Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two second powered test flight

NASA and Virgin Galactic have announced twelve experiments to fly on the SpaceShip Two research flight. The experiments were selected by NASA through its Flight Opportunities Program.

The twelve experiments span a range of topics including biological monitoring, on-orbit propellant storage, and next-generation air traffic control systems. As required by the Flight Opportunities Program, each payload is an engineering experiment designed to advance a field relevant to NASA’s overall technology roadmap.

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said, “Virgin Galactic is thrilled to be working with NASA and researchers at such a range of prestigious institutions, and we look forward to flying these research payloads into space. Our vision for Virgin Galactic is to increase access to space, not just for individuals to experience spaceflight, but to advance humanity by driving significant technological advancement and research. We are proud to have NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate as a customer and to be able to facilitate their important work.”

The twelve experiments selected for the first SpaceShipTwo research flight are:

• A manufacturing experiment by Made in Space, to help develop future 3D printers for use in space.

• The On-Orbit Propellant Storage Stability experiment from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which will obtain stability data for a prototype orbiting fuel depot for future space missions.

• The Electromagnetic Field Measurements experiment from John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which will characterize the environment inside the spacecraft to provide insight into electromagnetic interference.

• The Collisions Into Dust Experiment from the University of Central Florida, which will fire an impactor into simulated regolith and observe the subsequent behavior of the fine particles ejected in microgravity. Data from this experiment could help in planning future operations on asteroids or low-gravity moons.

• The Validating Telemetric Imaging Hardware for Crew-Assisted and Crew-Autonomous Biological Imaging experiment from the University of Florida at Gainesville, which will test fluorescent protein-based, gene-expression techniques for direct observation of how biological entities react to the stresses of spaceflight.

• The Variable Radiator experiment from Texas A&M University, which will test a modulating fluid-based heat-rejection system. Understanding the behavior of fluids in microgravity is critical to the operation of spacecraft radiators and other systems that transfer fluids.

• The Micro Satellite Attitude Control System experiment from the State University of New York at Buffalo, which will test the application of a carpal wrist joint to the momentum management and control of small satellites. Use of the wrist joint to articulate a reaction-control gyroscope should enable precision pointing of a small satellite on multiple axes.

• The Saturated Fluid Pistonless Pump Technology Demonstrator from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Developed by Flometrics, Inc., this pump could reduce the weight, complexity, and cost of spacecraft fuel systems.

• The Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) transmitter experiment from the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, based on aviation equipment designed by MITRE Corp. and modified by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. ADS-B technology will enable integration of suborbital reusable launch vehicles and stratospheric balloons into the FAA’s next-generation air traffic control system.

• The Facility for Microgravity Research and Submicroradian Stabilization experiment from Controlled Dynamics, Inc., which uses active vibration suppression to increase the quality of microgravity experienced by an attached payload.

• The Suborbital Flight Environment Monitor experiment from NASA Ames Research Center, which is a suite of sensors designed to measure the flight accelerations and microgravity quality achieved.

• The Microgravity Multi-Phase Flow Experiment for Suborbital Testing from NASA Johnson Space Center, which will assess the sustained microgravity operation of a two-phase flow system with a passive gas and liquid separator. This technology is applicable to a number of space applications including water purification.

Written by Astro1 on June 3rd, 2014 , Virgin Galactic

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