Spiders in Space! SpiderFab, a fabulous NASA initiative

3ders.org a great 3 D printing site has this up…..TUI, a space technology development company based in Bothell, WA is currently developing “SpiderFab” to provide order-of-magnitude packing- and mass- efficiency improvements over current deployable structures and enables construction of kilometer-scale apertures within current launch vehicle capabilities.
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Trusselator
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SpiderFab project (credit: Tethers.com)

Go NASA!

Here is the TUI SpiderFab site

And remember this, Lego for the MIT set20130830-102928.jpg20130830-102946.jpg

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3D printed parts resurrect Saturn V’s ferocious F1 first stage engines

Dynetics reporting “outstanding” progress on F-1B rocket engine20130813-224116.jpg

The prototype components were constructed not with welding and casting, but rather with selective laser melting—a 3D printing technique that uses hot lasers to fuse metal powder into complex shapes. Dynetics and Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne hope to lean heavily on advanced manufacturing techniques like this in order to massively reduce the part count—and hence cost—of the F-1B engine compared to its F-1 predecessor. Current estimates call for a reduction in the combustion chamber from more than 5,000 parts in the F-1 to fewer than 100 parts in the F-1B.

OK I loathe the senate taxripoff system (STS), otherwise known as the space transportation system, but this is absolutely cool. I have to say NASA engineers and scientists have done a lot of really great and innovative stuff, even in these tough times, but as an exploratory risk taking organization…..well they’re a bunch of engineers and scientists lead by bureaucrats and directed by politicians . . . what more is there to say?

Wired : Space photo of the day

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This image emphasizes the beautiful rays of Qi Baishi, in the top of the image. The crater was named for the Chinese painter, Qi Baishi, known for his whimsical watercolors. The extensive rays of the crater mimic such whimsicality, extending far from the impact, exposing new material across the scene. The bright ray system indicates that Qi Baishi is relatively young, compared to other visible features. Notice the lack of rays extending from the west of the crater. This asymmetry indicates that the impactor struck at a relatively low incidence angle from the west.

This image was acquired as a targeted high-resolution 11-color image set. Acquiring 11-color targets is a new campaign that began in March 2013 and that utilizes all of the WAC’s 11 narrow-band color filters. Because of the large data volume involved, only features of special scientific interest are targeted for imaging in all 11 colors.

More at: Wired : Colorful Mercury Rays

England takes a bet on Space

The Sabre air breathing rocket and the Skylon single stage to orbit craft grow more real with time. We should all remember that England was a hot bed of jet engine development in the early years and is still a leader (Rolls Royce.)20130719-091933.jpg20130719-091947.jpg20130719-091955.jpg

The announcement late last month that the Chancellor, George Osborne, is planning to put a chunk of the country’s meagre resources for capital expenditure behind a British project to develop a revolutionary jet engine for a reusable space plane, suggests the government has high hopes of the space engineering sector.
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The Chancellor’s interest in Skylon centres on the hybrid air-breathing rocket engine, known as SABRE, which would power it into orbit in a single stage. The engine relies on an entirely new pre-cooling technology that allows it to function at extremely high speeds, at plus Mach 5. The project has no competitor. If successful it would offer a uniquely lightweight and therefore more affordable means of reaching space. It has already completed a series of tests and the next stage is to build a full-scale prototype.

Read more: The Engineer : Career opportunities in the UK space sector
Also the company developing the tech: Reaction Engines 20130719-093143.jpg