By Kerry Ellis Future human space exploration will mean getting beyond low-Earth orbit—and returning safely. Several projects across NASA are working on the challenges that goal presents, among them propulsion alternatives and guidance, navigation, and control. Three years ago, Project Morpheus and the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology project, or ALHAT, began collaborating on advances in these areas.
By Kerry Ellis Seven years ago, I was hired as an editor for NASA’s ASK Magazine. Being a rare English major math minor hybrid and a generally curious sort who liked taking things apart to see how they worked, I was thrilled for the opportunity to get an inside look at NASA.
By Kerry Ellis Radiation is one of many hazards in space exploration. It causes electronics to fail, degrades sensitive instrumentation, and affects astronaut safety—just a few of the things NASA protects against when launching missions to space.
In 1999, the Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) lost its primary mission thirty-six hours after launch. Those who worked on WIRE, which was the fifth of the Explorer Program’s Small Explorer-class missions, thought they had done what they needed to achieve success.