NASA Awards Bigelow Aerospace $17.8M to Add New Module to ISS
NASA has awarded Bigelow Aerospace a $17.8 million contract to deliver its Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (shown here connected to the ISS in a photo illustration) to the International Space Station for experimental use for two years upon its launch to the station in 2015. The move will serve mainly as a technology demonstration to see how a space module made of non-metallic material instead of aluminum will handle radiation and thermal transmissions in space. (Source: Bigelow Aerospace)
NASA's mission is changing and while the agency doesn't have the aura of wonder it once had in its heyday, it's still quite interesting to see how it's exploration of space will change as it works with commercial partners. Bigelow's module allows NASA to expand the ISS without spending a lot of its own investment, the research that will be done in the module will be important as the agency ponders longer missions that put humans deeper into space than they have yet been.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
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