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  • A hydroponic method plant growth in microgravity

    Paper ID



    • Bruce D. Wright


    Department of Agricultural and Chemical Engineering , Colorado State University






    The Aerosplke research reported in this paper 1s the result of a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Contract award from the U.S. Air Force in 1983. It describes a proposed modification to the Space Shuttle External Tank (ET) of the Space Transportation System. Performance enhancement 1s proposed by adding an aerodynamic spike to the nose of the ogive shaped External Tank of the Shuttle. The Phase I wind tunnel tests were conducted at the one foot Trisonic Wind Tunnel at the U.S. A1r Force Academy. The Ogive Nose Shape was found to be sensitive to the length and diameter of the Aerosplke shaft as well as the tip. Another Innovation and potentially important application of the concept surfaced in the Phase I feasibility research effort. It uses the Aerosplke as a structural attachment point in orbit. The payload weight capability enhancement of this application of the Aerospike is estimated to be 15,000 pounds at VAFB. The commercial applications to the present Shuttle, future SDV's and the emerging private launch vehicle give the commercial community an Interface with the future Space Station. A commercial orbital transportation node using the Aerospike Concept in combination with Tethers could become a commercial logistics base.