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USSF accepting proposals for third research opportunity under the USSF University Consortium


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    • By NASA
      NASA logo. Credit: NASA NASA will award funding to nearly 250 small business teams to develop new technologies to address agency priorities, such as carbon neutrality and energy storage for various applications in space and on Earth. The new awards from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program invest in a diverse portfolio of American small businesses and research institutions to support NASA’s future missions.
      About 34% of the companies selected are first-time NASA SBIR/STTR recipients. Each proposal team will receive $150,000 to establish the merit and feasibility of their innovations for a total agency investment of $44.85 million.
      “NASA is proud to continue its commitment to the creation and elevation of technologies that blaze trails in space and on Earth,” said Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage innovation and partnerships for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
      The Phase I SBIR contract awards small businesses and lasts for six months, while the Phase I STTR contract awards small businesses in partnership with a research institution and lasts for 13 months. In total, 209 small businesses received SBIR awards, and 39 small businesses and their research institution partners – including eight Minority Serving Institutions – received STTR awards. The complete list of this year’s SBIR and STTR awardees are available online.
      One of the firms working to address carbon neutrality is Exquadrum Inc., a minority-owned small business in Victorville, California. Exquadrum’s proposed technology will contribute to NASA’s effort to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050. The proposed technology offers higher energy conversion efficiency with no emission of pollutants. The propulsion system is compact and lightweight compared to current systems. The fuel and its products are safe to handle, and the propulsion system is reliable under extreme weather conditions. The propulsion system has the potential to aid the exploration of planets that have atmospheres like that of Mars.
      “Through our partnership with, and investment in, small businesses and research institutions, NASA continues to forge a crucial path in the development of technologies that have a concerted focus on long-term commercial uses,” said Jason L. Kessler, program executive for NASA’s SBIR/STTR program. “Our ongoing support of diverse innovators from throughout the country will continue to foster an ecosystem that will nurture the intrapreneurial spirit to drive innovation and exciting results.”
      The new SBIR/STTR investments will impact 41 states, including a team with Energized Composite Technologies, in Orlando, Florida, partnering with the University of Central Florida. Together, they will explore using carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite structural batteries for repurposable space applications, offering a multifunctional solution that integrates structural integrity with energy storage capabilities. The proposed structural battery panels integrate energy storage functionality into the structural components of the spacecraft, minimizing the additional space required for electrical storage while maximizing the available volume for payload. The structural battery panels used for the space vehicle could be repurposed after landing because the thermoplastic-based structural panels can be reshaped for other uses.
      NASA selected Phase I proposals to receive funding by judging their technical merit and responsiveness to known challenges. Based on their progress during Phase I, companies may submit proposals for up to $850,000 in Phase II funding to develop a prototype and subsequent SBIR/STTR Post Phase II opportunities.
      To learn more about NASA’s SBIR/STTR program and apply to future opportunities, visit:
      https://sbir.nasa.gov/
      -end-
      Jasmine Hopkins
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      jasmine.s.hopkins@nasa.gov
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      2 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      NASA’s Flight Opportunities program sent two university payloads on suborbital flight tests onboard Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity on June 8 when it launched from Spaceport America in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
      The payloads carrying scientific research from University of California, Berkeley and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, align with critical technology needs that NASA has identified in pursuit of the agency’s space commerce and exploration goals. The payload from UC Berkeley, studied a new type of 3D printing and the payload from Purdue studied how sloshing of liquid propellant affects spacecraft direction.
      The need to print building materials in space without having to transport them will be critical in the coming years as humans live and work in space for longer durations. Optimizing spacecraft and satellite design will help us increase the rate of scientific discoveries both here on our home planet and on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. 
      “Our program enables researchers to move from the lab to flight test rapidly, and in many cases, multiple flight tests across different commercial vehicles. This allows them the invaluable opportunity to learn from initial tests, implement improvements, and then fly again – or as we like to say, ‘fly, fix, fly,’” said Danielle McCulloch, program manager for Flight Opportunities at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.
      Photo credit: Virgin Galactic
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      Last Updated Jun 11, 2024 EditorDede DiniusContactSarah Mannsarah.mann@nasa.gov Related Terms
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    • By NASA
      Aurora and airglow are seen from the International Space Station in 2015.Credits: NASA/JSC/ESRS NASA has selected three proposals for concept studies of missions to investigate the complex system of space weather that surrounds our planet and how it’s connected to Earth’s atmosphere.
      The three concepts propose how to enact the DYNAMIC (Dynamical Neutral Atmosphere-Ionosphere Coupling) mission, which was recommended by the 2013 Decadal Survey for Solar and Space Physics. The DYNAMIC mission is designed to study how changes in Earth’s lower atmosphere influence our planet’s upper atmosphere, where space weather like auroras and satellite disruptions are manifested. This knowledge will benefit humanity by helping us understand how space weather can interfere with crucial technology like navigation systems and satellites.
      “Earth and space are an interconnected system that reaches from the heart of our solar system, the Sun, to the lowest reaches of the atmosphere where we live and extends to the edge of our heliosphere – the boundary of interstellar space,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “While space weather can spark the beautiful auroras across our skies, it also has the potential to cause disruptions for us here on Earth and can be dangerous for our spacecraft and astronauts in space. The DYNAMIC mission will expand our understanding of how Earth itself shapes space weather events that influence our home planet.”
      The DYNAMIC mission is designed to make measurements within Earth’s upper atmosphere between about 50-125 miles (80-200 kilometers) in altitude. With multiple spacecraft, DYNAMIC’s simultaneous observations from different locations can give scientists a more complete picture of how waves propagate upwards through this part of the atmosphere.
      NASA’s fiscal year 2023 appropriation directed NASA to initiate this first phase of study. As the first step of a two-step selection process, each proposal will receive $2 million for a concept study. NASA solicited missions with a cost cap of $250 million, which does not include the launch. The studies will last nine months.
      The selected concept teams are:
      University of Colorado, Boulder, led by principal investigator Tomoko Matsuo Key partners include Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts.
      University of Colorado, Boulder, led by principal investigator Aimee Merkel Key partners include BAE Systems in Westminster, Colorado, and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington.
      Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, led by principal investigator Scott Bailey Key partners include Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, Global Atmospheric Technologies and Sciences in Newport News, Virginia, and Computational Physics, Inc. in Boulder, Colorado.
      For more information on NASA heliophysics missions, visit:
      https://science.nasa.gov/heliophysics
      -end-
      Karen Fox
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      karen.fox@nasa.gov
      Sarah Frazier
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
      202-853-7191
      sarah.frazier@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jun 11, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Space Weather Earth's Atmosphere Heliophysics Science & Research Science Mission Directorate View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA/Don Richey The Intersex Progress Pride flag (beneath the American flag) flies in front of the Administration Building at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on June 5, 2024, to commemorate LGBTQI+ Pride Month. This is the first time the flag has flown at any NASA center.
      We celebrate and honor the LGBTQI+ members of our NASA community and recognize the continued work to be done to create an inclusive, welcoming, and supportive environment.
      Image Credit: NASA/Don Richey
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    • By NASA
      2 min read
      NASA’s Repository Supports Research of Commercial Astronaut Health  
      Biological data from the Inspiration4 crew has been added to NASA’s Open Science Data Repository, giving researchers access to better understand the impact of space on the human body. SpaceX/Inspiration4 NASA’s Open Science Data Repository provides valuable information to researchers studying the impact of space on the human body. Nearly three years after the Inspiration4 commercial crew launch, biological data from the mission represents the first comprehensive, open-access database to include commercial astronaut health information. 
      Access to astronaut research data from astronauts has historically been limited, due to privacy regulations and concerns, but the field of astronauts is changing as commercial spaceflight becomes feasible for civilians.  
      “Open-access data is fundamentally transforming our approach to spaceflight research,” said Dr. Sylvain Costes, project manager of the Open Science Data Repository. “The repository is instrumental in this transformation, ensuring that all space-related biological and biomedical data are accessible to everyone. This broad access is vital for driving innovation across fields from astronaut health to terrestrial medical sciences.” 
      The collaborative efforts in opening data researchers has led to multiple scientific papers on astronaut health published in Nature in June. The papers represents research to better understand the impact of spaceflight on the human body, how viruses might spread in a zero-gravity environment, and how countermeasures may protect humans on future long-duration missions. 
      Ongoing access to the data captured by commercial astronauts means the research can continue long after the crew returns to Earth, impacting the future of research beyond spaceflight, including cancer and genetic diseases and bone health. 
      “This series of inspiring articles enabled by the repository and enriched by new data generously shared by commercial astronauts aboard the Inspiration4 mission exemplifies our commitment to open science,” said Costes. “By making our data fully accessible and usable, we’re enabling researchers worldwide to explore new frontiers in space biology.” 
      NASA’s Open Science Data Repository is based out of the agency’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. NASA continues to pursue the best methods and technologies to support safe, productive human space travel. Through science conducted in laboratories, ground-based analogs, and missions to the International Space Station, NASA continues to research innovative ways to keep astronauts healthy as space explorations continues to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. 
      About the Author
      Tara Friesen

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