06/29/2012

Lab to collaborate with NASA Ames Research Center

Robert H Hirschfeld, LLNL, (925) 422-2379, hirschfeld2@llnl.gov



Laboratory Director Parney Albright (left) and NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden sign a formal agreement calling for collaboration on matters of national interest, including space missions, energy and advanced computing.

Photos by Jacqueline McBride/LLNL

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC) in Mountain View, Calif., have agreed to collaborate by sharing technology and resources on technical areas of national interest, including space missions, energy and advanced computing.

LLNL director Parney Albright and ARC director Pete Worden signed the agreement Thursday in Livermore, and were briefed by several researchers whose work could immediately benefit from such collaboration.

One area of joint interest involves tracking orbiting space debris with an inexpensive 16-inch satellite named STARE, or Space-Based Telescopes for Actionable Refinement of Ephemeris. LLNL has developed a payload concept and ARC designed a spacecraft to house the payload for a mission intended to very precisely identify the paths of such orbital debris, estimated to number as high as 300,000 objects larger than one centimeter.

LLNL physicist Scot Olivier said the first such tracking satellite is scheduled to be launched in early August, with two more advanced models ready for deployment over the next 12 months.


Lab physicist Scot Olivier (left) holds a full-size model of a nanosatellite for tracking space debris, during a briefing for NASA Ames Research Center Director Pete Worden, LLNL Director Parney Albright and other Lab managers.

Another cooperative project, called LightForce, will use complex computer models to look at the feasibility of using relatively low-power ground-based lasers that can be aimed into space, to nudge orbiting debris out of a collision course with spacecraft.

Nalu Kaahaaina, deputy project director for Energy and Environmental Security in the Global Security Principal Directorate, briefed Albright and Worden on three areas of potential collaboration in the field of wind energy. These include: advanced wind modeling, complex loads on larger turbines that can produce about 3 megawatts, and eventually, studying turbines with a potential output of ten megawatts each.

The two directors discussed the possibility of setting up offices in each other's facilities. ARC could be housed at the LLNL's Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC) area. Ames currently hosts the NASA Research Park, which is home to more than 50 industry and academic research tenants and could accommodate an LLNL office. LLNL's Camille Bibeau provided an overview how the LVOC's computational capabilities and access to Lab expertise provide an incubator environment for industry partners.



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