The Space Shuttle Discovery takes one last flight over the Space Center before heading to its new home at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly Virginia.

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U.S.A.F. 45TH Launch Group
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SpaceX
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Blue Origin
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STS-135: Atlantis — The Final Voyage – A NASA Overview


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alligator Wildlife at the Kennedy Space Center

July 22, 2014

NASA Partners Punctuate Summer with Spacecraft Development Advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA's aerospace industry partners for the agency's Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their Space Act Agreements with the agency.

NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move ahead with plans to develop the first American spacecraft designed to carry people into space since the space shuttle.

"Our partners are making great progress as they refine their systems for safe, reliable and cost-effective spaceflight," said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program. "It is extremely impressive to hear and see the interchange between the company and NASA engineering teams as they delve into the very details of the systems that help assure the safety of passengers."

The next milestone for Blue Origin will be a subsystem interim design review that will assess the progress of the company's Space Vehicle design.

The Boeing Company, which is designing the CST-100 spacecraft, has two reviews later this summer. A full critical design review (CDR) will examine the detailed plans for the spacecraft, launch vehicle and a host of ground support, processing and operations designs. The second review will come soon after -- the Spacecraft Safety Review is designed to show the design of the spacecraft and its systems are in line with Boeing's CDR-level design.

Sierra Nevada Corporation completed risk reduction testing on the flight crew systems in development for its Dream Chaser spacecraft. The team evaluated crew ingress and egress using the full-scale mockup of the Dream Chaser pressurized cabin, as well as the visibility from inside the cockpit, controls and displays, and seat loading. The company reviewed tests conducted on the thermal protection system for its spacecraft as well as the composite structure, life support system and thermal control systems. Later this summer, the reaction control system will undergo an incremental test to further its design.

SpaceX currently is completing a qualification test milestone for the primary structure of its Dragon spacecraft. Following this milestone, the company, which is using its own Falcon 9 launch vehicle, will outline its ground systems, crew and mission operations plans in an operational review that will put the company's processes through a rigorous examination.

Later this year, NASA plans to award one or more contracts that will provide the agency with commercial services to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station by the end of 2017.

For more information on NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


July 17, 2014

NASA Awards Construction Contract at Kennedy Space Center

NASA has awarded a two-year contract to Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Orlando to build a new multi-story headquarters building at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The maximum value of this firm fixed-price contract is $64,823,000, including base work and five awarded options. The contract award begins Thursday.

The new headquarters building is the cornerstone for Kennedy's central campus consolidation. The campus construction will enable demolition of approximately 900,000 square feet of buildings and supporting infrastructure in what is known as the Kennedy Industrial Area, while rebuilding only about 450,000 square feet. Kennedy will save an estimated $400 million during the next 40 years because of the 50 percent reduction in square footage and the lower operation and maintenance costs associated with the new energy-efficient facilities.

Hensel Phelps will provide all the construction and installation of required civil, structural, electrical, plumbing, environmental, mechanical, fire suppression, and communication infrastructure. Under the five options, the company will remove U-Shaped Pre-Cast Panel and Pre-Cast, add additional landscaping, add seven dual-station electric vehicle battery charge stations in parking areas, provide LED light fixtures instead of fluorescent and compact light fixtures, and upgrade the 800-kw emergency generator environmental rating from tier 2 to tier 4 and provide future utility system interconnection capability.

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


July 14, 2014

NASA Updates Time for Facility Renaming Ceremony in Honor of Neil Armstrong

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is changing the time for the renaming of the Operations and Checkout Building to the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building in honor of the legendary astronaut and first man to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong. The ceremony will take place at 10:15 a.m. EDT, Monday, July 21.

The event will include remarks from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Center Director Robert Cabana, and Apollo 11 crew members, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.

The ceremony will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency's website.

Sunday, July 20, is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 crew's moon landing in 1969.

The Operations and Checkout Building was built in 1964 and previously was known as the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building. The facility has played a vital role in NASA's spaceflight history. The high bay was used during the Apollo program to process and test the command, service and lunar modules. The facility is being used today to process and assemble NASA's Orion spacecraft as the agency prepares to embark on the next giant leap in space exploration, sending astronauts to an asteroid and Mars.

For more information on NASA and agency programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

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


July 8, 2014

NASA Awards CubeSat Hardware and Integration Services Contract

NASA has selected five companies to provide commercial CubeSat hardware and integration services with associated special task assignments covering a five-year ordering period between 2014 and 2018.

The five companies are 406 Aerospace LLC of Bozeman, Montana; Applied Technology Associations of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Spaceflight Inc. of Tukwila, Washington; TriSept Corp. of Chantilly, Virginia; and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems LLC of Irvine, California. Each were awarded a firm fixed-price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. The total potential value of the combined contracts is $9.5 million dollars, if the maximum amount of work is ordered.

All contractors will provide all services, facilities, and resources necessary to support this work effort for the task orders they are awarded.

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

For more information about the Launch Services Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/lspeducation


July 7, 2014

NASA Renaming Ceremony in Honor of Neil Armstrong

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is renaming one of its iconic facilities in honor of legendary astronaut and the first person to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong.

The event will include remarks from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Center Director Robert Cabana and Apollo 11 crew members Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin.

The ceremony will be carried live on NASA Television and the agency's website at 9:00am.

July 20 is the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 crew's moon landing in 1969.

The Operations and Checkout Building was built in 1964 and previously was known as the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building. The facility has played a vital role in NASA's spaceflight history. The high bay was used during the Apollo program to process and test the command, service and lunar modules. The facility is being used today to process and assemble NASA's Orion spacecraft as the agency prepares to embark on the next giant leap in space exploration, sending astronauts to an asteroid and Mars.

For more information on NASA's future human exploration plans, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration

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


July 2, 2014

NASA Launches New Carbon-Sensing Mission to Monitor Earth's Breathing

NASA successfully launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) Wednesday.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) raced skyward from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Approximately 56 minutes after the launch, the observatory separated from the rocket's second stage into an initial 429-mile (690-kilometer) orbit. The spacecraft then performed a series of activation procedures, established communications with ground controllers and unfurled its twin sets of solar arrays. Initial telemetry shows the spacecraft is in excellent condition.

OCO-2 soon will begin a minimum two-year mission to locate Earth's sources of and storage places for atmospheric carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas responsible for warming our world and a critical component of the planet's carbon cycle.

"Climate change is the challenge of our generation," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "With OCO-2 and our existing fleet of satellites, NASA is uniquely qualified to take on the challenge of documenting and understanding these changes, predicting the ramifications, and sharing information about these changes for the benefit of society."

OCO-2 will take NASA's studies of carbon dioxide and the global carbon cycle to new heights. The mission will produce the most detailed picture to date of natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as their "sinks" -- places on Earth's surface where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. The observatory will study how these sources and sinks are distributed around the globe and how they change over time.

"This challenging mission is both timely and important," said Michael Freilich, director of the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "OCO-2 will produce exquisitely precise measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations near Earth's surface, laying the foundation for informed policy decisions on how to adapt to and reduce future climate change."

Carbon dioxide sinks are at the heart of a longstanding scientific puzzle that has made it difficult for scientists to accurately predict how carbon dioxide levels will change in the future and how those changing concentrations will affect Earth's climate.

"Scientists currently don't know exactly where and how Earth's oceans and plants have absorbed more than half the carbon dioxide that human activities have emitted into our atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial era," said David Crisp, OCO-2 science team leader at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. "Because of this we cannot predict precisely how these processes will operate in the future as climate changes. For society to better manage carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere, we need to be able to measure the natural source and sink processes." Precise measurements of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide are needed because background levels vary by less than two percent on regional to continental scales. Typical changes can be as small as one-third of one percent. OCO-2 measurements are designed to measure these small changes clearly.

During the next 10 days, the spacecraft will go through a checkout process and then begin three weeks of maneuvers that will place it in its final 438-mile (705-kilometer), near-polar operational orbit at the head of the international Afternoon Constellation, or "A-Train," of Earth-observing satellites. The A-Train, the first multi-satellite, formation flying "super observatory" to record the health of Earth's atmosphere and surface environment, collects an unprecedented quantity of nearly simultaneous climate and weather measurements.

OCO-2 science operations will begin about 45 days after launch. Scientists expect to begin archiving calibrated mission data in about six months and plan to release their first initial estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in early 2015.

The observatory will uniformly sample the atmosphere above Earth's land and waters, collecting more than 100,000 precise individual measurements of carbon dioxide over Earth's entire sunlit hemisphere every day. Scientists will use these data in computer models to generate maps of carbon dioxide emission and uptake at Earth's surface on scales comparable in size to the state of Colorado. These regional-scale maps will provide new tools for locating and identifying carbon dioxide sources and sinks.

OCO-2 also will measure a phenomenon called solar-induced fluorescence, an indicator of plant growth and health. As plants photosynthesize and take up carbon dioxide, they fluoresce and give off a tiny amount of light that is invisible to the naked eye. Because more photosynthesis translates into more fluorescence, fluorescence data from OCO-2 will help shed new light on the uptake of carbon dioxide by plants.

OCO-2 is a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Program mission managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia, built the spacecraft bus and provides mission operations under JPL's leadership. The science instrument was built by JPL, based on the instrument design co-developed for the original OCO mission by Hamilton Sundstrand in Pomona, California. NASA's Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for launch management. Communications during all phases of the mission are provided by NASA's Near Earth Network, with contingency support from the Space Network. Both are divisions of the Space Communications and Navigation program at NASA Headquarters. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more information about OCO-2, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/oco2

OCO-2 is the second of five NASA Earth science missions scheduled to launch into space this year, the most new Earth-observing mission launches in one year in more than a decade. NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow
Follow OCO-2 on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/IamOCO2


July 1, 2014

Launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Rescheduled for July 2

The launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket is scheduled for Wednesday, July 2 at 5:56 a.m. EDT (2:56 a.m. PDT) from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The launch team has completed troubleshooting of the launch pad water suppression system that resulted in the scrub of the launch attempt Tuesday. A valve that is part of the pulse suppression water system, which had operated properly during tests shortly before the launch countdown, failed to function properly during the final minutes of the launch attempt. The failed valve has been replaced with a spare, and the system is being tested in preparation for Wednesday's launch attempt.

The OCO-2 mission will produce the most detailed picture to date of natural sources of carbon dioxide, as well as their "sinks" -- places on Earth's surface where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. The observatory will study how these sources and sinks are distributed around the globe and how they change over time.

The launch weather forecast is unchanged with a 100 percent chance of favorable conditions at liftoff, which is targeted for 5:56:23 EDT (2:56:23 PDT) at the opening of a 30-second launch window.

NASA Television coverage will begin at 3:45 a.m. EDT (12:45 a.m. PDT) Wednesday. For NASA TV downlink and schedule information and streaming video, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is responsible for project management of OCO-2. Orbital Sciences Corp., built the OCO-2 spacecraft. NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management. United Launch Alliance of Centennial, Colorado, is NASA's launch service provider for the Delta II rocket.

For more information about OCO-2, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/oco2


June 30, 2014

NASA Awards Launch Complex 39B Refurbishment Contract for Kennedy

NASA has awarded a contract to Precision Mechanical Inc. of Cocoa, Florida, to refurbish the Environmental Control System at Launch Complex 39B at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The firm-fixed price contract with two options was awarded June 30 and has a maximum value of $11.23 million with a performance period of 412 days.

Precision Mechanical Inc. shall furnish all labor, equipment, materials and related activities necessary for the refurbishment/replacement of the Environmental Control System (ECS) at KSC Building J7-337, better known as Launch Complex (LC) 39B. The completed ECS will provide conditioned clean purge air to various compartments of the new Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle. The refurbishment/replacement includes the following components: chillers, large volume blowers, high-pressure ducts, piping, industrial process PLC-based controls, humidifiers and boilers, and associated electrical equipment. All cooling tower equipment including fill, fans, gear boxes, pumps, valves, piping, grating and handrails will be replaced and the concrete structure repaired/refurbished.

The project also will include two options for the installation of four additional compartment purge circuits and appurtenances from the main distribution plenum to above the pad surface and the replacement of existing post-cooling coils for three cooling chambers.

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


June 30, 2014

NASA's Commercial Crew Partners Focus on Testing, Analysis to Advance Designs

NASA's aerospace industry partners are taking their designs and operational plans for the agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) through a series of comprehensive tests, evaluations and review boards this summer as they move through important milestones all with an eye on launching people into orbit from American soil by 2017.

To meet milestones established in Space Act Agreements with NASA, the companies are completing specific assessments such as materials stress tests, engine firings and analysis, and system tests. The companies' engineers use data gathered from these tests to refine the design, then NASA's team uses the data to ensure the tests satisfy milestone objectives that provide confidence a spacecraft system or program is progressing toward its goals.

"A vast array of testing and work goes into even the smallest subsystem of a spacecraft, so getting to the point where our partners evaluate integrated spacecraft, launch systems and operation details is a massive achievement for our partners," said Kathy Lueders, program manager for CCP.

Blue Origin continues to make steady progress in the development of its Space Vehicle as the company moves toward an interim design review of the spacecraft's subsystems.

The Boeing Company is preparing for a critical design review that will determine whether the integrated design, systems, software and operations plans for its CST-100 spacecraft are ready for the production of models for extensive testing that simulates the demands of space travel.

In May, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) tested the main propulsion and reaction control systems (RCS) of its Dream Chaser spacecraft to advance its design to a production version. SNC is preparing to perform additional RCS vacuum environment tests, simulating flight-like conditions that will enable the company to further examine and certify system performance.

SpaceX is preparing to test the structural integrity of its Dragon spacecraft to verify it will stand up to the forces and stresses exerted on it during launch, while in orbit and through re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Milestones achieved by NASA's CCP 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 people to live and work in space.

Later this year, NASA plans to award one or more Commercial Crew contracts that will provide the agency with commercial services to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station by the end of 2017.

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


June 19, 2014

NASA Invites Public Comment on Mars 2020 Draft Environmental Impact Statement

NASA is requesting the public and interested organizations to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the agency's proposed Mars 2020 mission. The comment period runs through July 21.

During the comment period, NASA will host an online public meeting from 1-3 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 26, at: https://ac.arc.nasa.gov/mars2020

The meeting site will be accessible to participants at 12:45 p.m. EDT. The meeting will include briefings about the proposed mission, its power source options, and the findings of the DEIS. A question-and-answer session and an open period for the public to submit live written comments will follow. Advance registration for the meeting is not required.

The DEIS addresses the potential environmental impacts associated with carrying out the Mars 2020 mission, a continuation of NASA's in-depth exploration of the planet. The mission would include a mobile science rover based closely on the design of the Curiosity rover, which was launched in November 2011 and is operating successfully on Mars.

The mission is planned to launch in July or August 2020 from Florida on an expendable launch vehicle.

NASA will consider all received comments in the development of its Mars 2020 Final Environmental Impact Statement and comments received, and responses to these comments, will be included in the final document.

The DEIS, background material on the proposed mission, and instructions on how to submit comments on the DEIS are available at: http://www.nasa.gov/agency/nepa/mars2020eis

After the conclusion of the virtual public meeting, an on-demand replay of the event also will be available at the above link. Additional information on NASA's National Environmental Policy Act process and the proposed Mars 2020 mission can be found at: http://www.nasa.gov/agency/nepa/ and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mars2020/


June 16, 2014

NASA Awards Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Oxygen Contract to PRAXAIR Inc.

NASA has awarded a contract to PRAXAIR Inc. of Danbury, Connecticut, to supply liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen to NASA's Ames Research Center, California, and Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The firm-fixed price contract with an Economic Price Adjustment begins July 1. It has a maximum value of $5.3 million with a potential performance period of five years.

PRAXAIR Inc. will supply approximately 175,000 liters of liquid nitrogen and approximately 52,400 tons of liquid oxygen to support operations at the aforementioned NASA centers and partner facilities. Nitrogen is used by the agency for pneumatic actuation, purging and inerting, pressurization, and for its cooling value. Oxygen is used as an oxidizer in cryogenic rocket engines.

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


June 16, 2014

NASA Awards Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Oxygen Contract to Linde LLC

NASA has awarded a contract to Linde LLC of Murray Hill, New Jersey, to supply liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen to NASA's Glenn Research Center, Ohio; Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland; Johnson Space Center, Texas; Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Michoud Assembly Facility, Louisiana,;and Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama.

The firm-fixed price contract with an Economic Price Adjustment begins July 1. It has a maximum value of $23 million with a potential performance period of five years.

Linde LLC will supply approximately 361,176 tons of liquid nitrogen and approximately 64,000 tons of liquid oxygen to support operations at the aforementioned NASA centers and facilities. Nitrogen is used by the agency for pneumatic actuation, purging and inerting, pressurization, and for its cooling value. Oxygen is used as an oxidizer in cryogenic rocket engines.

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


June 16, 2014

NASA Awards Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Oxygen Contract to Air Products and Chemicals Inc.

NASA has awarded a contract to Air Products and Chemicals Inc. of Allentown, Pennsylvania, to supply liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen to NASA's Ames Research Center, California; Glenn Research Center, Ohio; and Marshall Space Center, Alabama.

The firm-fixed price contract with an Economic Price Adjustment begins July 1. It has a maximum value of $10.5 million with a potential performance period of five years.

Air Products and Chemicals Inc. will supply approximately 150,690 tons of liquid nitrogen and approximately 600 tons of liquid oxygen to support operations at the aforementioned NASA centers. Nitrogen is used by the agency for pneumatic actuation, purging and inerting, pressurization, and for its cooling value. Oxygen is used as an oxidizer in cryogenic rocket engines.

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


June 16, 2014

NASA's OCO-2 Observatory Ready for Launch

The launch of NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission (OCO-2) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 1. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 2 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket is targeted for 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) at the opening of a 30-second launch window.

OCO-2 is NASA's first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate. OCO-2 will provide a new tool for understanding the human and natural sources of carbon dioxide emissions and the natural "sinks" that absorb carbon dioxide and help control its buildup.

The observatory will measure the global geographic distribution of these sources and sinks and study their changes over time.

The spacecraft's final circular polar orbit will be 438 nautical miles (705 kilometers) at an inclination of 98.2 degrees.


June 11, 2014

NASA Selects Five Projects for 2015 X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge

NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have selected five universities to design systems, concepts and technologies to enhance capabilities for deep space missions for the 2015 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.

The selections are the first milestone in a yearlong design and development effort for these five projects. Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, the teams must meet a series of milestones to design, manufacture, assemble and test their systems and concepts in close cooperation with members of the NASA Exploration Augmentation Module (EAM) concept team.

EAM is a new agencywide technology development concept managed by the Advanced Exploration Systems Division in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. The EAM will combine several capabilities into a prototype system to augment Orion's habitation and extravehicular activity capabilities for extended deep space missions.

"This is the fifth year of the X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge, and we continue to be impressed by the innovative university proposals to advance capabilities for spaceflight," said Tracy Gill, NASA lead for the X-Hab Challenge. "We look forward to lending our experience to the teams, to learning from their fresh approaches and to guiding the efforts through the systems engineering process."

The challenge is a university-level participatory exploration effort designed to encourage studies in spaceflight-related disciplines. The challenge encourages multidisciplinary approaches and strengthens partnerships between NASA, academia and industry. This design challenge requires undergraduate students to explore NASA's work on development of deep space habitats while also helping the agency gather new ideas to complement its current research and development. NASA selected these five projects from among a group of proposals received in May. The X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge 2015 teams and projects are:

  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Design of a Carbon-fiber/Fused Deposition Modeling Spacecraft Structural Fabrication System
  • University of South Alabama: Development of a Volumetric Adsorption System for CO2 and H2O Multicomponent Isotherm Measurements
  • University of Vermont: Design of a "Smart-Structure" Deployable Airlock
  • Oklahoma State University: Deployable Greenhouse for food production on long-duration exploration missions
  • University of Colorado at Boulder: Deployable Greenhouse for Food Production
This challenge also contributes to the agency's efforts to train and develop a highly skilled scientific, engineering and technical workforce for the future.

The National Space Grant Foundation will administer the grants to the universities for NASA to fund design, development and evaluation of the systems by members of the NASA teams during the 2014-2015 academic year.

For further information about previous challenges and current challenge requirements, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/x-hab and http://www.spacegrant.org/xhab/


June 10, 2014

NASA's Orion Spacecraft Stacks Up for First Flight

With just six months until its first trip to space, NASA's Orion spacecraft continues taking shape at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Engineers began stacking the crew module on top of the completed service module Monday, the first step in moving the three primary Orion elements – crew module, service module and launch abort system – into the correct configuration for launch.

"Now that we're getting so close to launch, the spacecraft completion work is visible every day," said Mark Geyer, NASA's Orion Program manager. "Orion's flight test will provide us with important data that will help us test out systems and further refine the design so we can safely send humans far into the solar system to uncover new scientific discoveries on future missions."

With the crew module now in place, the engineers will secure it and make the necessary power connections to the service module over the course of the week. Once the bolts and fluid connector between the modules are in place, the stacked spacecraft will undergo electrical, avionic and radio frequency tests.

The modules are being put together in the Final Assembly and System Testing (FAST) Cell in the Operations and Checkout Facility at Kennedy. Here, the integrated modules will be put through their final system tests prior to rolling out of the facility for integration with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that will send it on its mission.

Orion is being prepared for its first launch later this year, an uncrewed flight that will take it 3,600 miles above Earth, in a 4.5 hour mission to test the systems critical for future human missions to deep space. After two orbits, Orion will reenter Earth's atmosphere at almost 20,000 miles per hour before its parachute system deploys to slow the spacecraft for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Orion's flight test also will provide important data for the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and ocean recovery of Orion. Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have built an advanced adapter to connect Orion to the Delta IV Heavy rocket that will launch the spacecraft during the December test. The adapter also will be used during future SLS missions. NASA's Ground Systems Development and Operations Program, based at Kennedy, will recover the Orion crew module with the U.S. Navy after its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

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


June 9, 2014

NASA Announces Briefing on New Mission to Track Global Carbon Dioxide

NASA will hold a media briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 12, at the NASA Headquarters James E. Webb Auditorium in Washington to discuss the upcoming Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission.

The briefings will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency's website.

OCO-2, NASA's first spacecraft dedicated to studying carbon dioxide, is set for a July 1 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Its mission is to measure the global distribution of carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth's climate. OCO-2 replaces a nearly identical spacecraft lost in a rocket launch mishap in February 2009.

The briefing participants are:

  • Betsy Edwards, OCO-2 program executive with the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Ralph Basilio, OCO-2 project manager with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California
  • Mike Gunson, OCO-2 project scientist at JPL
  • Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 deputy project scientist at JPL
Media and the public also may ask questions during the briefing on Twitter using the hashtag #AskNASA.

OCO-2 is one of five NASA Earth science missions scheduled for launch in 2014. NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

JPL manages the OCO-2 mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

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

For more information about NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/oco2


June 5, 2014

NASA's Orion Spacecraft is Ready to Feel the Heat

NASA and Lockheed Martin engineers have installed the largest heat shield ever constructed on the crew module of the agency's Orion spacecraft. The work marks a major milestone on the path toward the spacecraft's first launch in December.

"It is extremely exciting to see the heat shield in place, ready to do its job," said Mark Geyer, Orion Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "The heat shield is such a critical piece, not just for this mission, but for our plans to send humans into deep space."

The heat shield is made of a coating called Avcoat, which burns away as it heats up in a process called ablation to prevent the transfer of extreme temperatures to the crew module. The Avcoat is covered with a silver reflective tape that protects the material from the extreme cold temperatures of space.

Orion's flight test, or Exploration Flight Test-1, will provide engineers with data about the heat shield's ability to protect Orion and its future crews from the 4,000-degree heat of re-entry and an ocean splashdown following the spacecraft's 20,000-mph re-entry from space.

Data gathered during the flight will inform decisions about design improvements on the heat shield and other Orion systems, and authenticate existing computer models and new approaches to space systems design and development. This process is critical to reducing overall risks and costs of future Orion missions -- missions that will include exploring an asteroid and Mars.

Orion's flight test also will provide important data for the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and ocean recovery of Orion. Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have built an advanced adapter to connect Orion to the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that will launch the spacecraft during the December test. The adapter also will be used during future SLS missions. NASA's Ground Systems Development and Operations Program, based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will recover the Orion crew module with the U.S. Navy after its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

The heat shield was manufactured at Lockheed Martin's Waterton Facility near Denver. Construction was completed at Textron Defense Systems near Boston before the heat shield was shipped to the Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy, where Orion is being assembled.

In the coming months, the Orion crew and service modules will be joined and put through functional tests before the spacecraft is transported to Kennedy's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility for fueling. The spacecraft then will be transferred to the Launch Abort System (LAS) Facility to be connected to the LAS before making the journey to Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 37 for pad integration and launch operations.

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


May 30, 2014

NASA and Industry Complete First Phase to Certify New Crew Transportation Systems

Development is Major Step toward Returning Human Space Launches to U.S. Soil

NASA's Commercial Crew Program and industry have completed the first step in the certification process that will enable American-made commercial spacecraft safely to ferry astronauts from U.S. soil to and from the International Space Station by 2017. The completion of the Certification Products Contracts (CPC) marks critical progress in the development of next-generation American space transportation systems that are safe, reliable and cost-effective.

"We're making great strides toward returning human spaceflight launch capability to U.S. soil," said Phil McAlister, director of Commercial Spaceflight at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "This certification is important to ensuring our crew members have reliable transportation to and from the space station where they are conducting research essential to advancing human exploration farther into the solar system."

Under the contracts, The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems (SNC) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed reviews detailing how each plans to meet NASA's certification requirements to transport space station crew members to and from the orbiting laboratory. NASA awarded the contracts totaling $30 million in December 2012.

"There's more than one correct way to build a spacecraft, and CPC has been an invaluable learning process for our industry partners and the agency," said Kathy Lueders, NASA Commercial Crew Program manager. "It is extremely exciting to see the unique approach each company brings to the table."

Throughout the CPC process, the companies provided plans to show safety has been a key element in the design of their spacecraft and demonstrate how their systems will meet NASA's performance requirements.

"It's allowed them to mature their plans and gave us additional insight into each company's approach," said Ed Burns, systems engineering and integration acting manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program. "It also gave our NASA team and the partners a chance to work together towards certifying their systems."

The second phase of the certification process, the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap), is open to any company with system designs at a maturity level consistent with the completion of the first certification phase. NASA will announce one or more CCtCap awards later this year. This second phase will include at least one crewed flight test per awardee to verify the spacecraft can dock to the space station and all its systems perform as expected. Contracts also will include at least two, and as many as six, crewed, post-certification missions to enable NASA to meet its station crew rotation requirements.

Although CCtCap will enable NASA to acquire a capability to transport crews to the space station, NASA intends that U.S. providers market and use their systems for other customers.

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


May 27, 2014

NASA Seeks Input on Kennedy Space Center Land Use

NASA's Kennedy Space Center is conducting market research on the potential lease and development of land assets that will enable the center to continue its transformation to a multi-user spaceport. The transformation is based on effectively utilizing land assets identified in the 2013-2032 Master Plan.

Kennedy is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to identify potential partnership opportunities for the expansion of non-NASA launch operations and launch support functions at Kennedy, activities related to the assembly and processing of payloads or launch vehicles, and additional ventures that encourage activities in space.

The Master Plan describes the vision and supporting activities that will enable the center to continue to evolve into a multi-user spaceport supporting both government and commercial operations. The Master Plan is available at: http://masterplan.ksc.nasa.gov/
To access the RFI, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1mzVWl5
For more information about Kennedy Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy


May 19, 2014

From Wind Tunnel Tests to Software Reviews, NASA's Commercial Crew Partners Continue to Advance

Progress Being Made to Return Space Launches to U.S. Soil

Working in wind tunnels, software laboratories and work stations across America, NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partners continue to make strides in advancing the designs of the American spacecraft and rockets that will carry humans safely and reliably into low-Earth orbit from U.S. soil by 2017.

Blue Origin, The Boeing Company, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) are accomplishing milestones established through Space Act Agreements as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Development Round 2 and Commercial Crew Integrated Capability initiatives.

CCP's engineering team is working closely with its partners as they develop the next generation of crewed spacecraft and work toward challenging evaluations and tests this year. Ultimately, NASA intends to certify and use American-made commercial systems to fly astronauts from U.S. soil to the International Space Station and back, ending our sole reliance on Russia to get to space.

"What we have seen from our industry partners is a determination to make their components and systems work reliably, and in turn they've been able to demonstrate the complex machinery that makes spaceflight possible will also work as planned," said Kathy Lueders, Commercial Crew Program manager. "These next few months will continue to raise the bar for achievement by our partners."

Boeing completed its most in-depth evaluation in April of the software planned to operate the CST-100 spacecraft. Called a critical design review, or CDR, the evaluation confirmed the computer coding can be used in flight tests. Spacecraft are increasingly dependent on computers that automate systems and perform split-second commands, making the software one of the most crucial elements of the spacecraft.

SNC put models of its Dream Chaser spacecraft through rigorous wind tunnel tests at facilities across America as it refined the design by studying its reaction to subsonic, transonic and supersonic conditions it will encounter during ascent into space and re-entry from low-Earth orbit. Several Dream Chaser scale model spacecraft were subjected to multiple wind tunnel tests in various configurations, including the integrated launch stack of Dream Chaser on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

SpaceX conducted an integrated critical design review in April to demonstrate major hardware and software elements of the company's Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. The critical design review took into account a host of previous reviews of the design of the vehicles along with the testing involved in verifying the systems.

As in building a house or other complex structure, these advancements set the stage for upcoming accomplishments on the path to a completed space transportation system. Blue Origin is closing in on an interim design review for the subsystems of its Space Vehicle design, a biconic spacecraft the company is developing to carry humans into low-Earth orbit.

Boeing will complete a critical design review that will cover all elements of the crewed spacecraft, rocket, as well as ground and mission operations in the coming months.

SNC is preparing to share its results from a series of tests of the reaction control system motors for the Dream Chaser spacecraft at a subcontractor facility, and main engine motor tests at SNC's Poway, California, facility.

SpaceX continues to develop hardware for a series of flight tests later this year that will put the Dragon's launch abort system through simulated emergencies to make sure it will perform for astronauts in the unlikely event of a mishap during launch or ascent into orbit.

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


May 16, 2014

NASA Robotics Mining Competition at KSC Visitor Complex

Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from around the country will demonstrate their excavator robots May 19-23 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

More than 35 teams have designed and built remote-controlled mining robots that can traverse the simulated Martian terrain features and excavate simulated regolith. During the competition, the teams' robots will go head-to-head to determine which machine can collect and move the most regolith within a specified amount of time.

The competition is a NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate project designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields by expanding opportunities for student research and design. The project provides a competitive environment to foster innovative ideas and solutions that potentially could be applied to future NASA missions.

Although the competition is for college students, the event offers many opportunities for students of all ages. NASA is hosting a college recruitment fair for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors showcasing STEM education opportunities available at top colleges and universities across the nation. The event also will offer additional STEM activities for students of all ages.

For more information about the competition, associated activities and social media links to participate virtually, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/nasarmc

Video highlights of the practice and competition will air on the NASA Television Video File. For downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For information about the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visit: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com


May 14, 2014

NASA Hosts KSC's NASA MOVES!
Fitness Challenge Kickoff With Bob Cabana and Florida State Surgeon General, Dr. John Armstrong

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health, is kicking off National Employee Health and Fitness Month with the NASA Moves! challenge event scheduled for May 19 at the Kennedy Pathfinder Fitness Trail.

The Chief Health and Medical Officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington is sponsoring a two-week agencywide fitness challenge called NASA Moves! from Sunday, May 18, to Saturday, May 31.

The event will be hosted by Kennedy Director Bob Cabana and will include Florida State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, as well as the directors of health from Osceola, Brevard, Volusia, Orange and Indian River counties.

The challenge will encourage the center's workforce to accomplish at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day. Examples include walking at lunch; walking up one flight of stairs or down two instead of taking the elevator whenever possible; parking farther away from the workplace entrance; or anything that increases physical activity. The challenge complements the State of Florida Healthiest Weight Initiative, which is intended to promote a healthier lifestyle among the state's population.

For more information about "NASA Moves!" or Florida's Healthiest Weight Initiative, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/kennedy
http://ohp.nasa.gov/health4life
http://www.floridahealth.gov


April 30, 2014

NASA TV to Air U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony May 3

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the 2014 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 3 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 3. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a 2006 Hall of Famer, and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, in 2008, will deliver remarks at the event.

Former astronauts Shannon W. Lucid and Jerry L. Ross will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during Saturday's ceremony at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction in Florida.

A veteran of five missions and a member of NASA's first astronaut class to include women, Lucid logged more than 223 days in space. From August 1991 to June 2007, she held the record for the most days in orbit by any woman in the world. Lucid is the only American woman who served aboard the Russian Mir space station, where she lived and worked in 1996 for more than 188 days -- the longest stay of any American on that spacecraft.

Ross flew on seven shuttle missions, logged more than 58 days in space, and conducted nine spacewalks totaling 58 hours and 18 minutes. He was the first person to be launched into space seven times. Ross' time spent conducting spacewalks is the all-time second highest among U.S. astronauts.

The induction of Ross and Lucid brings the total number of space-exploring Hall of Famers to 87.

For more information about the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, visit: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com

For Lucid's biography, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1o0jP4Z

For Ross' biography, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/xiedg2

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


April 28, 2014

NASA Seeks Partners for Technology Development Projects

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is seeking proposals to participate in the technology advancing partnerships challenge, a new initiative managed by Kennedy's chief technologist to enhance the development of new technologies to meet specific agency mission objectives.

Technological areas of emphasis for the challenge include: robotics, telerobotics and autonomous systems; human health, life support and habitation systems; human exploration destination systems; ground and launch systems processing; modeling, simulation, information technology and processing; thermal management systems; and communication and navigation.

Proposals will be accepted from U.S. educational institutions, private industry and non-profit organizations through May 9, 2014.

For more information on how to submit a proposal and to view the Cooperative Agreement Notice, visit: http://go.nasa.gov/1rrFXpa

For more information on NASA's research and technology programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/oct/


April 22, 2014

NASA's Kennedy Space Center Among NASA Cargo Launching to Space Station

When the SpaceX-3 cargo resupply mission launched to the International Space Station April 18, an experiment designed by NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida was among the cargo headed to space.

The experiment, Veg-01, provides lighting and nutrient delivery for efficient plant growth in space. The plants grown in VEGGIE can support a wide spectrum of uses, from research and education outreach to a fresh food source and recreational gardening activities for long-duration space missions.

SpaceX-3 is NASA's third contracted resupply mission to the space station by U.S. company SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif. SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft launched atop the company's Falcon rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:25 p.m. EDT.

SpaceX developed its Dragon capsule, the only cargo spacecraft currently servicing the space station with the capability to return cargo back to Earth, with NASA and now successfully has completed three missions to the orbiting outpost. Expedition 39 crew members captured the SpaceX-3 Dragon using the station's robotic arm at 7:14 a.m. Sunday, April 20. The capsule is scheduled to remain attached to the station unit May 18. It then will return to Earth and splash down in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast California. It will return samples from scientific investigations currently underway aboard the space station.

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 SpaceX-3 mission and the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station


April 21, 2014

NASA Selects Commercial Crew Program Manager

NASA has selected Kathy Lueders (pronounced LEE-ders) as program manager for the agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Lueders, who has served as acting program manager since October 2013, will help keep the nation's space program on course to launch astronauts from American soil by 2017 aboard spacecraft built by American companies.

"This is a particularly critical time for NASA's human spaceflight endeavors as the Commercial Crew Program enters into contract implementation," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Kathy's experience and leadership skills developed during the ISS commercial resupply contract activity will be critical to safely and effectively leading commercial crew transportation activities for NASA."

Lueders, who will be assigned to the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, previously served as the International Space Station Program's transportation integration manager, where she managed commercial cargo resupply services to the space station. Lueders also was responsible for NASA oversight of international partner spacecraft visiting the space station, including the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle, the Japanese Space Agency's H-II Transfer Vehicle, and the Russian Federal Space Agency's Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.

"It's exciting to think that I'll be continuing to utilize my background and leadership experience with the International Space Station to help the Commercial Crew Program team and our industry partners execute the next phase," said Lueders.

Lueders began her NASA career at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico in 1992, where she managed the Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System and Reaction Control Systems Depot. She served in numerous positions in the space station program, including the deputy manager for station logistics and maintenance, the vehicle systems integration manager, and the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services integration manager.

Lueders has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of New Mexico and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from New Mexico State University.

For more information on NASA's Commercial Crew Program, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


April 18, 2014

NASA Cargo Launches to Space Station aboard SpaceX Resupply Mission

Nearly 2.5 tons of NASA science investigations and cargo are on the way to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. The spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 3:25 p.m. EDT Friday, April 18.

The mission is the company's third cargo delivery flight to the station through a $1.6 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Dragon's cargo will support more than 150 experiments to be conducted by the crews of ISS Expeditions 39 and 40.

"SpaceX is delivering important research experiments and cargo to the space station," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations. "The diversity and number of new experiments is phenomenal. The investigations aboard Dragon will help us improve our understanding of how humans adapt to living in space for long periods of time and help us develop technologies that will enable deep space exploration."

The scientific payloads on Dragon include investigations into efficient plant growth in space, human immune system function in microgravity, Earth observation, and a demonstration of laser optics communication. Also being delivered is a set of high-tech legs for Robonaut 2, which will provide the humanoid robot torso already aboard the orbiting laboratory the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside the space station.

Dragon also will deliver a second set of investigations sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the portion of the space station that is designated a U.S. National Laboratory. The investigations include research into plant biology and protein crystal growth, a field of study experts believe may lead to beneficial advancements in drug development through protein mapping.

On its way to the ISS, SpaceX's Falcon rocket jettisoned five small research satellites known as CubeSats that will perform a variety of technology demonstrations. The small satellites are part of NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellite, or ElaNa, mission, and involved more than 120 students in their design, development and construction. One of the satellites, PhoneSat 2.5, is the third in a series of CubeSat missions designed to use commercially available smartphone technology as part of a low-cost development effort to provide basic spacecraft capabilities. Another of the small satellites, SporeSat, is designed to help scientists study the mechanisms by which plant cells sense gravity -- valuable research in the larger effort to grow plants in space.

Dragon will be grappled at 7:14 a.m. on Sunday, April 20, by Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, using the space station's robotic arm to take hold of the spacecraft. NASA's Rick Mastracchio will support Wakata in a backup position. Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station May 18 for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, bringing from the space station nearly 3,500 pounds of science, hardware, crew supplies and spacewalk tools.

The ISS 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 been continuously occupied 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 SpaceX's third cargo resupply mission and the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station


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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