NASA Picks First Payloads for Reduced-gravity Flights


NASA has selected 16 payloads for flight aboard two suborbital reusable launch vehicles expected to begin test flights this year and a commercial parabolic aircraft, the U.S. space agency announced May 13.

Twelve of the 16 payloads selected from a call for proposals NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program issued in December will fly aboard Zero Gravity Corp.’s Zero-G aircraft in mid-July during a weeklong parabolic campaign from Houston’s Ellington Field. Of the remaining four payloads, two will fly on suborbital reusable launch vehicle test flights and two will fly on both Zero-G and a suborbital vehicle.

The suborbital payloads are expected to fly this year aboard the Xaero vehicle built and operated by Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif., and the Super Mod vehicle built and operated by Armadillo Aerospace of Heath, Texas.

The two payloads selected to fly on both platforms are:

·        Investigation to Determine Rotational Stability of On-Orbit Propellant Storage and Transfer Systems Undergoing Operational Fuel Transfer Scenarios” from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla., NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., and United Launch Alliance of Denver.

·        Printing the Space Future” from Made In Space Inc., Moffett Field, Calif.

·         The selected suborbital reusable launch vehicle payloads are:

·         “Electromagnetic Field Measurements on Suborbital Launch Vehicles” from the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md.

·        Precision Landing Exploration Technology Demonstration” from Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, Mass., and NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston.

The 12 selected Zero-G-only payloads are:

·         Crew-Autonomous Biological Telemetric experiment from the University of Florida in Gainesville.

·         Advanced, Two-Phase, Space Heat Exchangers Design Tools experiment from the University of Maryland, College Park.

·         Thermosyphon Array with Controlled Operation experiment from NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Cleveland.

·         Radio Frequency Mass Gauge experiment from NASA Glenn.

·         Grey Water Purification using Control Moment Gyroscopes from NASA Kennedy, Glenn and the ASRC Aerospace Corp., Greenbelt, Md.

·         Indexing Media Filtration experiment from Glenn, Aerfil LLC, Filtration Group Inc., Joliet, Ill., and ASRC Aerospace.

·         Autonomous Robotic Capture from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; West Virginia University, Morgantown; the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington; and Yasakawa America Inc., Waukegan, Ill.

·         Validation of Atomization Mechanism and Droplet Transport for a Portable Fire Extinguisher from Glenn; ADA Technologies Inc., Littleton, Colo.; and the Colorado School of Mines, Golden.

·         Cryocooler Vibrational Characterization from Ad Astra Rocket Co., Webster, Texas.

·         Monitoring Radiation-Induced DNA Degradation from NASA Kennedy.

·         EHD-Pumped Two-Phase Loops experiment from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

·         Electric Field Effects on Pool Boiling Heat Transfer experiments from the University of Maryland, College Park, and University of Pisa, Italy.