Creating and discovering new breakthroughs.
STMD’s Explore thrust includes transformative mission and discoveries. This thrust is tasked with developing the following technologies: next-generation high-performance computing, communications, and navigation to support new discoveries and augment science and exploration missions. This thrust also includes some of the current exploration missions. We also include some additional technologies that have space applications.
Advanced Robotics and Autonomous Systems
Terry Fong from NASA will give you an overview of STMD’s thrust Explore before going into depth on advanced robotics and autonomous systems. Learn more about Terry Fong.
Haley Cummings and Shannon Withrow will explain how these types of robotics work on Mars with Perseverance and Ingenuity.
Haley Cumings is the Principal Investigator for the Early Career Initiative Project entitled Rotor Optimization for the Advancement of Mars Exploration (ROAMX). Haley Cummings – Future Flight on Mars: Ingenuity and the ROAMX Project | NASA
You can find out more about Mars Exploration Program here.
Next-Generation High-Performance Computing
Kristopher Miller explains the ARTEMIS (Advanced Real-Time Environment for Modeling, Integration, and Simulation) computer system as it supports the ARTEMIS program.
Advanced Avionics Systems
Wesley Powell from NASA explains the need for advanced avionics in the future to support the Artemis mission. Avionics is a foundational technology to make exploration possible.
Satellite Servicing & Assembly
Bo Naasz from NASA explains on-orbiting services, assembly, and manufacturing. These capabilities are required for the future of Gateway and the Artemis missions. You can read Bo’s biography here.
This area has moved been moved to the Explore thrust since the video was created.
Mark Hilburger from NASA explains advanced manufacturing and the various technologies to which it applies. You can find out more about Mark here.
The first satellite was Sputnick, which launched the Space Race. You can review the history of Sputnick here.
Chris Baker from NASA discusses the future of small spacecraft.
David Carroll from CU Aerospace discusses the various micro propulsion technologies.
Rendezvous, Proximity Operations & Capture
Cody Short from AGU discusses Astrogator and how rendezvous and proximity operations work.
Advanced Communications & Navigation
These short videos explain NASA’s plans for communication and navigation in the future.
You can find out more about the SCaN program here.
The Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation (SEXTANT) was launched to the ISS in June of 2017 that uses pulsars for GPS like navigation through our solar system. You can read more about SEXTANT Project here.
Other Exploration Technologies
Dr. Mel Ulmer from Northwestern University explains the new technologies for astronomers and exploring the universe.
Josh Adamson from Northrup Grumman discusses the James Webb Space Telescope. The first video contains a little more detail than the second, please select the one you are most interested in.
Samantha McCune discusses the XQ-58A Valkyrie drone.
Dr. YJ Lin from Northern Illinois University discusses the Mechatronics Engineering Program and the new aircraft de-icing technology they are creating using mechatronics.
Please Note: Transcripts are only available on the Illinois Space Tech Academy videos. These videos also have closed captioning available in English and Spanish.
Check Your Understanding
Q2 : Name one challenge created when helicopter blades spin fast enough to produce shockwaves on Mars?
Q3 : True/False Avionics refers to the hardware and software infrastructure necessary for the command and control of spacecraft and surface assets.
Q4 : What is special about the Mars mission with the Ingenuity helicopter?
Q5 : The two robots that traveled to Mars in 2020 are:
Q6 : What are some of the causes of space debris?