NASA and the Private Sector - Page 203
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Keep debates civil.
E: To your edit, it's a private endeavor, no? Then they can coordinate with NASA on how it should be outfitted per their rules if they want to send NASA astronauts to it, but they shouldn't receive any funding/hand outs until all parties involved can demonstrate a viable working platform. Hopefully they don't bend over for the lobbyists and give them billions for something so unproven (SpaceX is the exception not the rule).
SpaceX's newest Crew Dragon capsule will test out some tweaked toilet tech when it lifts off for the first time this weekend.
The spacecraft, named Endurance by its four-astronaut crew, is scheduled to launch early Sunday morning (Oct. 31), kicking off SpaceX's Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
Endurance differs from SpaceX's two other named Crew Dragon capsules in a small but important way — it has a toilet system that's been revamped to prevent urine leaks in space.
Such leaks occurred on the most recent Crew Dragon flight, Inspiration4, which sent billionaire Jared Isaacman and three other private citizens to Earth orbit last month aboard the capsule Resilience. Post-landing inspections revealed that a tube hooked up to a toilet storage tank had popped loose during the three-day flight.
The unattached tube "allowed urine to not go into the storage tank but, essentially, to go into the fan system," Bill Gerstenmaier, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, said during a news conference on Monday (Oct. 25) after Crew-3's flight readiness review (FRR) concluded.
Following that revelation, SpaceX and NASA wondered if a similar issue had affected the Crew-2 mission, which arrived at the space station in April and is scheduled to wrap up next week. So astronauts on the orbiting lab checked out Endeavour, the Crew Dragon used for Crew-2, and found some signs of urine leakage in that capsule as well, Gerstenmaier said.
The leaks don't seem to be a huge deal. The two crews who flew aboard those capsules didn't notice the issue during their flights, and analyses suggest that Endeavour didn't suffer corrosion damage that could complicate its return to Earth, Gerstenmaier said (though a bit more work needs to be done here on the ground to firm up that latter conclusion).
Still, SpaceX decided to take preventative measures ahead of its next astronaut flight, because urine leakage is generally something to avoid.
"For Crew-3, we've fixed this problem in the tank by essentially making an all-welded structure with no longer joints in there that can come unglued and become disconnected," Gerstenmaier said.
NASA is still vetting that change, though approval seems likely.
"We had a good review today," Joel Montalbano, NASA's ISS program manager, said during Monday's post-FRR news conference. "There were no surprises today. Everybody walked in today with understanding the mission, and understanding the work that needs to happen."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (November 2, 2021) – Redwire Corporation (NYSE: RDW), a leader in space infrastructure for the next generation space economy, today announced that it has acquired Techshot, Inc., a leader in biotechnology in microgravity, bioprinting, and on-orbit manufacturing needed for commercial space-based research and development.
“Techshot’s space bioprinting and other proven biotech solutions in microgravity are some of the most consequential innovations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with life-saving benefits on and off our home planet,” said Peter Cannito, Chairman and CEO of Redwire. “Adding Techshot’s leading position in commercial space biotechnology with Redwire’s leading position in on-orbit material manufacturing adds significant scale and synergy to our commercial space offerings. This is a giant leap forward in our vision for people living and working in space for the benefit of the terrestrial economy.”
This acquisition aligns with Redwire’s growth strategy to leverage strategic investments to scale in-space manufacturing in LEO which will directly impact the sustainability of future human spaceflight and deliver optimized products for Earth-based industries. The acquisition of Techshot is value accretive and will provide a complementary suite of products to further advance Redwire’s disruptive innovation.
“As part of Redwire, we now have more of the resources we need to help accelerate the development of our growing portfolio of new space biomedical technologies, while we continue to provide great service to our research and deep space exploration customers,” said Techshot President and Co-founder John Vellinger. “We’re excited to be part of a leading company in the commercialization – and indeed, the industrialization – of low Earth orbit, and beyond.”
Since 1988, Techshot has been at the forefront of biological and physical-science research in space. It has developed more than a dozen payloads – four of which currently are operating on the International Space Station. The company’s key products include the 3D BioFabrication Facility: the first American system capable of manufacturing human tissue in microgravity; the Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform: containing a set of centrifuges for in-space biological and physical-science research; the Advanced Space Experiment Processor: a multipurpose device for biological research and small scale manufacturing in space; and the Bone Densitometer: an in-orbit X-ray machine chiefly used by Techshot customers for researching new treatments for osteoporosis and muscle wasting diseases.
Techshot’s development pipeline includes a new payload for 3D printing metal and electronic components, and devices for manufacturing pharmaceuticals and large quantities of human cells for bioprinting and cell therapies. Beyond operating its own devices, Techshot also manages research in NASA’s space station furnaces and the Advanced Plant Habitat.
Techshot’s customers include, Eli Lilly and Company, AstraZeneca, UCLA, MIT, and the Geneva Foundation among other government and commercial entities. Based in Floyd County, Indiana, Techshot’s 22,000 square foot facility, located near world-class aeronautical and biomedical engineering university programs, will expand Redwire’s technology ecosystem with additional engineering labs and payload operations control center.