Friday, May 29, 2009

ISS Returns

worden - Looks like yesterday's SOAREX suborbital flight from Wallops a complete success. On to developing a cheap return of small payloads from ISS

Something that seemed similar was once proposed as a Centennial Challenge. It's always struck me as an important piece of space infrastructure, even if the payload is very small (eg: chemical or microbiological samples), but I haven't heard much about such ideas lately. Will we finally see some movement?

Centennial Challenges (PDF) - National Council of Space Grant Directors -2006 Spring Meeting - This document, by Ken Davidian, shows the state of Centennial Challenges at the time of that meeting. Several proposed Challenges are briefly described: Telerobotic Construction, Planetary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Fuel Depot Demonstration, Station-Keeping Solar Sail, Human Lunar All-Terrain Vehicle, Low-Cost Space Pressure Suit, Non-Toxic RCS Engine, Lunar Night Power Source ... and Micro Reentry Vehicle (slide p. 20). From the slide:


Demonstrate a low-cost method for returning viable samples on-demand from orbit:

•Routine ISS sample return despite constrained downmass

•Free-flying research platforms in between vomit comets and ISS

•Commercial biotech interest

Rules Summary

To win the estimated $2M prize, the Team shall:

•Launch one dozen raw eggs into LEO (>200km)

•Reenter the Earth’s atmosphere and land within 4km of the team’s pre-designated landing site

•Protect the eggs from temperatures, vibrations, and accelerations resulting in cooking, scrambling, or cracking

Also Supports Spacecraft "Black Box"Data Applications

Aerospace Corporation