A New Spin on Suborbital Microgravity Research: Developing a Centrifuge for Blue Origin's New Shepard

PI: Sam Wald, Michael Lewis (Co-I), Nanoracks

Centrifuges are a vital instrument in developing our understanding of how biological and physical processes react to Martian, micro and Lunar gravity. Developing a centrifuge to interface with suborbital vehicle will give researchers affordable and easy access to microgravity environments with the added benefits of quick data return and no reliance on astronaut crew time. Testing the newly designed centrifuge on a suborbital craft will put the platform through the rigors expected of its working environment. It allows NanoRacks to check-out and highlight what needs to be improved in terms of mechanical, electrical, and software interfaces between both the New Shepard vehicle and the centrifuge.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA08 Science Instruments, Observations and Sensor Systems
Technology Maturation

After the test flight, the results will be used to identify what parts of the centrifuge need to be refined in order to create a user-friendly and reliable suborbital payload interface.

Future Customers

Offering reliable simulations of micro and Martian gravity will greatly serve the needs of NASA and allow it to expand the knowledge base necessary to conduct a manned mission to Mars. Researchers have identified centrifuges as a necessary research tool to fill the knowledge gap. A NanoRacks centrifuge on Blue Origin’s New Shepherd reusable suborbital vehicle can alleviate the ISS crew time scheduling constraint and provide valuable data to researchers and NASA.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    REDDI-F1-16 (Jul 2016)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 1 sRLV

Development Team

  • PI
    Sam Wald
  • PI Organization
  • Co-I
    Michael Lewis
  • Co-I Organization
  • Sponsor

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