Lockheed to turn shuttle-era module into a space habitat for NASA

July 24, 2017 by  
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Deep space missions in the future will take humanity farther and farther away from Earth. Last year NASA chose six United States companies to develop deep space habitat prototypes as part of the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) study, demonstrating where astronauts might live and work. Aerospace company Lockheed Martin recently won a Phase II contract to develop a cislunar habitat, and they’re repurposing old materials to do so. They’ll be building a full-scale prototype at the Kennedy Space Center, utilizing what Lockheed Martin NextSTEP program manager Bill Pratt described as a historic piece of flight hardware. Lockheed Martin will be constructing the NextSTEP habitat by refurbishing the shuttle-era Donatello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, which was once used to transfer cargo to the International Space Station . Pratt said in a statement, “We are excited to work with NASA to repurpose a historic piece of flight hardware, originally designed for low Earth orbit exploration, to play a role in humanity’s push into deep space. Making use of existing capabilities will be a guiding philosophy for Lockheed Martin to minimize development time and meet NASA ‘s affordability goals.” Related: NASA unveils 6 prototypical deep space human habitats for Mars and beyond Lockheed Martin will also draw on virtual and augmented reality to work on the prototype, giving them the ability to catch issues in the design phase. They’ll work on the project over 18 months, building on their work in Phase I. The NextSTEP habitat could be docked with NASA’s Orion spacecraft in cislunar orbit as part of the Deep Space Gateway. Orion will act as the command deck for the habitat, offering life support, communications, and navigation. But there will be long periods of time when no humans are present at the Deep Space Gateway, and Lockheed Martin had to take that into account in their work – they are also building a Deep Space Avionics Integration Laboratory near the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Pratt said, “Because the Deep Space Gateway would be uninhabited for several months at a time, it has to be rugged, reliable, and have the robotic capabilities to operate autonomously . Essentially it is a robotic spacecraft that is well-suited for humans when Orion is present.” Via Lockheed Martin Images via Lockheed Martin and NASA Orion Spacecraft on Flickr

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Lockheed to turn shuttle-era module into a space habitat for NASA

Maryland grad turns recycled plastic bags into eco-fashion

July 24, 2017 by  
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Plastic is Trisha Cheeny’s bag. A recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art , where she majored in interdisciplinary sculpture, Cheeny is looking to launch Pälemer , a line of clothing and accessories derived from used plastic bags and other recycled materials. Cheeny created Pälemer to “challenge ‘fast fashion’ and eliminate consumer waste,” she wrote on Kickstarter , where she’s raising funds for her inaugural collection. Cheeny has created several prototypes, including a winter jacket made from 214 castoff carryalls and insulated with recycled fleece. She also constructed a windbreaker from roughly 90 used bags, then lined it with mesh made from recycled materials. Related: India’s capital of Delhi just banned plastic disposables For stuff-schelpping, there’s a book bag, which Cheeny assembled from roughly 80 used retail-shopping bags for extra durability. “Our planet is facing huge changes, so we need to be making huge changes,” Cheeny said. “Pälemer is changing how we use our planet’s resources and our planet’s waste. We hope you join us.” Related: Plastic-eating caterpillar could revolutionize waste treatment She won’t have a shortage of materials to work with: Roughly a trillion single-use plastic bags are produced and used every year, according to the Earth Policy Institute —that’s nearly 2 million per minute. Cheeny is currently an entrepreneur-in-residence at Open Works , a maker’s space in Baltimore where she’ll spend the next six months developing her line further. + Pälemer on Kickstarter

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Maryland grad turns recycled plastic bags into eco-fashion

NASA unveils 6 prototypical deep space human habitats for Mars and beyond

August 10, 2016 by  
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Each habitat prototype is backed by a different private U.S. company. The six companies are Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas, Boeing of Pasadena, Texas, Lockheed Martin of Denver, Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems of Louisville, Colorado, and NanoRacks of Webster, Texas. The six habitats have the same goal: keep humans and equipment safe even in the notoriously inhospitable climes of places like Mars. However, how each habitat looks and works differs greatly from one to the next. Related: How Scott Kelly’s 340 days in space, and his twin, will help NASA plan future flights “NASA is on an ambitious expansion of human spaceflight, including the Journey to Mars, and we’re utilizing the innovation, skill and knowledge of both the government and private sectors,” said Jason Crusan, director of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems which manages the NextSTEP program. “The next human exploration capabilities needed beyond the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule are deep space, long duration habitation and in-space propulsion. We are now adding focus and specifics on the deep space habitats where humans will live and work independently for months or years at a time, without cargo supply deliveries from Earth.” Over the next two years, the six partner companies will work to develop ground prototypes and run concept studies to explore options for deep space habitats with Mars and other far-reaching destinations in mind. Each habitat will include a pressurized cabin, with complex integrated systems controlling docking functions, environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS), radiation mitigation, fire safety, and crew health capabilities. + NASA NextStep Via Gizmodo Images via NASA , Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, NanoRacks, Orbital ATK, and Sierra Nevada Corporation

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NASA unveils 6 prototypical deep space human habitats for Mars and beyond

DIY hydroelectric water wheel uses recycled plastic bottles to generate free electricity

August 10, 2016 by  
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If MacGyver and Survivor Man got together and handed out an award, they might give it to the inventor of this incredible DIY water wheel generator . With some empty plastic bottles, a little wire, and some ingenuity, Thomas Kim created his own hydroelectric generator that can charge a cell phone or power an LED lamp in the backwoods, if desperation strikes. Watch Kim’s YouTube after the jump to see the homemade generator in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT8X31XHy9Q In addition to being an intrepid inventor, Kim operates a power plant, so he’s no stranger to electricity. Although his video is a few clicks shy of a tutorial, it’s pretty easy to see how easily the hydroelectric generator would come together, if you have all the parts. Kim wrote in the video description that the generator is comprised of “plastic bottles, disposable platters, 3 Phase stepping motor, [and a] rectifier circuit.” Related: How to make your own solar power generator The DIY generator seems to work, as Kim shows a smartphone charging and a LED lamp being illuminated. However, the inventor has a few components in play that the average hiker probably wouldn’t have access to if they were lost on a day trip in the woods. He appears to use a voltage regulator, which is pretty important for sending electricity to a device without, well, making it explode. Essentially, fashioning a hydroelectric generator miles off the grid is possible, but it’s probably not a likely option for anyone actually stuck in that scenario. It would, however, make a pretty cool science fair project or fun afternoon experiment, if your family includes some science buffs. Folks who live near a stream, though, might be thinking about ways to scale up the model to trim their utility bills a bit. Via Treehugger Images via Thomas Kim/YouTube via screenshot

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DIY hydroelectric water wheel uses recycled plastic bottles to generate free electricity

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