Orion Flight Test Hardware Thrives Under Pressure

Published on Dec 2, 2013

Hardware that will keep harmful gases away from the Orion’s spacecraft during its first trip to space proved it won’t bend under pressure during a recent test at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. The diaphragm for Exploration Flight Test (EFT)-1 was joined to an adapter prototype for pressurized testing. For the test, the adapter was sealed and a vacuum pump was connected to the diaphragm. The vacuum pressure simulates atmospheric conditions the hardware may experience during the mission. (NASA/MSFC)


Two-Minute Tour: An Ultra-Compact Dwarf Galaxy

Published on Sep 25, 2013

Astronomers may have discovered the densest galaxy in the nearby Universe. The galaxy, known as M60-UCD1, is located about 54 million light years from Earth. M60-UCD1 is packed with an extraordinary number of stars and this has led scientists to classify it as an “ultra-compact dwarf galaxy.” This means that this galaxy is smaller and has more stars than just a regular dwarf galaxy. While astronomers already knew this, it wasn’t until these latest results from Chandra, Hubble and telescopes on the ground that they knew just how dense this galaxy truly is. M60-UCD1 has the mass about 200 million times our sun and, remarkably, about half of this mass is packed into a radius of just about 80 light years. That translates into the density of stars in this part of M60-UCD1 being about 15,000 times greater than what’s found in Earth’s neighborhood in the Milky Way. Astronomers have been trying to determine where these ultra-compact dwarf galaxies fit into the galactic evolutionary chain. Some have suggested they start off not as galaxies but as giant star clusters. The latest results on M60-UCD1 challenge that idea. The new Chandra data indicate that there may be a supermassive black hole at the center of M60-UCD1. If that’s the case, then it’s unlikely this object could have ever been a star cluster. Instead, the X-ray data point to this galaxy being the remnants of a larger galaxy that had its outer stars ripped away by tidal forces, leaving behind the dense inner core of the galaxy. Other information about M60-UCD1 including its large mass, point to the same conclusion. Regardless, this galaxy is a fascinating object that astronomers will be studying for a long time to come. (NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)


3-D Printed Injector Roars to Life

Published on Aug 27, 2013

A 3-D printed injector roars to life on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The injector fabricated with a technique called 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, produced a record 20,000 pounds of thrust and was the largest rocket engine part of its kind tested by NASA to date. (NASA/MSFC)


3-D Printed Injector Hot Firing

Published on Aug 26, 2013

Watch this GoPro video to see a 3-D printed injector hot firing from the test stand. (NASA/MSFC)


3-D Printing in Zero Gravity

Published on Aug 12, 2013

The goal of 3-D printing is to take this capability to microgravity for use on the International Space Station. In space, whatever astronauts have available on orbit is what they have to use — but just like on Earth, parts break or get lost. When that happens, there’s a wait for replacement parts, or the need to have multiple spares that have to be launched. The ability to conduct 3-D printing in space could change all of that. (NASA/MSFC)


J-2X Gimbal Testing at Stennis Space Center

Published on Jun 18, 2013

A closeup shot of the J-2X rocket engine shows how it was gimbaled during a June 14 test on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center. A summer series of tests will be conducted on the advanced rocket engine, being developed for NASA by Aerojet-Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif. The engine will prove upper-stage power for NASA’s new heavy-lift Space Launch System vehicle, which will enable missions beyond low-Earth orbit. (NASA/SSC)


Saturn V F-1 Engine Gas Generator Blazes Back To Life

Published on Jan 15, 2013

On Jan. 10, 2013, a resurrected gas generator from a Saturn V F-1 engine completed two hot-fire tests that are part of a series of tests at Test Stand 116 located in the East Test Area at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The primary test objectives are to gather performance data from the refurbished gas generator and to demonstrate new test stand capabilities for conducting future tests with liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene fuel. Data from the tests will benefit the development of advanced, affordable propulsion systems needed for the evolved Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket — a launch vehicle designed to carry 130 metric tons (143-tons) and to send humans even farther than the moon. (NASA/MSFC)


Mars Landscape

Published on Aug 3, 2012

Spacecraft have studied the Martian surface for decades, giving Earthlings insights into the history, climate and geology of our nearest neighbor, Mars. These images are from ‘Mars Landscape,’ a virtual exhibit THAT commemorates the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover at Gale Crater on August 5, 2012 and features actual images sent back by surface rovers and spacecraft from NASA and the European Space Agency. The brilliant, but false, colors in many of these images represent temperature differences reflecting or radiating from surface material. Selected for their aesthetic rather than scientific value, these isolated observations are just preliminary studies for the landscapes that the Curiosity rover promises and they tease us to further explore the beauty that exists elsewhere in our solar system. (NASA/MSFC/JPL)


Technology Demonstrator Missions

Published on Jul 31, 2012

Editor’s Note: this video is left active for archiving purposes. The newer version of the video can be found at:…

NASA’s Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) Program seeks to infuse new technology into space applications, bridging the gap between mature “lab-proven” technology and “flight-ready” status. This video gives a brief introduction to each of those projects. (NASA/MSFC)


Stunning View of Lyrids and Earth at Night

Published on May 18, 2012

On April 21, the 2012 Lyrid meteor shower peaked in the skies over Earth. While NASA allsky cameras were looking up, astronaut Don Pettit aboard the International Space Station trained his video camera on Earth below. Video footage has revealed breathtaking images of meteors ablating — or burning up — over Earth at night. This video is a composite of 310 still frames from that evening. (NASA/JSC/Don Pettit)


J-2X Engine Ready For Second Test Series

Published on Apr 24, 2012

Time-lapse video of the installation of J-2X engine 10001 in the A-2 test-stand at Stennis, complete with clamshell assembly and nozzle extension. With these enhancements test engineers will measure the flight-configured engine performance at flight-like conditions. This video covers three months of activity to prepare for hot-fire testing


Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Test

Published on Mar 29, 2012

NASA recently performed a trial run on a rocket sled test fixture, powered by rockets, to replicate the forces a supersonic spacecraft would experience prior to landing. The sled tests will allow the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Project, or LDSD, to test inflatable and parachute decelerators to slow spacecraft prior to landing and allow NASA to increase landed payload masses, improve landing accuracy and increase the altitude of safe landing-sites. (NASA)


Space Launch System: Future Frontier

Uploaded on Feb 21, 2012

Editor’s note: This is a repost due to a video change. Thanks for all your previous comments.

Featuring NASA Marshall’s Foundations of Influence, Relationships, Success & Teamwork (FIRST) employees and student interns, ‘Future Frontier’ discusses the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift launch vehicle and its importance to furthering NASA’s exploration mission. NASA FIRST is the Agency’s leadership program for promising young professionals. (NASA/MSFC)


Robots Aboard International Space Station

Uploaded on Jan 31, 2012

Ames Research Center, MIT and Johnson Space Center have two new robotics projects aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Robonaut 2, a two-armed humanoid robot with astronaut-like dexterity, is currently undergoing onboard testing. The second is the SPHERES satellite, which recently got a smartphone upgrade that gives it eyes, ears and a sensor array. These robots could assume mundane, sometimes dangerous tasks: monitoring radiation, filter change-outs, some extravehicular activities


J-2X: From Concept to Hot Fire

Uploaded on Dec 20, 2011

The author/director of this creative piece is Paul Gradl who works on the J-2X development effort. A superb engineer with a technical background in combustion devices design and analysis, he came up with the notion of stringing together the J-2X development process starting with conceptual design, then detailed design and analysis, through fabrication and assembly, and finally into full-scale hot-fire testing. The result is truly excellent.


Solar Sail Readies for Early Warning Mission

Uploaded on Dec 9, 2011

NASA’s Solar Sail project, directed by L’Garde of Tustin, Calif., plans to take this innovative technology beyond Earth’s orbit. The spacecraft will have a “sail” one quarter the size of a football field and park in a pseudo LaGrange point closer to the sun to double the current warning period for dangerous solar flares. Slated for launch in late 2014, the instrument aboard the solar sail craft will use the sun’s photon radiation to gently offset the corresponding pull of the sun’s gravity.


Robotic Lander Prototype Test

Uploaded on Nov 21, 2011

NASA successfully completed the final flight in a series of tests of a new robotic lander prototype at the Redstone Test Center’s propulsion test facility on the U.S. Army Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. Since early October, the Robotic Lander Development Project at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville has subjected the lander prototype to a series of more complex outdoor flight tests maneuvers. The team steadily increased the lander’s flight profile, starting by hovering the lander — dubbed Mighty Eagle — at 3 feet, then 30 feet and finally a record 100-foot flight test.
Video credit: NASA/MSFC


Robotic Lander Completes Multiple Outdoor Flight

Uploaded on Oct 28, 2011

NASA’s Robotic Lander Development Project in Huntsville, Ala., has successfully completed seven autonomous outdoor flight tests of a lander prototype, dubbed Mighty Eagle. On Oct. 14, Mighty Eagle ascended to three meters, translated 30 feet sideways and turned 90 degrees before setting down safely. On Oct. 17, Mighty Eagle successfully flew to a height of 30 feet, translated sideways 30 feet before landing. These tests are paving the way for a Nov. 4 100-foot flight test.


Controlled Hover Test Flight No. 4

Uploaded on Jun 21, 2011

This video collage provides several views of the robotic lander prototype during its second free flight test. The lander is captured in flight from overhead and side mounted cameras in high definition and infrared video. The infrared video allows engineers to see how the vehicle is behaving thermally as well as how the thrusters pulse during test since the thruster plumes are invisible to the naked eye.


Robotic Lander Prototype Testing

Uploaded on Apr 4, 2011

NASA’s Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., completed an initial series of integrated tests on a new lander prototype. The prototype lander will lead to the development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers to achieve scientific and exploration goals on the surface of the moon and near-Earth asteroids. (NASA/MSFC)


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