Suborbital Opportunities for Students


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This was a talk I gave at CU Boulder SEDs in Nov 2011 to showcase the variety and opportunities for student-run science and engineering experiments on suborbital platforms. The area of suborbital space is rapidly expanding and is set to change how we expand our use of technology for future science and exploration space missions.

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  • Treatise: English transition of Book 2 of the Principia. But appeared after Newton’s death. After Newton's death in 1727, the relatively accessible character of its writing encouraged the publication of an English translation in 1728 (by persons still unknown, not authorized by Newton's heirs). Famous Newton CanonBall Diagram Scenario C & D: At least 7.8 km/s (28,200 kph, 17,500 mph). Scenario A & B are suborbital. Scenario C & D are orbital. Scenario E leaves the system. Scenario E: To leave planet Earth an escape velocity of 11.2 km/s (approx. 40,320 km/h, or 25,000 mph) is required. To leave the solar system (escape the Sun’s gravity) you need to be traveling 42.1 km/s (152,000 km/hr or 95,000 mph.
  • Scientific Balloon Facility, the facility was established in Boulder, Colorado in 1961 under the National Science Foundation. Renamed the National Scientific Balloon Facility (NSBF) in July 1972. In 1982 NSBF came under NASA rather than NSF. NSBF renamed CSBF (Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility) in Aug 2005. On May 5, 1961, atop Redstone rocket Shepard flew 16 minutes to max altitude of 187 km (116 mi). He never orbited the Earth. Shepard got to fly again ~10 years later on Apollo 14, and walked on the moon Feb 5, 1971.
  • 1 - Vandenberg 2 - Edwards 3 - Wallops Island 4 - Cape Canaveral 5 - Kourou 6 - Alcantara 7 - Hammaguir 8 - Torrejon 9 - Andoya 10 - Plesetsk 11 - Kapustin Yar 12 - Palmachim 13 - San Marco 14 - Baikonur Kazakhstan, the world's first and largest operational space launch facility 15 - Sriharikota 16 - Jiuquan 17 - Xichang 18 - Taiyuan 19 - Svobodny 20 - Kagoshima 21 - Tanegashima 22 - Woomera 23 -- Kodiak
  • Program sponsored by NASA’s “Summer of Innovation Program.” 21 student experiments on board. Experiments include 35 sensors including electromagnetic field, carbon dioxide detectors, radiation, acceleration, temperature, pressure and electricity sensor.
  • How many of you are involved in this program? What did you fly? What did you learn?
  • They do not “reach the edge of space” but they still Move through the atmosphere of the body from which it was launched Are not traveling fast enough to escape gravity Do not go into orbit.
  • Suborbital science is inherently cross-cutting.
  • Suborbital science is inherently cross-cutting.
  • Discovered in the mid-1990s by the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory They seem to have a connection with lightning, but TGFs themselves are something entirely different. Gamma-rays produced at stratospheric altitudes are readily observable from 60-100 km Although TGFs are quite brief (1-2 milliseconds), they appear to be the most energetic events on Earth. They belch destructive gamma-rays packing over ten million times the energy of visible light photons – enough punch to penetrate several inches of lead. In the skies above a thunderstorm, powerful electric fields generated by the storm stretch upward for many miles into the upper atmosphere. These electric fields accelerate free electrons, whisking them to speeds approaching the speed of light. When these ultra-high speed electrons collide with molecules in the air, the collisions release high-energy gamma rays as well as more electrons, setting up a cascade of collisions and perhaps more TGFs. Experiments has a gamma-ray detector, wave receiver and photometer experiment---Get simultaneous measurements of the gamma ray, the optical signature in the lightning flash and radio waves radiated by the lightning Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor, or ASIM, is a European Space Agency mission that will fly aboard the International Space Station and observe TGFs. ASIM is scheduled to be mounted on the Columbus External Payload Facility in 2014.
  • Airplane – 6.6 mi (10.6 km) Troposphere Weather Balloon – 11.3-22.7 mi (18-37 km) Stratosphere Suborbital Craft – flies up to 62 mi (100 km) Way up into the Mesosphere and Thermosphere
  • Views of Earth: Airline, Balloon, Suborbital and ISS Top Left Airliner: 737 Airlines in 2009 flying over Canadian Rockies. Top Right: Teddy-Nauts. Dec 2008. The project was part of the Cambridge University Spaceflight program, which worked with 11- and 12-year-olds from nearby schools to encourage science education. The bears rose 100,000 feet (19miles) in the air and stayed there for two hours and nine minutes. Thanks to a GPS system attached to the bear. Bottom Left: Suborbital prediction Bottom Right: Image from ISS of Hurricane Felix Sept 2007.
  • Drop Towers: NASA Glenn runs “The Zero G Facility” drop tower provides a near weightless or microgravity environment for 5.18 seconds as the experiment vehicle free falls, in a vacuum, for 432 ft. Evacuating the chamber to a pressure of less than 0.01 torr lowers the aerodynamic drag on the free falling vehicle to less than 0.00001 g. At the end of the free fall the experiment vehicle is stopped at a mean rate of 35 g in the decelerator cart. The decelerator cart is 12 feet in diameter and 20 feet in depth and is filled with small spheres of expanded polystyrene. The expanded polystyrene safely stops the drop vehicle in a distance of about 15 feet. More than 4500 drops have been conducted in the facility since it became operational in 1966. ESA runs the drop tower 'Bremen' features a 110 meter (360 ft) high drop chamber with a diameter of 3.5 m that can be evacuated. An ensemble of 18 pumps allows the attainment of a residual pressure in the chamber of 1 Pa within 2.5 hours. Parabolic Aircraft: NASA has been flying parabolic flights on NASA-owned KC-135 and C-9B aircraft for decades out of Ellington Field under the management of the Johnson Space Center's Reduced Gravity Office. NASA awarded a contract to the Zero Gravity Corporation in January 2008 to provide commercial parabolic aircraft flights to simulate variable gravity environments for research and development work. Each flight includes 40-60 parabolic trajectories. NASA Flight Weeks will generally be conducted out of Ellington Field in Houston, Texas. The aircraft can provide about 25 seconds of near-zero-gravity conditions during each parabolic maneuver. It can provide variable gravity levels between zero and one, including 0.16 g for lunar conditions and 0.38 g for Mars conditions. An increased gravity level of up to 1.8 g can be provided for up to one minute. Such flights are conducted on specially-configured aircraft, and provide a period of up to 20 seconds of reduced gravity or weightlessness. During a flight campaign, which normally consists of three individual flights, around 30 parabolas are flown on each flight, i.e. around 90 parabolas in total. On each parabola, there is a period of increased gravity (1.8 g) which lasts for 20 seconds immediately prior to and following the 20 second period of reduced gravity.
  • Itokawa is likely “all-regolith” small rubble pile composed of gravel to boulder-sized fragments loosely bound together by its own feeble gravity. Rubble piles have low density because there are large cavities between the various 'chunks' that comprise them. Itokawa no obvious impact craters and is thus almost certainly a coalescence of shattered fragments Microgravity environment provides free collisions in the sub-cm/s velocity range Derive block shapes from imaging (i.e. using 2D projections in images to known 3D axes ratios) Rubble piles have low density because there are large cavities between the various 'chunks' that comprise them. Most of the boulders on Itokawa originated from disruption of a larger parent body -> then spread uniformly across surface. BUT the smaller boulders would have been redistributed by seismic shaking (from other impact grating); gravel would migrate into the smooth terrains of low grav potential. Finer particles have higher mobility (due to low friction angle). Larger boulders could not move easily and got stranded Laboratory impact experiments indicate shape of fragments over a broad size range is distributed around the mean value of the axial ratio 2:sqrt(2):1 Laboratory impact experiments produce fragments of size a:b:c=1:0.7:0.5 (e.g. Capaccioni, F. et al. 1984 & 1986, Fujikawa, A. et al. 1978) Hayabusa hi-res images of asteroid 25143 Itokawa derive a similar shape distribution for blocks in the coarse rubble-pile regolith
  • Flew by the shuttle astronauts in the 1989-1995 as voluntary experiments done by some of the astronauts. Periods of onset gravity only occurred at the end of each mission, so the data points are limited. Multiple flights per day/week by these vehicles will provide opportunities for large samples of data never obtained before. Test Program F104 Starfighter (6Gs) Nov 2010, NASTAR Testing May 2011.
  • Using COTS components -- low-cost, iterative design Nov 2010 Testing on F-104 Starfighter zero-g parabolas Evaluated rock size, distribution, visibility for volume March 2011 Vibration Workmanship Risk reduction test for Blue Origin launch profile TBR 2011 Zero-G Gather “0-25s” timescale data ~$2K for one box/camera system. Add in costs of a laptop for storage of data and some batteries to power the cameras & LEDs. 7.1 kg, 14W, 35.6x29.2x20.6cm, 45.2GB (2 camera/2 box config)
  • SWUIS is a portable, compact, rugged, platform adaptable, inexpensive, scientist-in-the-loop, real-time, sensitive, UV/visible camera & data storage system. Shuttle Version: Flew on two STS flights STS-85 (Discovery) Aug 1997, Unique wide-field observations of Hale Bopp in UV; STS-93 (Columbia) Jul 1999, Observed the clouds of Venus Searched for faint emissions in the Jovian system, Mapped the Moon in the UV for the first time, Searched for a hypothesized asteroid belt ("The Vulcanoids") inside Mercury's orbit (top image) STS093-347-027 (23-27 July 1999) --- Astronauts Steven A. Hawley (left) and Michel Tognini, mission specialists, are pictured with the Southwest Ultraviolet Imaging System (SWUIS) on the middeck of the Space Shuttle Columbia. SWUIS was used during the mission to image planets and other solar system bodies in order to explore their atmospheres and surfaces in ultraviolet (UV) region of the spectrum, which astronomers value for diagnostic work. Tognini represents the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) of France. Aircraft Version: First demonstration flights SR-71 Blackbird 1993 , 14 completed science observation campaigns between 1997-1999, System adaptable for multiple Aircraft, WB-57 , F/A-19B , USAF NKC 135-E (FISTA) (middle version): Alan Stern in the SR-71 in 1998. Resurrection 2010: Current system has a 4.3 x 5.0 FOV (test lens) Bottom image, some aliveness testing on roof of SwRI Feb 2011 by Robert Smith
  • Virgin Galactic - White Knight Two & Space Ship Two XCOR - Lynx (artists representation) Armadillo - showing their Mod vehicle under test in 2008 Blue Origin - showing their New Goddard vehicle under test in 2006 Masten - showing their Xombie vehicle under test in 2009
  • This is a very dynamic area Yellow Box are the Winners from a NASA Sponsored Grant August 2011 White Box are those starting to demonstrate test flights, new to the arena
  • Stig is “Supermod with cylindrical tanks” Photo: top right is from Mar 31, 3011 Stig “hover test” bottom right is from Sept 16, 2010 free flight test June 2011 Dalek reached a height of 4,796 feet (1,461 meters). But engine instability 11 seconds into the flight caused rocket fins to break off and other debris from the engine compartment to flutter to the ground. July 2011 testing of Stig
  • The company's innovative 'pusher' Launch Abort System (LAS) was one of the technologies that was of particular interest to NASA. To date abort systems have been of the tractor variety, which pulls a crew vehicle to safety in case of an emergency. The spacecraft is based on technology like that used for the McDonnell Douglas DC-X and derivative DC-XA. In late August 2011 lost the vehicle during a developmental test at Mach 1.2 and an altitude of 45,000 feet. They are working on a new design now.
  • November 2, 2009 it was announced that Masten Space Systems had won first place in the level two category, with Armadillo Aerospace coming in second Xogdor another test vehicle
  • feathered flight -- demonstration of their reentry configuration SpaceShipTwo is the prototype for the world's first commercial manned spaceship, destined to take private astronauts into space and paving the way for space transportation. The duration of the flights will be approximately 2.5 hours, though only a few minutes of that will be in space. The price will initially be $200,000. last test flight (as of this presentation) 29 Sept 2011.
  • The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and re-usable rocket engines and rocket powered vehicles. Lynx is a small rocket-powered aircraft capable of carrying one pilot, a ticketed passenger and/or a payload in a suborbital trajectory. Mark I (Prototype) will fly to 61 km (200,000 ft) and can provide nearly one minute (56 seconds) of microgravity. Mark II (Production Model) will be able to reach 100 km (330,000 ft) with almost three minutes (186 seconds) of microgravity. Lynx uses its own fully reusable rocket propulsion system to depart from a runway and return safely. Because it lacks any propulsion system other than its rocket engines, the Lynx will have to be towed to the end of the runway. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis. ( The first group of XCOR Lynx payload integration specialist firms include the following (in alphabetical order): the African Space Institute of Durban, South Africa; Cosmica Spacelines of Toulouse, France; NanoRacks of Lexington, Kentucky and Washington, D.C.; the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado; Space Chariots in Oxon, England; Space Experience Curaçao of the Netherlands and the Caribbean island of Curaçao; Spaceflight Services in Tukwila, Washington, Valencia, California, and Huntsville, Alabama; and Yecheon Astro Space Center, Yecheon, South Korea.
  • It flies parabolic arcs similar to those of NASA's KC-135 Reduced gravity aircraft, but was designed to be less expensive to purchase and maintain The Safety Approval, granted on April 20, 2011 and in effect for five years, allows ZERO-G to offer reduced gravity parabolic flight profiles to prospective suborbital launch operators to meet the applicable components of the crew qualification and training requirements outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (14 C.F.R. § 460.5). These regulations require crew members to complete training on how to carry out their roles on board or on the ground and to demonstrate the ability to withstand the stresses of spaceflight, which may include high acceleration or deceleration, microgravity, and vibration.
  • ISS payload 700 kg is for the International Standard Payload Rack (ISPR) available payload mass. Other configurations are possible, usually smaller in mass. Sounding rockets can actually reach 3000 km, but for smaller payloads (1000lbs=450kg) at $5M.
  • ISS payload 700 kg is for the International Standard Payload Rack (ISPR) available payload mass. Other configurations are possible, usually smaller in mass. Sounding rockets can actually reach 3000 km, but for smaller payloads (1000lbs=450kg) at $5M.
  • The goal for FAST is to help emerging technologies move from TRL 4-5 to TRL 6-7. Managers typically consider TRL 6 to be the minimum level of maturity for incorporating new technology in a major development program. The key factor in "bridging the TRL gap" is testing in the space environment.
  • Alan Stern: My analogy for the relationship between the station and suborbital research is a baseball one: the major leagues rely on the minors as a feeder system and I think this is a similar relationship between station (i.e., the major leagues) and suborbital (i.e., the minors). Without the minor leagues, the majors would be crippled; they would not have the farm teams to develop techniques and players. I think the station can use suborbital in the same way and very cost effectively. Active roster of a major league team may contain a maximum of 25 players. There are 30 teams in MLB. That would make a maximum of 750 players on major league rosters at any one time during a season.
  • Special Interest Groups -- like space tourism, will eventually fall under FAA. Not a NASA concern. Acronyms: FAA AST : Office of Commercial Space Transportation in the Federal Aviation Administration; NASA FOP : NASA”s Flight Opportunities Program; NASA : National Aeronautics & Space Administration; SARG : Suborbital Applications Research Group; NSRC : Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference
  • It’s important to note where Commercial Suborbital has been placed in the NASA architecture. This mainly affects funding for now, but does have implications for how this new item is to be integrated into the larger picture at NASA.
  • Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) and Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology (FAST) are hosted within NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program within the Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT). NASA is not interested in establishing specific payload interface standards. The market, the users and the vehicle providers, will determine what is the vehicle interface. NASA’s job in the Flight Opportunities Program is to try to bring the two sides of that market together. The Ames responsibility in the area of safety is to assess each payload for the risk of harming the vehicle, crew or ground personnel, and interfering with any vehicle systems or other payloads. If the risk is found to be unacceptable, Ames may suggest mitigations or refuse to allow the payload to fly. Because these are opportunities for researchers to try new things which means taking greater risks, the successful operation of the payload is should be the responsibility of the researcher. Interface properly to the launch vehicles without increasing risks to the launch vehicle performance or reliability.
  • NASA working for and with commercial and educational institutions to further science and technology of use to all. NASA trying to get in the middle between the supply (vendor) and the demand (researchers)
  • Get involved now! You can be working on payloads now on existing platforms which you can later tailor for the rSLVs!
  • is a hands-on workshop where participants learn to build a small rocket payload and launch it on a sounding rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility (follow a kit) RockSat-C -- design a payload that fits within a canister to ride on a sounding rocket, submit intent in September, if viable, you have three reviews & monthly progress reports, CDR in Dec, fly payloads in the Jan-Jun timeperiod.
  • “ launch an autonomous cansat with a deployable lander containing one large raw hen egg” there are restrictions on how fast the payload descends, etc. to allow for scoring.
  • Designed to carry up to twelve student payloads to an altitude of about 36 kilometers with flight durations of 15 to 20 hours using a small volume, zero pressure balloon. It is anticipated that the payloads carried by HASP will be designed and built by students and will be used to flight-test compact satellites or prototypes and to fly other small experiments. However, student teams must provide their own funding to support payload development and integration and there are a few document “deliverables” that the teams must supply.
  • Generating an idea for a microgravity experiment is the first stage in competing for a program “slot.” The idea for a reduced gravity experiment is developed by a team of undergraduate students - either as part of a class project or as independent research. The Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program provides a unique academic experience for undergraduate students to successfully propose, design, fabricate, fly and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment of their choice over the course of four-six months. The overall experience includes scientific research, hands-on experimental design, test operations and educational/public outreach activities.
  • SSEP Mission 1 to the International Space Station Started July 31, 2011. Need to have your LOI in by Sept 15, 2011, Proposals due Nov 28, 2011. Downselect Dec 14, 2011. Hardware due Feb 29, 2012. Launch on Soyuz 30 (Mar 30, 2012). Return on Soyuz 29 (May 16, 2012) Surprised it is so complicated. Grades 5-16 This is a program of the National center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) and NanoRacks, LLC. SSEP Mission 2 to the International Space Station, the fourth SSEP flight opportunity to date. The SSEP Mission 2 experiments payload will be transported to ISS aboard Soyuz 32, currently scheduled to launch September 26, 2012, and will return to Earth aboard Soyuz 31, currently scheduled for de-orbit on November 12, 2012. Student team experiments will therefore be in orbit for 6.7 weeks according to the current schedule.
  • DIME is high school WING is grades 5-8 Teams may be formed from (for example) a science class, a group of classes, a science club, a Scout troop, or simply a bunch of friends. A team (whether DIME or WING) must have an adult advisor, such as a teacher, parent, or technical consultant.
  • Get your instrument on a high-alt aircraft need to go through NASA Airborne Science Program ( This system was designed to allow researchers that are funded by NASA or other agencies to have access to unique NASA aircraft, as well as commercial aircraft with which NASA has made contracting arrangements. “fee-for-service basis” User fees are paid by the investigator's funding source's research program or directly from the investigator's grant funds. Missions for non-SMD investigators will be approved on a case-by-case basis. Missions that do not benefit NASA or SMD research objectives will not be sponsored by the SMD program, and must pay for the facilities under a full-cost reimbursable basis, and in addition, must demonstrate that the NASA SMD facilities provide a unique capability that is not available through commercial sources.
  • AITT - Airborne Instrument Technology Transition (Appendix A.24) G/LCAS -Geospace Low Cost Access to Space (Appendix B.3) SHP LCAS - Solar & Heliophysics Low Cost Access to Space (Appendix B.4) PAST - Planetary Astronomy Program (Appendix C.5) ASP - Astrobiology Small Payloads (Appendix C.25) APRET - Astrophysics Research & Enabling Technology Program (Appendix D.3) (formerly APRA/Astrophysics Research & Analysis Program)
  • This slides shows THREE PATHS. Top 1: Using another NASA grant to fund the payload development. Middle: Using a non-NASA grant to fund payload development. Bottom: The ultimate path without needing Flight opportunities and also a way you can still operate now if you have your funds. You are writing one or two proposals depending on path. The payloads funded for flight will had had some sort of peer review. CIR - SMD will conduct a CRuSR investigation review (CIR) for all CRuSR vehicle projects ROSES is a yearly call. ROSES SMD Section IV(f) and ROSES SMD Appendix A1 Section 4.6 [Earth Science] suggests only Terrestrial Ecology (A.4), Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry (A.3), IceBridge Research (A.11), and HyspIRI Preparatory Airborne Activities and Associated Science (Appendix A.26) are relevant for CRuSR vehicles “In order to be compliant, a clear and convincing scientific, technical, and/or cost argument must be made that use of a CRuSR platform is required to produce the needed results in ways that could not be accomplished through the use of other suborbital platforms.” - Section IV(f) For Astrophysics/Heliophysics/Planetary Science, the applicable areas for CRuSR may be AITT - Airborne Instrument Technology Transition (Appendix A.24) G/LCAS -Geospace Low Cost Access to Space (Appendix B.3), SHP LCAS - Solar & Heliophysics Low Cost Access to Space (Appendix B.4), PAST - Planetary Astronomy Program (Appendix C.5), ASP - Astrobiology Small Payloads (Appendix C.25), and APRET - Astrophysics Research & Enabling Technology Program (Appendix D.3) (formerly APRA/Astrophysics Research & Analysis Program) Apparently ESMD & SOMD are merging. Life science & microgravity would be covered there within NASA. Flight Opportunities does welcome instruments from non-NASA sources, just need to demonstrate they are at TRL4 and higher. And you need to indicate when the payload is ready to fly.
  • Founded in 2005 STIM-Grants program for spaceport infrastructure, FAA regulations and permits, industry safety standards, public outreach, and public advocacy On August 10, 2009, the CSF announced the creation of the Suborbital Applications Research Group (SARG). On November 23, 2009, the CSF announced the creation of the Spaceports Council. On February 18, 2010, the CSF announced a new research and education affiliates program
  • Mark Sirangelo, said that "Researchers, engineers, and educators will be among the primary beneficiaries of the new generation of low-cost commercial spacecraft, as payload opportunities to space start to grow. We’re excited to create a new category of affiliate membership to strengthen the ties between the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the research and education community."
  • On April 7, 2010, George Nield, Associate Administrator for the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation officially declared NASTAR as the first to ever receive FAA Safety Approval designation for our Space Training Programs featuring the STS-400 Space Training Simulator.
  • Suborbital Opportunities for Students

    1. 1. Fly Early, Fly Often, Fly Safe(science and research on reusable suborbital vehicles) Dr. Kimberly Ennico NASA Ames Research Center November 15, 2011 CU SEDS
    2. 2. A little bit about me...
    3. 3. Photo by C. Conrad Dr. Kimberly Ennico & Dr. Sam Durrance (STS-35 & STS-67) at the runway dedication of Spaceport America, Las Cruces, NM, October 22, 2010.
    4. 4. Topics du jour What is Suborbital? What is Suborbital Science? What is Commercial Suborbital?  Who are involved?  What are NASA’s roles?  How can you get involved?
    5. 5. Topics du jour What is Suborbital? What is Suborbital Science? What is Commercial Suborbital?  Who are involved?  What are NASA’s roles?  How can you get involved?
    6. 6. What is Suborbital? Do reach space Move through the atmosphere of the body from which it was launched Are not traveling fast enough to escape gravity Do not go into orbit. Image adapted from Sir Isaac Newton’s A Treatise of the System of the World (c1680s)
    7. 7. Suborbital is nothing new...A Black Brant BalloonXII being payloadlaunched from beingNASA’s Wallops preppedFlight Facility by the CSBF in Palestine, TX. May 5, 1961 Alan Shepard’s historic Redstone rocket flight.
    8. 8. Suborbital is International Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) Japanese Balloon & Sounding Rocket Programhs de wS ec ap S Australian Space Research Norways i Institute Andøya Rocket Rangehr opa Cgna s E) mi e GA S DAE/a nu lo e r y na m rt s u rS s ux a M yili c af c r t
    9. 9. Major World Spaceports 23 *This graphic is a bit dated (see next slide)
    10. 10. 21st Century U.S. Spaceports
    11. 11. Spaceport America Runway DedicationPhotos by Kimberly Ennico October 22, 2010
    12. 12. Spaceport America Hangar Dedication October 17, 2011Photos by Mark Greenberg/Virgin Galactic
    13. 13. Student Launch (SL-5) May 20, 2011
    14. 14. CU RocketSat Sounding Rocket Payload Program Started in 2005 by studentsRockSat1 - Launched Sep 25, 2006aRockSat2 - Launched Apr 28,2007aRockSat3- Launched June 27, 2007aRockSat 4 - Launched June 27, 2008bRockOn/RockSat - Launched June 26, 2009bMorphed into the RockSat-C & X programs...Las Cruces, NM; bWallops, VAa
    15. 15. “Suborbital” has also been used to describe these platforms... ER-2GlobalHawk WB57 Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy
    16. 16. Topics du jour What is Suborbital? What is Suborbital Science? What is Commercial Suborbital?  Who are involved?  What are NASA’s roles?  How can you get involved?
    17. 17. What is Suborbital Science? Science enabled by Science enabled by access to 100 km (62 periods of micro or zero mile) altitude gravity Earth Science  Biotech  Remote Sensing  Gene Expression  Climate Science  Fundamental biology  Vertical Atmospheric Sampling  Vestibular system Helioscience  Fundamental Physics  Solar storms  Fluid dynamics Observational science  Particle agglomeration  Infrared optics  Human physiology  Astronomy targets of opportunity  Transitional g-response Astrobiology  Radiation effects  DNA/microbes at edge of space  Material Science  Metal alloy phase separation  Combustion physics Technology Development STEM Education Workforce Development
    18. 18. What is Suborbital Science? Science Payloads Science PayloadsTechnology Development STEM Education Workforce Development
    19. 19. High Altitude Science Spotlight Study of the mechanisms by which TGFs (Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes) are produced by lightning Approach to have sensor permanently mounted on the suborbital vehicle  γ-ray detector, wave receiver & optical photometer High flight frequency & routine flights enables cataloging of (1-2 ms) events and monitoring PI: Joanne Hill, GSFC Platform: Lynx, SS2 news/science-at-nasa/2010/29jan_firefly/
    20. 20. TGFs
    21. 21. 35,000 feet 100,000 feet(airline) (balloon)Expected for 330,000 feet 1,000,000 feet(commercial suborbital) (ISS)
    22. 22. Microgravity Science NASA Glenns 5 second Zero Gravity FacilityDrop TowersParabolic Aircraft Zero Gravity Corporation
    23. 23. Microgravity Science Spotlight A proposed study on how Itokawa “rubble pile” asteroids form and stick An experimental study of the mechanical reorientation of ejecta 535 × 294 × 209 meters blocks in a microgravity environment Approach tests methods of reconstructing the block distribution from an imaging dataset PI: Dan Durda/SwRI Platform: SF-104, Zero-G, Blue Origin
    24. 24. the SwRI Pathfinder Payloads
    25. 25. BioHarnessSuborbital Environment:Changes in gravityScience Field:Life science, physiologyObjective:To understand the human’s cardiovascularsystem response due to instantaneouschanges in gravity by repeatedly sampling alarge population of individualsExperiment Duration:Sequences of 5-10 min measurementsHuman Tended:YesSpecifications:Mass: 357.2 gPower: 6VDC (four 1.5V AA Batteries)Volume: 8.25 x 12.7 x 3.3 cmData Volume: supports 24 hr constant monitoring
    26. 26. Box of RocksSuborbital Environment:MicrogravityScience Field:Planetary ScienceObjective:To understand the surface properties of smallasteroids & comets by observing mechanicalreorientation of ejecta blocks in a microgravityenvironment.Experiment Duration:5 minutes µ−gravityHuman Tended:Not requiredSpecifications:Mass: 7.1kgPower: 14WVolume: 35.6 x 29.2 x 20.6 cm*Data Volume: 45.2 GB*
    27. 27. SWUISSuborbital Environment:Access from above 50 km altitudeScience Field:Earth & atmospheric sciences, planetaryastronomyObjective:Wide-field UV-visible imagingExperiment Duration: (depends on target)System sensitivity V=8 mag (0.033s),V=11mag (10sec co-add)Human Tended:YesSpecifications:Mass: 6.5 kgPower: <18W (needs 11-15 VDC)Volume: All parts fit within 45.5 x 45.5 x 10 cmData Volume: 40 GB (60 minutes continuous at30fps)
    28. 28. Suborbital SWUIS-type system Unique observations provided by unique access at higher elevations >100 km (62 mi) Get minutes at twilight (instead of seconds) enable searches of large areas close to the Sun 80-100 km (50-62 mi) Meteors form when Earth intercepts a particle debris stream (meteor showers) 50-100 km (31-62 mi) Sprites & Elve phenomena in Mesosphere >50 km (31mi) get above ozone, enable UV observations 20-40 km (12-25 mi) Blue Jets phenomena in Stratosphere 15 km (9mi) regime of highest aircraft platforms (manned w/ viewing windows) 8 km (5 mi) get above most of water, enables IR observations
    29. 29. Scientist-operated Remote Sensing experiments(targets of opportunity, unique observational windows provided by altitude) Repeated sampling Human physiology harness/experiments (vision, heart, motor skills, ...) Multiple subjects & sampling Passive microgravity experiments (biology, physics, fluids, ...) Remote/autonomously operated Repeated experiments the SwRI Approach... Multiple Science Payloads per Flight“More science for your buck!”
    30. 30. Topics du jour What is Suborbital? What is Suborbital Science? What is Commercial Suborbital?  Who are involved?  What are NASA’s roles?  How can you get involved?
    31. 31. What is Commercial Suborbital? Suborbital vehicles under development by emerging commercial companies Reusable vehicles  High flight rates  Rapid-turn around  Fly-on-demand All support unmanned payloads Some allow human-tended experiments Lower cost than existing research methods
    32. 32. Topics du jour What is Suborbital? What is Suborbital Science? What is Commercial Suborbital?  Who are involved?  What are NASA’s roles?  How can you get involved?
    33. 33. (circa 2010)Virgin Galactic Armadillo Aerospace XCOR AerospaceMasten Space Systems Blue Origin
    34. 34. The current players are expanding....RocketPlane Global Up Aerospace Near Space CorpVirgin Galactic …and more to come… Armadillo Aerospace XCOR Aerospace Whittinghill Aerospace 4 Frontier’s Star LabMasten Space Systems Blue Origin
    35. 35. When 1st test flights are expected 2011 Armadillo AerospaceSupermod/Stig May 2011 (VTVL / Unpiloted) Jul 2011 Mar 2011 June 2011 Sep 2010
    36. 36. 2011 Blue Origin August 2011 August 2011New Shepard(VTVL / Unpiloted) New Goddard test vehicle 2006 Composite pressure vessel Mar 2011
    37. 37. 2011Masten Space Systems Xaero Xoie Xombie(VTVL / Unpiloted) Oct 2009 Nov 2011 Test Stand Xaero May 2011
    38. 38. 2010 Virgin Galactic Space Ship Two (HTHL/Piloted)
    39. 39. Photo: Mark Greenberg/Virgin America April 6, 2011. Opening of SFO’s Terminal 2.White Knight 2 with Space Ship 2, underneath, visits SFO.
    40. 40. 2012 XCOR Aerospace Lynx Wind Tunnel Testing 2010(HTHL / Piloted) March 2011
    41. 41. Zero-G 2008 (not a suborbital vehicle, but an excellent venue for training)G-Force One(Boeing 727-200F ) FAST 2009 Flight FAST 2010 Flight
    42. 42. Who are Involved? These new commercial suborbital vehicles are “Complementary notCompetitive” to other suborbital and/or microgravity platforms
    43. 43. How do the platforms compare? High International Drop Sounding Parabolic CommercialPlatform Altitude Space Towers Rockets Flights Suborbital Balloons Station Cost $5K $0.5-$1.2M $200-500K $8K $1-2.5M $50-200K Cont. Time 1-5 30 days to 20 minutes 0 seconds 4 minutesin µ-gravity seconds seconds months Quality of High High None Low High HighMicrogravity Multiple Multiple Launch Once per Once every Few times a Once every flights per flights per frequency month 6 months year 6 months day day Few Several Few Prep Time Few days ~ 1 year ~ 1year months Years months Payload 500-1000 < 700 kg < 450 kg < 680 kg < 1500 kg 20 - 100 kg Mass kg ~1kg return Altitude 150 m 50-1,500 km 45-50 km 10 km 300 km 100 km Maximum 25-65 g 20 g 1-1.5 g 2-4 g 2-4 g 2-4 g g-loading Human Tended No No No Yes Yes Yes Science
    44. 44. How do the platforms compare? High International Drop Sounding Parabolic CommercialPlatform Altitude Space Towers Rockets Flights Suborbital Balloons Station Cost $5K $0.5-$1.2M $200-500K $8K $1-2.5M $50-200K Cont. Time 1-5 30 days to 20 minutes 0 seconds 4 minutesin µ-gravity seconds seconds months Quality of High High None Low High HighMicrogravity Multiple Multiple Launch Once per Once every Few times a Once every flights per flights per frequency month 6 months year 6 months day day Few Several Few Prep Time Few days ~ 1 year ~ 1year months Years months Payload 500-1000 < 700 kg < 450 kg < 680 kg < 1500 kg 20 - 100 kg Mass kg ~1kg return Altitude 150 m 50-1,500 km 45-50 km 10 km 300 km 100 km Maximum 25-65 g 20 g 1-1.5 g 2-4 g 2-4 g 2-4 g g-loading Human Tended No No No Yes Yes Yes Science
    45. 45. Why Commercial Suborbital? Hi-Alt Aircraft Scientific Balloon Sounding Satellite Rocket Science Commercial Remote Sensing Drop Tower Suborbital Science Microgravity Parabolic ISS Aircraft Increasing TRL Commercial suborbital can be used for instrumentTRL-raising for future satellite and space station experiments
    46. 46. Technology Readiness Levels
    47. 47. Founded 1869 Founded 1869 20 Leagues 1 League246 Teams/Clubs 30 Teams/Clubs
    48. 48. Why Commercial Suborbital? Cost effectiveness Instrument flexibility Leverages private investment Unique capabilities  fly-on-demand  rapid-turnaround  human-in-the-loop Hands-on experience Diverse research areas
    49. 49. Topics du jour What is Suborbital? What is Suborbital Science? What is Commercial Suborbital?  Who are involved?  What are NASA’s roles?  How can you get involved?
    50. 50. Researchers Investors Scientists Insurancers Technologists Launch ProvidersWhat are NASA’s Roles? Academics Integrators Educators Spaceports Government ... ... Special NASA’s Flight Interests Opportunities Groups Program working here now Primarily facilitator &regulatory roles, also user & supplier (at certain times) “Current Players” image courtesy of Alexander van Dijk (ARC/Flight Opportunities)
    51. 51. Oh no! Not another org chart!What are NASA’s Roles? Human Exploration & Operations (HEOMD)
    52. 52. What are NASA’s Roles? Office of the Chief Technologist Partnerships, Crosscutting Early Stage Game Changing Innovation & Capabilities Innovation Technology Commercial Demonstrations Space • Research Grants • Development • Technology Demo • NIAC Program Missions • SBIR/STTR • Franklin Small Edison Small Strategic • Centennial Satellite Satellite Demo Integration Challenges Subsystems Missions • Center Innovation Technologies •Flight Funds Opportunities TRL 1-3 TRL 3-5 TRL 5-7 Flight Opportunities CRuSR FAST SRLV Parabolic Orbital Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology (FAST) Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle (SRLV)
    53. 53. This sounds so cool, but...How much is NASA investing in commercial suborbital?
    54. 54. NASA’S FY2011 Budget ~$19BNASA today gets 0.47% of the Federal Budget, about $19B
    55. 55. NASA’S FY2011 Budget ~$19B How money is divided up % 57% Human Space Flight (blue); 35% Science (Yellow/Orange);3% Technology (Green); 1% Education (Pink); 4% Aeronautics (Red)
    56. 56. NASA’S FY2011 Budget ~$19B How money is divided up $B $11B Human Space Flight (blue); $6.5B Science (Yellow/Orange);$570M Technology (Green); $190M Education (Pink); $760 Aeronautics (Red)
    57. 57. NASA Agency Budget NASA Technology Budget Commercial Suborbital is 0.03 *0.026 = 0.008 = 0.8 % NASA Budget = ~$14M/yr
    58. 58. What are NASA’s Roles?
    59. 59. Topics du jour What is Suborbital? What is Suborbital Science? What is Commercial Suborbital?  Who are involved?  What are NASA’s roles?  How can you get involved?
    60. 60. How can YOU* get involved? Fly a pathfinder payload on existing platforms Participate in proposal opportunities Join the Commercial Space Federation Research & Education Affiliates** Take suborbital payload specialist training*** (if applicable) Attend conferences (e.g., NSRC)  Hold special sessions on suborbital platforms at established conference venues (e.g., AGU, ACS, AAS) **non-gov’t only ***18 yrs and older *The student, scientist, educator, researcher, user, ...
    61. 61. Developing your own pathfinder payloads: Rock-On Rockon! Next Workshop June 16 - 21, 2012 Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia RockSat-C canister payload for sounding rocket RockSat-X more modular payload interface
    62. 62. Developing your own pathfinder payloads: CanSat Yearly Competition, each year has a unique goal Goal 2012 Planetary Atmospheric Entry Vehicle Organized by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Team Application due: Nov 30, 2011 Flight: June 2012, Cross Plains, Texas
    63. 63. Developing your own pathfinder payloads: High Altitude Student Platform (HASP) Yearly Call comes out each September Proposal winners get a flight. You need to have provided other ways to build your payload. Proposals Due: Dec 16, 2011 Selections Made: Jan 2012 Integration on HASP: July/Aug 2012 Flight: September 2012, Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
    64. 64. Developing your own pathfinder payloads: Microgravity University Yearly Call comes out each September Proposal winners get a flight. You need to have provided other ways to build your payload. Letter Intent Due: Sept 14, 2011 Proposals Due: Oct 26, 2011 Selections Made: Dec 7, 2011 (you get about 4-6 months to ready your experiment) Flight: June 2012 You get to fly on parabolic aircraft (max of 5 flyers/team)
    65. 65. Developing your own pathfinder payloads:SSEP (Student Spaceflight Experiments Program) Experiments now only for ISS (Shuttle Program retired) Announcement Nov 7, 2011 Next payloads launch on Soyuz 32 and F9/Dragon Current call: SSEP Mission 2 to ISS Funding for building payload is provided, typically through sponsorships Submit Plan by Feb 27, 2012 More detailed proposal due Apr 30, 2012 Downselect to 3 teams May 2012 with series of reviews Delivery of flight experiments Aug 22, 2012 Soyuz 32 launch Sep 26, 2012 Return on Soyuz 31 Nov 12, 2012 (6.7 weeks on ISS)
    66. 66. Developing your own pathfinder payloads:DIME (Dropping In a Microgravity Environment) & WING (What If No Gravity?) Drop Tower Experiments at NASA’s Glenn Research Center Annual Middle School & High School Competition Proposals due November Selections made December Drop tests occur in March Can get funding from NASA space grant consortiums!
    67. 67. How to Fly a Science Investigation  There is not yet a fixed path for this activity  NASA Flight Opportunity model is “in the same spirit” as the Airborne Science Operations Flight Request System (SOFRS) Note: Proposals for high-altitude aircraft payloads will continue to go through SMD ROSES (if available that year). Aircraft flight services proposals (using existing instruments, e.g. AVIRIS/ASTER) go through the established NASA SOFRS program.
    68. 68. How to Fly a Science Investigation Note: Sounding Rocket & Balloon Payload Proposals continue to go through their est. SMD/ROSES AITT, G/LCAS, SHP LCAS, PAST, ASP, APRET(APRA) funding lines.
    69. 69. How to Fly a Science Investigation on Commercial Suborbital √ √ Instrument Compatibility check Idea NASA / OCT Interface NASA Flight Space Grant R&D Grants Opportunities Flight Profile Flight Data Institution from your NASA / Other... “Open Call” Safety Review DoD NSF NIH Life SOMDScience & √ uGravity Purchase NASA / SMD Instrument Flights (ROSES)Earth and Interface Commercial √ Space Flight Profile Suborbital Science & µGrav Vehicles Instrument Interface CIR Letter of Endorsement from Vehicle VendorKEY: Funding Routes Est. Funding √ Opportunities Possible Future Funding NASA Flight “Open Call”√ Peer Review & µGrav Vehicles √ Selection Purchase Commercial Suborbital Flights Compatibility check Safety Review Flight Profile Instrument Commercial Your √ Idea Purchase Suborbital Flight Data Flight Grants Flights & µGrav Vehicles Interface
    70. 70. How can you get involved?
    71. 71. How can you get involved?
    72. 72. Payload Specialist Training for Commercial Suborbital VehiclesHow can you get involved?
    73. 73. Next Generation Suborbital Researcher ConferencesHow can you get involved? NSRC 2010 NSRC 2011 Feb 18-20, 2010 Feb 28-Mar 2, 2011 Boulder, CO Orlando, FL 250+ attendees 350+ attendees 70 talks 100 talks, 20 posters 13 sponsors 25 sponsors
    74. 74. NSRC 2012How can you get involved?  Conference dates Feb 27-29, 2012  Palo Alto, CA  Registration is open  Abstracts due Dec 2, 2011
    75. 75. Reusable Suborbital Vehicles & Parabolic Aircraft Subscribe to mailing list Links... Other gov’t suborbital/high- Non-gov’t Payload & altitude platforms Launch Providers/Integrators (Airborne Payloads) (Sounding Rockets) http://starlab- (Balloons)
    76. 76. Blogs Links... Facebook: Suborbital Science (group) Twitter @colinake (Masten Dir of Biz) @Pomerantz (VG) @csf_spaceflight (CSF) @spacecommerce @dmasten (Masten CEO) @SpaceflightNow (general) @gtwhitesides (VG CEO) @Spaceport_NM (spaceport) @HobbySpacer (general) @Spacevidcast (general) @kdavidian (FAA) @Suborbi_Science (science & education) @matt_isakowitz (CSF) @TheNASTARCenter (training) @nasafo (NASA) @virgingalactic (VG) @NASAWatch (general) ...among so many... @NSRC2011 (conference series)
    77. 77. Fly Early, Fly Often, Fly Safe(science and research on reusable suborbital vehicles) Thank you. Questions?