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April 16, 2014

SpaceX Launch of NASA Cargo to Space Station Set for Friday, Spacewalk Wednesday

NASA and SpaceX are targeting a 3:25 p.m. EDT launch on Friday, April 18, of SpaceX's third cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 2:15 p.m.

The company's April 14 launch to the orbiting laboratory was scrubbed due to a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Dragon spacecraft to the space station.

Dragon is carrying to the space station almost 5,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk tools -- all to support the crew and more than 150 scientific investigations planned for Expeditions 39 and 40. If needed, another launch attempt will take place at 3:02 p.m. Saturday, April 19.

NASA Television coverage of Dragon's arrival at the space station will begin at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, April 20. Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use the space station's robotic arm to capture the spacecraft at approximately 7 a.m. NASA's Rick Mastracchio will support Wakata during the rendezvous. NASA Television coverage will resume at 9:30 a.m., as the Dragon is attached to the Earth-facing port of the space station's Harmony module.

An April 18 launch will allow the space station program to plan for a spacewalk on Wednesday, April 23, to replace a failed multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM) relay system. The prime MDM, which is operating normally, and the failed backup computer provide commands to some space station systems, including the external cooling system, Solar Alpha Rotary joints and Mobile Transporter rail car.

For the latest information on the SpaceX mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacex

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For the latest information on the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station


April 15, 2014

NASA Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Use of Historic Launch Pad

NASA Kennedy Space Center's historic Launch Complex 39A, the site from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began, is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site.

NASA signed a property agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., on Monday for use and occupancy of the seaside complex along Florida's central east coast. It will serve as a platform for SpaceX to support their commercial launch activities.

"It's exciting that this storied NASA launch pad is opening a new chapter for space exploration and the commercial aerospace industry," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "While SpaceX will use pad 39A at Kennedy, about a mile away on pad 39B, we're preparing for our deep space missions to an asteroid and eventually Mars. The parallel pads at Kennedy perfectly exemplify NASA's parallel path for human spaceflight exploration -- U.S. commercial companies providing access to low-Earth orbit and NASA deep space exploration missions at the same time."

Under a 20-year agreement, SpaceX will operate and maintain the facility at its own expense. "As the world's fastest growing launch services provider, SpaceX will maximize the use of pad 39A both to the benefit of the commercial launch industry as well as the American taxpayer," said Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX.

The reuse of pad 39A is part of NASA's work to transform the Kennedy Space Center into a 21st century launch complex capable of supporting both government and commercial users. At the same time, NASA and Lockheed Martin are assembling the agency's first Orion spacecraft in the Operations and Checkout Building while preparing Kennedy's infrastructure for the Space Launch System rocket, which will lift off from the center's Launch Complex 39B and send American astronauts into deep space, including to an asteroid and eventually Mars.

"Kennedy Space Center is excited to welcome SpaceX to our growing list of partners," Center Director Bob Cabana said. "As we continue to reconfigure and repurpose these tremendous facilities, it is gratifying to see our plan for a multi-user spaceport shared by government and commercial partners coming to fruition." Launch Complex 39A originally was designed to support NASA's Apollo Program and later modified to support the Space Shuttle Program. Because of the transition from the shuttle program to NASA's Space Launch System and Orion programs, the agency does not have a need for the complex to support future missions.

Pad 39A was first used to launch Apollo 4 on Nov. 9, 1967; it is the site where Apollo 11 lifted off from on the first manned moon landing in 1969; and the pad was last used for space shuttle Atlantis' launch to the International Space Station on July 11, 2011, for the STS-135 mission, the final shuttle flight. This agreement with SpaceX ensures the pad will be used for the purpose it was built -- launching spacecraft.

For more information about Launch Complex 39A and ongoing work to transform Kennedy Space Center into a 21st century launch complex, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy


April 11, 2014

NASA's Orion Spacecraft Powers through First Integrated System Testing

NASA's Orion spacecraft has proven its mettle in a test designed to determine the spacecraft's readiness for its first flight test -- Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) -- later this year. EFT-1 will send the spacecraft more than 3,600 miles from Earth and return it safely.

The spacecraft ran for 26 uninterrupted hours during the final phase of a major test series completed April 8 at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test verified the crew module can route power and send commands that enable the spacecraft to manage its computer system, software and data loads, propulsion valves, temperature sensors and other instrumentation.

"This has been the most significant integrated testing of the Orion spacecraft yet," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's human exploration and operations at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "The work done to test the avionics with the crew module isn't just preparing us for Orion's first trip to space in a few months. It's also getting us ready to send crews far into the solar system."

In October 2013, NASA and Lockheed Martin engineers powered on Orion's main computer for the first time. Since then, they have installed harnessing, wiring and electronics. This was the first time engineers ran the crew module through its paces to verify all system actuators respond correctly to commands and all sensors report back as planned. More than 20 miles of wire are required to connect the different systems being powered.

"Getting all the wiring right, integrating every element of the avionics together, and then testing it continuously for this many hours is a big step toward getting to deep space destinations," said Mark Geyer, Orion program manager.

Engineers now are preparing the crew module for vibration testing, scheduled for the week of April 14. In May, the heat shield will be installed and, shortly thereafter, the crew module will be attached with the service module.

During EFT-1, an uncrewed Orion spacecraft will take a four-hour trip into space, traveling 15 times farther from Earth than the International Space Station. During its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, Orion will be traveling at 20,000 mph, faster than any current spacecraft capable of carrying humans, and endure temperatures of approximately 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The data gathered during the flight will inform design decisions to improve the spacecraft that will one day carry humans to an asteroid and eventually Mars. EFT-1 is targeted for launch in December.

For more information on Orion, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orion


April 4, 2014

NASA Coverage Set for SpaceX Mission to Space Station

The next SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Monday, April 14, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft, will lift off at approximately 4:58 p.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3:45 p.m. If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is Friday, April 18 at approximately 3:25 p.m.

The mission, designated SpaceX-3, is the third of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will be the fourth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft will be filled with almost 5,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies. The Dragon will remain attached to the space station's Harmony module until mid-May and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California with more than 3,000 pounds of experiment samples and equipment returning from the station.


April 2, 2014

PaR Systems Celebrates One-Year Anniversary in Hangar N

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana marked the one-year anniversary of a lease agreement with PaR Systems Inc., of Shoreview, Minn., for use of the Hangar N facility on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida during an Open House event April 2.

"This is a unique facility that provides a critical capability to the aerospace community here at the Cape," Cabana said, "and it also employs technicians that have the highest standard of training in nondestructive test and evaluation."

Under a 15-year lease agreement, PaR Systems will operate the Hangar N facility and utilize its unique nondestructive testing (NDT) equipment. Some of the NDT systems were used during the Space Shuttle Program.

"Our partnership with NASA goes back many years, and Hangar N is only a recent example of the partnership that we had with NASA," said Brian Behm, president, Aerospace Robotics, PaR Systems. "We think the future is bright with some good opportunities and we look forward to being a valued member of the space community. It's truly the case where our commercial partnership is good for NASA, good for the local community and good for PaR Systems."

PaR Systems is operating the facility at its own expense and is using the facility to perform nondestructive evaluation testing and other related aerospace, marine and industrial products and services.

"We have entered into a partnership with NASA to ensure the world-class inspection capabilities developed during the space shuttle era will remain in place to support future human spaceflight programs launching from Kennedy Space Center," said Tony Corak, manager of NDT Services for PaR Systems.

"The equipment and expertise developed over a 30-year period of space shuttle processing provides a significant differentiating factor over others," Corak said. "It exemplifies why Kennedy stands out as the preeminent launch facility in the world, as well as providing a product launching pad for PaR's commercial endeavors."

The partnership agreement was established by Kennedy's Center Planning and Development Directorate (CPDD). Space Florida and the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast also had integral roles in the development of the Hangar N partnership.

"The agreement we have with PaR systems has been an outstanding example of the types of partnerships we are seeking to create the multi-user spaceport at Kennedy. The supply chain activities such as this are an integral component of the success of all of the partnerships we have," said Tom Engler, deputy director of the CPDD.

PaR Systems Inc. is a privately held business specializing in process automation, robotic solutions and services for critical applications in demanding environments. Additional support for PaR's work at Hangar N is being provided by PaR's LaserUT Center of Excellence in Fort Worth, Texas, and its Robotics Headquarters in Shoreview.

Kennedy is positioning itself for the next era of space exploration, transitioning to a 21st century launch facility with multiple users, both private and government.

For more information about PaR Systems Inc. visit: http://par.com

For more information about partnership opportunities, visit: http://www.ksc.nasa.gov


March 31, 2014

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete Space System Milestones

NASA's commercial space partners continue to meet milestones under agreements with the agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), as they move forward in their development of spacecraft and rockets that will transport humans to destinations in low-Earth orbit.

The achievements in February are the latest development in a cycle that is seeing all four industry partners meet their milestones in their Commercial Crew Integrated Capability and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 agreements with the agency.

Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) are developing unique transportation systems and face challenging evaluations and tests in 2014. CCP's engineering team is working closely with its partners as they develop the next generation of crewed spacecraft. Ultimately, NASA intends to certify and use commercial systems to fly astronauts from the United States to the International Space Station, and back.

"We have been very pleased to see all the companies in this extraordinary partnership continue to hold to schedules of development that keep us on a path to resume flights into space for astronauts on American-made spacecraft lifting off from U.S. soil," said Kathy Lueders, acting CCP program manager.

Blue Origin completed a review of the design, manufacture and assembly of its sub-scale propulsion tank, a smaller version of the tank that will boost the company's Space Vehicle into low-Earth orbit. Engineers will use the results to evaluate design features and manufacturing processes for orbital operations.

Boeing wrapped up a critical design review of the primary structures for its CST-100 spacecraft in late February that advances the design of many of the spacecraft structures to a point at which fabrication can begin. The primary structures are comprised of two major components -- the crew module and the service module. The crew module is the pressurized shell where the crew sits during a mission. The shell also contains the computers, cooling systems and other critical components to keep the flight crew and their cargo safe during flight. The service module houses propulsion and abort systems, used to maneuver the spacecraft during flight.

The critical design review was backed up by significant materials testing to verify the materials would hold up to the strenuous demands of spaceflight. One of the challenges in developing a primary structure for spacecraft is to make it light, but still have the strength to tolerate the rigors of spaceflight, and to safely house the vehicle's critical components.

Also in February, SpaceX completed an early design review for the ground systems it anticipates using at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to launch the company's crewed Dragon spacecraft on the company's Falcon 9 rocket. NASA engineers reviewed plans to adapt existing structures at Kennedy to accommodate the rocket. Because the Dragon spacecraft will be flying people, the ground system designs have to include ways for the crew to safely enter the spacecraft at the top of the rocket, plus a means for them to evacuate the pad quickly in the unlikely event of an emergency.

All four of NASA's industry partners continue to meet their established milestones in developing crew transportation systems and are preparing for several more. Blue Origin is working toward the interim design review of its space vehicle subsystems. Boeing's next milestone comes in April when the software for the CST-100 goes through a critical design review.

As with hardware elements of the spacecraft, the software has undergone numerous tests and simulations to confirm it will hold up to the demanding realm of spaceflight. SNC is preparing to evaluate the data from numerous wind tunnel tests of its Dream Chaser spacecraft and United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket integrated stack configurations at NASA's Langley and Ames Research Centers. SNC also is actively conducting several reaction control systems and main engine motor tests at their Poway, Calif., facility. These evaluations and tests are crucial tools for advancing SNC's spacecraft. Also in April, SpaceX will complete an integrated critical design review that will cover all elements of the crewed Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. This precedes a busy summer for the company as preparation continues on two launch abort system test flights later this year.

Milestones achieved by CCP's partners continue to advance commercial spacecraft and transportation systems from design to reality. The successes of NASA and American aerospace companies are ushering in a new generation of space transportation capabilities, which will enable new opportunities for humans to live and work in space.

For more information about CCP and its aerospace industry partners, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


March 28, 2014

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for CYGNSS Mission

NASA has selected Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., to launch the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission. CYGNSS will launch in October 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a Pegasus XL rocket from Orbital's "Stargazer" L-1011 aircraft.

This is a firm-fixed price launch-service task order contract worth approximately $55 million. Contract services include spacecraft processing, the launch service payload integration, tracking, data and telemetry, and other launch support requirements.

CYGNSS will produce measurements of ocean surface winds throughout the life cycle of tropical storms and hurricanes, which could help lead to forecasting weather better. The mission, led by the University of Michigan, will use a constellation of small satellites that will be carried to orbit on a single launch vehicle. CYGNSS's eight micro-satellite observatories will receive direct and reflected signals from GPS satellites. CYGNSS is the first award for space-based investigations in the Earth Venture-class series of rapidly developed, cost-constrained projects for NASA's Earth Science Division. NASA's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., manages the Earth System Science Pathfinder program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for management and oversight of the Pegasus XL launch services. Langley provides management for the CYGNSS mission.

For more information about NASA's Launch Services Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/launchservices

For more information about NASA programs and missions, visit: http://www.nasa.gov


March 26, 2014

NASA Marks Major Programmatic Milestone for Spaceport of the Future

NASA achieved a major milestone this month in its effort to transform the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida into a multi-user spaceport by successfully completing the initial design and technology development phase for the Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program. The major program milestone on March 20, called the Preliminary Design Review, provided an assessment of the initial designs for infrastructure at Kennedy and allowed development of the ground systems to proceed toward detailed design. The thorough review has validated the baseline architecture is sound and aligns with the agency's exploration objectives.

"We've pushed the boundaries of space exploration for more than 50 years and are making progress getting ready to move the frontier even further into the solar system," said Dan Dumbacher, deputy associate administrator for exploration system development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ''The work being done to transform our abilities to prepare and process spacecraft and launch vehicles at Kennedy is a critical piece of our efforts to send astronauts in Orion on top of the Space Launch System to an asteroid and ultimately Mars."

Unlike previous work at Kennedy focusing on a single kind of launch system, such as the Saturn V rocket or space shuttle, engineers and managers in GSDO are preparing the spaceport's infrastructure to support several different spacecraft and rockets in development for human exploration. This includes NASA's development of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. They will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit with the flexibility to launch spacecraft for crew and cargo missions to destinations in the solar system, including an asteroid and Mars.

"The preliminary design review is incredibly important, as it must demonstrate the ground systems designs are on track to process and launch the SLS and the Orion from Kennedy," said Mike Bolger, GSDO program manager.

In December 2012, the GSDO Program completed a combined system requirements review and system definition review to determine the center's infrastructure needs for future programs and establish work plans for the preliminary design phase. That successful completion confirmed the groundwork needed to launch the SLS and Orion spacecraft.

For more information on GSDO, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/groundsystems

For more information about Orion, SLS and NASA's future human spaceflight exploration plans, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration


March 21, 2014

SpaceX Launch to Space Station Reset for March 30

SpaceX has confirmed it will target its next cargo mission launch to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, for 10:50 p.m. EDT, Sunday, March 30.

NASA Television launch coverage begins at 9:45 p.m. for the company's third contracted resupply mission to the orbital laboratory. If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is 9:39 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, with NASA TV coverage beginning at 8:30 p.m.

NASA TV also will air a prelaunch news conference at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A 2 p.m. briefing on the science and technology cargo being delivered to the space station by SpaceX will follow.

A March 30 launch would result in SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft arriving at the station on Wednesday, April 2, at approximately 7 a.m. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and berthing will begin at 5:45 a.m. for a 7 a.m. capture. Coverage of Dragon's installation will begin at 9:30 a.m.

NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE
Sunday, March 30 (Launch day): NASA TV live coverage will begin at 9:45 p.m. EDT and conclude at approximately 11 p.m. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA "V" circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," the launch conductor's countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135 starting at 9 p.m. Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.

IN-FLIGHT NASA TV COVERAGE
If launch occurs March 30, NASA TV will provide live coverage on Wednesday, April 2, of the arrival of the Dragon cargo ship to the International Space Station. Grapple and berthing coverage begins at 5:45 a.m. for a grapple at 7 a.m. Berthing coverage begins at 9:30 a.m.

NASA WEB PRELAUNCH AND LAUNCH COVERAGE
Prelaunch and launch day coverage of the SpaceX-3 flight will be available on the NASA website. Coverage will include live streaming and text updates beginning at 9:45 p.m. as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video, podcast and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Nancy Bray at 321-867-9112. You can follow countdown coverage on our launch blog and learn more about the SpaceX-3 mission by going to the mission home page at: http://www.nasa.gov/SpaceX

TWITTER
The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit: http://www.twitter.com/NASAKennedy

FACEBOOK
The NASA News Facebook feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA Facebook feed, visit: http://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy

WEB ACTIVITIES UPDATES AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For updates to these SpaceX-3 prelaunch activities, go to: http://www.nasa.gov/SpaceX
For video b-roll and other International Space Station media resources, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/stationnews
For further information about the International Space Station, research in low-Earth orbit, NASA's commercial space programs and the future of American spaceflight, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station
For more information about SpaceX, visit: http://www.spacex.com


March 13, 2014

NASA Associate Administrator to Highlight Rocket for Orion's Flight Test

The two boosters of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket will be paired with a third booster, all igniting at liftoff, to loft NASA's Orion spacecraft on Exploration Flight Test-1 later this year. During the flight test, Orion will travel 3,600 miles into space -- farther than a spacecraft built for humans has been in more than 40 years -- and orbit the Earth twice. The capsule will re-enter Earth's atmosphere at speeds approaching 20,000 mph, generating temperatures as high as 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

The uncrewed flight will provide engineers with important data about Orion's heat shield and other elements that will help engineers improve the spacecraft that will carry humans to an asteroid and eventually Mars during future missions.

NASA has adjusted the times and content of previously scheduled events on Friday, March 14. For an updated schedule of SpaceX-3 prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage items, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1dsh9dp

For updates on the SpaceX-3 mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/SpaceX

For further information about the International Space Station, research in low-Earth orbit, NASA's commercial space programs and the future of American spaceflight, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station

For more information about SpaceX, visit: http://www.spacex.com


March 13, 2014

Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana Presents Memento to Six-Year-Old Connor Johnson

Dreams do come true. Six-year old Connor Johnson, Denver, Colo., will have the opportunity to meet with astronauts, see space vehicles and witness his first launch while at Kennedy Space Center this weekend.

NASA Kennedy Director Bob Cabana will present a memento to inspire the youngster at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at 11 a.m. EDT on Saturday, March 15. Media are invited to photograph the event scheduled to take place at the Rocket Garden, where a Robot Rocket Rally is being held to celebrate NASA's robotic marvels, including the engineering model of Robonaut's legs that will be launched to the International Space Station on Sunday.

Connor Johnson is continuing his dream of becoming an astronaut as a guest of the visitor complex. He and his family are making their first visit to the space center and will view their first launch, the SpaceX-3 Falcon 9, at 4:41 a.m. Sunday.

In December 2013, he launched an online petition to save NASA's funding from budget cuts. Since the age of three, he has dreamed of becoming an astronaut and discovering new worlds and asteroids.

Cabana flew four missions as a NASA astronaut, logging 38 days in space as the pilot on STS-41 and STS-53 and the commander of STS-65 and STS-88. His fourth flight was the first assembly mission of the International Space Station in December 1998. He currently serves as the tenth director of Kennedy.

For more information on NASA and its missions, visit: http://www.nasa.gov
For more information on SpaceX-3, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spacex
For information on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visit: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com


March 5, 2014

NASA Awards Contract to Modify Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building High Bay 3

NASA has selected Hensel Phelps Construction Co., of Orlando, Fla., to modify High Bay 3 in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the processing of the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Hensel Phelps will receive a fixed-price contract for $99.57 million, consisting of the base amount and three options. The period of performance is 782 calendar days, or about 2 years and one month. The potential maximum value of this contract is $112.70 million, if additional awarded options are exercised.

Contract services include all required management, labor, facilities, materials and equipment, other than government-furnished equipment, to modify the VAB and construct new vehicle access platforms and related systems for the SLS. The work consists of removing, modifying or reusing current structural component systems, and constructing and installing new structural, mechanical and electrical material, systems and equipment.

The work done on this contract will support Kennedy's Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program. Building on five decades of launch and processing excellence, GSDO is transforming Kennedy into a multi-user spaceport capable of accommodating a wide array of government and commercial space activities.

NASA is developing the heavy-lift SLS rocket to expand human presence to deep-space destinations including an asteroid and Mars. The SLS will take astronauts farther into space than ever before, while engaging the U.S. aerospace workforce here at home.

For more information about NASA programs and missions, visit: www.nasa.gov


March 5, 2014

March 16 SpaceX Mission to Space Station

The next SpaceX mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Sunday, March 16, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying its Dragon cargo capsule, will lift off at 4:41 a.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3:45 a.m. If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is Monday, March 17, at 4:19 a.m., with NASA TV coverage beginning at 3:15 a.m. The mission, designated SpaceX-3, is the third of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the space station. It will mark the fourth trip by a Dragon capsule to the orbiting laboratory.

The capsule will be filled with almost 5,000 pounds of scientific experiments and supplies. The Dragon will remain attached to the space station's Harmony module for more than three weeks, and splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California on April 17 with more than 3,500 pounds of experiment samples and equipment returning from the station.

TWITTER
The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit: http://www.twitter.com/NASAKennedy

FACEBOOK
The NASA News Facebook feed will be updated throughout the launch countdown. To access the NASA Facebook feed, visit: www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy


February 28, 2014

NASA Kennedy Space Center Names Abacus Technology Small Business Prime Contractor of Year

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has selected Abacus Technology Corp. as its Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year for 2013. The company serves as the center's Information Management and Communications Support (IMCS) contractor.

The award was presented to IMCS Program Manager Patty Stratton by Kennedy's director, Bob Cabana, during the space center's Honor Awards Ceremony on Feb. 25. "Congratulations for exemplary work that has earned you this honor," said Cabana, in his letter informing the company of the selection.

In accepting the recognition, Stratton gave credit to the Abacus and QinetiQ team of employees who do the day-to-day work supporting the IMCS contract. "We are privileged to have highly skilled, experienced and dedicated people providing our customers with world-class service," she said. "We are committed to assisting Kennedy in its evolution to a world-class, multi-user spaceport for the 21st century."

Based in Chevy Chase, Md., Abacus Technology provides information technology and communications services to NASA, the Department of Defense, contractors and worldwide news media organizations. In addition to Abacus, the IMCS team includes QinetiQ North America.

The Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year award recipient is selected based on the company's performance by operating on schedule, within cost, exhibiting responsiveness to contractual requirements and providing innovative solutions to problems and issues.

Abacus has achieved a five-year contract underrun by one percent translating into a savings of $3.62 million. The company's "Best Practice" safety program at Kennedy was recognized by the United Safety Council with its Gold Award for Corporate Safety in 2013.

The IMCS contract facilitates the sharing of systems, information and data on an enterprise-level basis in accordance with NASA's strategic plan. The work includes information technology, such as data center operations, website and software development and security. Communications services involve voice, radio, telephone, imaging, closed-circuit television, television production and transmission of mission networks. Administrative services provided includes printing and duplication, forms, library, engineering documentation, microimaging, graphics, public affairs writing, publications and Web content.

"We will continue to implement efficient and innovative solutions to help the space agency modernize Kennedy's facilities and systems," Stratton said. "Our goal is to provide quality mission support on the NASA Launch Services, Commercial Crew, Commercial Resupply Services and Space Station programs."

For more information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit: www.nasa.gov/kennedy


February 28, 2014

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete Space System Milestones

NASA's aerospace industry partners continue to meet milestones under agreements with the agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP), as they move forward in their development of spacecraft and rockets that will transport humans to destinations in low-Earth orbit. Blue Origin, Boeing Space Exploration, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and SpaceX each are developing unique transportation systems, and each faces stringent evaluations and tests in 2014. CCP's engineering team is working closely with its partners as they develop the next generation of crewed spacecraft. NASA intends to certify and use these commercial systems to fly astronauts from U.S. soil to the International Space Station, and back.

"Already this year, NASA and its industry partners are making tremendous progress toward achieving the nation's goal of restoring America's capability to launch commercial passengers, including astronauts, from U.S. soil to low-Earth orbit," said Kathy Lueders, CCP's acting program manager. "This year, we'll see hardware testing, flight demonstrations and the award of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract. We're excited for what the rest of this year holds and look forward to highlighting the tremendous progress our partners make to advance commercial human spaceflight."

Working under Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreements with NASA, Boeing and SNC met key milestones in late December and throughout January. Boeing worked with United Launch Alliance to complete milestones in the development of an emergency detection system and launch vehicle adapter for the Atlas V rocket planned to launch Boeing's CST-100.

"United Launch Alliance was an integral partner in both of these milestones, ensuring that the launch vehicle adapter and emergency detection system were fully functioning and safe for our future passengers," said John Mulholland, vice president and program manager of Boeing Commercial Programs. "A tireless engineering development and analysis effort since the preliminary design review early last year has led to the success of two critical milestone completions."

The CST-100's emergency detection system is an integrated set of hardware and software that will operate with the avionics systems of the Atlas V rocket as it lifts off and ascends into orbit. In the event of a confirmed emergency, the detection system will send a signal to the CST-100 to trigger escape thrusters on the spacecraft to push the crew out of harm's way and return them safely to Earth.

Engineers ran the software through a series of emergency scenarios to verify the performance of the escape system, carefully tracking how changes in one component might affect another. The launch vehicle adapter that connects the CST-100 to the top of the rocket also received significant attention during the critical design review. Boeing demonstrated that pilots could take over control of the CST-100 and fly it through various phases of a mission successfully.

Chris Ferguson, director of Boeing's Crew and Mission Operations and former space shuttle commander, led the testing. Sitting inside a simulator replica of the spacecraft, Ferguson demonstrated how the CST-100's flight computers would immediately relinquish control of the spacecraft to the pilot -- a NASA requirement for crewed spacecraft destined for low-Earth orbit. The feature is comparable to turning off the autopilot function of a commercial aircraft.

SNC's team recently concluded an incremental critical design review of the Dream Chaser lifting body spacecraft and its related systems. The company also completed a database validation review based on data gathered during the company's first free-flight test in October 2013. The review confirmed that the Dream Chaser flies and navigates as designed and can perform both controlled descents and landings.

"SNC's Dream Chaser program is continuing its steady progress toward flight certification," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems."By completing these important milestones, SNC is confident that our vehicle design is sound and that the spacecraft can successfully fly within established and expected flight boundaries. SNC is now advancing and upgrading the Dream Chaser test spacecraft in preparation for additional flight tests in 2014."

All four of NASA's industry partners continue to meet their established milestones in developing crew transportation systems and are preparing for several more. Blue Origin is preparing to complete its two remaining milestones under an unfunded Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) initiative extension. Later this year, NASA will review the company's propellant tank assembly and subsystem interim design. The primary structure design of Boeing's CST-100 will go through a critical design review that will determine if the spacecraft as a whole is ready for manufacturing. SNC is preparing for a review of data from numerous wind tunnel tests, which will further mature the Dream Chaser Space System design. In the coming months, SpaceX will host increasingly detailed reviews of the company's integrated systems and progress on its ground systems. SpaceX also will conduct two flight tests of Dragon's launch abort systems, powered by two SuperDraco thrusters that will push the spacecraft into the sky rather than pulling it up, as previous launch abort systems have done.

Milestones achieved by CCP's partners continue to push commercial spacecraft and transportation systems from design to reality. The successes of NASA and American aerospace companies are ushering in a new generation of space transportation capabilities, which will enable new opportunities for humans to live and work in space.

For more information about CCP and its aerospace industry partners, visit: www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


January 28, 2014

Kennedy Space Center Observes NASA Day of Remembrance Jan. 31

NASA Kennedy Space Center will pay tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues, during the agency's Day of Remembrance on Friday, Jan. 31.

At 10:30 a.m. EST, Kennedy Director Bob Cabana and Deputy Director Janet Petro will hold a wreath-laying ceremony at the Space Mirror Memorial located in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Cabana will make brief remarks at the observance. Media interested in covering the service should contact Andrea Farmer at 321-223-1091.

NASA's Day of Remembrance honors members of the NASA family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will provide flowers for visitors throughout the day to place at the memorial.

The Astronauts Memorial Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that built and maintains the Space Mirror Memorial. The mirror was dedicated in 1991 to honor all astronauts who lost their lives on missions or during training. It has been designated a National Memorial by Congress.

For more information about Kennedy, visit: www.nasa.gov/kennedy


January 23, 2014

NASA Launches Third Generation Communications Satellite

NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite L (TDRS-L), the 12th spacecraft in the agency's TDRS Project, is safely in orbit after launching at 9:33 p.m. EST Thursday aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Ground controllers report the satellite -- part of a network providing high-data-rate communications to the International Space Station, Hubble Space Telescope, launch vehicles and a host of other spacecraft -- is in good health at the start of a three-month checkout by its manufacturer, Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, Calif. NASA will conduct additional tests before putting TDRS-L into service.

"TDRS-L and the entire TDRS fleet provide a vital service to America's space program by supporting missions that range from Earth-observation to deep space discoveries," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "TDRS also will support the first test of NASA's new deep space spacecraft, the Orion crew module, in September. This test will see Orion travel farther into space than any human spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years."

The mission of the TDRS Project, established in 1973, is to provide follow-on and replacement spacecraft to support NASA's space communications network. This network provides high data-rate communications. The TDRS-L spacecraft is identical to the TDRS-K spacecraft launched in 2013.

"This launch ensures continuity of services for the many missions that rely on the system every day," said Jeffrey Gramling, TDRS project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The TDRS fleet began operating during the space shuttle era with the launch of TDRS-1 in 1983. Of the 11 TDRS spacecraft placed in service to date, eight still are operational. Four of the eight have exceeded their design life.

Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems completed the TDRS-L integration and testing at its satellite factory in El Segundo in November and launch processing began after the spacecraft arrived in Florida Dec. 6.

TDRS-M, the next spacecraft in this series, is on track to be ready for launch in late 2015.

NASA's Space Communications and Navigation Program, part of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) at the agency's Headquarters in Washington, is responsible for the space network. The TDRS Project Office at Goddard manages the TDRS development program. Launch management of the launch service for TDRS-L is the responsibility of HEOMD's Launch Services Program based at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. United Launch Alliance provided the Atlas V rocket launch service.

To join the online conversation about TDRS on Twitter, use the hashtag #TDRS.

For more information about TDRS, visit: http://tdrs.gsfc.nasa.gov

To learn more about the many ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: www.nasa.gov/connect


January 23, 2014

Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces New Space Plans for NASA's Kennedy Space Center

In the latest example of NASA Kennedy Space Center's transformation into a multi-user spaceport, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) of Louisville, Colo., announced Thursday steps it will take to prepare for a November 2016 orbital flight of its Dream Chaser spacecraft from Florida's Space Coast.

The announcement included the purchase of an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance (ULA) for the launch, sharing the Operations and Checkout (O&C) development and testing facility with Lockheed Martin Space Systems, establishing an operation center at Kennedy Space Center and using the former Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) runway at Kennedy. The steps are considered substantial for SNC and important to plans by NASA and Space Florida for Kennedy's new availability to both commercial and government customers.

"Today's announcement is the latest major milestone in the transformation of the Kennedy Space Center into a 21st century launch complex, serving both private sector and government users," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "I salute Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana for his leadership in transitioning the space coast for the future, and applaud Sierra Nevada Corporation on their decision to carry out their ground-breaking work at Kennedy."

SNC said it plans to work with ULA to launch the company's winged Dream Chaser spacecraft into orbit from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

"SNC is thrilled to confirm a launch date for our country's return to orbital human spaceflight and the restart of human spaceflight operations from Florida's Space Coast," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "We could not have done this without the spirit and engagement from our national and state governments, the best aerospace companies in the industry, and several major universities, which all hail from over 30 states. Together these passionate people will return our astronauts to space on American spacecraft and rockets launched from America's space coast right here in Florida."

The Dream Chaser spacecraft is designed to carry crew and critical cargo to destinations, as well as perform servicing and science in low-Earth orbit. SNC said intends to complete Dream Chaser missions with a landing on the 3.5-mile runway at the SLF. Space Florida, which will operate the SLF in the future, will negotiate the terms and conditions for the runway's use with SNC.

"We are pleased to see continued growth of the State's investment into KSC facilities like the O&C," said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. "It is clear that the future of commercial space growth is happening right now in Florida and we couldn't be happier to work with companies like Sierra Nevada to realize their Florida-based expansion goals."

The company said it plans to prepare the Dream Chaser spacecraft in the high bay of the O&C building at Kennedy, with Lockheed Martin performing the work. The facility also is used for the development, assembly and testing of NASA's deep-space Orion spacecraft. Dream Chaser testing will take place without disrupting Orion, NASA's flagship human exploration vehicle.

"The O&C is a state-of-the-art facility that will greatly enhance Dream Chaser's future operations through an innovative co-use plan with Orion," said Vice President and General Manager, Civil Space, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, James H. Crocker. "The result will maximize efficiency for both the Dream Chaser spacecraft and Orion and will provide continuity for our highly trained, motivated and certified workforce."

SNC also plans to lease office space at Exploration Park, located just outside Kennedy's gates.

"We have been diligent in our efforts, and I consider this a strong vote of confidence from a company that expects to be a major force in the future of human spaceflight," said Bob Cabana, Kennedy center director. "Sierra Nevada Corporation will find in our workforce and facilities the same dynamic and professional people who have made successful missions from here for more than 50 years."

Cabana said SNC's involvement with the Florida spaceport shows the conversion to a 21st century spaceport is succeeding, although work remains to keep the transformation on pace.

"We are honored that Sierra Nevada Corporation has reserved a proven Atlas V to launch its first flight test in 2016," said Michael Gass, United Launch Alliance president and CEO. "With 42 successful missions spanning a decade of operational service, the commercially-developed Atlas V is uniquely qualified to provide launch services for the Crew Transportation System. Because Atlas is already certified by NASA to fly the nation's most complex exploration missions, ULA is able to provide a wealth of flight data, design implementation, detailed system and subsystem analysis, qualification and certification documentation to support the Atlas V for human spaceflight." The Dream Chaser spacecraft is deep into development of flight hardware and specific plans ranging from ground support equipment to what to include in a mission operations center.

"I had the privilege of piloting and commanding five space shuttle flights as a NASA astronaut," said Steve Lindsey, former NASA astronaut and SNC's senior director and Dream Chaser program manager. "This included the last flight of Discovery which was processed, launched, and on March 9, 2011, made its final landing at the SLF after 39 flights and 148 million space miles. Mark, the entire SNC Dream Chaser team, and I look forward to seeing Dream Chaser continue this legacy from Discovery when it flies in 2016."

For more information about Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser, visit: www.SNCDreamChaser.com

For more information about NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit: www.nasa.gov/kennedy


January 17, 2014

NASA Commercial Crew Partner SpaceX Tests Dragon Parachute System

Engineers and safety specialists from NASA and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) gathered in Morro Bay, Calif., in late December to demonstrate how the company's Dragon spacecraft's parachute system would function in the event of an emergency on the launch pad or during ascent.

The test was part of an optional milestone under NASA's Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) initiative and approved by the agency in August. Through the Commercial Crew Program, SpaceX is one of NASA's commercial partners working to develop a new generation of U.S. spacecraft and rockets capable of transporting humans to and from low-Earth orbit from American soil. NASA intends to use such commercial systems to fly U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

The 12,000-pound test craft was lifted 8,000 feet above sea level by an Erickson Sky Crane helicopter and flown over the Pacific Ocean.

Following Dragon's release, two drogue parachutes were released from the top of the spacecraft to slow its decent, before the three main parachutes deployed. The craft splashed down and was quickly recovered by the Sky Crane and carried back to shore.

"The parachute test is essential for the commercial crew effort because it helps us better understand how SpaceX's system performs as it safely returns crew," said Jon Cowart, NASA Partner Integration deputy manager working with SpaceX. "Like all of our partners, SpaceX continues to provide innovative solutions based on NASA's lessons learned that could make spaceflight safer."

During a normal spacecraft landing, the parachutes will be aided by the Dragon's SuperDraco thrusters to provide a soft controlled landing. This redundancy on both the parachutes and thrusters is designed to ensure safe landings for crews.

"SpaceX is working diligently to make the Dragon spacecraft the safest vehicle ever flown," said Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX.

"The parachute system is an integral part of Dragon's ability to provide a safe landing for nominal and abort conditions -- with this successful test we are well-positioned to execute a full end-to-end test of the launch escape system later this year."

The parachute test puts SpaceX a step closer to launch abort system tests. The company currently is manufacturing the spacecraft and rocket to be used for these flight tests.

SpaceX is on track to complete all 15 of its CCiCap milestones in 2014. All of NASA's industry partners, including SpaceX, continue to meet their established milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


January 14, 2014

NASA's Commercial Crew Partners Aim to Capitalize, Expand on 2013 Successes in 2014

Several companies, working closely with NASA, ended 2013 with an impressive string of achievements to build on in 2014 as the American aerospace industry continues to develop and demonstrate commercial human spaceflight capabilities with the potential to support both commercial and government customers.

The year will be pivotal for NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) as the agency looks to announce one or more awards by August for Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts that would lead to operational crewed flights to the International Space Station. NASA intends to use new commercial systems to fly U.S. astronauts to and from the station within the next three years.

NASA's industry partners are pursuing ambitious milestones this year as CCP moves forward. The partners are Blue Origin of Kent, Wash.; The Boeing Company of Houston; Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) of Sparks, Nev.; and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif.

Milestones planned by the companies include sophisticated software demonstrations, a free flight to evaluate a vehicle in a simulated space environment and launches to test the first of a new generation of launch abort systems. The goal of CCP is to develop a new generation of U.S. human transportation systems capable of delivering humans to low-Earth orbit from American soil.

"Our partners have steadily moved pieces from the drawing boards and computer screens to factory floors and test stands across the country," said Kathy Lueders, acting manager of CCP. "The new year offers exciting opportunities for these companies to demonstrate the reach and potential of their hard-earned innovations."

Blue Origin test-fired its BE-3 engine in 2013. It plans this year to review its assembly of a subscale propellant tank and conduct a review of the space vehicle's subsystems design.

With the completion of a detailed design review in 2013, Boeing continued to develop its spacecraft, the CST-100, confirming in this review the service module propulsion system was ready to move into the next phases: production and integration with the CST-100 spacecraft.

Boeing's certification plan for the CST-100 detailed several aspects of its development and operation, including plans for testing components and systems along with the spacecraft as a whole -- a plan that takes the spacecraft through development to the launch pad and on to mission operations.

"Boeing's goal is to develop a safe and reliable commercial space transportation system and these reviews are vital to meet that goal," said Gennaro Caliendo, NASA's Integration Team lead for Boeing. "They help ensure that the spacecraft and its myriad systems will work together to accomplish challenging missions, which require the utmost attention to detail."

NASA worked with a team of engineers and designers from SNC in 2013 to review detailed certification and systems safety plans for its Dream Chaser Space System.

"The roadmap to understanding how safe and reliable a crew transportation system is takes a lot of details and dedication from all parties involved," said Cheryl McPhillips, NASA's Partner Integration Team lead for SNC. "When building a system that is to be trusted enough to carry humans into space, the most important part is building in safety from the start. SNC has made significant progress with its Dream Chaser to date."

SNC plans to build on that progress in 2014 with wind tunnel tests and further advancement of its innovative main propulsion and reaction control systems, and a second free-flight test of the Dream Chaser.

SpaceX's first commercial satellite launch on an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket gave NASA engineers an opportunity to review the vehicle's performance in flight following the Sept. 28 liftoff and ascent of the Falcon 9 v1.1 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The company anticipates using the upgraded rocket to launch humans to destinations in low-Earth orbit.

"With the upgrade from version 1.0 to a 1.1, SpaceX introduced a number of new systems including new engines, new software and new avionics," said Derek Hassmann, NASA Partner Integration Manager working with SpaceX. "The overall conclusion is that SpaceX is on the right track. The goal really isn't to judge their design, but to see how they cope with anomalies, see how they track their processes and control their hazards and how they're able to deal with the unexpected."

The 2014 calendar for SpaceX includes increasingly detailed reviews of the company's integrated systems and progress on its ground systems. SpaceX will conduct two flights to test the Dragon's launch abort systems, powered by two SuperDraco thrusters that will push the Dragon into the sky instead of pulling the spacecraft up as previous launch abort systems have done.

Milestones achieved by CCP's partners are continuing to push commercial spacecraft and transportation system designs closer to reality. The successes of NASA and American aerospace companies are ushering in a new generation of space transportation capabilities, which will enable new opportunities for humans to live and work in space.

For more information about NASA's Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners, visit: www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


January 14, 2014

NASA Sets TDRS-L/Atlas V Launch Events Coverage Schedule

NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-L (TDRS-L) is scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket Jan. 23 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida. The 40-minute launch window extends from 9:05 to 9:45 p.m. EST.

Prelaunch media briefings and launch commentary coverage will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

The TDRS-L spacecraft is the second of three next generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for NASA by expanding the lifespan of the fleet, which now consists of eight satellites in geostationary orbit. The spacecraft provide tracking, telemetry, command, and high bandwidth data return services for numerous science and human exploration missions orbiting Earth. These include NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. TDRS-L has a high-performance solar panel designed for more spacecraft power to meet the growing S-band communications requirements.

NASA Television Coverage

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, NASA Television will carry the TDRS-L prelaunch news conference and mission science briefing live beginning at 1 p.m. EST. Question-and-answer capability will be available from other NASA field centers. Call-in questions also will be taken by dialing 321-867-2468 no later than 15 minutes before the start of each briefing to establish a position in the queue.

On Thursday, Jan. 23, NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude after the TDRS-L spacecraft has separated from the Atlas V, which occurs one hour, forty-six minutes after launch. Live launch coverage will be carried on all NASA Television channels.

For NASA Television downlink information, schedule information and streaming video, visit: www.nasa.gov/ntv

Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County.

NASA Web Prelaunch and Launch Coverage

Extensive prelaunch and launch day coverage of the liftoff of the TDRS-L spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket will be available on NASA's home page on the Internet at: www.nasa.gov

A prelaunch webcast for the TDRS-L mission will be streamed on NASA's website at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 22. Live countdown coverage through NASA's Launch Blog begins at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23. Coverage features live updates as countdown milestones occur, as well as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact Nancy Bray at 321-867-9112. For NASA's Launch Blog, visit: http://blogs.nasa.gov/tdrs-l

To view the webcast or to learn more about the TDRS-L mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/tdrs

Social Media

Join the conversation and follow the TDRS-L mission online by using the #TDRS on Twitter and Facebook at:
www.twitter.com/NASA_TDRS
https://www.facebook.com/NASA.TDRS

Throughout the launch countdown, the NASAKennedy Twitter and Facebook accounts will be continuously updated throughout the launch countdown at:
www.twitter.com/NASAKennedy
https://www.facebook.com/NASAKennedy


January 13, 2014

Melbourne School Experiment among NASA Cargo on Space Station

An experiment designed by West Shore Junior/Senior High School in Melbourne, Fla., is among the cargo that arrived at the International Space Station Sunday on the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission.

Designed by students in grades 10-12, the experiment, entitled "A Study of How Microgravity Affects the Activity of Enzymes in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis using the Model of Papain and Gelatin," is part of the NanoRacks-National Center for Earth and Space Science Education-Falcon II payload.

This experiment seeks to explore the reasons behind why people suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, cannot break down the neurotransmitter glutamate. The inability causes the neurons to die and patients to lose control of voluntary muscles. The students selected a non-biological model to study this phenomenon, testing the effect of the enzyme papain (papaya extract) on the breakdown of proteins in gelatin by measuring the amount of protein remaining after the reaction.

Orbital-1 is NASA's first contracted resupply mission to the space station by U.S. company Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft launched atop the company's Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia on Jan. 9.

Expedition 38 crew members captured the Orbital-1 Cygnus using the space station's robotic arm at 6:08 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 12.

Orbital developed its Antares and Cygnus with NASA and successfully completed a test mission to the space station in September, enabling the first of eight planned contract resupply flights by the company. The capsule is scheduled to remain attached to the station through mid-January. It then will return for a destructive re-entry in Earth's atmosphere.

The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has had continuous human occupation since November 2000. In that time, it has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.

For more information about the Orbital-1 mission and the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station


January 13, 2014

NASA Kennedy, Florida Institute of Technology, MIT Experiment Among NASA Cargo on Space Station

An experiment designed by NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Florida Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is among the cargo that arrived at the International Space Station Sunday on the Orbital-1 cargo resupply mission. The experiment, entitled "SPHERES-Slosh," is part of the SPHERES-Slosh payload.

This experiment seeks to examine how liquids move around inside containers in microgravity. This investigation will allow middle-school and high-school students to control the Synchronized Position Hold Engage Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) as part of a planned outreach program to continue to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Orbital-1 is NASA's first contracted resupply mission to the space station by U.S. company Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft launched atop the company's Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia on Jan. 9.

Expedition 38 crew members captured the Orbital-1 Cygnus using the space station's robotic arm at 6:08 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 12.

Orbital developed its Antares and Cygnus with NASA and successfully completed a test mission to the space station in September, enabling the first of eight planned contract resupply flights by the company. The capsule is scheduled to remain attached to the station through mid-January. It then will return for a destructive re-entry in Earth's atmosphere.

The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has had continuous human occupation since November 2000. In that time, it has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.

For more information about the Orbital-1 mission and the International Space Station, visit: www.nasa.gov/station


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