TUI/SCIENCEOPS AWARDED NASA CONTRACTS TO DEVELOP SPACE PROPULSION AND MARS EXPLORATION
Lynnwood, Wash. – January 14, 2003
TUI/ScienceOps announced today that NASA has awarded it three contracts to develop innovative space propulsion and exploration technologies.
Under a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), TUI/ScienceOps is developing and testing technologies for a Momentum-Exchange/Electrodynamic-Reboost (MXER) Tether Boost Facility, a revolutionary space transportation technology pioneered by the nine-year old company. "The Tether Boost Facility will act like a giant sling in space, picking up spacecraft from low orbits and tossing them to higher orbits, or even to the Moon," said the company's President, CEO, & Chief Scientist, Dr. Robert Hoyt. "It will provide a fully-reusable infrastructure space travel, reducing the cost of many space missions by a factor of ten or more."
TUI/ScienceOps is also teaming with Stanford University's Space Systems Development Laboratory under a Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) contract from NASA/MSFC to develop a very low-cost picosatellite flight experiment, called the "Multi-Application Space Tether" (MAST), which will deploy three 10-centimeter sized satellites along a 1-kilometer long tether and use these picosatellites to study the dynamics and survivability of tether propulsion technologies in orbit. "The MAST Mission will generate the data we need to be able to understand how space tethers work, and the students working with us will gain invaluable hands-on experience with satellite hardware," said Dr. Bryan Minor, the company's Vice President.
In addition, under a Phase I SBIR contract from NASA's Langley Research Center, TUI/ScienceOps will develop and test prototypes of its SensorLine™ product, a system that will enable spacecraft to deploy distributed arrays of microsensors on the surface of Mars and the Moon. "The SensorLine™ product will enable NASA missions to conduct vital seismic, chemical, and thermal studies over large areas at much lower cost than current robotic-rover based methods," said Jeffrey Slostad, the company's Chief Engineer. "We are also very excited about several terrestrial applications for this technology, such as in enabling hazardous materials response teams to remotely place chemical sensors into contaminated areas, as well as in providing ground troops with a safe and secure way to set up arrays of sensors to warn of chemical weapons or other threats."
TUI/ScienceOps is a research and development company based in Lynnwood, Washington. Its Tethers Unlimited Division (www.tethers.com) develops advanced space technologies for NASA, DoD, and commercial customers. Its ScienceOps Division (www.ScienceOps.com) provides scientific computing services, including development, validation, and optimization of scientific software and algorithms for both commercial and governmental clients.
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