Posted on Jun 15, 2011 11:30:50 AM | NASA EDGE
If you’re looking for a nice two-story, walk-up* with
spectacular views from the Moon, Mars or any potential deep space destination,
look no further than the NASA Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) and their newly
added second level!
Of course, the HDU, the new second level and a soon to be
added Hygiene Module together form the Deep Space Habitat configuration of the
HDU that will be featured in this year’s D-RATS analog field test.
But, I am getting ahead of myself. The essential 2nd level has not been completely
decided on yet.
There are currently three different options being considered
through a fascinating competition know as the X-Hab Academic Innovation
Challenge. Three Universities were
selected from a number of entries to design, build and demonstrate their inflatable
habitat concepts all the way from CAD drawings to a full scale demonstration
Each school has one week to deploy their version of the
interstellar penthouse on top of NASA’s current HDU at NASA Johnson Space
Center. The final demonstration units will be judged on many
different criteria, such as ratio between the packed hab’s volume and the
deployed hab’s volume, deployment time, lowest hourly pressure decay and
self-support due to loss of internal pressure. Coincidentally, these align perfectly with my every day
The three schools are Oklahoma State University (June 6th
– 10th,) the University of Maryland (June 13th – 17th)
and the University of Wisconsin (June 20th – 24th.) The pictures below were taken during
our trip to NASA Johnson while the University of Maryland was testing and
installing their demo unit.
University of Maryland unpacks and weighs their Hab Demo Unit. Credit: Co-Host
University of Maryland Hab Demo Unit soon to be joined with NASA's Hab Demo Unit. Credit: Co-Host
University of Maryland's Hab Demo Unit Deployed! Credit: Co-Host
All of the teams have overcome many different obstacles and
engineering challenges to deliver their inflatable habs, but the learning
experience from the process itself is invaluable. As one student commented when asked about seeing their
team’s demonstration being deployed, “I’m curious. I’m excited, but we all really want to see if our ideas work
For the winners?
Their demonstration will experience full field implementation during
NASA’s analog field test in Arizone (D-RATS 2011.) The winning design will be announced sometime during the
week of June 27th – July 1st, 2011.
For the record, I volunteer to stay in the winner’s
demonstration unit as long as they agree to fully return my security deposit
when the analog is finished. Plus,
I SPLIT the utilities with my fellow medianauts from NASA EDGE. Too many times, I’ve been left with the
For more information on NASA's HDU and the Challenge, please visit the following sites:
NASA's HDU Project
X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge
X-Hab Partner - The National Space Grant Foundation
Good Luck! And may the best Hab win!
*Walk-up can refer to the fact that a particular apartment
is accessible via stairs only. I
mean that it is easily accessible by pedestrians that happen to be in the
vicinity of building 220 at NASA Johnson or the Black Point Lava Flow in
Arizona sometime in August 2011.
NASA EDGE Fans Deliver 2nd Consecutive Annual Podcast Award Nomination!
Posted on Nov 29, 2010 03:30:05 PM | NASA EDGE
First, NASA EDGE wants to thank the many, many fans of the
show that voted to nominate NASA EDGE for the Annual Podcast Awards for the 2nd
year in a row. 1.1 million total
nominations were received this year for all podcasts, so to again be nominated
means only one thing. Our fans
showed up BIG TIME. What an honor!
Second, voting begins December 1st and continues
all the way through December 15th. Again, we are calling on our fans to show their
unprecedented support. Like last
year, we are up against some serious competition. But if our fans have shown anything over the years, it is
So, hide your kids, hide your wives… I mean, FIND your kids,
FIND your wives, and FIND your husbands, etc. and VOTE DAILY from December
1-15, 2010 to give NASA EDGE a chance to win the 6th Annual Podcast
Award in the category of “Best Video Podcast!”
Even though we face serious competition, we know our fans
will give it their best shot. Who
could ask for more?
Cool Pics from Orion Pad Abort 1 Flight Test
Posted on Jun 25, 2010 01:06:27 PM | NASA EDGE
After glorious animation, a live webcast and a “Best of”
vodcast, the success of the Orion Pad Abort 1 Flight Test continues to
amaze. These pictures come to us
via our good buddies at White Sands Missile Range out in New Mexico, and for me
they bring the experience home in a new way.
As one of the Orion Pad Abort 1 Team stated mid flight, “Today, we just saved astronauts’ lives.” Even though there were no astronauts
in the crew module for this test, NASA and their partners proved that the
technology to save lives works.
And as we move forward, that is great news.
If you want to see high quality versions of these pictures,
visit our flickr page.
NASA EDGE Flickr Page
You can see that the Attitude Control Motor fires immediately to provide control. (photo: White Sands Missile Range)
Orion successfully reoriented for separation. (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)
All three motor systems worked as planned. Will the chutes deploy? (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)
Gravity dictates that the Launch Abort System lands first. (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)
The Orion descends safely! And provides a very nice picture. (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)
The Orion has landed! (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)
I'm pretty sure I could have survived this ride! (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)
Not the usual desert image, but a very welcome one for NASA. (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)
Year in Review and the look ahead
Posted on Jan 06, 2010 09:49:26 AM | NASA EDGE
Happy New Year! 2009 was a great year for NASA EDGE. With your support, we were able to produce 16 video podcasts that covered a wide range of topics. Here's the short rundown of 2009.
• Highlighted the Desert RATS and analog field testing out at Black Point Lava Flow, AZ.
• Traveled to NASA Kennedy Space Center to cover the STS-125 launch (Last Mission to Hubble) and Ares I-X Flight Demonstration. The Ares I-X Flight Demonstration was our first live broadcast out on NASA's Digital Learning Network.
• Visited NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to showcase LRO/LCROSS and the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO).
• Hooked up with our Orion buddies at NASA JSC and Lockheed Martin to produce a vodcast on three Orion Simulators.
• Flew to New York City to catch up with Astronaut Mike Massimino and his Hometown Heroes tour.
• Rapped with Buzz Aldrin at NASA Headquarters for the Apollo 40th Anniversary video podcast. "All you need is the rocket experience."
• Hung out with our friends at NASA Langley to highlight the Orion Crew Module/Launch Abort System (CM/LAS) for Ares I-X.
• Experienced the amazing shuttle tracking capability by the HYTHIRM (HYpersonic THermodynamic InfraRed Measurements) Team.
• And we can't forget about the Superpressure Balloon team during the 2009 Mission Madness Tournament. Unbelievable!
A big kudos goes out to our fans for nominating us for the 5th Annual Podcast Awards in the 'Best Video Podcast' category. Even though we didn't win, our fan base increased based on the number of downloads we received each month. From November 19 - December 18, 2009, NASA EDGE vodcasts were downloaded over 1.3 million times. This was the first time we broke 1 million downloads in a month. Thank you again!
What can you expect from NASA EDGE in 2010? We have a ton of work ahead of us but here's an initial rundown of topics for the new year.
• Mercury Mission Control Room
• Orion Launch Abort System
• Sun-Earth Day (Live from the Philadelphia Convention Center)
• Orion Pad Abort-1 test (Live from White Sands Missile Range, NM)
• NEEMO (Analog Field Testing)
• Lunabotics Mining Competition (Live from KSC) (still pending)
• Applied Earth Science Applications
• Last Space Shuttle Launch! (Live from the press site at KSC)
• Mission Madness 2010 (still pending) - Bring it on!
and much, much more!
And finally after all the red tape has been cut, we'll finally will be able to release the Lunar Electric Rover (LER) iPhone app. So stay tuned and keep following us on Facebook and Twitter (NASA_EDGE). If you have an idea for a vodcast then please leave us a comment or a suggestion. Who knows maybe one of our fans may appear on a NASA EDGE vodcast this year. Just don't tell the Co-host!
Happy New Space Exploration Year!
NASA EDGE Nominated for Best Video Podcast in the 5th Annual Podcast Awards!
Posted on Nov 16, 2009 10:39:08 AM | NASA EDGE
Just though I would share the news with our NASA EDGE Fans:
NASA EDGE continues their unprecedented, unscripted journey through the world of video podcasting with their very first award nomination. This is no small accomplishment considering that only two and half years ago, they weren’t sure that they would find an audience.
Well, they have. Almost three years and 3.2 million downloads later, NASA EDGE is now recognized in the company of such internet greats and fellow nominees as “Buzz out Loud,” “Diggnation” and “Filmriot” just to name a few.
In fact, the 5th Annual Podcast Awards, managed by Podcast Connect Inc., mentioned on their web site that this year’s competition received more than 321,000 nominations for over 3500 different shows.
Be sure to vote for NASA EDGE
You can vote once a day from November 13th to November 30th, 2009 by visiting www.podcastawards.com. NASA EDGE is listed in the “Best Video Podcast” category with 9 other video podcasts.
If you’re already a fan of NASA EDGE, please vote for them. If you haven’t seen or heard of NASA EDGE, visit their home page at www.nasa.gov/nasaedge and download any or all of their 46 video podcasts. You will not be disappointed.
What is NASA EDGE?
NASA EDGE is different. Unscripted and unpredictable, NASA EDGE takes a unique look in and around the greatest space program on the planet. They have hosted the Great Moonbuggy Race, examined NASA spinoff technology at the X Games, followed the Desert-RATS with an unconventional set of duct tape boots, coined the term Magnetospherence and even made an appearance on ESPN’s nationally syndicated Mike & Mike in the Morning Show.
Their latest Vodcast added a new wrinkle. In October they covered NASA’s historic Ares I-X Flight Demonstration live on the web. That show featured the entire broadcast team and an attempt at defining and redefining ‘triboelectrification.’
Of course, NASA EDGE isn’t just a video podcast. If you have questions, comments or thoughts about NASA or NASA EDGE, you can friend them on facebook and ask questions, chat or check out some exclusive facebook videos.
Or if you just want to keep up with their latest shows or activities you can follow them on twitter (@NASA_EDGE.)
If all goes well, you’ll hear from them the second they win their very first award!
SCORE: Ares I-X - 1,Triboelectrification - 0
Posted on Oct 29, 2009 01:35:28 PM | NASA EDGE
Triboelectrification tried to thwart NASA’s first flight demonstration for the next generation manned space flight program, however, it came up empty as the Ares I-X flew beautifully into the Florida sky.
Ares I-X performs flawless rotation shortly into flight. Photo: Ron Beard
Ares I-X creates sonic shockwaves while breaking the sound barrier. Photo: Ron Beard
All initial signs of the flight demonstration are good. Of course, Ares I-X’s real success will come several weeks from now when all of the data is collected, analyzed and utilized to develop a new space flight vehicle. This data is exactly what triboelectrification could have compromised.
What is triboelectrification? Quite simply, it is what kids have been doing to their siblings and friends for years; shuffling their feet and shocking their intended targets with an unsuspecting electrically charged touch. Obviously, in the case of Ares I-X, there were more significant consequences than an angry peer.
Let’s break the word down. Tribo is the Greek root, meaning friction. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, tribology “is the study of friction, wear and lubrication and the design of bearings; the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion.” So, the big concern around launch time of Ares I-X was that building electrostatic charges would be created by the friction created on and around Ares I-X during the flight. If those electrostatic charges discharged onto the rocket, many of the data collecting sensors might be compromised. If the data was compromised, NASA would have an aesthetically pleasing flight to remember but very little data to use to improving the vehicle.
The next obvious question is why tribolelectrification isn’t a concern for other launches (Saturn V launches, Shuttle launches, etc.)? The decals on Ares I-X were a possible culprit. If that is true, then NASA should have used the very popular Triboelectrification NASA EDGE stickers/decals. I can’t vouch for the other vehicles, but my guess is that NASA EDGE will be an intregal part of the soon to be formed anti-triboelectrification task force. The first order of business; all wool sweaters, hush puppies and shag carpet will be banned from NASA Centers. It is a symbolic move, to be sure. But it is a start.
What do you think?
NASA EDGE Arrives at D-RATS Base Camp
Posted on Sep 07, 2009 05:25:04 PM | NASA EDGE
BLACK POINT LAVA FLOW, AZ (NASA EDGE PRESS) Life moves pretty fast across the lava flow in Arizona for the NASA Desert Research and Technology Studies Team (D-RATS.) At approximately 7:00am local time, NASA EDGE Set Therapist and Everyman were separated from their more studious counterparts and whisked away to the remote LER testing area by D-RATS taskmasters Joe Kosmo and Barbara Romig for exclusive coverage of the eighth day of a 14 day mission.
NASA EDGE brought back some stunning video and photos, but Ron explained that the pictures don’t tell the entire story.
“It’s really the little things. We were instructed not to interact with the two test subjects. I mean, if they are staring into the sun and claiming that they’re heading North, you don’t correct them. Not that that happened. That was just an example.”
Franklin added, “We are so used to correcting the Co-Host. It was actually a challenge not to interact or intervene. But it’s cool, because everybody learns more by working through the errors and kinks along the way.”
Despite dry heat, malfunctioning communications equipment, uncooperative weather and a relentlessly rugged drive into the desert, the mission is going well and NASA, the D-RATS and even NASA EDGE are learning and making progress.
Joe Kosmo put it best when he said quite simply, “we are out here to learn.”
Here are just a few photos of today’s activity in the desert.
The LER drives toward some questionable weather. Credit: Ron Beard
Check out the cool observation bubble. Is that Brent in there? Credit: Ron Beard
They don't have full suits, but they are going through all of the important motions. Credit: Ron Beard
This pic would never be taken on the Moon, except for the thumbs up! Credit: Ron Beard