#NASA; #NASAMoonToMarsPlan; #50thAnniversaryOftheAgency’sApollo11; #Moonby2024; #Artemisprogram; #Mars2020rover; #NASA’sCuriosityrover; #HumansinSpace; #SpaceTechnology
Washington, Dec 25 (Canadian-Media): In 2019, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing, the most historic moment in space exploration, while also making significant progress toward putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program, NASA reports said.
Through America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, Artemis gained bipartisan support this year among members of Congress, the U.S aerospace industry, as well as with international partners, including Canada, Australia, and Japan, and member states of the European Space Agency.
“2019 will be remembered as the year the Artemis program really became a reality with real spaceflight hardware built, U.S. commercial and international partnerships standing behind it, and hardworking teams across NASA and the world coming together like never before to quickly and sustainably explore the Moon and use what we learn there to enable humanity’s next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “While the Artemis program came into sharp focus this year, NASA continued to show what leading in space exploration is all about, whether it was kicking off 2019 with New Horizons’ historic Kuiper Belt object flyby, conducting the first all-woman spacewalk outside the International Space Station, or developing the first flying robotic explorer to study Saturn’s moon Titan. And wait until you see what we do in 2020!”
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer received a successful clean audit in 2019 – the ninth consecutive clean financial audit opinion for the agency. And for the eighth year in a row, NASA retained its standing as the number one large agency in the Best Places to Work in Government rankings, published by the Partnership for Public Service.
“Throughout this year, as I have visited each of our centers, I have personally witnessed their unparalleled commitment to accomplishing our mission. The daily devotion of our employees makes them well deserving of this award,” Bridenstine said. “I am honored to lead such a dedicated team. They are what makes NASA the Best Place to Work in Government."
Moon to Mars
This year, NASA officially named the new lunar exploration program Artemis, for the goddess of the Moon and twin sister of Apollo. Under Artemis, NASA will send new science instruments and technology demonstrations to study the Moon, accelerate plans to send astronauts to the Moon by 2024, and establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028.
Science and technology progress in Artemis includes:
Animation of Mars helicopter and Mars 2020 rover. Credits: NASA/JPL-CalTech
NASA continues to advance development of our Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, which will send astronauts to deep space.
Work also began on hardware for Artemis II, the first SLS/Orion test flight with astronauts aboard. NASA and Northrop Grumman technicians applied insulation to the final booster motor segment of SLS and completed casting of all 10 booster motor segments. The agency also issued a request for proposals from U.S. small satellite developers to fly their missions as secondary payloads on Artemis II.
NASA spacesuit engineer Amy Ross and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduce spacesuit engineer Kristine Davis, wearing a ground prototype of NASA’s new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), and Orion Crew Survival Systems Project Manager Dustin Gohmert, wearing the Orion Crew Survival System suit, Oct. 15, 2019, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky
Development of the key pieces of NASA’s lunar architecture is underway:
NASA’s InSight lander captured audio of the first likely quake on Mars on April 6.
The agency also bid farewell to a veteran Martian science rover on Feb. 13 and captured audio of the first likely quake on Mars. The Mars Opportunity Rover mission stopped communicating with Earth when a severe Mars-wide dust storm blanketed its location in June 2018. Designed to last just 90 Martian days and travel less than 3,300 feet (1,000 meters), Opportunity far surpassed all expectations, exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, traveling more than 28 miles (45 kilometers), and returning more than 217,000 images.
Solar System and Beyond
It was a great year for astrobiology and the agency’s search for life in the universe:
Scientists synthesized a molecular DNA-like system in NASA-funded research – a feat that suggests there could be an alternative to DNA-based life as we know it.
This animation shows NASA’s Dragonfly rotorcraft-lander on Saturn’s exotic moon, Titan. Taking advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere and low gravity, Dragonfly will explore dozens of locations across the icy world. Credits: NASA/JHU-APL
Other highlights this year include:
In August 2019, technicians and engineers successfully connect the two halves of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope for the first time at Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach, California. Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn
Humans in Space
NASA astronauts Anne McClain, Nick Hague, Christina Koch, Andrew Morgan, and Jessica Meir of the 2013 astronaut class all participated in their first spaceflight missions to the International Space Station. Each also conducted their first spacewalks, including the first all-woman spacewalk with Meir and Koch.
The space station is facilitating a strong commercial market in low-Earth orbit for research, technology development, and crew and cargo transportation, and remains the sole space-based proving ground and stepping stone for the Artemis program. In 2019:
NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA, who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check. The two are preparing for their first spacewalk together on Oct. 18, 2019, to replace a failed power controller on the International Space Station's P6 truss structure. Credits: NASA
NASA’s aeronautics team reached several major milestones in its efforts to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land.
Another major aeronautics focus was NASA’s ongoing work in Urban Air Mobility – a safe and efficient system for passenger and cargo air transportation.
Continuing other avenues of research in aviation technology, the agency:
As NASA embarked on the next era of exploration in 2019, the agency continued to advance technologies needed for a sustainable human presence on the Moon and future human missions to Mars.
This illustration of NASA's X-57 Maxwell aircraft shows the plane's specially designed wing and 14 electric motors. NASA Aeronautics researchers will use the Maxwell to demonstrate that electric propulsion can make planes quieter, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. Credits: NASA
This gif shows one of a series of tether tests of a terrain-relative navigation system, developed by Draper of Cambridge, Massachusetts, mounted on a Masten Space Systems Xodiac rocket. Tether tests like this ensure the rocket and navigation technology are communicating before the actual suborbital launch and landing. NASA and commercial partners are relying on the most advanced technology to upgrade navigation for future robotic and crewed missions to the Moon. Credits: NASA
NASA continued to use its perspective of Earth from space to improve lives and revolutionize our understanding of how our planet is changing.
NASA provided more than $32 million in financial support to more than 8,000 students participating in internships and fellowships through its: Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP); Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR); Space Grant Project; and Next Gen STEM. Nearly 40% of the opportunities were filled by women, and 30% went to racial or ethnic minorities.
Participating in NASA’s Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Team (Micro-g NExT) program, Team CERO, from Lone Star College-CyFair in Cypress, Texas, became the first team to have their tool sent to the International Space Station, where it was used during a spacewalk on Nov. 22 to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
NASA astronaut Christina Koch snapped this image of Hurricane Dorian from the International Space Station as it flew more than 200 miles above the storm on Sept. 2, 2019. Credits: NASA/Christina Koch
NASA also engaged students, educators and the public in STEM through a series of public events including:
NASA is dedicated to engaging the public in the excitement, accomplishments and opportunities available only through the nation’s space program. The agency hosted and participated in events across the country marking the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo Moon landing in July 1969, including two events in Washington: a concert on July 20 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts co-hosted by former Myth Busters host Adam Savage, and a three-day festival on the National Mall that featured exhibits and talks and had more than 50,000 attendees.
Other public events included:
Actor Brad Pitt talks to NASA astronaut Nick Hague who is onboard the International Space Station, Sept. 16, 2019, from the Space Operations Center at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Pitt, who stars as an astronaut in his latest film “Ad Astra,” spoke with Hague about what it’s like to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory. Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky
NASA had a significant exhibit presence at two high-profile annual space policy conferences: Space Symposium, which brought together space industry leaders and entrepreneurs from around the globe to discuss the current and future state of space exploration; and the International Astronautical Congress, hosted this year by NASA and during which more than 6,660 people visited the agency’s exhibit.
NASA now has more than 219.7 million social media followers – up from 187 million in 2018. In addition to increasing engagement on various platforms, the agency hosted 10 NASA Social events, bringing together nearly 500 followers for unique, in-person experiences of exploration and discovery. The agency’s social media activity was honored in April with two Webby Awards and two People's Voice awards.
The agency’s website received its 11th People's Voice Award in the Government & Civil Innovation category. The busiest day for the website was April 10, when NASA shared a black hole image from the National Science Foundation, which had 1.7 million visits. The second-busiest day, with 1.6 million visits, was May 21, when NASA invited to the public to send their names to Mars on the Mars 2020 rover.
The agency launched two new mediums to communicate with the public. In March, NASA debuted a weekly email newsletter that already has more than 1.1 million subscribers. In September, NASA TV launched a new video series called #AskNASA, in which agency experts answer questions from the public about its incredible mission.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognized NASA’s engagement efforts in September with two Emmy Awards for its coverage of the landing on Mars of NASA's InSight mission and the agency's first test of a spacecraft that will help bring crewed launches to the International Space Station back to U.S. soil.
#NASA; #Boeing’sCST100Starliner; #CommercialCrewProgram
Washington, Dec 22 (Canadian-Media): Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft completed the first land touchdown of a human-rated capsule in U.S. history Sunday at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico, wrapping up the company’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, NASA reports said.
The Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is seen after it landed in White Sands, New Mexico, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019. The landing completes an abbreviated Orbital Flight Test for the company that still meets several mission objectives for NASA’s Commercial Crew program. The Starliner spacecraft launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 6:36 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Starliner settled gently onto its airbags at 7:58 a.m. EST (5:58 a.m. MST) in a pre-dawn landing that helps set the stage for future crewed landings at the same site. The landing followed a deorbit burn at 7:23 a.m., separation of the spacecraft’s service module, and successful deployment of its three main parachutes and six airbags.
“Congratulations to the NASA and Boeing teams on a bullseye landing of the Starliner. The hardest parts of this orbital flight test were successful,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “This is why we conduct these tests, to learn and improve our systems. The information gained from this first mission of Starliner will be critical in our efforts to strengthen NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and return America’s human spaceflight capability.”
Although Starliner did not reach its planned orbit and dock to the International Space Station as planned, Boeing was able to complete a number of test objectives during the flight related to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, including: Successful launch of the first human-rated United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket; Checked out the Starliner propulsion systems; Tested space-to-space communications; Confirmed Starliner tracker alignments using its navigation system; Tested Starliner’s NASA Docking System; Validated all environment control and life support systems; and Completed a positive command uplink between the International Space Station and Starliner
“Today’s successful landing of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is a testament to the women and men who have dedicated themselves to ensuring Starliner can safely transport crews to low-Earth orbit and back to Earth,” said Boeing Senior Vice President of Space and Launch Jim Chilton. “The Starliner Orbital Flight Test has and will continue to provide incredibly valuable data that we, along with the NASA team, will use to support future Starliner missions launched from and returning to American soil.”
The Starliner that landed today will be refurbished for Boeing’s first operational crewed mission, following the Crew Flight Test. NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will fly on that mission, dubbed the spacecraft “Calypso” after the ship of famed explorer Jacques Cousteau.
“I love what the ocean means to this planet,” said Williams. “We would not be this planet without the ocean. There’s so much to discover in the ocean, and there’s so much to discover in space.”
The uncrewed Starliner spacecraft launched on the ULA Atlas V rocket at 6:36 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
#NASA; #BoeingOrbitalFlighttest; #Starliner
Washington, Dec 20 (Canadian-Media): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine released the following statement regarding the Boeing Orbital Flight test, NASA reports said.
NASA Associate Administrator for Communications Bettina Inclán, NASA astronauts Michael Fincke and Nicole Mann, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, United Launch Alliance President and CEO Tory Bruno, Boeing Space and Launch Division Senior Vice President Jim Chilton, NASA Commercial Crew Program Deputy Manager Steve Stich, and NASA ISS Program Manager Kirk Shireman, participate in a press conference following the launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky
“I am incredibly proud of the NASA, Boeing, and United Launch Alliance teams and their ongoing work in a dynamic situation to ensure the CST-100 Starliner spacecraft is safe on its Orbital Flight Test. The teams continue their work to meet as many mission objectives as possible and return safely to Earth. We continue to gather critical data that will help us ensure safety and reliability for future human space flight missions.
“Early this morning, NASA and Boeing successfully launched Starliner on the first human-rated United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida.
“The plan was for Starliner to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station and return home safely to Earth. While a lot of things went right, the uncrewed spacecraft did not reach the planned orbit and will not dock to the International Space Station.
“This is in fact why we test. Teams worked quickly to ensure the spacecraft was in a stable orbit and preserved enough fuel to ensure a landing opportunity.
“Boeing, in coordination with NASA, is working to return Starliner to White Sands, New Mexico, Sunday.
“At NASA we do really difficult things, and we do them all the time. I spoke to Vice President Pence, Chairman of the National Space Council, and he remains very optimistic in our ability to safely launch American astronauts from American soil. We remain positive even though we did face challenges today. We’ll be getting a lot more data in the coming days.
“One of the biggest successes today was watching NASA, Boeing, ULA teams work to make the right decisions for our astronauts and country. We will continue to share information. It’s in the interest of the nation. We’ll share data as soon as possible.”
#NASA; behind-the-scenes tour; #fiveNewResearchCampaigns; #UnderstandOurHomePlanet
Washington, Dec 20 (Canadian-Media): Members of the media are invited by NASA to a behind-the-scenes tour and briefing on five new research campaigns in 2020 to explore questions critical to understanding our home planet, NASA reports said.
n 2020 NASA will deploy five new airborne campaigns across the United States to investigate fundamental Earth processes that affect human lives and the environment, from snowstorms along the East Coast to the sinking coastline of the Mississippi River delta. Image Credit: NASA
The event scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 7, from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST will be hosted at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Building 703, in Palmdale, California.
Investigation of the processes affecting human lives and the environment, from snowstorms along the East Coast to the sinking coastline of the Mississippi River delta would be done by the airborne campaigns that will be deployed across the United States. The first year of field work of five new NASA Earth Venture field campaigns would be done from January to October 2020.
The media will be given an opportunity on Jan. 7 event to tour NASA’s Palmdale hangar, view several aircraft and scientific equipment involved in the campaigns, and interview science team members and pilots.
NASA research aircraft on display include the ER-2, B-200, C-20, and SOFIA, NASA’s flying astronomical telescope. Media will participate in a live NASA television briefing on the new campaigns.
U.S. media representatives interested in participating should contact NASA Armstrong Public Affairs no later than noon PST Thursday, Jan. 2, by calling 661-276-2016 or emailing Jessica.Arreola@NASA.gov. Foreign nationals cannot be accommodated for this event.
NASA uses the vantage point of space and airborne campaigns to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future.
#NASA; #UnitedLaunchServices; #GOES-T; #GOES-R
Washington Dec 19 (Canadian-Media): United Launch Services LLC (ULS) of Centennial, Colorado has been selected by NASA to provide launch services for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) mission, NASA reports said.
Advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s weather, oceans and environment, real-time mapping of total lightning activity as well as improved monitoring of solar activity and space weather would be provided by GOES-T.
NASA's approximate cost of $165.7 million to launch GOES-T would also include the launch service and other mission related costs.
The launch of GOES-T mission currently in December 2021 on an Atlas V 541 rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
GOES-T is the third spacecraft in the next generation GOES-R Series of geostationary weather satellites operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The GOES-R Series includes GOES-R, S, T, and U.
NASA’s Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the ULS launch service. The GOES-R Flight Projects Office is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The GOES-R Program is managed by NOAA.
Washington, Dec 18 (Canadian-Media): NASA will honor the first class of astronaut candidates to graduate under the Artemis program at 10:30 a.m. EST Friday, Jan. 10, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. After completing more than two years of basic training, these candidates will become eligible for spaceflight, including assignments to the International Space Station, Artemis missions to the Moon, and ultimately, missions to Mars, NASA reports said.
A new class of astronauts will graduate basic training on Jan. 10, 2020. They will join the active astronaut corps, beginning careers in exploration that may take them to the International Space Station, on missions to the Moon under the Artemis program, or someday, Mars. The 2017 class includes (top row) Matthew Dominick of NASA, Kayla Barron of NASA, Warren Hoburg of NASA, and Joshua Kutryk of CSA, (middle row) Bob Hines of NASA, Frank Rubio of NASA, Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons of CSA, Jasmin Moghbeli of NASA, and Jessica Watkins of NASA, (bottom row) Raja Chari of NASA, Jonny Kim of NASA, Zena Cardman of NASA, and Loral O’Hara of NASA. Image Credits: NASA
The ceremony will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. The new graduates also will be available for in-person and remote media interviews following the ceremony.
The class includes 11 NASA candidates, as well as two Canadian Space Agency (CSA) candidates, selected in 2017. The NASA candidates were chosen from a record-setting pool of more than 18,000 applicants. The CSA candidates have been training alongside their NASA classmates.
To request credentials to participate in person, international reporters must contact Johnson's newsroom at 281-483-5111 by 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 27. U.S. media must contact Johnson’s newsroom by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. To request an interview, all media should contact Johnson’s newsroom by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using #AskNASA.
NASA’s astronaut candidates are:
Kayla Barron, a U.S. Navy lieutenant, is originally from Richland, Washington. She graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. A Gates Cambridge Scholar, Barron earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. As a submarine warfare officer, Barron served aboard the USS Maine (SSBN 741), completing three strategic deterrent patrols. She came to NASA from the U.S. Naval Academy, where she was serving as the flag aide to the superintendent.
Zena Cardman calls Williamsburg, Virginia, home. She completed a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in marine sciences at The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Cardman was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow working at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focused on microorganisms in subsurface environments, ranging from caves to deep sea sediments. Her field experience includes multiple Antarctic expeditions, work aboard research vessels as both a scientist and crew member, and NASA analog missions in British Columbia, Idaho and Hawaii.
Raja Chari, a U.S. Air Force colonel, hails from Cedar Falls, Iowa. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with bachelor’s degrees in astronautical engineering and engineering science. He continued on to earn a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland. Chari served as the commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron and the director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.
Matthew Dominick, a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, was born and raised in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He also graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Dominick served on the USS Ronald Reagan as department head for Strike Fighter Squadron 115.
Bob Hines, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, attended high school in Mountaintop, Pennsylvania, but considers Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, his hometown. He has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Boston University and a master’s degree in flight test engineering from the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. Hines served as a developmental test pilot on all models of the F-15 while earning a master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama. He has deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Prior to being selected as an astronaut, he was a Federal Aviation Administration flight test pilot and a NASA research pilot at Johnson.
Warren Hoburg is originally from Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, and a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a commercial pilot, and spent several seasons serving on the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit and Yosemite Search and Rescue. Hoburg came to NASA from MIT, where he led a research group as an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics.
Dr. Jonny Kim, a U.S. Navy lieutenant, was born and raised in Los Angeles. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, then trained and operated as a Navy SEAL, completing more than 100 combat operations and earning a Silver Star and Bronze Star with Combat V. Afterward, he went on to complete a degree in mathematics at the University of San Diego and a doctorate of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Kim was a resident physician in emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Jasmin Moghbeli, a U.S. Marine Corps major, considers Baldwin, New York, her hometown. She earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering with information technology at MIT and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. She also is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Moghbeli came to NASA from Yuma, Arizona, where she tested H-1 helicopters and served as the quality assurance and avionics officer for Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1.
Loral O’Hara was born in Houston. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. Prior to joining NASA, O’Hara was a Research Engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where she worked on the engineering, test, and operations of deep-ocean research submersibles and robots.
Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio, a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, is originally from Miami. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and a doctorate of medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Rubio has accumulated more than 1,100 hours as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, including 600 hours of combat and imminent danger time. He was serving as a surgeon for the 3rd Battalion of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson, Colorado, before coming to NASA.
Jessica Watkins hails from Lafayette, Colorado. She graduated from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, with a bachelor’s degree in geological and environmental sciences, then went on to earn a doctorate in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Watkins has worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology, where she collaborated on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.
CSA’s astronaut candidates are:
Joshua Kutryk, a Royal Canadian Air Force lieutenant colonel, is from Beauvallon, Alberta. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, as well as master’s degrees in space studies, flight test engineering, and defense studies. Prior to joining CSA, Kutryk worked as an experimental test pilot and a fighter pilot in Cold Lake, Alberta, where he led the unit responsible for the operational flight-testing of fighter aircraft in Canada.
Jennifer Sidey-Gibbons hails from Calgary, Alberta. She holds an honors bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal and a doctorate in engineering from the University of Cambridge. While at McGill, she conducted research on flame propagation in microgravity, in collaboration with CSA and the National Research Council Flight Research Laboratory. Prior to joining CSA, Sidey-Gibbons worked as an assistant professor in combustion in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge.
All astronaut candidates have completed training in spacewalking, robotics, International Space Station systems, T-38 jet proficiency, and Russian language. At the ceremony, each candidate will receive an astronaut pin, marking their graduation from basic training and their eligibility to be selected to fly in space.
As astronauts, they’ll help develop spacecraft, support the teams currently in space and ultimately join the ranks of only about 500 people who have had the honor of going into space. NASA continues its work aboard the space station, which, in November 2020, will celebrate 20 consecutive years of human occupation. The agency also is on the verge of launching astronauts from American soil aboard American commercial spacecraft and preparing to send humans to the Moon as part of the Artemis program.
#NASA; #PartnershipForPublicService; #BestPlacetoWorkinGovernment
Washington, Dec 18 (Canadian-Media): The Partnership for Public Service has been selected NASA for the eighth consecutive year as the Best Place to Work in Government, NASA reports said.
The rankings, announced Tuesday, are reflections on NASA’s unified focus and dedication to send humans farther into space and the agency’s highest employee satisfaction results since this index was developed.
"NASA’s selection as the Best Place to Work in Government for the eighth year in a row is a testament to the excellence of our workforce and their determination to maintain America’s leadership in space exploration,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Throughout this year as I have visited each of our centers, I have personally witnessed their unparalleled commitment to accomplishing our mission. The daily devotion of our employees makes them well deserving of this award. I am honored to lead such a dedicated team. They are what makes NASA the Best Place to Work in Government."
The Best Places to Work rankings are based on responses from almost 883,000 at 490 federal agencies and subcomponents to the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. This is the 16th edition of the Best Places to Work rankings since the first in 2003.
NASA has led the charge in space exploration for more than six decades. Through its Artemis program, the agency is charting America’s return to the Moon and human exploration of Mars. As the agency strives toward sending the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, the employees at NASA are a crucial component to the mission’s success.
#NASA; #TEAMIIProgram; #STEM;#ArtemisProgram
Washington, Dec 18 (Canadian-Media): Four informal education organizations to promote STEM learning and help inspire the next generation of explorers have been selected by NASA’s Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) program, NASA reports said.
The projects provide students the opportunity to engage in NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach through science, technology, engineering, and math, and aim to reach populations that are historically underrepresented in STEM professions.
Approximately $3.5 million in total will be awarded through cooperative agreements, which provide more opportunities for interaction between recipients and NASA than the grants previously awarded through TEAM II.
The selected institutions and their projects are:
Bell Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, Minneapolis
A Charge Forward: Activating the Nation's Planetariums to Excite the Public About Human Space Exploration of the Moon and Beyond
Bell Museum of Natural History will provide a planetarium show and activity kit on long-duration spaceflight with the goal of being designed to be accessible to the hearing-impaired community and participants with disabilities. The show and activity kit will also highlight careers of such employees within NASA.
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
Blueprints to Blast Off: Making Our Way to the Moon to Mars
Carnegie Institute will create dynamic programs for schools and museums where participants can act as team members of NASA’s Artemis program by creating solutions to problems encountered in an imaginary space journey to the Moon.
EcoExploratorio, Museo de Ciencias de Puerto Rico, San Juan
Innovative Space Learning Activities (ISLA) Center
EcoExploratorio will provide STEM experiences around NASA’s Moon to Mars content to schools and community centers across Puerto Rico including a NASA Summer Exhibition and STEM Interactive Learning Center at Plaza Las Americas, the largest shopping center in the Caribbean.
Science Museum of Minnesota, Saint Paul
Build a Mars Habitat – Survive and Thrive...
The Science Museum of Minnesota will provide a museum exhibit for visitors to construct their own imaginary habitat for successful living on Mars.
This year’s award program will involve cooperative agreements with the selected organizations and will result in more interaction between recipients and NASA than the previous grant awards from TEAM II.
“These cooperative agreements will enable the recipients’ efforts to focus on the most up-to-date information from NASA,” said Beverly Girten, director of institutional engagement in NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement. “This will help connect students to the current missions and programs, such as Artemis, and inspire the next generation of space explorers.”
The selected organizations will implement their proposals over the next three years, in collaboration with NASA's Museum Alliance – a nationwide network of informal education professionals at more than 1,000 science museums, planetariums, NASA visitor centers, Challenger Centers, youth-serving organizations, camps, libraries, visitor centers at observatories and parks, nature centers, aquariums, and zoos.
The STEM experiences provided by TEAM II directly align with NASA missions, including plans to send astronauts to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for human exploration of Mars. NASA’s Artemis program will send science and technology demonstrations forward to the Moon before landing the first woman and next man on the lunar surface by 2024. Finding and using resources in deep space is a key step for human exploration farther into the solar system.
#NASA; #KDP-D; #QueSST; #X-59QueSST
Washington, Dec 17 (Canadian-Media): NASA’s first large scale, piloted X-plane in more than three decades is cleared for final assembly and integration of its systems following a major project review by senior managers held Thursday at NASA Headquarters in Washington, NASA reports said.
Illustration of the completed X-59 QueSST landing on a runway. Image Credits: Lockheed Martin
The management review, known as Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D), was the last programmatic hurdle for the X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft to clear before officials meet again in late 2020 to approve the airplane’s first flight in 2021.
“With the completion of KDP-D we’ve shown the project is on schedule, it’s well planned and on track. We have everything in place to continue this historic research mission for the nation’s air-traveling public,” said Bob Pearce, NASA’s associate administrator for Aeronautics.
The X-59 is shaped to reduce the loudness of a sonic boom reaching the ground to that of a gentle thump, if it is heard at all. It will be flown above select U.S. communities to generate data from sensors and people on the ground in order to gauge public perception. That data will help regulators establish new rules to enable commercial supersonic air travel over land.
Construction of the X-59, under a $247.5 million cost-plus-incentive-fee contract, is continuing at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company’s Skunk Works factory in Palmdale, California.
Image of the X-59 main assembly coming together. Credits: Lockheed Martin
Three major work areas are actively set up for building the airplane’s main fuselage, wing and empennage. Final assembly and integration of the airplane’s systems – including an innovative cockpit eXternal Visibility System – is targeted for late 2020.
Management of the X-59 QueSST development and construction falls under the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator project, which is part of NASA’s Integrated Aviation Systems Program.
#NASA; #Boeing’sOrbitalFlightTest; #Starliner; #AtlasVRocket, #CommercialCrewProgram
Washington, Dec 15 (CAnadian-Media): The launch of Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test (OFT) to the International Space Station, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, is targeted for 6:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 20. The uncrewed flight test will be the Boeing CST-100 Starliner’s maiden mission to the space station, NASA reports said.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, topped by the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, stand on Space Launch Complex 41 at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Dec. 4, 2019. The vehicle was in place on the launch pad for Boeing's wet dress rehearsal ahead of the upcoming Orbital Flight Test, an uncrewed mission to the International Space Station for NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Image credits: Boeing
Editor's Note: Prelaunch and postlaunch briefing dial in information added Dec. 14, 2019.
Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website Tuesday, Dec. 17, with prelaunch events.
Starliner will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. About 31 minutes after launch, Starliner will reach its preliminary orbit. It is scheduled to dock to the space station at 8:08 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. Starliner will carry about 600 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the space station and return some critical research samples to Earth with a parachute-assisted landing at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico at 5:47 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 28.
The flight test will provide valuable data on the end-to-end performance of the Atlas V rocket, Starliner spacecraft, and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations. The data will be used as part of NASA’s process of certifying Boeing’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with the American aerospace industry through a public-private partnership to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.
NASA TV mission coverage is as follows (all times are Eastern). Media unable to attend the prelaunch and postlaunch briefings in person may ask questions via a phone bridge. Please contact the Kennedy Press Site at 321-867-2468 on the day of the briefing for the bridge information.
Tuesday, Dec. 17
2 p.m. (no earlier than) – Prelaunch briefing from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Participants include:
Thursday, Dec. 19
9:30 a.m. – NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine near the Countdown Clock with:
Friday, Dec. 20
5:30 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 6:36 a.m. launch.
9 a.m. – Administrator postlaunch news conference. Participants include:
Friday, Dec. 27
8:15 a.m. – Coverage of hatch closing
11:45 p.m. – Coverage of undocking
Saturday, Dec. 28
4:30 a.m. – Coverage of deorbit and landing begins
The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed, but more information about media accreditation is available by contacting email@example.com.
The goal of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is safe, reliable and cost-effective human space transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit, which could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration. Commercial partnerships are an important part of NASA’s Artemis program, which will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.
For more information on coverage, go to:
For launch countdown coverage, NASA's launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: