Daily Journals


“Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists recently flight tested a new rocket design that includes a high-energy fuel and a motor design that also delivers a high degree of safety.
“What we’re trying to do is break the performance versus sensitivity curve, and make a rocket that’s both very high-energy, as well as very safe,”said Bryce Tappan, an energetic materials chemist. “Typically, when you look at a propellant that’s high-performance, it’s not as safe a material.”

Conventional solid-fuel rocket motors work by combining a fuel and an oxidizer, a material usually rich in oxygen, to enhance the burning of the fuel. In higher-energy fuels this mixture can be somewhat unstable, and can contain sensitive high explosives that can detonate under high shock loads, high temperatures, or other conditions.

The new rocket fuel and motor design adds a higher degree of safety by separating the fuel from the oxidizer, both novel formulations that are, by themselves, not able to detonate.

“Because the fuel is physically separated from the oxidizer,” said Tappan, “you can utilize higher-energy propellants.”

After years of development and bench-top static tests, the new rocket design was recently flight tested at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center’s Socorro launch site, part of New Mexico Tech. The new rocket design was tested against conventional, high-energy commercial rockets to enable a comparison of data gathered on velocity, altitude, burn rate, and other parameters.

“You don’t have to do much more than a few seconds of YouTube searching to find numerous failed rocket tests,” said Tappan. “So, I had that worry in the back of my mind. But once we saw that successful launch go off, it was the culmination of a lot of years of research, it was very satisfying to see it fly.”

Researchers will now work to scale-up the design, as well as explore miniaturization of the system, in order to exploit all potential applications that would require high-energy, high-velocity, and correspondingly high safety margins.” -Los Alamos National Laboratory

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skydive1

Alan Eustace dangles from baloon as he ascends to over 135,000 feet.

Alan Eustace, a computer scientist( a Google VP), broke Felix Baumgartner’s record on Friday by skydiving from 135,908 feet. This was an impressive dive of 15 minutes after over a 2 hour ascent dangling from a weather balloon in a device much more simple and basic than Felix’s capsule.

Read more at the NYTimes

Great introduction to Rocket Science.

…also related to this

NASA, SpaceX Share Data On Supersonic Retropropulsion

According to Gene Kranz in his book, Failure Is Not an Option, “When reporters asked Shepard what he thought about as he sat atop the Redstone rocket, waiting for liftoff, he had replied, ‘The fact that every part of this ship was built by the low bidder.'”

comm-crew

Looks like NASA has made a decision to use both Boeing and SpaceX.

Each will need to complete 5 major milestones set by NASA

More information here

NASA to Make Major Announcement Today About Astronaut Transport to the International Space Station.

See official statement:
“NASA will make a major announcement today at 4 p.m. EDT regarding the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States. The agency will make the announcement during a news conference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

A brief question-and-answer session with reporters on site will take place during the event. Media will be able to ask more detailed questions related to the program in a teleconference shortly afterward.”  READ MORE HERE

Streaming will start at 4pm : http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

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