NASA News: NASA Sub-Scale Solid-Rocket Motor Tests Material for Space Launch System

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A sub-scale solid rocket motor designed to mimic
NASA's Space Launch System, or SLS, booster design successfully was
tested today by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in
Huntsville, Ala. The 20-second firing tested new insulation materials
on the 24-inch-diameter, 109-inch-long motor. The motor is a scaled
down, low-cost replica of the solid rocket motors that will boost SLS
off the launch pad.

Marshall is leading the design and development of the SLS on behalf of
the agency. The new heavy-lift launch vehicle will expand human
presence beyond low-Earth orbit and enable new missions of
exploration across the solar system.

The test will help engineers develop and evaluate analytical models
and skills to assess future full-scale SLS solid rocket motor tests.
The next full-scale test, Qualification Motor-1 (QM-1), is targeted
for spring 2013. Two five-segment solid rocket motors, the world's
largest at 154-foot-long and 12-foot diameter, will be used in the
first two 70-metric-ton capability flights of SLS.

Previous ground tests of the motors included carbon insulation to
protect the rocket's nozzle from the harsh environment and
5000-degree temperatures to which it is exposed. QM-1 will include a
new insulation material, provided by a new vendor, to line the
motor's nozzle.

"Test firing small motors at Marshall provides a quick, affordable and
effective way to evaluate the new nozzle liner's performance," said
Scott Ringel, an engineer at Marshall and the design lead for this
test. "We have sophisticated analytic and computer modeling tools
that tell us whether the new nozzle insulation will perform well, but
nothing gives us better confidence than a hot-fire test."

The test also includes several secondary objectives. The team
introduced an intentional defect in the propellant with a tool
designed to create a specific flaw size. By measuring the temperature
inside the motor at the flaw location, the team hopes to gain a
better understanding for the propellant's margin for error. Test data
also will help the team better understand acoustics and vibrations
resulting from the rocket motor's plume.

In addition, NASA's Engineering and Safety Center will use test data
to measure a solid rocket motor's plume and how it reacts to certain materials.

Engineers from Marshall's Engineering Directorate designed the test
motor with support from ATK Aerospace Systems of Huntsville, Ala. ATK
of Brigham City, Utah, the prime contractor for the SLS booster, is
responsible for designing and testing the SLS five-segment solid
rocket motor.

For more information about SLS, visit:



NASA Selects Next Class of Student Ambassadors

WASHINGTON -- NASA recently inducted 100 high-performing interns into
the 2012 NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. Their selection
is part of the agency's effort to engage undergraduate and graduate
students in science, engineering, mathematics and technology, or
STEM, research and interactive opportunities. This fourth group of
student ambassadors, known as Cohort IV, includes interns from 34
states and 73 universities.

"Congratulations Cohort IV on your selection to the NASA Student
Ambassadors," said Leland Melvin, associate administrator for
education at NASA Headquarters. "We are proud of your commitment to
excellence and your spirit of 'paying it forward.' Being selected for
this prestigious group is an honor, and your creativity and
innovation will help NASA inspire the STEM workforce of the future
and the next generation of explorers."

Members of this virtual community will interact with NASA personnel,
share information, make vital professional connections, collaborate
with peers, represent NASA in a variety of venues, and help inspire
and engage future interns. Through the community's website,
participants access tools needed to serve as a student ambassador,
blog, announcements, member profiles, forums, polls, and career resources.

NASA managers and mentors nominated the recipients from hundreds of
current interns and fellows across the agency. NASA's internships are
among the most exciting research and educational opportunities
available to college students. This online initiative also serves as
a vehicle for recognizing outstanding student contributions. The
community elevates the visibility and contribution of the
ambassadors, providing increased involvement with the agency's
exploration and STEM education missions.

"The NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community serves as an outreach
vehicle to the nation's students and is an effective way to engage
exceptional Gen-Y students," added Mabel J. Matthews, NASA's higher
education manager. "This innovative activity is important to helping
the agency attract, engage, educate and employ future scientists and engineers."

For more information about the NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual
Community and to see an interactive U.S. map containing the names and
schools of the 2012 Cohort IV participants, visit:


For more information about education at NASA, visit:



NASA Releases New WISE Mission Catalog Of Entire Infrared Sky

WASHINGTON -- NASA unveiled a new atlas and catalog of the entire
infrared sky today showing more than a half billion stars, galaxies
and other objects captured by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
(WISE) mission.

"Today, WISE delivers the fruit of 14 years of effort to the
astronomical community," said Edward Wright, WISE principal
investigator at UCLA, who first began working on the mission with
other team members in 1998.

WISE launched Dec. 14, 2009, and mapped the entire sky in 2010 with
vastly better sensitivity than its predecessors. It collected more
than 2.7 million images taken at four infrared wavelengths of light,
capturing everything from nearby asteroids to distant galaxies. Since
then, the team has been processing more than 15 trillion bytes of
returned data. A preliminary release of WISE data, covering the first
half of the sky surveyed, was made last April.

The WISE catalog of the entire sky meets the mission's fundamental
objective. The individual WISE exposures have been combined into an
atlas of more than 18,000 images covering the sky and a catalog
listing the infrared properties of more than 560 million individual
objects found in the images. Most of the objects are stars and
galaxies, with roughly equal numbers of each. Many of them have never
been seen before.

WISE observations have led to numerous discoveries, including the
elusive, coolest class of stars. Astronomers hunted for these failed
stars, called "Y-dwarfs," for more than a decade. Because they have
been cooling since their formation, they don't shine in visible light
and could not be spotted until WISE mapped the sky with its infrared vision.

WISE also took a poll of near-Earth asteroids, finding there are
significantly fewer mid-size objects than previously thought. It also
determined NASA has found more than 90 percent of the largest
near-Earth asteroids.

Other discoveries were unexpected. WISE found the first known "Trojan"
asteroid to share the same orbital path around the sun as Earth. One
of the images released today shows a surprising view of an "echo" of
infrared light surrounding an exploded star. The echo was etched in
the clouds of gas and dust when the flash of light from the supernova
explosion heated surrounding clouds. At least 100 papers on the
results from the WISE survey already have been published. More
discoveries are expected now that astronomers have access to the
whole sky as seen by the spacecraft.

"With the release of the all-sky catalog and atlas, WISE joins the
pantheon of great sky surveys that have led to many remarkable
discoveries about the universe," said Roc Cutri, who leads the WISE
data processing and archiving effort at the Infrared and Processing
Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in
Pasadena. "It will be exciting and rewarding to see the innovative
ways the science and educational communities will use WISE in their
studies now that they have the data at their fingertips."

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., manages
and operates WISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in
Washington. The mission was competitively selected under NASA's
Explorers Program, which is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the
Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft was
built by Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colo.
Science operations, data processing and archiving take place at the
Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute
of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For a collection of WISE images released to date, visit:


An introduction and quick guide to accessing the WISE all-sky archive
for astronomers is online at:


For more information about WISE, visit:



◄ Share this news!

Bookmark and Share


The Manhattan Reporter

Recently Added

Recently Commented