Military Embedded Systems

NASA sounding rocket mission tests new technologies, sensors


May 16, 2017

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

SubTec-7 rocket photo: NASA

NASA WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, Va. A sounding rocket launch from NASA?s Wallops Flight Facility during the early morning hours of May 16 is intended to provide the flight testing needed for 24 experiments and new technologies.

The primary goal of the SubTec-7 sounding rocket mission -- the term "sounding rocket" is used to denote one launched to test instruments used on satellites and spacecraft and to provide information about the sun, stars, galaxies, and Earth's atmosphere -- was to test two capabilities for research missions to improve payload recovery systems. The first is a shutter-door system that will allow recovery of a telescope payload in water environments, while the second is to update the electronic and mechanical systems of the current recovery system; these electronics and systems date back to the 1970s. These updates also will reduce the footprint of the systems, which will allow for comparable increases in science instruments that can be flown.

In addition, electrical and other components are being tested, many for flight qualification; these components include a solar sensor, a low-cost star tracker, power supply, timer, command and uplink stack, receiver transmitter, inertial measurement unit, and a solid-state altimeter.

The brief (approximately 17 minutes) flight is also hosting several packages from NASA’s Space  Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development program: A carbon nanotube Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel, a joint effort by NASA’s Glenn Research Center, Langley Research Center, and the Marshall Space Flight Center; a CubeSat test of ultra-lightweight materials from Orbital ATK; and a Mars Packing Efficiency Payload from NASA Langley.



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