#NASA; #SpaceXCrewDragonResilience; #SafeDockToISS;
Washington/NASA, Nov 19 (Canadian-Media): The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS) at 11:01 p.m. EST Monday, transporting NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, NASA reports said.
Crew-1 Commander Mike Hopkins (seen from the rear on the left) and Pilot Victor Glover (right) watch their screens as the Crew Dragon Resilience approaches the International Space Station just before docking on Nov. 16, 2020. Crew-1 launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 15. Credits: NASA TV
When the hatches open about 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, the Crew-1 astronauts joined Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA, and station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, who arrived to the station Oct. 14.
NASA TV will continue to provide live coverage through the welcoming ceremony with NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations Kathy Lueders joining to greet the crew from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, and JAXA President Hiroshi Yamakawa joining from the Tsukuba Space Center in Japan.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, the four astronauts who are beginning the first crew rotation mission on the space station joine Rubins to answer questions in a news conference from the space station that will air live at 9:55 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The crew discussed its upcoming expedition, which increases the regular space station crew size from six to seven astronauts – adding to the crew time available for research – as well as their launch, rendezvous, and docking.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission lifted off Sunday, Nov. 15, at 7:27 p.m. on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission is the first of six certified, crew missions NASA and SpaceX will fly as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
#NASA; #LandWaterMeasuingMachine; #Moon; #Prime1; #CLPSInitiave
Washington/NASA, Oct 19 (Canadian-Media): NASA has awarded Intuitive Machines of Houston approximately $47 million to deliver a drill combined with a mass spectrometer to the Moon by December 2022 under the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, NASA reports said.
NASA has selected Intuitive Machines to deliver a drill combined with a mass spectrometer to the Moon. Image credit: NASA
The delivery of the Polar Resources Ice Mining Experiment known as PRIME-1 will help NASA search for ice at the Moon’s South Pole and, for the first time, harvest ice from below the surface.
“We continue to rapidly select vendors from our pool of CLPS vendors to land payloads on the lunar surface, which exemplifies our work to integrate the ingenuity of commercial industry into our efforts at the Moon,” said NASA’s Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen. “The information we’ll gain from PRIME-1 and other science instruments and technology demonstrations we’re sending to the lunar surface will inform our Artemis missions with astronauts and help us better understand how we can build a sustainable lunar presence.”
PRIME-1 will land on the Moon and drill up to 3 feet (approximately 1 meter) below the surface. It will measure with a mass spectrometer how much ice in the sample is lost to sublimation as the ice turns from a solid to a vapor in the vacuum of the lunar environment. Versions of PRIME-1’s drill and the Mass Spectrometer Observing Lunar Operations, or MSolo, will also fly on VIPER, a mobile robot that also will search for ice at the lunar South Pole in 2023. NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon’s South Pole the following year.
“PRIME-1 will give us tremendous insight into the resources at the Moon and how to extract them,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington. “Sending this payload to the Moon is a terrific example of our scientific and technology communities coming together with our commercial partners to develop breakthrough technologies to accomplish a range of goals on the lunar surface.”
STMD’s Game Changing Development program funds PRIME-1. Honeybee Robotics of Pasadena, California, is developing the ice-mining drill. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in partnership with INFICON of Syracuse, New York, is developing the mass spectrometer.
The data from PRIME-1 will help scientists understand in-situ resources on the Moon. PRIME-1 contributes to NASA’s search for water at the Moon’s poles, supporting the agency’s plans to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by the end of the decade. PRIME-1’s early use of the drill and MSolo helps to increase the likelihood of reliable operation of those payloads on VIPER’s mobile platform in the following year.
Through the CLPS initiative, NASA taps its commercial partners to quickly land scientific instruments and technology demonstrations on the Moon with the first flights set for next year. A key part of NASA’s Artemis program, CLPS flights will support a suite of robotic lunar activities ahead of a human return to the Moon as well as throughout this decade.
#NASA; #ArtemisAccords; #21stCenturyLunarExplorationPlans;
NASA, Oct 13 (Canadian-Media): International cooperation on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program is taking a step forward today with the signing of the Artemis Accords between NASA and several partner countries. The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in the agency’s 21st century lunar exploration plans.
Image credit: NASA
“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “With today’s signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy.”
While NASA is leading the Artemis program, which includes sending the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon in 2024, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the Moon later this decade while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars.
The founding member nations that have signed the Artemis Accords, in alphabetical order, are:
NASA announced it was establishing the Artemis Accords earlier this year to guide future cooperative activities, to be implemented through bilateral agreements that will describe responsibilities and other legal provisions. The partners will ensure their activities comply with the accords in carrying out future cooperation. International cooperation on Artemis is intended not only to bolster space exploration but to enhance peaceful relationships among nations.
“Fundamentally, the Artemis Accords will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions. Transparency, public registration, deconflicting operations – these are the principles that will preserve peace,” said Mike Gold, NASA acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations. “The Artemis journey is to the Moon, but the destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future.”
The Artemis Accords reinforce and implement the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, otherwise known as the Outer Space Treaty. They also reinforce the commitment by the U.S. and partner nations to the Registration Convention, the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, and other norms of behavior that NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.
The principles of the Artemis Accords are:
Additional countries will join the Artemis Accords in the months and years ahead, as NASA continues to work with its international partners to establish a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space. Working with emerging space agencies, as well as existing partners and well-established space agencies, will add new energy and capabilities to ensure the entire world can benefit from the Artemis journey of exploration and discovery.
#NASA; #PrerecordedQuestions; #HighSchoolStudents; #InternationalSpaceStation
Washington, Sep 30 (Canadian-Media): NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, currently aboard the International Space Station, will answer questions posed by high school students from across the nation this week. The educational downlink event will air live at 12:25 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 2, on NASA Television and the agency’s website, NASA reports said.
Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy prepares an Astrobee free flying robotic system for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Remote Power Controller Operations. Credits: NASA
Cassidy will answer prerecorded questions selected from high school students participating in the Society for Science & the Public’s Science News in High Schools program, which provides access to Science News magazine to more than 5,000 schools nationwide. The society, which seeks to expand scientific literacy and research through STEM competitions, journalism, outreach, and equity programs, is coordinating the question and answer session. Participating students will use news articles and related educational resources to learn about collaborative research studies completed by astronauts on the space station to prepare questions for the event.
Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance, and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Astronauts living in space on the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).
For nearly 20 years, astronauts have continuously lived and worked on the space station, testing technologies, performing science and developing the skills needed to explore farther from Earth. Through NASA’s Artemis program, the agency will send astronauts to the Moon in 2024, with eventual human exploration of Mars. Inspiring the next generation of explorers – the Artemis Generation – ensures America will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.
Washington, Sep 25 (Canadian-Media): NASA has selected AECOM Technical Services Inc. of Orlando, Florida; Infrastructure Solution Service of Viera, Florida; and Jones Edmunds & Associates Inc. of Titusville, Florida; to provide architecture-engineer services for civil engineering infrastructure, equipment, and facilities at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and other locations throughout the agency.
The Architect-Engineer Services for the Design and Other Professional Services Necessary to Rehabilitate, Modernize, and Develop New or Existing Civil Infrastructure and Facilities is a firm-fixed price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract and has a maximum potential value of $150 million. The performance period begins Friday, Sept. 25, and will last five years.
The contract includes providing architectural-engineering services throughout the life cycles (study, design, construction, and activation) of projects of a predominantly civil engineering nature. Project examples include, but are not limited to, geotechnical/foundations, facilities, utilities infrastructure, site planning, stormwater management, transportation engineering, solid waste management, coastal and intra-coastal waterway management, and security systems including force protection.
#NASA; #USEconomy; #US
Washington, Sep 25 (Canadian-Media): NASA released Friday the results of its first-ever agencywide economic impact report. The report shows that, through all NASA activities, the agency generated more than $64.3 billion in total economic output during fiscal year 2019, supported more than 312,000 jobs nationwide, and generated an estimated $7 billion in federal, state, and local taxes throughout the United States.
“In this new era of human spaceflight, NASA is contributing to economies locally and nationally, fueling growth in industries that will define the future, and supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in America,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“With an investment of just one-half of 1% of the federal budget, NASA generates significant total economic output annually. This study confirms, and puts numbers, to what we have long understood – that taxpayer investment in America’s space program yields tremendous returns that strengthen our nation on several fronts – a stronger economy, advances in science and technology, and improvements to humanity.”
The agency commissioned an economic impact study to better understand how the U.S. economy benefited in FY2019 from America’s lunar and Mars exploration efforts.
The study found the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach generated more than $14 billion in total economic output and supported more than 69,000 jobs nationwide in fiscal year 2019.
Additional key findings of the study include:Every state in the country benefits economically through NASA activities. Forty-three states have an economic impact of more than $10 million. Of those 43 states, eight have an economic impact of $1 billion or more.The agency’s Moon to Mars initiative, which includes the Artemis program, supports more than 69,000 jobs, $14 billion in economic output, and $1.5 billion in tax revenue.
The agency’s Moon to Mars programs provided about 22 percent of NASA’s economic impact. These figures are expected to double in 2021.NASA has more than 700 active international agreements for various scientific research and technology development activities in FY2019.
The International Space Station is a significant representative of international partnerships – representing 15 nations and five space agencies and has been operating for 20 years. NASA spinoff technologies provide an impact on American lives beyond dollars and jobs. The agency has recorded more than 2,000 spinoffs since 1976. For example, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed, in just 37 days, a ventilator specifically for coronavirus patients and, after securing an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, made the design available to select manufacturers at no cost.
Scientific research and development – which fuels advancements in science and technology that can help improve daily life on Earth and for humanity – enjoys the largest single-sector impact, accounting for 16% of the overall economic impact of NASA’s Moon to Mars program.The study was conducted by the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago. UIC has worked with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on economic impact reports conducted for the center and the Voorhees Center is widely recognized as one of the foremost organizations conducting economic impact studies for corporations, communities, and government agencies.
#NASA, #NASAAquaSatellite; # SQFComplexOffiresImage; #California; #EOSDIS; #INCIWEB
California, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): NASA's Aqua satellite flew over California on Sep. 04, 2020 and captured this image of the SQF Complex of fires that began during the mid-August spate of lightning strikes that numbered over 12,000.
Even though the SQF Complex, which encompasses the Castle and Shotgun fires, was not reported until August 24, 2020, it is assumed that the fires began during the lightning strike event. Fighting any fires in California is a top priority but due to the fact that so many fires were reported at once after the lightning storm, prioritization of the fires has been necessary due to the sheer numbers. As always, protecting life is the first priority and then property and infrastructure.
The SQF Complex is currently 46,328 acres and is 1% contained. Weather continues to be the main issue with fighting the fires as that continues to provide perfect conditions for the fires to grow. A high pressure system over the area persists bringing hot and dry conditions. Relative humidity remains low, potentially dropping into the single digits, which can contribute to extreme fire conditions. Increasing southeast winds with gusts to 20 mph are expected in the afternoon which significantly contributes to fire movement and growth. An extreme heat warning will extend through Labor Day weekend, with critical fire weather to persist in the area for the foreseeable future, according to Inciweb. Another astounding detail from Inciweb is the following: "California has approximately 5,000 USFS personnel available for incidents in the state. Additionally, approximately 13,300 firefighters – across all agencies – out of approximately 22,400 firefighters across the United States, are currently assisting California fires."
NASA’s satellite instruments are often the first to detect wildfires burning in remote regions, and the locations of new fires are sent directly to land managers worldwide within hours of the satellite overpass. Together, NASA instruments detect actively burning fires, track the transport of smoke from fires, provide information for fire management, and map the extent of changes to ecosystems, based on the extent and severity of burn scars. NASA has a fleet of Earth-observing instruments, many of which contribute to our understanding of fire in the Earth system. Satellites in orbit around the poles provide observations of the entire planet several times per day, whereas satellites in a geostationary orbit provide coarse-resolution imagery of fires, smoke and clouds every five to 15 minutes.
NASA's Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) Worldview application provides the capability to interactively browse over 700 global, full-resolution satellite imagery layers and then download the underlying data. Many of the available imagery layers are updated within three hours of observation, essentially showing the entire Earth as it looks "right now.” Actively burning fires, detected by thermal bands, are shown as red points. Image Courtesy: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS). Caption: Lynn Jenner with information from Inciweb.
#Washington, #NASA; #NewSpaceEnvironmentMission; #FiveProposalsSelected
Washington, Aug 31 (Canadian-Media): NASA has selected five proposals for concept studies of missions to help improve understanding of the dynamics of the Sun and the constantly changing space environment with which it interacts around Earth. The information will improve understanding about the universe as well as offer key information to help protect astronauts, satellites, and communications signals – such as GPS – in space, NASA reports said.
The Sun sends out a constant stream of particles and energy, which drives a complex space weather system near Earth and can affect spacecraft and astronauts. NASA has chosen five new mission concept studies for further development to study various aspects of this dynamic system. Image Credits: NASA
ach of these Medium-Class Explorer proposals will receive $1.25 million to conduct a nine-month mission concept study. Following the study period, NASA will choose up to two proposals to go forward to launch. Each potential mission has a separate launch opportunity and timeframe.
“We constantly seek missions that use cutting edge technology and novel approaches to push the boundaries of science,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Each one of these proposals offers the chance to observe something we have never before seen or to provide unprecedented insights into key areas of research, all to further the exploration of the universe we live in.”
NASA's heliophysics program explores the giant, interconnected system of energy, particles, and magnetic fields that fills interplanetary space, a system that constantly changes based on outflow from the Sun and its interaction with the space and atmosphere around Earth.
"Whether it's looking at the physics of our star, studying aurora, or observing how magnetic fields move through space, the heliophysics community seeks to explore the space system around us from a variety of vantage points," said Nicky Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division in NASA's Science Mission Directorate. "We carefully pick missions to provide perfectly placed sensors throughout the solar system, each offering a key perspective to understand the space that human technology and humans increasingly travel through."
Each of these new proposals seeks to add a new puzzle piece to understanding that larger system, some by looking at the Sun, some by making observations closer to home.
The proposals were selected based on potential science value and feasibility of development plans. The cost for the investigation ultimately chosen for flight will be capped at $250 million and is funded by NASA’s Heliophysics Explorers’ program.
The proposals selected for concept studies are:
Solar-Terrestrial Observer for the Response of the Magnetosphere (STORM)
STORM would provide the first-ever global view of our vast space weather system in which the constant flow of particles from the Sun – known as the solar wind – interacts with Earth's magnetic field system, called the magnetosphere. Using a combination of observation tools that allow both remote viewing of Earth's magnetic fields and in situ monitoring of the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field, STORM would track the way energy flows into and throughout near-Earth space. Tackling some of the most pressing questions in magnetospheric science, this comprehensive data set would provide a systemwide view of events in the magnetosphere to observe how one region affects another, helping to untangle how space weather phenomena circulate around our planet. STORM is led by David Sibeck at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
HelioSwarm: The Nature of Turbulence in Space Plasmas
HelioSwarm would observe the solar wind over a wide range of scales in order to determine the fundamental space physics processes that lead energy from large-scale motion to cascade down to finer scales of particle movement within the plasma that fills space, a process that leads to the heating of such plasma. Using a swarm of nine SmallSat spacecraft, HelioSwarm would gather multi-point measurements and be able to reveal the three-dimensional mechanisms that control the physical processes crucial to understanding our neighborhood in space. HelioSwarm is led by Harlan Spence at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.
Multi-slit Solar Explorer (MUSE)
MUSE would provide high-cadence observations of the mechanisms driving an array of processes and events in the Sun's atmosphere – the corona – including what drives solar eruptions such as solar flares, as well as what heats the corona to temperatures far above that of the solar surface. MUSE would use breakthrough imaging spectroscopy techniques to observe radial motion and heating at ten times the current resolution – and 100 times faster – a key capability when trying to study the phenomena driving heating and eruption processes, which occur on time scales shorter than previous spectrographs could observe. Such data would enable advanced numerical solar modeling and help unpack long-standing questions about coronal heating and the foundation of space weather events that can send giant bursts of solar particles and energy toward Earth. MUSE is led by Bart De Pontieu at Lockheed Martin in Palo Alto, California.
Auroral Reconstruction CubeSwarm (ARCS)
ARCS would explore the processes that contribute to aurora at size scales that have been rarely studied: at the intermediate scale between the smaller, local phenomena leading directly to the visible aurora and the larger, global dynamics of the space weather system coursing through the ionosphere and thermosphere. Adding crucial information to understanding the physics at the border between our atmosphere and space, these observations would provide insight into the entire magnetospheric system surrounding Earth. The mission would use an innovative, distributed set of sensors by deploying 32 CubeSats and 32 ground-based observatories. The combination of instruments and spatial distribution would provide a comprehensive picture of the drivers and response of the auroral system to and from the magnetosphere. ARCS is led by Kristina Lynch at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Solaris: Revealing the Mysteries of the Sun’s Poles
Solaris would address fundamental questions of solar and stellar physics that can only be answered with a view of the Sun's poles. Solaris would observe three solar rotations over each solar pole to obtain observations of light, magnetic fields, and movement in the Sun's surface, the photosphere. Space researchers have never collected imagery of the Sun's poles, though the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter will provide oblique angle views for the first time in 2025. Better knowledge of the physical processes visible from the pole is necessary to understand the global dynamics of the entire Sun, including how magnetic fields evolve and move throughout the star, leading to periods of great solar activity and eruptions approximately every 11 years. Solaris is led by Donald Hassler at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
#NASA; #Mars2020Perseverance; #NASAEyesontheSolarSystem, #IngenuityMarsHelicopter
Washington, Aug 23 (Canadian-Media): The last time we saw NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission was on July 30, 2020, as it disappeared into the black of deep space on a trajectory for Mars. But with NASA's Eyes on the Solar System, you can follow in real time as humanity's most sophisticated rover—and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter traveling with it—treks millions of miles over the next six months to Jezero Crater, https://phys.org/news/2020 news reports said.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 30. NASA's Eyes on the Solar System tool lets you track the spacecraft in real time as it makes its way to Mars for a Feb. 18, 2021, landing. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
"Eyes on the Solar System visualizes the same trajectory data that the navigation team uses to plot Perseverance's course to Mars," said Fernando Abilleira, the Mars 2020 mission design and navigation manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. "If you want to follow along with us on our journey, that's the place to be."
Eyes doesn't just let you see the distance between the Red Planet and the spacecraft at this very moment. You can also fly formation with Mars 2020 or check the relative velocity between Mars and Earth or, say, the dwarf planet Pluto.
"With all our orbital assets circling Mars as well as Curiosity and InSight on its surface, there is new data and imagery coming in all the time about the Red Planet," said Jon Nelson, visualization technology and applications development supervisor at JPL. "Essentially, if you haven't seen Mars lately through Eyes on the Solar System, you haven't seen Mars."
Dozens of controls on pop-up menus allow you to customize not just what you see—from faraway to right "on board" a spacecraft—but also how you see it: Choose the 3-D mode, and all you need is a pair of red-cyan anaglyph glasses for a more immersive experience.
#NewYork, #SpaceXFunding; #astronomy; ElonMusk
Aug 22 (Canadian-Media): With rise in investor interest, billionaire Elon Musk finalized $1.9 billion in new funding for his rocket company SpaceX, the largest fundraising round yet for SpaceX, according to PitchBook, just weeks after completing the first launch of astronauts to space from U.S. soil since 2011, according to regulatory filings on Friday, media reports said.
Elon Musk. Image credit: Facebook page
Bloomberg, who first reported the funding news, with Brokerage giant Fidelity Investments, an existing investor in the company, was one of the biggest participants in the latest round, according to Bloomberg, reported by Forbes.
The funding comes just after SpaceX completed its most high-profile mission yet: In May, the company sent a NASA crew to the International Space Station, marking the first crewed orbital flight from American soil since 2011.
The two astronauts completed successful safe return to earth on August 2, when SpaceX’s Dragon capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico and marked a signature achievement for Musk 18 years after he founded the space exploration company.
Recently SpaceX entered into $316 million defense contract with the U.S. government to launch military satellites into orbit for five years starting in 2022.
Having recently become the world’s fifth-richest person due to a recent jump in electric vehicle maker Tesla’s stock, Musk now has a net worth of $86.5 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates.