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Orion Illustration 1

Orion illustration (Click Image to Download)

NASA’s newest capsule, designed to take astronauts deeper into space than ever before, is ready to launch to space for the first time on Thursday (Dec. 4).

The space agency’s new Orion space capsule is scheduled to fly to orbit on an unmanned test flight at 7:05 a.m. EST (1205 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 37 here in Cape Canaveral, Florida Thursday before being recovered in the Pacific Ocean 4.5 hours later. Orion is currently positioned on top of the United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket that will deliver it into space on its ambitious test flight, and everything is looking good for launch day.


Orion — which was built for NASA by Lockheed Martin — will orbit Earth twice during its test flight, called Exploration Test Flight-1 (EFT-1). On its second orbit, the spacecraft will climb about 3,600 miles (5,793 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, farther than any spacecraft made for humans has flown in more than 40 years.

You can watch the historic Orion flight live on via NASA TV Thursday at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT).

NASA plans to use the Orion capsule as part of a system that could bring humans to Mars or an asteroid towed into orbit around the moon for the first time.

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3D-printed engine parts future of space launches: NASA

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A team of NASA researchers has found that 3D manufactured copper parts could withstand the heat and pressure required of combustion engines used in space launches.

The US space agency and California-based rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) conducted 19 hot-fire tests on four injector and thrust chamber assembly configurations at NASA’s Glenn Research Centre.

“The successful hot fire test of engine components provides confidence in the additive manufacturing process and paves the way for full-scale development,” said Tyler Hickman, lead engineer for the test at Glenn.

3D printing approach is changing the speed, cost and flexibility of designing and building future machines for space and earth applications.

The work is a major milestone in the development and certification of different materials used in the manufacturing process.

Copper alloys offer unique challenges to the additive manufacturing processes.

“Additively manufactured metal propulsion components are truly a paradigm shift for the aerospace industry,” added Paul Senick, Glenn project manager.

This will improve efficiency and bring down the cost of space launches and other earth applications, he concluded.

Source : business standard

3D-printed moonbase? ESA suggested future moon colony

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has proven that its project to 3D-print a base on the Moon is possible. In a latest video the agency shows how 3D-printing robots may be used to build the base using lunar material.

The ESA started investigation of the lunar base possibility in 2013, working alongside its industrial and architectural partners. The creation of the reliable semi-spherical structures on the surface of the moon could be fulfilled within the next 40 years, and 90 percent of the materials needed would be derived from the moon itself.

latest details of the new concept, which is, however, still “firmly on the drawing board,” were discussed at a conference this week at ESA’s technical center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Continue reading 3D-printed moonbase? ESA suggested future moon colony

Scientists Create 3D Map of Cosmic Web for the First Time Showing ‘Adolescent’ Universe


Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8 billion light-years away, scientists created one of the most complete, 3D maps of the early universe. 3D map of the cosmic web at a distance of 10.8 billion years from Earth, generated from imprints of hydrogen gas observed in the spectrum of 24 background galaxies behind the volume. (Photo : Casey Stark (UC Berkeley) and Khee-Gan Lee (MPIA))

y have managed to create a map of what our universe looked like during its adolescence. Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8 billion light-years away, the researchers created one of the most complete, 3D maps at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see today.

In this case, the researchers used a new technique for high-resolution universe maps. This technique, which uses distant galaxies to backlight hydrogen gas, could actually also inform future mapping projects, such as the proposed Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI).

Before this study, no one knew if galaxies further than 10 billion light-years away could provide enough light to be useful. Yet the Keck-1 telescope collected four hours of data during a brief break in cloudy skies and showed that it was possible to do so. Because of the extreme faintness of the light, though, the scientists had to develop algorithms to subtract light from the sky that would otherwise drown out the galactic signals.

“It’s a pretty weird map because it’s not really 3D,” said David Schlegel, one of the researchers, in a news release. “It’s all these skewers; we don’t have a picture of what’s between the quasars, just what’s along the skewers.”

The resulting map, though, shows that this technique is possible for future maps.

“This technique is pretty efficient and it wouldn’t take a long time to obtain enough data to cover volumes hundreds of millions of light-years on a side,” said Khee-Gan Lee, the lead researcher.

The findings reveal a bit more about the early universe and show that this technique could be huge when it comes to peering even further back into the past. That said, scientists will need to collect more data before this becomes a possibility.

Source : Science World Report