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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 12:13 PM
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Next giant leaps for NASA tech
Alan Boyle writes: Rocket refueling stations and new kinds of engines for deep-space travel are high up on NASA's wish list for new technologies. So is a heavy-lift launch vehicle, which happens on Congress' wish list as well. But exactly what kind of next-generation rocket will NASA get? As far as Bobby Braun is concerned, the answer to that question is best left to engineers rather than lawmakers.

Braun, who is the space agency's chief technologist, discussed heavy-lifters and more today in a teleconference conducted during his visit to NASA Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley. Braun's main task is to get NASA's high-tech mojo working again, decades after the space agency made Tang, Teflon and Velcro famous.

NASA didn't actually invent Velcro fasteners, Teflon coating or Tang powdered drink mix - instead, it took those commercial innovations and adapted them for high-profile applications in outer space. Those applications, in turn, heightened public awareness and acceptance of new technologies. Something similar could happen again if NASA pushes through a new burst of technological innovation.

Today, NASA does spaceflight using a space transportation system that's been updated through the years, but really isn't dramatically different from what it was nearly 30 years ago. With the impending retirement of the space shuttle fleet, Braun and his fellow technology planners at NASA have an opportunity to do things in a radically different fashion.

more /

Concepts for on-orbit refueling could affect how NASA designs future space vehicles.
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blm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-11-10 12:16 PM
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1. How about a bike rack that is easy to use AND safe for bikes?
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-14-10 09:42 PM
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2. Problems with link
Here is a better link:

PS, VASIMIR is a good idea. They just need to get something more powerful to power it. A 200 kilowatt solar array is nice but if you're going to use it to go to the asteroids then its power gets less the farther away from the sun you get. A better answer is to use a megawatt nuclear reactor to power it. It would probably go faster that way anyway. More power equals higher specific thrust per kilogram of propellant. Win win. And you would have ample power left over for an electromagnetic shield to protect astronauts against the deadly effects of cosmic rays.
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Zadoc Donating Member (78 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-16-10 03:18 AM
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3. All I want to see NASA do is...
Send some robots to explore the parts of the solar system that are interesting. Mars can wait. I am kind of sick of the red planet. Now, some neat rovers on Titan, and maybe a flying blimp, that would be fantastic. A subsurface ocean on Europa you say? Let's get a project send a submarine to the world to take pictures of all the fish there pronto!
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