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NASA To Test New Technologies

August 4, 2008

The U.S. space agency says seven firms involved in its Small Business Innovation Research program will take part in reduced gravity test flights next month.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said the companies will test newly developed hardware on an aircraft that simulates the weightless conditions of spaceflight.

Testing new technologies in weightless conditions is an important step in making them available for applications in NASA space projects, the space agency said in a statement. An aircraft flying on a parabolic trajectory can create weightless conditions for up to 30 seconds at a time and simulate the reduced gravity conditions of the moon or Mars. This allows developers to test new technologies to ensure that they will work in space or, if they do not work during testing, understand why.

The project will be conducted by the Zero-Gravity Corp. of Las Vegas.

The selected companies are Beck Engineering Inc. of Port Orchard, Wash.; the Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corp. of New York; the Metis Design Corp. of Cambridge, Mass.; Mevicon Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.; the Mobitrum Corp. of Silver Spring, Md.; NanoComposix Inc. of San Diego; and Valeo Human Performance LLC of Houston.

Image Courtesy Wikimedia

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