The future for commercial space travel may now be even closer thanks to research being conducted at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and its Center for the Advancement of Space Safety and Mission Assurance Research (CASSMAR). Students there are collaborating with NASA to use the lessons learned from past space travel to develop new materials for safe and reliable spacecraft.
For part of their research, the students are examining debris from the space shuttle Columbia, focusing on new materials-behavior issues for the first time. When the students determine how different materials respond to the stress of spaceflight, they will recommend what substances are best for engineering future space vehicles.
Former Astronaut John “Danny” Olivas, UTEP’s director of space initiatives at CASSMAR, said, “By leveraging lessons learned in space, this risk-reduction research will help make manned spaceflight safer and directly contribute to the safety of terrestrial products and workplaces.”
For more information about CASSMAR’s research project, follow this link to a Spaceport News article by Bob Granath: http://www.nasa.gov/content/students-applying-lessons-learned-to-develop-safer-spacecraft/#.VQxlTY7F_UX