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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday August 01 2019, @03:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the one-of-these-days-Alice dept.

NASA has announced 19 non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements (SAAs) with 13 U.S. companies, including SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Aerogel Technologies of Boston, and others. No money will be exchanged, but NASA employees will offer their knowledge and expertise for a variety of projects.

SpaceX's SAAs concern landing Starship on the Moon and refueling Starship in-orbit:

SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, will work with NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to advance their technology to vertically land large rockets on the Moon. This includes advancing models to assess engine plume interaction with lunar regolith.

[...] SpaceX will work with Glenn and Marshall to advance technology needed to transfer propellant in orbit, an important step in the development of the company's Starship space vehicle.

Following its 20-meter hop test, SpaceX's Starhopper is scheduled to conduct a 200-meter hop no earlier than August 12, with backup dates on the 13th and 14th.

Blue Origin will work on a navigation system and technologies for the company's planned lunar lander:

Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, will collaborate with NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston and Goddard to mature a navigation and guidance system for safe and precise landing at a range of locations on the Moon.

[...] Blue Origin will partner with Glenn and Johnson to mature a fuel cell power system for the company's Blue Moon lander. The system could provide uninterrupted power during the lunar night, which lasts for about two weeks in most locations.

[...] Blue Origin, Marshall and Langley will evaluate and mature high-temperature materials for liquid rocket engine nozzles that could be used on lunar landers.

Other technologies being collaborated on include a CubeSat radio transponder for the Space Network, flexible aerogels for rocket soundproofing, and Hall-effect thrusters with extended operating range.


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  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Thursday August 01 2019, @04:16PM (1 child)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 01 2019, @04:16PM (#874089) Journal

    What is the possibility fuel cells could be off the shelf parts?

    What if navigation software could be open source?

    --
    The people who rely on government handouts and refuse to work should be kicked out of congress.
    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday August 01 2019, @10:15PM

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 01 2019, @10:15PM (#874298) Journal

      What if navigation software could be open source?

      openstreetmap is open software. Does it matter for the quality of the maps?

      (point: software is less of a problem. Reliable data is)

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0 https://soylentnews.org/~MichaelDavidCrawford
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01 2019, @05:51PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01 2019, @05:51PM (#874160)

    You need to control where the fuel is in the tank in order to pump it out.

    Gravity and thrust are options, but in short supply in space.
    That leaves radial force from rotation.

    You could rotate the whole ship about the long or short axis, but it might be simpler if one could gently rotate the fuel inside the tanks?
    Might be as simple as directional transfer ports around the rim of the tanks.
    (Kind of like the vanes in a turbine.)
    With the ships aligned end to end, then maybe the reaction torque on the vehicle at the goes-out'a cancels that at the comes-in'a.

    (Always fun to dream when unconstrained by having to make it work;-)

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday August 01 2019, @06:24PM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday August 01 2019, @06:24PM (#874170) Journal

      I was under the impression that SpaceX wanted to use thrust to transfer fuel from a tanker-version Starship to cargo/crewed version. Apparently, all Starships will be capable of transferring fuel, not just the tanker:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starship_(spacecraft) [wikipedia.org]

      tanker: a cargo-only propellant tanker to support the refilling of propellants in Earth orbit. The tanker will enable launching a heavy spacecraft to interplanetary space as the spacecraft being refueled can use its tanks twice, first to reach LEO and afterwards to leave Earth orbit. The tanker variant, also required for high-payload lunar flights, is expected to come only later; initial in-space propellant transfer will be from one standard Starship to another.

      Still looking for a source on using thrust.

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
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