how to astronaut

Lone Star Flight Museum blasts off with new interactive space shuttle experience

Mark Kelly and his astronaut crew training in the simulator, which will move to the Lone Star Flight Museum. Photo by Bill Stafford/NASA

Local fans of all things space will soon get up close and personal to a pivotal training tool for NASA astronauts.

The Lone Star Flight Museum is the new home for NASA’s Space Shuttle Motion Base Simulator. The simulator, a crucial part of astronaut training for 35 years, will transform to an interactive exhibit at the museum.

Fans are invited to watch the simulator, which will leave its current location at Johnson Space Center’s Hangar 276, arrive at the museum facilities and slowly taxi down Ellington Airport taxiway Kilo on Tuesday, April 12 . Those interested should arrive around 10:30 am to greet the simulator before it moves to its permanent location at the museum’s Heritage Hangar.

Following the transport and arrival, the public is invited to view the new simulator exhibit for free from 4 pm to 6 pm. The experience includes the simulator assembly and related artifacts including the trainer’s console and crew procedures, as well as sound and video from the last simulator run of the STS-135 crew in July 2011, according to a press release.

Why is the simulator significant? This Motion Base Simulator was constructed in 1976 to support the Approach and Landing Tests using the Space Shuttle Enterprise and also modified to support future space shuttle missions, per NASA. In January 1979, it was activated to support flight crew training for the STS-1 mission.

Boasting a full-scale replica of the forward flight deck of a space shuttle orbiter, the simulator’s windows projected simulated views during various phases of the flight while motion systems simulated space shuttle movements.

A fixture at Johnson’s Jake Garn Simulation and Training Facility, the simulator prepared astronauts for flights for decades. Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, retired NASA astronaut, aerospace engineering professor at Texas A&M University, and flight museum board member, worked with a team of volunteers to restore the simulator, spending some 5,000 restoration hours doing so, NASA notes.

Notably for Space City fans, NASA’s Johnson Space Center is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Cemvita reported a successful pilot program on its gold hydrogen project in the Permian Basin. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Houston-based cleantech startup Cemvita Factory is kicking things into high gear with its Gold Hydrogen product.

After successfully completing a pilot test of Gold Hydrogen in the oil-rich Permian Basin of West Texas, Cemvita has raised an undisclosed amount of funding through its new Gold H2 LLC spin-out. The lead investors are Georgia-based equipment manufacturer Chart Industries and 8090 Industries, an investment consortium with offices in New York City and Los Angeles.

Gold Hydrogen provides carbon-neutral hydrogen obtained from depleted oil and gas wells. This is achieved through bioengineering subsurface microbes in the wells to consume carbon and generate clean hydrogen.

Cemvita says it set up Gold H2 to commercialize the business via licensing, joint ventures, and outright ownership of hydrogen assets.

“We have incredible conviction in next-generation clean hydrogen production methods that leverage the vast and sprawling existing infrastructure and know-how of the oil and gas industry,” Rayyan Islam, co-founder and general partner of 8090 Industries, says in a news release.

Traditional methods of producing hydrogen without greenhouse gas emissions include electrolysis powered by renewable sources like wind, solar or water, according to Cemvita. However, production of green hydrogen through normal avenues eats up a lot of energy and money, the startup says.

By contrast, Cemvita relies on depleted oil and gas wells to cheaply produce carbon-free hydrogen.

“The commercialization and economics of the hydrogen economy will require technologies that produce the hydrogen molecule at a meaningful scale with no carbon emissions. Gold H2 is leading the charge … ,” says Jill Evanko, president and CEO of Chart Industries.

Investors in Cemvita include Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based Occidental Petroleum, as well as BHP Group, Mitsubishi, and United Airlines Ventures.

Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and United Airlines Ventures are financing Cemvita’s work on sustainable jet fuel. United Airlines operates a hub at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston.

Founded by brother-and-sister team Moji and Tara Karimi in 2017, Cemvita uses synthetic biology to turn carbon dioxide into chemicals and alternative fuels.

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