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NASA Outlines "Flagship" Technology Demonstrations

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-don't-see-giant-laser-beam-on-there dept.

NASA 27

FleaPlus writes "As part of its new plans, NASA has outlined the initial series of large-scale 'flagship' technology demonstration (FTD) missions for developing and testing technologies needed for sustainable beyond-Earth exploration, complementing the smaller-scale ETDD missions outlined previously. The first four FTD missions (costing $400M-$1B each, about the cost of the recent Ares I-X suborbital rocket launch) are scheduled to launch between 2014 and 2016, demonstrating advanced in-space propulsion (next-generation ion propulsion and solar arrays), in-space propellant transfer and storage, a lightweight/inflatable mission module at the ISS (which will also test closed-loop life support), and an inflatable aeroshell for aerocapture at Mars. A multi-purpose robotic rendezvous and docking vehicle will also be developed to support these missions."

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I Just Escaped From A Psychiatric Intensive Care U (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299394)

That's why I've been hiding from the police the last few days: I am quite certain there is an All-Points Bulletin out for me all over the entire San Francisco Bay Area.

Every last one of you is going to drench your own pants with urine when I post my lucidly written transparently obvious explanation of how I was able to do that to the queue:

After I pointed out that I wasn't psychotic anymore then asked them to watch me so they could determine whether I was correct, I rang up Annie Brolly to explain why I disappeared.

"You should have just talked to me," she desperately pleaded. Annie's daughter Ailes has Polycystic Kidney Disease; Annie's sister and mother are vacationing in Europe. I came home from my Mom's place in Vancouver, Washington to help look after Ailes.

I pointed out Annie's plight to the ICU nurse, who said she'd pass word on to my psychiatrist. Twenty minutes later she had my discharge papers. I could see that my clever plan was working well:

I was pretty sure she hadn't consulted with my psychiatrist. He wouldn't have discharged me unless he consulted with me himself.

It gets better:

When the nurse tried to steal my wallet, I asked why she wouldn't let me have the rest of my belongings. "The bag is empty," she replied.
"I JUST MADE YOU HALLUCINATE!" I shouted at the top of my lungs.

She walked back to my room then stared with a puzzled expression into my bag while I fished out the rest of my items.

I got all pissed off that despite my desperate struggle to convince them to 5150 me, they 5151ed me instead because I myself requested a convenience store clerk call 9-1-1 for me when I pointed out that my visual hallucination had trapped me inside her convenience store.

The sliding glass doors refused to open for me when I tried to leave, you see. That was getting really old, as my hallucinations had been changing locks on me all day long. They even put my house up for sale when I found one of those small locked vaults that real estate agents use to share housekeys with their colleagues when I went around to the side after I found Matt had changed the locks during my absence.

I rushed to the school where Matt is a history teacher then offered to give him five thousand dollars when Manpower Professional finally learns enough of The Alphabet Song to sign my six thousand dollar paycheck's dotted line.

"What are you talking about," Matt asked. "Your rent is paid up, and my house isn't for sale."

"Thanks!" I shouted with great joy. "You just saved me from the worst kind of psychosis."

"FUCK!" I shouted when I returned home to find that my key still wouldn't fit. I headed to Annie's after I looked around the side to see the little housekey vault still hanging from the side door.

I headed off to Palo Alto after my hallucinations locked me out in the cold rain by locking a door that requires a key to lock from the outside.

I was taken to San Mateo instead when my hallucinations locked me inside of the convenience store I stopped at to pick up an ice cream bar.

5150 is the section of California's Lanterman-Petris-Short Act that concerns involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations. 5151 concerns voluntary ones.

Perhaps you can see where this is going.

"You need to 5150 me!" I shouted angrily, at the top of my lungs. "I have an ability to manipulate human minds that puts David Koresh completely to shame!"
"You need to watch me like a hawk," I sternly advised the admitting nurse the instant I got inside the ICU. "I could escape just by asking you to hold the door for me."

It gets better:
After growing impatient for Annie to show up, the nurse evicted me. She wouldn't even say goodbye, and turned coldly away when I attempted to shake her hand just before I walked out the door.

Every mental health professional I have ever made that claim to has been happy to admit me, but only because they regard my claim as delusional.

I'll Show You Delusion.

Not only did they not prescribe any medication despite my floridly delusional visual hallucinations, not only did they not ask if I wanted any medicine, my psychiatrist didn't even discuss medication with me. Only on one other occassion - just a couple weeks ago - have I been more psychotic than the day I tried to 5150 myself but was 5151ed instead.

I'll tell you about that day later, but it was just like eating a whole bushel of Magic Mushrooms.

I still haven't had any medicine, but it only took a couple days to make my psychosis go away completely. I even heard voices again for the first time in twenty years the night I checked into the San Mateo PICU.

Get This:

When I told the nurses I was having auditory hallucinations, they refused to believe me.

By noon the next day, my voices were completely gone. I'll explain how I was able to do that in the piece for the queue I'm working on right now. I expect to submit mid-afternoon today.

Not only am I shutting down the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit at the San Mateo Medical Center, I am taking all of the staff's licenses to practice medicine, then, after having done so, I'll take every penny they possess.

I will go on to drive San Mateo Medical Center into bankrupcy.

I will then take every penny of my damage award and donate it to the Free Software Foundation. Richard Stallman is my personal savior you see.

Anyone know a good medical malpractice attorney? I need one of the best, but I'm quite certain that just showing a hardcopy of the story I'm about to submit would lead any personal injury attorney in his right mind to leap on me like a pit bull on a pork roast.

Perhaps now you're beginning to believe my claim that I can make schizophrenics stop hallucinating just by talking to them.

I gotta go see an attorney about a lawsuit. Later!

Still flying Russian for the next two decades. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299540)

Something tells me that most American spaceflights will still be done using Russian technology, taking off from Kazakhstan, and operated by Russian ground and flight crews, for at least the next two decades.

Re:Still flying Russian for the next two decades. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32300260)

I don't see what the problem is here.

So they shuttle us up and then we blast off to Mars while they're still stuck in LEO or at best Lunar landings.

"Thanks for the boost, losers. Now we're going to the big boy playground."

"If I have been able to see further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."

Or to put it in a more spacey context.

"If I have been able to go further than others, it is because I kicked off other people's shoulders because those idiots kept trying to make themselves taller while I focused on learning to fly."

Hell, if they're willing to spend their money on getting into orbit, why should we make one too? We're at peace. We're friendly. We'll use their crap while we focus on other stuff.

Making the same thing in 5 different countries just slows down progress. It may result in cool innovations, but I'd rather have one group working on part A and the other working on part B instead of both needing to finish A before working on B.

Re:Still flying Russian for the next two decades. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32305978)

Well, they are the ones with few decades of experience with operating a manned spacecraft which is essentially capable of beyond-LEO operation (and has done so few times). Plus also assembly via autonomous docking and in-orbit refueling.

Re:Still flying Russian for the next two decades. (1)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 4 years ago | (#32310036)

Treat them like that and they may not take you up there at all. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

Re:Still flying Russian for the next two decades. (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32302686)

Something tells me that most American spaceflights will still be done using Russian technology, taking off from Kazakhstan, and operated by Russian ground and flight crews, for at least the next two decades.

Who'd of thought that they were watching the future of American space flight when they first launched sputnik.

I'm sorry it just seems that it's the same 'gonna do this gonna do that' and it never happens.

Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299574)

Did anyone else read "flagship technology" and picture a ship with solar sails? Well, if you did, you'll be disappointed.

Re:Misleading (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32300566)

Did anyone else read "flagship technology" and picture a ship with solar sails? Well, if you did, you'll be disappointed.

You mean like the one that Japan launched yesterday?

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002503/ [planetary.org]
http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=12588 [centauri-dreams.org]

Finally some real technology development (3, Insightful)

Larson2042 (1640785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32299856)

Instead of blowing money on re-inventing the wheel, except much more expensively... *cough* Ares-1

Re:Finally some real technology development (2, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32300170)

And the first one that goes in the drink, blows up, or otherwise fails, people will jump all over them for wasting millions of dollars on some pie-in-the-sky experiment instead of using proven approaches.

Re:Finally some real technology development (3, Interesting)

Larson2042 (1640785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32300826)

Proven approaches to what? Orbital fuel depots and refueling, inflatable aero shells, tens of kW electric propulsion for manned missions, and inflatable habitats don't have proven approaches yet. That's the whole point of these kinds of programs. The only way NASA will be able to stay with "proven approaches" is to remain in LEO and build carbon-copy ISSs. Even then, I remain far from convinced that what NASA does today should be considered a "proven approach" to manned spaceflight. While they've done some amazing things, human spaceflight still remains rare and hideously expensive. I would prefer that not be the approach to such matters going into the future.

Re:Finally some real technology development (4, Informative)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32302834)

I totally agree with new approaches and new development. But I want to mention two things you might not be aware of.

Bigelow Aerospace has flown 2 inflatable Habitats since 2006. The foam they are made of was originally developed for the ISS, and tech transferred to a private company to develop it further.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bigelow_Aerospace [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TransHab [wikipedia.org]
Heck their Sundancer manned habitat might BE the tech demonstrator for inflatable habitats.

The VASIMR 200kw electric propulsion system tested on the ISS, can only run for 10 minutes on batteries that have to trickle charge because the ISS only has 110kw of solar power available.

So while these things aren't man rated yet, I can see where the tech demonstrators for these would be quick to put together with little 'new' development time.

Re:Finally some real technology development (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306016)

Adding to what Tekfactory said, ISS regularly refuels in orbit. Heck, the docking interface of Progress has inbuilt means to transfer fuel.

Re:Finally some real technology development (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#32301696)

  When it comes to space flight, the public is awfully ignorant. Perhaps we should stop worrying about public opinion so damned much and start doing real work. The astronauts and other people in the programs who put their lives on the line for it understand what the risks are and what they are doing. This is too important to be left to public opinion.

  The irony here is that private space companies are more likely to succeed because they don't have to answer to the public as much as government funded programs do. Yet.

  (Most of the public has no idea what the term "risk assessment" even means, especially involving spaceflight, let alone how to evaluate risk)

SB

 

Re:Finally some real technology development (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32301372)

Instead of blowing money on re-inventing the wheel, except much more expensively...

Lighweight, inflatable mission module...

It seems to me I've heard something similar...Bungalow? Bigelow? Something like that...they've already had subscale testbeds in orbit for a couple or four years...

Oh, and Bigelow's design is based on something done for NASA back in the '90's, I think.

In other words, this is hardly ground-breaking new technology, but a rehashing of tech NASA was ordered to drop back when it turned out to cost too much for development.

Even worse, NASA is actually forbidden by law to do any development work on it still. Though it's okay if they buy one from Bigelow....

Re:Finally some real technology development (2, Insightful)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32301802)

So NASA are helping a young technology company to test a hab design which, if it works, will save NASA money in the long term and increase in-space capability.

And this is a bad thing, because?

Re:Finally some real technology development (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32304972)

So NASA are helping a young technology company to test a hab design which, if it works, will save NASA money in the long term and increase in-space capability.

And this is a bad thing, because?

Two things: the theme of NASA's announcement was that they were investing in new breakthrough technologies. Fifteen year old tech that NASA was working on in the '90's is hardly "new", much less "breakthrough".

And Bigelow expects to have a full-scale unit in orbit next year or the year after. NASA isn't planning on getting into the game with this exciting new technology till it's been operational for a couple years...

What NASA should be looking at are things that are, well, new. Unproven. Requiring further development. Tried and true not so much. Investing in development of something that's already completed its development doesn't match up with that.

In general, NASA's announcement of its new direction seems to be "we're dredging up a bunch of things that we think will be pretty easy (in one case, because it's already operational) so it looks like we're accomplishing something...."

Re:Finally some real technology development (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32307252)

What NASA should be looking at are things that are, well, new. Unproven. Requiring further development. Tried and true not so much. Investing in development of something that's already completed its development doesn't match up with that.

In general, NASA's announcement of its new direction seems to be "we're dredging up a bunch of things that we think will be pretty easy (in one case, because it's already operational) so it looks like we're accomplishing something...."

See my other comment. This announcement is only for testing relatively mature technologies in space, while other programs (e.g. NIAC, SBIR) are for more novel technologies:

http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1660882&cid=32300668 [slashdot.org]

Seems kind of quick? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32299884)

They couldn't have really developed all of this since the announcement of the cancellation of the Constellation program.

Seems more likely they just grabbed a bunch of already developed tech and slammed it together.

On the plus side, the fact that they're actually focusing on this tech which I heard they were developing years years ago, at least for the ion propulsion and inflatable structures, shows that NASA is finalyl getting off their feet and working on them.

Re:Seems kind of quick? (3, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32300668)

They couldn't have really developed all of this since the announcement of the cancellation of the Constellation program.

Seems more likely they just grabbed a bunch of already developed tech and slammed it together.

On the plus side, the fact that they're actually focusing on this tech which I heard they were developing years years ago, at least for the ion propulsion and inflatable structures, shows that NASA is finalyl getting off their feet and working on them.

Keep in mind all of these technologies have been on NASA's back-burner for a while (and most/all had their funding cut when Ares/Constellation started going over-budget). These "Flagship Technology Demonstrators" are also specifically targeted towards technologies which are already of mid-level maturity but have never been brought to the point that they could be tested in space before. There's a figure on page 2 of this document which does a pretty good job of explaining things:

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=230964/Section1.pdf [nasaprs.com]

Re:Seems kind of quick? (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 4 years ago | (#32301706)

  I imagine they are relying on the private companies who have been developing this technology - such as Bigelow with inflatable habitats, and the numerous work on solar electric propulsion, etc. After all, it has already been stated that NASA will be relying on private companies a lot more.

SB

New info on commercial crew and robot precursors (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32300702)

Right after I made the submission, it looks like NASA released info on Commercial Crew Transportation and the Exploration Precursor Robotic Missions. I probably won't make a separate submission (although someone else is more than welcome to), but the new docs are pretty interesting:

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/solicitations.do?method=init&stack=push [nasaprs.com]

X Projects (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32301816)

Only 14 posts? What's the matter with you guys? NASA is doing X Projects again and this is a Good Thing.

One of the projects is for on-orbit storage and transfer of cryogenic propellants. I wonder if "cryogenic" has the traditional NASA meaning of "liquid hydrogen" or if it refers to easier-to-handle substances like LOX or liquid methane.

Oh, and where's the love for VASIMR and aerospike engines?

Re:X Projects (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32302312)

Oh, and where's the love for VASIMR and aerospike engines?

I believe aerospike engines (and things like Thrust Augmented Nozzles) fall under the new Foundational Propulsion Research program:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=34019 [spaceref.com]

VASIMR falls under the high-power electric propulsion system project in the Enabling Technology Development and Demonstration (ETDD) program announced last week. I believe the plan is to test and mature VASIMR under that program until its ready to be fully tested on a Flagship Technology Demonstration mission:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=34056 [spaceref.com]

Re:X Projects (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 4 years ago | (#32303548)

I was just about to make a similar post. We're at 19 posts so far. This is space exploration! If this isn't news for nerds, what is?

p.s. Yes, I am kind of new here, but come on people! As I understand it, this sort of article used to actually generate discussion and got people excited.

Re:X Projects (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32306038)

It seems this news piece showed up during Friday evening / night. We might at least pretend that we have better things to do then...

Re:X Projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32312812)

It's probably because this doesn't fit the Slashdot narrative of "evil obama killing nasa"

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