University of Minnesota
Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
Fall 1999 Seminar Series
The Future of Space Transportation - Creating a Highway to Space
Space transportation of the 21st century isn't just for professional
astronauts. The dawn of the new millennium marks a turning point in our
expedition to the final frontier. Throughout history, vibrant commerce has
depended on ready access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is focusing on a
progression of technologies that will enable undreamed economic uses of space,
and make space travel affordable everyone. Until now, the high cost of getting
to space has kept all but high priority payloads on the ground. But the
financial barriers to space are beginning to crumble. NASA's fleet of X-planes
- X-33, X-34 and X-37 - are demonstrating new technologies that will usher in a
second generation of launch vehicles. The unpiloted X-33, X-34 and X-37
vehicles employ lightweight, composite airframe structures and propellant
tanks. The demonstrators incorporate advanced, high-temperature thermal
protection systems, capable of standing up to flights through rain and fog.
Integrated, low-cost avionics, automated navigation, flight control and vehicle
health monitoring systems and novel engine designs will improve performance,
simplify operations and maintenance and, ultimately, lower the cost of future
launch vehicles. In concert with NASA's X planes, the Advanced Space
Transportation Program- NASA's core technology program for all space
transportation - is investing in revolutionary technologies to increase
reliability 10,000 times over today's spacecraft and at reducing the cost place
payloads in orbit to $1,000 per pound within a decade. ASTP is investing in a
wide range of technologies from long life, lightweight rocket engines to
propulsion systems required for interstellar travel.
Friday, October 22, 1999
Refreshments served after the seminar in
227 Akerman Hall.
Disability accomodations provided upon request.
Contact Kristal Belisle, Senior