRS-14 Resupply Mission to the ISS and Space Junk Removal Testing Craft Ejected From the ISS

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday April 03 2018, @07:48AM (1 child)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Tuesday April 03 2018, @07:48AM (#661854) Journal

    That ISS costs a lot of money for the value it returns. NASA wanted to end it years ago. But, the politicians insisted on keeping it. They whine about the cost of the James Webb, but they're okay with 10x that for the ISS.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday April 03 2018, @07:57AM

      by takyon (881) <> on Tuesday April 03 2018, @07:57AM (#661855) Journal

      But now that it's up there, they might as well use it up until it gets deorbited, split apart into new stations, or put under corporate control. Commercial Resupply Services are cheaper than Shuttle flights were.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by cyberthanasis on Tuesday April 03 2018, @08:43AM (1 child)

    by cyberthanasis (5212) on Tuesday April 03 2018, @08:43AM (#661863)

    Another perfect launch from SpaceX. They did not recover the (used) first stage, so it was somewhat boring, but of course I watched the video live from start to end. I keep thinking that these "boring" launces should have been a reality decades ago. Well, better late than never.