X-Hab Challenge!

If you’re looking for a nice two-story, walk-up* withspectacular views from the Moon, Mars or any potential deep space destination,look no further than the NASA Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) and their newlyadded second level!

Of course, the HDU, the new second level and a soon to beadded Hygiene Module together form the Deep Space Habitat configuration of theHDU that will be featured in this year’s D-RATS analog field test.

But, I am getting ahead of myself.  The essential 2nd level has not been completelydecided on yet. 

There are currently three different options being consideredthrough a fascinating competition know as the X-Hab Academic InnovationChallenge.  Three Universities wereselected from a number of entries to design, build and demonstrate their inflatablehabitat concepts all the way from CAD drawings to a full scale demonstrationunit.

Each school has one week to deploy their version of theinterstellar penthouse on top of NASA’s current HDU at NASA Johnson SpaceCenter.   The final demonstration units will be judged on manydifferent criteria, such as ratio between the packed hab’s volume and thedeployed hab’s volume, deployment time, lowest hourly pressure decay andself-support due to loss of internal pressure.  Coincidentally, these align perfectly with my every dayliving requirements!

The three schools are Oklahoma State University (June 6th– 10th,) the University of Maryland (June 13th – 17th)and the University of Wisconsin (June 20th – 24th.)  The pictures below were taken duringour trip to NASA Johnson while the University of Maryland was testing andinstalling their demo unit.

University of Maryland unpacks and weighs their Hab Demo Unit. Credit: Co-Host

University of Maryland Hab Demo Unit soon to be joined with NASA’s Hab Demo Unit.  Credit: Co-Host

University of Maryland’s Hab Demo Unit Deployed!  Credit: Co-Host

All of the teams have overcome many different obstacles andengineering challenges to deliver their inflatable habs, but the learningexperience from the process itself is invaluable.  As one student commented when asked about seeing theirteam’s demonstration being deployed, “I’m curious.  I’m excited, but we all really want to see if our ideas workwell.”

For the winners? Their demonstration will experience full field implementation duringNASA’s analog field test in Arizone (D-RATS 2011.)  The winning design will be announced sometime during theweek of June 27th – July 1st, 2011.

For the record, I volunteer to stay in the winner’sdemonstration unit as long as they agree to fully return my security depositwhen the analog is finished.  Plus,I SPLIT the utilities with my fellow medianauts from NASA EDGE.  Too many times, I’ve been left with thetab.

For more information on NASA’s HDU and the Challenge, please visit the following sites:

NASA’s HDU Project

X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge

X-Hab Partner – The National Space Grant Foundation

Good Luck!  And may the best Hab win!

The Co-Host

*Walk-up can refer to the fact that a particular apartmentis accessible via stairs only.  Imean that it is easily accessible by pedestrians that happen to be in thevicinity of building 220 at NASA Johnson or the Black Point Lava Flow inArizona sometime in August 2011.

NASA EDGE- A Year in Review

2008 was a great year for NASA EDGE.  Even though our two-year anniversary is not until March 18, 2009, this past year was our first full year as a vodcast.  We released 19 vodcasts (11 NE@ segments and 8 standard).   Along our travels we covered many topics and visited many places, some old and some new.  We visited NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Glenn Research Center, and of course our home base, NASA Langley Research Center.  We covered the NASA events at the X Games, the Daytona 500, and Yuri’s Night.  We met NASCAR driver, Kurt Busch, Astronauts Drew Feustel and Mike Good and the rest of the STS-125 crew, Stephanie Stockman from NASA Goddard, Jennifer Madsen, Barbara Romig, and Joe Kosmo from NASA JSC, Shana Dale from NASA HQ, the NASA CoLab crew from Ames, Mike Weiss – Deputy Project Manager for Hubble, Dick DeLombard and the eZLS crew from NASA Glenn.  And we can’t forget one of our fav 5, Shari Olson, from NASA Dryden.   There are too many people to list but we want to thank everyone who provided us help throughout the year on the vodcasts.  We can’t forget about our social networking friends, especially those on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.  Thank you for all the feedback and support this past year!

I think our pinnacle for 2008 was being on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning.  Even though we didn’t release a vodcast, Blair and I had the opportunity to play the game, “Is it Earth Food or Space Food”, with the hosts, Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic.  The NASA EDGE vodcast was originally based off of “Mike and Mike in the Morning. “  You can check out some of the “Behind the Scenes” footage on our Facebook page.

Well, where do we go from here? We’ve been asked to take it up another notch in 2009.  What does that mean?  We are still in the planning stages and have a few ideas to get approved.   Hopefully our first idea will start in March but we’ll see.  In 2009 we plan to cover another round of cool topics including the Orion Launch Abort System, the Pad Abort-1 test, Ares 1-X flight test, the STS-125 launch, LRO and LCROSS, Constellation work at NASA KSC, Ares I and V, the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, and much much more.  So send us your ideas and we’ll put them in the vault.

On behalf of the NASA EDGE team, I want to thank everyone for their support in 2008 and keep watching NASA EDGE, an inside and outside look at all things NASA.

Happy New Year!


Note:  If you leave a comment then please don’t provide an outside link or we cannot approve you comment.  Thank you.

NASA EDGE Fans Deliver 2nd Consecutive Annual Podcast Award Nomination!

First, NASA EDGE wants to thank the many, many fans of theshow that voted to nominate NASA EDGE for the Annual Podcast Awards for the 2ndyear in a row.  1.1 million totalnominations were received this year for all podcasts, so to again be nominatedmeans only one thing.  Our fansshowed up BIG TIME.  What  an honor!


Second, voting begins December 1st and continuesall the way through December 15th.  Again, we are calling on our fans to show theirunprecedented support.  Like lastyear, we are up against some serious competition.  But if our fans have shown anything over the years, it isenthusiastic support.


So, hide your kids, hide your wives… I mean, FIND your kids,FIND your wives, and FIND your husbands, etc. and VOTE DAILY from December1-15, 2010 to give NASA EDGE a chance to win the 6th Annual PodcastAward in the category of “Best Video Podcast!” 


Even though we face serious competition, we know our fanswill give it their best shot.  Whocould ask for more?


Happy Voting,


The Co-Host

NASA EDGE Arrives at D-RATS Base Camp

BLACK POINT LAVA FLOW, AZ (NASA EDGE PRESS)  Life moves pretty fast across the lava flow in Arizona for the NASA Desert Research and Technology Studies  Team (D-RATS.)  At approximately 7:00am local time, NASA EDGE Set Therapist and Everyman were separated from their more studious counterparts and whisked away to the remote LER testing area by D-RATS taskmasters Joe Kosmo and Barbara Romig for exclusive coverage of the eighth day of a 14 day mission.

NASA EDGE brought back some stunning video and photos, but Ron explained that the pictures don’t tell the entire story.

“It’s really the little things.  We were instructed not to interact with the two test subjects.  I mean, if they are staring into the sun and claiming that they’re heading North, you don’t correct them.  Not that that happened.  That was just an example.” 

Franklin added, “We are so used to correcting the Co-Host.  It was actually a challenge not to interact or intervene.  But it’s cool, because everybody learns more by working through the errors and kinks along the way.”

Despite dry heat, malfunctioning communications equipment, uncooperative weather and a relentlessly rugged drive into the desert, the mission is going well and NASA, the D-RATS and even NASA EDGE are learning and making progress.

Joe Kosmo put it best when he said quite simply, “we are out here to learn.”

Here are just a few photos of today’s activity in the desert.

The LER drives toward some questionable weather. Credit: Ron Beard

Check out the cool observation bubble.  Is that Brent in there?  Credit: Ron Beard

They don’t have full suits, but they are going through all of the important motions.  Credit: Ron Beard

This pic would never be taken on the Moon, except for the thumbs up!  Credit: Ron Beard

Cool Pics from Orion Pad Abort 1 Flight Test

After glorious animation, a live webcast and a “Best of”vodcast, the success of the Orion Pad Abort 1 Flight Test continues toamaze.  These pictures come to usvia our good buddies at White Sands Missile Range out in New Mexico, and for methey bring the experience home in a new way.


As one of the Orion Pad Abort 1 Team stated mid flight, “Today, we just saved astronauts’ lives.”  Even though there were no astronautsin the crew module for this test, NASA and their partners proved that thetechnology to save lives works. And as we move forward, that is great news.

If you want to see high quality versions of these pictures,visit our flickr page.


NASA EDGE Flickr Page


The Co-Host

You can see that the Attitude Control Motor fires immediately to provide control.  (photo: White Sands Missile Range)

Orion successfully reoriented for separation.  (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)

All three motor systems worked as planned.  Will the chutes deploy?  (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)

Gravity dictates that the Launch Abort System lands first.  (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)


The Orion descends safely!  And provides a very nice picture.  (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)

The Orion has landed!  (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)

I’m pretty sure I could have survived this ride!  (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)

Not the usual desert image, but a very welcome one for NASA.  (Photo: White Sands Missile Range)

Year in Review and the look ahead

Happy New Year!  2009 was a great year for NASA EDGE.  With your support, we were able to produce 16 video podcasts that covered a wide range of topics.  Here’s the short rundown of 2009.

• Highlighted the Desert RATS and analog field testing out at Black Point Lava Flow, AZ.
• Traveled to NASA Kennedy Space Center to cover the STS-125 launch (Last Mission to Hubble) and Ares I-X Flight Demonstration.   The Ares I-X Flight Demonstration was our first live broadcast out on NASA’s Digital Learning Network.
• Visited NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to showcase LRO/LCROSS and the Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO).
• Hooked up with our Orion buddies at NASA JSC and Lockheed Martin to produce a vodcast on three Orion Simulators.
• Flew to New York City to catch up with Astronaut Mike Massimino and his Hometown Heroes tour.
• Rapped with Buzz Aldrin at NASA Headquarters for the Apollo 40th Anniversary video podcast.  “All you need is the rocket experience.” 
• Hung out with our friends at NASA Langley to highlight the Orion Crew Module/Launch Abort System (CM/LAS) for Ares I-X.
• Experienced the amazing shuttle tracking capability by the HYTHIRM (HYpersonic THermodynamic InfraRed Measurements) Team.
• And we can’t forget about the Superpressure Balloon team during the 2009 Mission Madness Tournament. Unbelievable!
A big kudos goes out to our fans for nominating us for the 5th Annual Podcast Awards in the ‘Best Video Podcast’ category.  Even though we didn’t win, our fan base increased based on the number of downloads we received each month.  From November 19 – December 18, 2009, NASA EDGE vodcasts were downloaded over 1.3 million times.  This was the first time we broke 1 million downloads in a month.  Thank you again!
What can you expect from NASA EDGE in 2010?  We have a ton of work ahead of us but here’s an initial rundown of topics for the new year.
• Mercury Mission Control Room
• Orion Launch Abort System
• Sun-Earth Day (Live from the Philadelphia Convention Center)
• Orion Pad Abort-1 test (Live from White Sands Missile Range, NM)
• NEEMO (Analog Field Testing)
• Lunabotics Mining Competition (Live from KSC) (still pending)
• Applied Earth Science Applications
• Last Space Shuttle Launch! (Live from the press site at KSC)
• Mission Madness 2010 (still pending) – Bring it on!
and much, much more!
And finally after all the red tape has been cut, we’ll finally will be able to release the Lunar Electric Rover (LER) iPhone app.  So stay tuned and keep following us on Facebook and Twitter (NASA_EDGE).  If you have an idea for a vodcast then please leave us a comment or a suggestion.  Who knows maybe one of our fans may appear on a NASA EDGE vodcast this year.  Just don’t tell the Co-host!
Happy New Space Exploration Year!

NASA EDGE Nominated for Best Video Podcast in the 5th Annual Podcast Awards!

Just though I would share the news with our NASA EDGE Fans:

NASA EDGE continues their unprecedented, unscripted journey through the world of video podcasting with their very first award nomination.  This is no small accomplishment considering that only two and half years ago, they weren’t sure that they would find an audience. 


Well, they have.  Almost three years and 3.2 million downloads later, NASA EDGE is now recognized in the company of such internet greats and fellow nominees as “Buzz out Loud,” “Diggnation” and “Filmriot” just to name a few.


In fact, the 5th Annual Podcast Awards, managed by Podcast Connect Inc., mentioned on their web site that this year’s competition received more than 321,000 nominations for over 3500 different shows.


Be sure to vote for NASA EDGE


You can vote once a day from November 13th to November 30th, 2009 by visiting www.podcastawards.com.  NASA EDGE is listed in the “Best Video Podcast” category with 9 other video podcasts.


If you’re already a fan of NASA EDGE, please vote for them.  If you haven’t seen or heard of NASA EDGE, visit their home page at www.nasa.gov/nasaedge and download any or all  of their 46 video podcasts.  You will not be disappointed.


What is NASA EDGE?


NASA EDGE is different.  Unscripted and unpredictable, NASA EDGE takes a unique look in and around the greatest space program on the planet.  They have hosted the Great Moonbuggy Race, examined NASA spinoff technology at the X Games,  followed the Desert-RATS with an unconventional set of duct tape boots, coined the term Magnetospherence and even made an appearance on ESPN’s nationally syndicated Mike & Mike in the Morning Show.


Their latest Vodcast added a new wrinkle.  In October they covered NASA’s historic Ares I-X Flight Demonstration live on the web.  That show featured the entire broadcast team and an attempt at defining and redefining ‘triboelectrification.’


Of course, NASA EDGE isn’t just a video podcast.  If you have questions, comments or thoughts about NASA or NASA EDGE, you can friend them on facebook and ask questions, chat or check out some exclusive facebook videos. 


Or if you just want to keep up with their latest shows or activities you can follow them on twitter (@NASA_EDGE.)


If all goes well, you’ll hear from them the second they win their very first award!

SCORE: Ares I-X – 1,Triboelectrification – 0

Triboelectrification tried to thwart NASA’s first flight demonstration for the next generation manned space flight program, however, it came up empty as the Ares I-X flew beautifully into the Florida sky. 


Ares I-X performs flawless rotation shortly into flight.  Photo: Ron Beard


Ares I-X creates sonic shockwaves while breaking the sound barrier.  Photo: Ron Beard


All initial signs of the flight demonstration are good.  Of course, Ares I-X’s real success will come several weeks from now when all of the data is collected, analyzed and utilized to develop a new space flight vehicle.  This data is exactly what triboelectrification could have compromised.


What is triboelectrification?  Quite simply, it is what kids have been doing to their siblings and friends for years; shuffling their feet and shocking their intended targets with an unsuspecting electrically charged touch.  Obviously, in the case of Ares I-X, there were more significant consequences than an angry peer.


Let’s break the word down.  Tribo is the Greek root, meaning friction.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, tribology “is the study of friction, wear and lubrication and the design of bearings; the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion.”  So, the big concern around launch time of Ares I-X was that building electrostatic charges would be created by the friction created on and around Ares I-X during the flight.  If those electrostatic charges discharged onto the rocket, many of the data collecting sensors might be compromised.  If the data was compromised, NASA would have an aesthetically pleasing flight to remember but very little data to use to improving the vehicle.


The next obvious question is why tribolelectrification isn’t a concern for other launches (Saturn V launches, Shuttle launches, etc.)? The decals on Ares I-X were a possible culprit.  If that is true, then NASA should have used the very popular Triboelectrification NASA EDGE stickers/decals.  I can’t vouch for the other vehicles, but my guess is that NASA EDGE will be an intregal part of the soon to be formed anti-triboelectrification task force.  The first order of business; all wool sweaters, hush puppies and shag carpet will be banned from NASA Centers.  It is a symbolic move, to be sure.  But it is a start. 

What do you think?

Ares I 1st Stage Motor Test Delayed… But NOT forgotten

PROMONTORY, UT (NASA EDGE Press) – It is true.  The original test time for the Ares 1st Stage Motor Test was postponed approximately 20 seconds from firing on August 27, 2009.  Obviously, many people who were in attendance at ATK to witness this amazing event were sad to miss this spectacular demonstration.  It did, however, give the NASA EDGE Co-Host the opportunity to reflect on the importance of tests and data collection.

“We were poised to witness a two minute, intense rocket test that is ‘rumored’ to turn sand into glass,” said the perspiration covered NASA EDGE Co-Host.  “Not getting an opportunity to collect some fresh glass souvenirs, certainly makes you stop and think.”

AKT, NASA Officials and even the NASA EDGE Host were eventually able to explain to the Co-Host how important safety and integrity of the data collected are to the success of a given test.  The delay, while not a result of a safety concern, was made to insure that the necessary data would be measured at firing of the rocket motor.


“I get it.  I really do,” rambled the Co-Host.  “It is kind of like taking pictures with cameras without any film.  You can get a lot of things right, but have nothing to analyze in the end.”


Clearly, the Co-Host’s comprehension needs work, but ATK, NASA and everyone involved in making the test a success is working toward rescheduling the test to insure that they will learn everything they can to make Ares I NASA’s next launch vehicle.

Last Mission to Hubble: STS-125

What a great mission so far for the crew of Atlantis.  It’s been fun the past week watching John Grunsfeld, Drew Feustel, Mike Massimino, and Mike Good work on Hubble.  It was also great to see the entire crew (including Scott “Scooter” Altman, Greg “Ray J” Johnson, and Megan McArthur) during the live press conference from space.  The NASA EDGE team will never forget this mission because we had the chance to hang out with the crew, especially Drew Feustel and Mike Good.  It started back in 2008 when we first met Drew during the Hot Laps event at Daytona International Speedway.  NASA was celebrating its 50th anniversary and Daytona was celebrating the 50th running of the Daytona 500.  We shot Drew for our “Last Mission to Hubble” vodcast.  If you haven’t seen it, go to https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/nasaedge/NE00_Last_Mission_Hubble.html.

Chris, Drew, and Blair change a tire at the Daytona Experience.  Credit: NASA EDGE/Ron Beard

I still think the training in the above pic helped Drew muscle a tough bolt loose during EVA 1.  A couple of weeks later we met Mike Good at the Daytona 500 race.  We also shot him for the Hubble vodcast.  Mike hung out with us all day and he had a chance to sign autographs.

Chris, Mike Good, and Ron pose for a picture along the track wall. Credit: NASA EDGE/Blair Allen

Mike actually signed the track wall and we have some good close-ups of it.  In fact, we are convinced this was part of his training to actually sign his name on Hubble during his last EVA.  Still waiting to hear from Mike if he did this.

We shot the rest of the crew at NASA Johnson Space Center.  I don’t have a picture of it but Mike Massimino scared the daylights out of Blair.  Imagine a 6’4″ broad shoulder guy standing in front of a 5’0″ red headed co-host (very intimidating).  But seriously, we all had fun and the crew was very accomodating with our needs.

STS-125 Crew walk out.  Credit: NASA EDGE/Chris Giersch

The crew walk out was really a huge deal for us because we heard Mike Good give us a shout out.  In fact you can hear it on our latest NASA EDGE vodcast on STS-125.  Download it today at https://www.nasa.gov/nasaedge.

STS-125 launch.  Credit: NASA EDGE/Chris Giersch

The launch says it all.  We have been very privileged to have worked with this fine crew and get the chance to spend some time with each of them.  I know we’ve covered other shuttle missions in the past and probably will cover more in the future but I believe this will be a NASA EDGE favorite.  This is our adopted crew and mission.  They did it right and everyone should be proud of their accomplishments.

I do have one final wish.  Scooter is responsible for “buzzing the tower” during the movie “Top Gun.”  Will he buzz the tower or VAB one final time?

Congratulations to the STS-125 crew and have a safe reentry and landing on Friday.

The Host