Category Archives: Space Systems

Video: Ugly Duckling “Elevation” rocks ATV Albert Einstein

The hip hop group Ugly Duckling “elevates” the ESA ATV Albert Einstein to the ISS:

For the 2013 Automated Transfer Vehicle docking day music video, ESA teamed up with California hip hop group Ugly Duckling (, who have produced a super space remix of Elevation (…).

Rock along to the beats of DJ Young Einstein and the visuals of ATV Albert Einstein!

Follow the ATV mission to the ISS via

Music, lyrics and original video animation Copyright (C) Ugly Duckling ( 2012-13.
ESA remix video credit ESA/European Space Agency, used with permission.

Magnetoshell provides a lightweight brake for spacecraft

NextBigFuture points to a neat concept for slowing a spacecraft when it enters an atmosphere. A study of the Magnetoshell concept was funded by the  NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC). As shown in the slide below, the spacecraft would release a tethered device that creates a magnetized plasma, which in turn interacts with the atoms in the atmosphere in a manner that creates drag. The size and mass of such a system is much less than for a reentry shield and big parachutes. So it would allow for greater payload mass for missions to Mars or other bodies in the solar system with atmospheres.

Find more details in these resources:


Lunar radiation study points to better shielding techniques

I mentioned in this item about measurements of radiation exposure for trips to Mars, the best shielding for your spaceship is with materials that contain lots of hydrogen. A new study of rad measurements on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) bears this out: Moon Radiation Findings May Reduce Health Risks to Astronauts – Univ. of New Hampshire

Says Zeitlin, “This is the first study using observations from space to confirm what has been thought for some time – that plastics and other lightweight materials are pound-for-pound more effective for shielding against cosmic radiation than aluminum. Shielding can’t entirely solve the radiation exposure problem in deep space, but there are clear differences in effectiveness of different materials.”

The plastic-aluminum comparison was made in earlier ground-based tests using beams of heavy particles to simulate cosmic rays. “The shielding effectiveness of the plastic in space is very much in line with what we discovered from the beam experiments, so we’ve gained a lot of confidence in the conclusions we drew from that work,” says Zeitlin. “Anything with high hydrogen content, including water, would work well.”

SunSat Design Competition opens Indiegogo fundraising campaign.

The International SunSat Design Competition, based at Ohio University, has opened a crowd-sourcing campaign to fund the contest: International SunSat Design Competition – Indiegogo. Here is an announcement about the effort:

SunSat Design Competition & Indiegogo Fundraising

Our SunSat Design Competition was officially launched last week at the International Space Development Conference in San Diego. This Competition – to generate multiple new designs for the next-generation satellites and earth/space architectures for delivering sun’s energy from space to earth – is a targeted project of the National Space Society and the Society of Satellite Professionals International. Ohio University has agreed to manage the two-year Competition, but money must be raised to make it happen.

Our Indiegogo micro-funding campaign has been extended for an additional 45 days in an effort to raise the full $110,000. Please help us by going to our new International SunSat Design Competition site on Indiegogo and make a contribution at one of the several funding levels. You are also encouraged to share this opportunity with others with mutual interests.

If you doubt your contribution will make a difference, take a look at the Lewis Fraas ISDC presentation on Reflective Sunlight that is in the process of being published by the Space Journal. Earlier this week, Dr. Fraas’ paper and the Ohio University student visualization of the concept he introduced in San Diego was shared with the India Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the India Institute of Space Sciences and Technology (IISST), via Dr. APJ Abdulkalam.

Global interest in space is growing. By using the creative talents of our universities, working cooperatively with our space professionals, we can help to accelerate public interest in these developments. Energy from space is one of those historically significant first steps. Your financial assistance of this important international initiative – added to the contributions of others – will make a difference. Please join us.