Range Tracking

NASA Innovation Expo 2015

Photos from the NASA Innovation Expo held at Kennedy Space Center on 16 October 2015. An amazing event providing a glimpse into the future of spaceflight and some of the futuristic and practical applications that a lot of this new spaceflight technology will bring to life on Earth. The Expo provided opportunities to hold a carefully machined satellite part or to view a transmission system based entirely of light waves that is even now being installed in buildings around the country to replace Wi-Fi, which suddenly seems hopelessly archaic in comparison.
Present was Robonaut, the humanoid robot now being tested on the International Space Station to assist the astronauts in their duties.
Robonaut has very long arms and comes with legs that were not installed in the model on display.
The United Launch Alliance exhibit infectiously imparted the excitement building over Boeing’s new Crew Space Transportation (CST) -100 spacecraft devoped as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Recently christened “Starliner”, this commercial spacecraft will carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and to other destinations in low Earth orbit. A model showed the CST-100 atop an Atlas V rocket along with the new Crew Access Tower currently under construction to support Starliner launches from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Much of the focus of the Expo was on the Commercial Crew Program. The excitement of which is not evident in this photo taken while the exhibitors were still setting up and before the crowd materialized.
A model of the new docking adapter to be sent to the International Space Station to support the arrival of commercial spacecraft. The original flight version of the docking adapter was lost on the CRS-7 mishap. View the mishap photos taken from the NASA Causeway.
People often forget that the first “A” in NASA is for Aeronautics, which was represented by this booth that detailed some of the current work to advance air travel technology.
A gloriously large and detailed 1:25 scale model of the Space Launch System (SLS) and its Mobile Launcher Platform designed to carry out crewed missions to destinations beyond Low Earth Orbit, notably the Moon and Mars.
The astronauts enter the Orion spacecraft being developed for deep space missions through the Crew Access Arm holding the White Room against the spacecraft. This is a legacy design that harkens back to the days of the Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
Another shot of exhibitors during setup. Note the large SLS model against the far wall.
The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission team did a good job of explaining the latest findings from the MAVEN spacecraft on why Mars is losing its atmosphere and the Red Planet’s magnetic anomalies .
A model of the Vegetable Production System (Veggie) that recently provided a harvest of lettuce grown in space and feasted upon by the ISS astronauts. Being able to grow food in space might be a critical part of future, long duration space flights. No word yet on what role the Alien played in the harvest.
The Veggie plant growth chamber uses a flat-panel light bank that includes red, blue and green LEDs for plant growth and crew observation.
A collage of vehicles on display include an inflatable Space Launch System rocket with a droopy Launch Abort System motor at its top, an inflatable Orion spacecraft with droopy solar panels sticking out, a patriotic Space Shuttle stuck in a flowerbed at the entrance to the Visitor Complex, and a Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser spacecraft that might become part of the Commercial Crew Program.

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