Global Aerospace Corporation and its personnel have been developing revolutionary technologies for exploration of planetary atmospheres and surfaces from balloon altitudes. These technologies include altitude changing balloons at Venus, superpressure balloons at Mars and hot-air balloons at Titan.
Imagine an astronaut exiting a pressurized habitat through a rigid hatch to enter an airlock, which is a tube of fabric inflated to the same pressure as inside the habitat. At the end of the tube is not a traditional hatch, but an inward-facing seal. As long as there is pressure in the airlock, the opening holds itself closed. Multiple redundant restraint lines resist the 20-ton pressure force to keep the seal facing inward so it can't evert itself. A pressure-sealing zipper holds the lips of the seal closed, but the zipper is not needed to keep the air inside. In a sense, the softgoods airlock has simply been extended and curved back inside the airlock to form this self-sealing opening that can't be opened until the pressure inside the airlock equals the outside pressure, typically vacuum. The inverted seal hatch concept retains the safety aspect of rigid hatches since there is no way to open it early with catastrophic consequences. The advantage of using a softgoods hatch is that it stows in a very small volume for launch and is lighter than a rigid hatch. The volume and mass savings are further amplified for the integrated softgoods airlock-hatch combination.
Apache - A Versatile and Extensible, Continuous - Thrust Trajectory Optimization Tool
Under NASA funding, Global Aerospace Corporation (GAC) together with the University of Missouri – Columbia (UMC) has begun the development of a comprehensive mission design and trajectory optimization tool for continuous thrust missions. This new tool will be computer platform independent and coded in an object-oriented language to make it versatile, extensible and capable of being used for design of a vast number of possible space missions, including orbital and interplanetary transfers. It will be user friendly with many input selections, including power and propulsion options. Gravitational and non-gravitational models will be selectable by the user, and applied to trajectory calculations as needed. Analytical solutions will be provided for initial guess requirements, and optimization methods used to size spacecraft systems, select flight times, and generate thrust steering profiles.