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ZIN's capabilities include experience with planetary missions, power and propulsion (particularly with electric propulsion both ion and end hall, NEXT-C, AEPS, NSTAR), new vehicle systems (Dream Chaser) and space communications. ZIN offers relevant support including Engineering (mechanical, electrical, fluids, propulsion, structural, thermal, systems and test), flight hardware system design, development and operations, and Research and Technology (space processes, science and technology, instrumentation and controls, statics and structural dynamic research).  This includes Space Operations (payload operations, space communications, navigation and network reconfigurable testbed), Exploration Systems (ORION, SLS, ISS, commercial vehicles) and Space Technology (Power, In-Space Propulsion, Cryogenics).

Space Power - Electrical Power Systems

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) was awarded the International Space Station Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract for its Dream Chaser spacecraft.  Dream Chaser is a vertically-launched lifting body spaceplane with the ability to land on conventional runways, offering exceptional operability, and down-mass capability exceeding cargo resupply requirements. ZIN supports Aerojet Rocketdyne and SNC to provide the Dream Chaser's electrical power system (EPS).

Image Credit: NASA

Electric Propulsion - Power Processing Units

The Advanced Electric Propulsion System (AEPS) will increase spaceflight transportation fuel efficiency by 10 times over current chemical propulsion technology and more than double the thrust capability compared to current electric propulsion systems. Aerojet Rocketdyne provides for the development and delivery of an integrated electric propulsion system consisting of a thruster, power processing unit (PPU), low-pressure xenon flow controller, and electrical harness. ZIN supports Aerojet Rocketdyne in the development and manufacture of the PPU.

Image Credit: NASA

Navigation Systems - Satellite Formation Flying

NASA launched the Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission on March 12, 2015. MMS consists of four identical spacecraft that orbit the Earth through its dynamic magnetic system, to study the magnetic reconnection phenomenon of the Sun-Earth system. ZIN developed the Acceleration Measurement System (AMS) to navigate these satellites in precise formation. Though many inertial navigation devices have been used to measure the orbit of a spacecraft, ZIN’s TRL-9 AMS is the first device accurate enough to provide closed-loop thrust control to allow flight of multiple satellites in tight formation, less than a half secsond apart in their closest formation achieving a formation space flight record.

Image Credit: NASA

InSpace Propulsion - Ion Thruster

The NASA Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) project at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) will build an ion thruster about three times as powerful as the NSTAR used on Dawn and Deep Space 1 spacecraft. NEXT affords larger delivered payloads, smaller launch vehicle size, and other mission enhancements compared to chemical and other electric propulsion technologies for Discovery, New Frontiers, Mars Exploration, and Flagship outer-planet exploration missions. GRC manufactured the test engine's core ionization chamber, and Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) develops the ion acceleration assembly. ZIN supports AR providing the power processing units.

Image Credit: NASA

InSpace Propulsion - Solar Electric Propulsion

NASA is developing a solar electric propulsion spacecraft for the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM). This project is advancing solar electric propulsion, providing an initial use of systems and components, and providing operational experience beyond LEO enabling future deep-space human exploration.  ZIN supports the overall systems engineering effort including assembly, integration, and functional and operational testing of the spacecraft for the cruise phase(s) of the overall mission, developing plans, generating deliverables and leading systems engineering efforts for the assembly and integration of the spacecraft.

Image Credit: NASA

Human Exploration Systems - Orion and Service Module

ZIN supports the ORION Vibro-Acoustic Test Capability at NASA GRC Plum Brook Station Space Power Facility, including the Mechanical Vibration Facility (MVF)/Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility (RATF).  ZIN has developed mechanisms and structural detailed parts for ORION, including mechanisms and simulator parts to be used in early vehicle ground testing. ZIN has supported ORION active cooling technology development testing, to simulate the active cooling of the ORION electronics during re-entry. ZIN also developed an ORION portable fire extinguisher design that allows either foam or water mist extinguishment of spacecraft fires.

Image Credit: NASA

Human Exploration Systems - Advanced Space Suit

Looking toward future needs of astronauts on the Moon or Mars, NASA is developing an Advanced Space Suit.  For the Advanced Space Suit Power, Avionics, and Software (PAS) program, ZIN software engineers designed onboard data processing architectures used to monitor the life support system, record video, manage the advanced power system and support a heads up display in the helmet. ZIN systems engineering created system requirements, planned the testing and integration of the subsystems, and oversaw the hardware buildup.

Image Credit: NASA

Space Communications - Optical/Laser

ZIN supports JPL's Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) Project, developing technologies to support a demonstration of laser communications from deep-space, such as a future Discovery or Mars mission.  High bandwidth RF/Optical and Optical communications will enable future deep space exploration of the solar system. Specific targeted DSOC technologies are high-peak-to-average power laser transmitters for photon-efficient optical communications, acquisition and tracking using a dim beacon in space, as well as and developing ground photon-counting detector array technologies. ZIN supports the DSOC mission through the development of unique power systems, signal processing, and RF/Optical power designs.

Image Credit: NASA

Space Communications - SCaN Center for Engineering, Networking, Integration, and Communications (SCENIC)

ZIN supports the NASA GRC SCaN Center for Engineering, Networking, Integration, and Communications (SCENIC) in developing an advanced, virtualized, and integrated analysis environment for space communications architectures and systems.  This system will be available not only NASA-wide, but to external customers as well, thus creating an inclusive service for developing integrated space communication architectures. The SCENIC software development project will provide high-fidelity modeling and analysis for architecture, system, and technology trade studies.  Agile software development methodology improves customer engagement during the development effort, enable rapid prototyping, and provide high-quality software products through continuous integration and testing.

Systems Design - Mars

The Mars 2020 rover will investigate a region of Mars where the ancient environment may have been favorable for microbial life, probing the Martian rocks for evidence of past life. ZIN supports MARS 2020 in thermal control design and mass ballast system design.

Image Credit: NASA

Systems Design - Cold Capable Electronics

ZIN provides evaluation and test of electronics cryogenic applications. This includes evaluation of methods and techniques for a planned Europa Lander.

Image Credit: NASA

Science Instruments and Sensor Systems - High Altitude

Gondola for High Altitude Planetary Science (GHAPS) is a high altitude balloon-based platform used for telescope observations of astronomic events.  ZIN provides designs for specific areas of the gondola development, simulation tools, software, mission planning, and operations. The GHAPS design is modular to interface to a suite of instruments including a small suite of facility instruments that guest observers can use for their respective science observations. Stratospheric balloon-borne platforms typically operate at altitudes ~120,000 feet (35+ km) above the Earth. The GHAPS’ Facility Optical Telescope Assembly (OTA) is a 1-meter class aperture.

Image Credit: NASA

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