October 11, 2019
NASA Spacecraft Launches on Mission to Explore Frontier of Space
Northrop Grumman's L-1011 aircraft, Stargazer, prepares for takeoff at the
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip in Florida on Oct. 10, 2019.
Attached beneath the aircraft is the company's Pegasus XL rocket, carrying
NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON).
After successfully launching Thursday night, NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) spacecraft is in orbit for a first-of-its-kind mission to study a region of space where changes can disrupt communications and satellite orbits, and even increase radiation risks to astronauts.
A Northrop Grumman Stargazer L-1011 aircraft took off at 8:31 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying ICON, on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, to launch altitude of about 39,000 feet. The first launch opportunity around 9:30 was skipped due to communication issues between the ground team at Cape Canaveral and the aircraft. On the second attempt, the aircraft crew released its payload at 9:59 p.m. EDT and automated systems on the Pegasus rocket launched ICON, a spacecraft roughly the size of a refrigerator, into space.
The spacecraft's solar panels successfully deployed, indicating it has power with all systems operating. After an approximately month-long commissioning period, ICON will begin sending back its first science data in November.
ICON will study changes in a region of the upper atmosphere called the ionosphere. In addition to interfering with communications signals, space weather in the ionosphere can also prematurely decay spacecraft orbits and expose astronauts to radiation-borne health risks. Historically, this critical region of near-Earth space has been difficult to observe. Spacecraft can't travel through the low parts of the ionosphere and balloons can't travel high enough.
"ICON has an important job to do – to help us understand the dynamic space environment near our home," said Nicola Fox, director for heliophysics at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "ICON will be the first mission to simultaneously track what's happening in Earth's upper atmosphere and in space to see how the two interact, causing the kind of changes that can disrupt our communications systems."
ICON explores the connections between the neutral atmosphere and the electrically charged ionosphere with four instruments. Three of the instruments rely on one of the upper atmosphere's more spectacular phenomena: colorful bands called airglow.
Airglow is created by a similar process that creates the aurora – gas is excited by radiation from the Sun and emits light. Though aurora are typically confined to extreme northern and southern latitudes, airglow happens constantly across the globe, and is much fainter. But it's still bright enough for ICON's instruments to build up a picture of the ionosphere's density, composition and structure. By way of airglow, ICON can observe how particles throughout the upper atmosphere are moving.
ICON's fourth instrument provides direct measurements of the ionosphere around it. This instrument characterizes the charged gases immediately surrounding the spacecraft.
"We put as much capability on this satellite that could possibly fit on the payload deck," said Thomas Immel, the principal investigator for ICON at the University of California, Berkeley. "All those instruments are focused on the ionosphere in a completely new science mission that starts now."
ICON's orbit around Earth places it at a 27-degree inclination and altitude of about 360 miles. From there, it can observe the ionosphere around the equator. ICON will aim its instruments for a view of what's happening at the lowest boundary of space, from about 55 miles up to 360 miles above the surface. This rapid orbit circles Earth in 97 minutes while precessing around the equator, allowing ICON to sample a wide range of latitude, longitude and local times.
ICON is an Explorer-class mission. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the Explorer Program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The University of California at Berkeley developed the ICON mission and the two ultraviolet imaging spectrographs, Extreme Ultra-Violet instrument and the Far Ultra-Violet instrument. The Naval Research Laboratory in Washington developed the Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging instrument. The University of Texas in Dallas developed the Ion Velocity Meter. The spacecraft was built by Northrop Grumman in Dulles, Virginia. The Mission Operations Center at UC Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory is tasked with operating the ICON mission.
For more information on ICON, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/icon
October 10, 2019
Space Launch System's Core Stage Pathfinder Practice at Kennedy
The core stage pathfinder of the Space Launch System rocket inside the Vehicle Assembly Building.
Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Viewing the movement of the core stage pathfinder of the Space Launch System rocket inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. Crews will lift the 212-foot-long pathfinder nearly 200 feet into the air to practice moving it from the transfer aisle into High Bay 3.
The practice going on all this month is part of preparations for the Artemis missions to the Moon.
All media accreditation requests must be submitted online at: https://media.ksc.nasa.gov
Learn more about NASA's Artemis I mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-1
October 04, 2019
Space Launch System's Sound Suppression System Final Test at Kennedy
A wet flow test at Launch Pad 39B on September 13, 2019, tests the sound suppression system
that will be used for launch of NASA's Space Launch System for the Artemis I mission.
Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to conduct the final water flow test in a series of sound suppression tests at Launch Pad 39B in preparation for the first Artemis launch. The brief test is one of the final checkouts between the launch pad and the mobile launcher.
At launch, the Space Launch System rocket will produce nearly nine million pounds of thrust—and a lot of sound. The purpose of the sound suppression system is to dampen sound and vibrations to keep the rocket and the launch pad safe at lift-off. During the test and the launch of Artemis missions, 450,000 gallons of water will be released onto the mobile launcher and flame deflector.
Learn more about NASA's Artemis I mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-1
October 01, 2019
NASA to Broadcast Launch of Mission to Study the Frontier of Space
NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) is attached to the Northrop Grumman
Pegasus XL rocket inside Building 1555 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California
on Sept. 10, 2019. Credits: NASA/Randy Beaudoin
NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) is scheduled to be air-launched over the Atlantic Ocean at 9:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 9, by Northrop Grumman's Pegasus XL rocket. Coverage of the prelaunch briefing and launch will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website.
ICON and Pegasus will take off aboard the company's L-1011 Stargazer aircraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for a 90-minute launch window opening at 9:25 p.m.
ICON will study the frontier of space - the dynamic zone high in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above. The ionosphere can be a source of great beauty, but also can be disruptive to radio communications and satellites, and astronaut health. ICON will help determine the physical processes at play in the ionosphere and pave the way for mitigating its effects on our technology, communications systems and society.
For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/icon-briefings-and-events
Learn more about the ICON mission at: https://blogs.nasa.gov/icon/
September 27, 2019
NASA Awards Two Contracts for Supply of Gaseous, Liquid Helium
NASA has awarded contracts to Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Messer LLC of Bridgewater, New Jersey, to supply gaseous and liquid helium.
Each contract is a fixed-price, indefinite-delivery requirement contract that begins Oct. 1 with a two-year base period, followed by three one-year options that, if exercised, extend the contract to Sept. 30, 2024. The total value of the contract with Air Products, including options, is approximately $168 million. The total value of the contract with Messer, including options, is approximately $35.2 million.
NASA uses helium as an inert purge gas for hydrogen systems and a pressurizing agent for ground and flight fluid systems. Helium is also used throughout the agency as a cryogenic agent for cooling various materials and has been used in precision welding applications. Helium is required to support the Space Launch System, Orion spacecraft, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), International Space Station, and various other programs.
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: https://www.nasa.gov
September 20, 2019
Space Launch System Hardware to Arrive on Pegasus Barge at Kennedy
Tugboats tow the Pegasus Barge away from the dock in the Turn Basin
in Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39 area.
Credits: NASA/Jim Grossmann
The SLS core stage pathfinder is a full-scale mockup that is identical to the core stage in shape, size and weight. The pathfinder, though not actual flight hardware, will provide the EGS team with the opportunity to practice stacking maneuvers and certify the new system inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) High Bay 3 before Artemis flight hardware arrives next year. Over the next several months, pathfinder will be used to validate ground support equipment and demonstrate how the core stage will be integrated in the VAB – the same process the actual core stage will undergo when being processed for Artemis I.
Learn more about NASA's Artemis I mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-1
September 16, 2019
NASA Opens Accreditation for Launch of Mission to Explore Ionosphere
NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer will study the frontier of space: the dynamic zone high
in our atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above.
NASA's launch of its Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON ) mission, targeted to be air-launched over the Atlantic Ocean on a Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket Wednesday, Oct. 9.
ICON and Pegasus will take off aboard the L-1011 Stargazer aircraft from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for a 90-minute launch window opening at 9:25 p.m. ICON will be launching off the coast of Daytona at 39,000 feet at a heading of 105 degrees.
The ionosphere, where Earth's weather meets space weather, can be a source of great beauty, but also can be disruptive to radio communications and satellites, and astronaut health. ICON will help determine the physical processes at play in this frontier of space, and help find ways to mitigate their negative effects.
For more information about the ICON mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/icon
August 23, 2019
NASA Awards CubeSat Dispenser Hardware, Mission Integration Services 3 Contract
NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP) at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has selected five companies to provide commercial CubeSat dispenser hardware and mission integration services.
The five companies are:
- Maverick Space Systems, Inc. of San Luis Obispo, California
- NanoRacks, LLC of Webster, Texas
- TriSept Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia
- Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc. of Irvine, California
- Xtenti, LLC of Dallas, Texas
The CubeSat 3 contract provides indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price task orders, with a five-year ordering period that begins Aug. 23. The maximum cumulative value of the contracts is $18 million.
The contractors will provide various-sized CubeSat dispensers and dispenser mass simulators. These dispensers will be loaded with CubeSats, mounted to a launch vehicle, and release CubeSats at a designated time after launch.
The contractors also will provide mission integration services, to include flight hardware qualification, flight hardware development and assembly, flight hardware acceptance testing, dispenser to launch vehicle interface control document (ICD) development, CubeSat to dispenser ICD development, integration of CubeSats into flight dispensers, integrated flight CubeSat/dispenser acceptance testing, flight hardware to launch vehicle integration, and mission support.
LSP supports the CubeSat Launch Initiative by providing dispenser hardware and mission integration services to CubeSat development teams from educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and NASA centers.
For more information about NASA and other agency programs, visit: https://www.nasa.gov
August 23, 2019
NASA Asks American Companies to Deliver Supplies for Artemis Moon Missions
An illustration of the Gateway - what will serve as home base for
human and robotic missions to the Moon and, ultimately, Mars.
In another major step toward landing American astronauts on the lunar surface by 2024, NASA is asking industry to respond to a Request for Proposals to deliver cargo, science experiments and supplies to the Gateway to support Artemis missions to the lunar surface. Commercial supply services will support the agency's Artemis lunar exploration program which includes sending the first woman and the next man to surface of the Moon within five years, and preparing for human exploration of Mars.
The agency is seeking capabilities from American companies to deliver a logistics spacecraft with pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the Gateway for six months of docked operations followed by automatic disposal. The logistics spacecraft must launch on a commercial rocket.
"Working with industry to deliver supplies necessary to support our lunar missions is a critical step to accelerate our return to the Moon under the Artemis program including meeting that bold goal to land the next American astronauts on the Moon by 2024," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "This solicitation builds on the capabilities NASA pioneered in low-Earth orbit with commercial cargo resupply to the International Space Station and is the next step in commercialization of deep space. We look forward to industry's response to our latest solicitation."
The agency previously asked industry for innovative ideas to transport supplies between Earth and the Gateway, which will be located about 250,000 miles away in a lunar orbit. NASA followed up that request with a draft solicitation earlier this summer.
"We chose to minimize spacecraft requirements on industry to allow for commercial innovation, but we are asking industry to propose their best solutions for delivering cargo and enabling our deep space supply chain," said Mark Wiese, NASA's Gateway logistics element manager at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "In addition to delivering cargo, science and other supplies with these services, private industry also has the opportunity to deliver other elements of our lunar architecture with this solicitation."
This solicitation is for a multi-award, firm-fixed price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for 15 years, with a maximum $7 billion value. The guaranteed minimum value for any award is two missions.
NASA is also asking responders to address logistics spacecraft design, cargo mass capability, pressurized volume, power availability for payloads and, transit time to Gateway.
Following initial award, there may be future contract opportunities for new service providers to ensure capabilities remain competitive. If approved in advance by NASA, a commercial provider may also use a mission to deliver, remove and/or return non-NASA cargo as long as it does not interfere with the agency mission, furthering the development of a robust deep space economy.
This solicitation is the latest in a line of work by the agency to accelerate its Moon to Mars exploration plans by working with American aerospace companies. NASA recently awarded a contract to Maxar Technologies to design, develop, launch and demonstrate the power and propulsion element by 2022. Negotiations are ongoing for development of the habitation and logistics outpost  (HALO) module. The agency is also working on another draft solicitation for the integrated human landing system. A final solicitation will be released in the future.
Charged with returning to the Moon within five years, NASA's lunar exploration plan encompasses a two-phase approach: speed – landing on the Moon by 2024 – and establishing a sustained multi-national human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. The agency will leverage what it learns on the Moon to prepare for the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.
For more information about NASA's Moon to Mars exploration plans, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/moontomars
August 13, 2019
NASA Awards Contract for Exploration Ground Systems Program Services
NASA has selected ARES Technical Services Corporation in Burlingame, California, to provide support services to the Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The cost-plus fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract begins Oct. 1 with a one-year base period, followed by a two-year option and four one-year options that, if exercised, will extend to Sept. 30, 2026. The total contract value including options is approximately $115.3 million.
Under the contract, ARES will provide engineering and technical services, program and business management support services and administrative support services to the EGS Program. The contract also includes support for ground systems and spaceflight systems planning and design; project management and integration; operations integration and analysis; technical requirements development, management, and compliance; cost, risk, information and configuration management; and schedule integration and analysis.
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit: https://www.nasa.gov
August 01, 2019
NASA and Northrop Grumman Sign Agreement for Use of Shuttle-era Facilities
On Friday, Aug. 16, media is invited to the notification ceremony of Kennedy's partnership
agreements with Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Media are invited to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, Aug. 16, for the notification ceremony of Kennedy's partnership agreements with Northrop Grumman Corporation.
The event will highlight a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement for the use of NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), High Bay 2 and Mobile Launcher Platform 3 (MLP-3) and an Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) for land in support of Northrop Grumman's modification of MLP-3. These facilities and assets were used during the Space Shuttle Program and are now available to commercial partners as part of the agency's plan in support of a multi-user spaceport. Northrop Grumman personnel will be available to discuss this new partnership.
Pursuant to a Launch Services Agreement with the U.S. Air Force, Northrop Grumman is developing a new launch vehicle, OmegA. The company plans to assemble, test and launch OmegA at Kennedy and will use VAB High Bay 2 for assembly and testing, and modify MLP-3 for use as an assembly and launch platform. These two agreements, along with future agreements for use of NASA KSC services and property, including Launch Complex 39B, will enable Northrop Grumman's OmegA launch capability from Kennedy.
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit news.northropgrumman.com and follow on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.
July 31, 2019
Kennedy Partners with US Industry to Advance Moon, Mars Technology
Illustration of a human landing system and crew on the lunar surface with Earth near the horizon.
As NASA prepares to land humans on the Moon by 2024 with the Artemis program, commercial companies are developing new technologies, working toward space ventures of their own and looking to NASA for assistance. NASA has selected 13 U.S. companies for 19 partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies and help maintain American leadership in space. NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is working with two of them. The public-private partnerships will advance the commercial space sector and help bring new capabilities to market that could benefit future NASA missions.
Kennedy's Swamp Works will partner with SpaceX to advance their technology to vertically land large rockets on the Moon. This includes advancing models to assess engine plume interaction with lunar regolith.
"We are dedicated to developing technologies that will take us forward to the Moon and to Mars, and working with commercial partners such as SpaceX will make these missions possible," said Rob Mueller, senior technologist for advanced projects development in Kennedy's Exploration Research and Technology Programs. "Missions to the lunar surface present challenges from rocket engine plume effects as they interact with the regolith surface to eject high-velocity dust particles and rocks. To mitigate risk of damage to equipment during landings and takeoff, we'll work on technologies such as launch and landing pads, and blast protection berms or walls to make operations on the Moon sustainable and safe for NASA and all of our partners. These types of risk mitigations become exponentially more important as landers increase in size, and Kennedy's Swamp Works is at the forefront of developing new technological solutions for this based on related computer modeling tools and testing."
The spaceport's botanists will work with Lockheed Martin to test technologies and operations for autonomous in-space plant growth systems. Integrating robotics with plant systems could help NASA harvest plants on future platforms in deep space.
"My office has many examples of NASA engineers, scientists, interns and support contractors working with industry, such as earlier this year when we supported Lockheed Martin with Gateway evaluation testing," said Bryan Onate, chief of the Life Sciences and Utilization Office at Kennedy. "Exploring beyond low-Earth orbit will require long-duration stays on the Moon and eventually Mars, meaning we are focused on providing plant growth systems that will supplement and sustain the crews' nutrition and implement autonomous operations as required. So, we are excited to be taking part in this collaborative opportunity, which will develop new technology to enable future missions."
The selections were made through NASA's Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO) released in October 2018 by the Space Technology Mission Directorate. They will result in non-reimbursable Space Act Agreements between the companies and NASA. Through ACO, NASA helps reduce the development cost of technologies and accelerate the infusion of emerging commercial capabilities into space missions.
For more information about the full ACO selection, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-announces-us-industry-partnerships-to-advance-moon-mars-technology.
August 1: Launch delayed for a valve replacement. Expected on August 5th, 6:52-8:20pm.
July 31, 2019
Kennedy Space Center Traffic and Road Closures for Upcoming Launch Activities
Expect heavy traffic on and around Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, due to the upcoming launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch window is from 6:50 to 8:25 p.m. EDT.
PUBLIC ACCESS ROAD CLOSURES
Starting Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, Kennedy Space Center Security Police will be enforcing restricted access from the Kennedy Space Center boundary lines for the duration of the SpaceX launch attempt.
Please expect delays and plan accordingly.
- State Road 3 from the Gate 2 News Media Pass and Identification Building to State Road 405 (NASA Causeway), including Space Commerce Way, will be closed to the general public at 3 p.m. Access to Kennedy Space Center, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Exploration Park and Blue Origin will be limited to authorized personnel. The roads will reopen after launch.
- NASA Causeway between US 1 and Gate 3 also will be restricted to authorized personnel (badged employees and their partners). The roads will reopen after launch.
- The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be open; however, once capacity has been reached, no further traffic will be permitted.
- The A. Max Brewer Bridge on State Road 406 in Titusville, east to Playalinda Beach, will be open to all motor vehicle traffic until capacity is reached, or at 5:50 p.m., whichever comes first.
- State Road 3 North at US 1 in Volusia County, south to Playalinda Beach, will be open to all motor vehicle traffic until capacity is reached, or at 5:50 p.m., whichever comes first.
July 25, 2019
SpaceX Dragon on Route to Space Station with NASA Science, Cargo
|A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft launches to the International Space Station on a Falcon 9 rocket at 6:01 p.m. EDT July 25, 2019, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory July 27 with the station's second commercial crew docking port and about 5,000 pounds of science investigations and supplies.
A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is on its way to deliver the second commercial crew docking port and about 5,000 pounds of science investigations and supplies for the International Space Station after a 6:01 p.m. EDT Thursday launch from Florida.
The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory Saturday, July 27. Coverage of the spacecraft's approach and arrival will begin at 8:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency's website.
Dragon will join three other spacecraft currently at the space station. Expedition 60 Flight Engineers Nick Hague and Christina Koch of NASA will use the station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, to grab, or grapple, Dragon around 10 a.m. Coverage of robotic installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 12 p.m.
A key item in Dragon's unpressurized cargo section is International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3). Flight controllers at mission control in Houston will use the robotic arm to extract IDA-3 from Dragon and position it over Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, on the space-facing side of the Harmony module. Hague and NASA astronaut Drew Morgan, who arrived at the station Saturday, July 20, will conduct a spacewalk in mid-August to install the docking port, connect power and data cables, and set up a high-definition camera on a boom arm.
Robotics flight control teams from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will move the docking port into position remotely before the astronauts perform the final installation steps. IDA-3 and IDA-2, which was installed in the summer of 2016, provide a new standardized and automated docking system for future spacecraft, including upcoming commercial spacecraft that will transport astronauts through contracts with NASA.
This delivery, SpaceX's 18th cargo flight to the space station under a Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA, will support dozens of new and existing investigations. The space station continues to be a one-of-a-kind laboratory where NASA is conducting world-class research in fields, such as biology, physics, and materials science. NASA's research and development work aboard the space station contributes to the agency's deep space exploration plans, including returning astronauts to the Moon's surface in five years and preparing to send humans to Mars.
Here are details about some of the scientific investigations Dragon is delivering to the space station:
Bio-Mining in Microgravity
The Biorock investigation will provide insight into the physical interactions of liquid, rocks and microorganisms under microgravity conditions and improve the efficiency and understanding of mining materials in space. Bio-mining eventually could help explorers on the Moon or Mars acquire needed materials, lessening the need to use precious resources from Earth and reducing the amount of supplies that explorers must take with them.
Printing Biological Tissues in Space
Using 3D biological printers to produce usable human organs has long been a dream of scientists and doctors around the globe. However, printing the tiny, complex structures found inside human organs, such as capillary structures, has proven difficult to accomplish in Earth's gravity. To overcome this challenge, Techshot designed their BioFabrication Facility to print organ-like tissues in microgravity – a stepping stone in a long-term plan to manufacture whole human organs in space using refined biological 3D printing techniques.
Improving Tire Manufacturing from Orbit
The Goodyear Tire investigation will use microgravity to push the limits of silica fillers for tire applications. A better understanding of silica morphology and the relationship between silica structure and its properties could improve the silica design process, silica rubber formulation and tire manufacturing and performance. Such improvements could include increased fuel efficiency, which would reduce transportation costs and help to protect Earth's environment.
Effects of Microgravity on Microglia 3D Models
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) – adult cells genetically programmed to return to an embryonic stem cell-like state – have the ability to develop into any cell type in the human body, potentially providing an unlimited source of human cells for therapeutic purposes. Space Tango-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells examines how specialized white blood cells derived from iPSCs of patients with Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis grow and move in 3D cultures, and any changes in gene expression that occur as a result of exposure to a microgravity environment. Results could lead to the development of potential therapies.
Mechanisms of Moss in Microgravity
Space Moss compares mosses grown aboard the space station with those grown on Earth to determine how microgravity affects its growth, development, and other characteristics. Tiny plants without roots, mosses need only a small area for growth, an advantage for their potential use in space and future bases on the Moon or Mars. This investigation also could yield information that aids in engineering other plants to grow better on the Moon and Mars, as well as on Earth.
These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations providing opportunities for U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions to conduct microgravity research that leads to new technologies, medical treatments, and products that improve life on Earth. Conducting science aboard the orbiting laboratory will help us learn how to keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.
For more than 18 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 230 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,500 research investigations from researchers in 106 countries.
Get breaking news, images and features from the station on social media, at:
July 19, 2019
NASA Coverage of Vice President's Visit to Kennedy Space Center on Moon Landing Anniversary
|Vice President Mike Pence addresses NASA employees in front of a mockup of Boeing's Starliner capsule July 6, 2017, at the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
NASA will provide television, still image, and social media coverage of Vice President Mike Pence's visit to the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, July 20 – the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
The day will begin at 11:25 a.m. EDT with Air Force Two's arrival at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) runway.
NASA Television and the agency's website will air live coverage of the Vice President's special address in Kennedy's historic Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout facility at 1:05 p.m.
During his visit, the Vice President will recognize the success of Apollo 11 – one of humanity's greatest achievements – and address progress in NASA's return to the Moon with the upcoming Artemis missions. Going back to the Moon sustainably with this innovative approach will enable America to take the next giant leap – sending humans to Mars.
Coverage on NASA's social media accounts will include Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
July 15, 2019
NASA's Next Space Station Resupply Launch, Prelaunch Activities
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo craft launches from Space Launch Complex 40 on
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 2:48 a.m. EDT May 4, 2019 on the company's
17th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA to the International Space Station.
Credits: NASA/Tony Gray and Kenny Allen
NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 7:35 p.m. EDT Sunday, July 21, for the launch of its 18th agency-contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency's website Sunday with prelaunch events.
The Dragon spacecraft will deliver supplies and critical materials to directly support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 60 and beyond. In addition to bringing research to station, the Dragon's unpressurized trunk is carrying the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3), which, when installed on the space station, will provide the microgravity laboratory with two common ports enabling expanded opportunities for visiting vehicles, including new spacecraft designed to carry humans for NASA's Commercial Crew Program.
Dragon will dock to the space station Tuesday, July 23. When it arrives, NASA astronaut Nick Hague will grapple Dragon with NASA astronaut Christina Koch acting as a backup. NASA's Andrew Morgan will assist the duo by monitoring telemetry during Dragon's approach. The station crew will monitor Dragon vehicle functions during rendezvous. After Dragon capture, mission control in Houston will send ground commands for the station's arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station's Harmony module.
Dragon will remain at the space station until Aug. 20, when the spacecraft will return to Earth with research and return cargo.
For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-to-broadcast-next-space-station-resupply-launch-prelaunch-activities-1
Learn more about the SpaceX resupply mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex
July 08, 2019
CONTRACT RELEASE C19-018
NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Groundbreaking Astrophysics Mission
NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency's Imaging X-Ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) mission, which will allow astronomers to discover, for the first time, the hidden details of some of the most exotic astronomical objects in our universe.
The total cost for NASA to launch IXPE is approximately $50.3 million, which includes the launch service and other mission-related costs.
IXPE measures polarized X-rays from objects, such as black holes and neutron stars to better understand these types of cosmic phenomena and extreme environments.
The IXPE mission currently is targeted to launch in April 2021 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. IXPE will fly three space telescopes with sensitive detectors capable of measuring the polarization of cosmic X-rays, allowing scientists to answer fundamental questions about these turbulent environments where gravitational, electric and magnetic fields are at their limits.
NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the SpaceX launch service. The IXPE project office is located at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and is managed by the Explorers Program Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
For more information about NASA programs and missions, visit: http://www.nasa.gov
June 25, 2019
Coverage Set for NASA Test of Orion Abort System for Moon to Mars Missions
A test version of the Orion crew module for Ascent Abort-2, with its launch abort system attached, is hoisted by crane at Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in May. AA-2 is a critical safety test that helps pave the way for Artemis missions to the Moon and then Mars.
In a test targeted for June 2019 known as Ascent Abort-2, NASA will verify the Orion spacecraft's launch abort system.
NASA Television will broadcast launch and prelaunch activities of the Ascent Abort-2 flight test of the Orion spacecraft's launch abort system that will help pave the way for Artemis missions with astronauts to the Moon and then Mars.
The test's four-hour launch window opens at 7 a.m. EDT Tuesday, July 2. A test version of the crew module will launch from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA TV coverage will begin at 6:40 a.m.
Ascent Abort-2 will verify Orion's abort system can pull the crew module away from an emergency during its ascent to space. During approximately three minutes of flight, a booster will loft the test capsule about six miles into the atmosphere to experience high-stress aerodynamic conditions, at which point the abort sequence will be triggered to carry the crew module a safe distance from the rocket. The test flight will help ensure the safety of astronauts, in the unlikely event an emergency arises as they rocket into space.
Orion is part of NASA's backbone for deep space exploration that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024, along with the Space Launch System and the Gateway. Through the Artemis program, the next American Moon walkers will depart Earth aboard Orion and begin a new era of exploration. DETAILS ON NASA WEBSITE.
June 20, 2019
SpaceX and DoD Targeting June 24 for Falcon Heavy Launch
NASA Television coverage is scheduled for an upcoming prelaunch activity and first nighttime launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, which will be carrying four agency technology missions to help improve future spacecraft design and performance.
The launch window for the Falcon Heavy opens at 11:30 p.m. EDT Monday, June 24, from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch, as well as a live technology show, will air NASA Television and the agency's website.
SpaceX and the U.S. Department of Defense will launch two dozen satellites to space, including four NASA payloads that are part of the Space Test Program-2, managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The four payloads include two NASA technology demonstrations to improve how spacecraft propel and navigate, as well as two NASA science missions to help us better understand the nature of space and how it impacts technology on spacecraft and the ground.
Full NASA TV coverage is as follows:
Sunday, June 23
Noon - NASA prelaunch technology TV show from Kennedy.
- Todd Ely and Jill Seubert, interplanetary navigators at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who are also the principal and deputy principal investigators for the Deep Space Atomic Clock. They will explain the relationship between time and navigation as well as the new space clock that could change how we navigate on the Moon, to Mars and beyond.
- Christopher McLean, principal investigator for NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission at Ball Aerospace, and Joe Cassady, executive director of space at Aerojet Rocketdyne. They will explain how a non-toxic fuel and new propulsion system could take the small satellite revolution beyond what it is today.
- Nicola Fox, director of NASA's Heliophysics Division, will discuss the Space Environment Testbeds and how its four experiments will reveal the ways local space weather affects spacecraft hardware.
- Rick Doe, payload program manager at SRI International, will share how two CubeSats making up the Enhanced Tandem Beacon Experiment will work with six other satellites to study irregularities in Earth's upper atmosphere that interfere with GPS and communications signals.
Monday, June 24
Prelaunch and launch day coverage will include blog updates as milestones occur: http://blogs.nasa.gov/spacex
- 9:30 p.m. - Live NASA TV coverage begins of the return to Earth of NASA astronaut Anne McClain and two other International Space Station residents, with landing scheduled at 10:48 p.m. (Public Channel)
- 11 p.m. - NASA TV launch commentary begins ahead of the targeted 11:30 p.m. launch. NASA TV will simulcast the SpaceX STP-2 webcast starting about 15 minutes before liftoff. (Media Channel)
Learn more about the NASA technologies aboard this launch: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex
June 19, 2019
Final Roll of Mobile Launcher Before Artemis 1 Moon Mission
This aerial view shows NASA's mobile launcher atop crawler-transporter 2 as it moves along the crawlerway,
making its way to Launch Pad 39B at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA's mobile launcher makes its final roll on crawler-transporter 2 to Launch Pad 39B prior to the launch of the first Artemis mission.
Over the next three months, the mobile launcher will undergo final testing at the pad to certify the systems for launch. The next time the mobile launcher makes its trek out to Launch Pad 39B, it will transport NASA's Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for the launch of Artemis 1, part of the agency's larger, sustainable Moon to Mars exploration approach.
Learn more about NASA's Artemis 1 mission at: https://www.nasa.gov/artemis-1
June 19, 2019
Gateway Logistics Industry Day
Artist concept of the logistics module docked to Gateway in lunar orbit. NASA will seek
solicitations from American companies to deliver cargo and other supplies to the lunar
outpost that will support human exploration of the Moon by 2024.
NASA will seek solicitations from American companies to deliver cargo and other supplies to the lunar outpost that will support human exploration of the Moon by 2024.
The agency issued a draft solicitation June 14 to industry seeking comments for a future opportunity for American companies to deliver cargo and other supplies to the Gateway in lunar orbit as part of plans to accelerate a human return to the Moon within the next five years.
The first logistics service to the orbital outpost is expected to deliver science, cargo and other supplies in support of the agency's new Artemis lunar exploration program including sending the first woman and the next man to the surface of the Moon by 2024.
NASA's lunar exploration plans are based on a two-phase approach: the first is focused on speed - landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024 - while the second will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. The agency will use what we learn on the Moon to prepare for the next giant leap - sending astronauts to Mars.
Learn more about NASA's Gateway at: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/moon-to-mars
June 04, 2019
18th SpaceX Cargo Launch to Space Station
A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch in July on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida. This will be the company's 18th mission under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and enables research not possible on Earth. The space station has been occupied continuously since November 2000. In that time, more than 230 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft have visited the orbiting laboratory.
The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration, including missions to the Moon by 2024 and on to Mars. Space station research also provides opportunities for other U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions to conduct microgravity research that leads to new technologies, medical treatments, and products that improve life on Earth.
For launch countdown coverage, NASA's launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex
May 04, 2019
SpaceX Dragon Heads to Space Station with NASA Science, Cargo
After launching at 2:48 a.m. EDT Saturday, a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station with approximately 5,500 pounds of NASA cargo and science investigations that include research into Earth's carbon cycle and the formation of asteroids and comets.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 launches Dragon with cargo for the International Space Station.
The spacecraft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory on Monday, May 6. Dragon will join five other spacecraft currently at the station. Coverage of the spacecraft's approach and arrival will begin at 5:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency's website.
Dragon's launch comes on the heels of robotics ground controllers in Mission Control Houston successfully completing an operation to remove a failed Main Bus Switching Unit (MBSU) aboard the space station and replace it with a spare. The completion of the robotics work marks the second replacement of an MBSU not involving a spacewalk. The space station continues to be a critical test bed where NASA is pioneering new methods to explore space, from complex robotic work to refueling spacecraft in flight and developing new robotic systems to assist astronauts on the frontier of space. Technologies such as these will be vital as NASA looks to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024.
Expedition 59 astronauts David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Nick Hague of NASA will use the space station's robotic arm to grapple Dragon around 7 a.m. Coverage of robotic installation to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module will begin at 9 a.m.
This delivery, SpaceX's 17th cargo flight to the space station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract, will support dozens of new and existing investigations. NASA's research and development work aboard the space station contributes to the agency's deep space exploration plans, including returning astronauts to the Moon's surface in five years.
Here are details about some of the scientific investigations Dragon is delivering to the space station:
Measuring Atmospheric CO2 from Space
NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) examines the complex dynamics of Earth's atmospheric carbon cycle by collecting measurements to track variations in a specific type of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Understanding carbon sources can aid in forecasting increased atmospheric heat retention and reduce its long-term risks.
Putting Microalgae on the Menu
The Photobioreactor investigation aims to demonstrate how microalgae can be used together with existing life support systems on the space station to improve recycling of resources. The cultivation of microalgae for food, and as part of a life support system to generate oxygen and consume carbon dioxide, could be helpful in future long-duration exploration missions, as it could reduce the amount of consumables required from Earth.
Organs on Chips Advance Human Health Research
Scientists are using a new technology called tissue chips, which could help predict the effectiveness of potential medicines in humans. Fluid that mimics blood can be passed through the chip to simulate blood flow, and can include drugs or toxins. In microgravity, changes occur in human health and human cells that resemble accelerated aging and disease processes. This investigation allows scientists to make observations over the course of a few weeks in microgravity rather than the months it would take in a laboratory on Earth.
Multi-Use Microgravity Experiment Platform
The Hermes facility allows scientists to study the dusty, fragmented debris covering asteroids and moons, called regolith. Once installed by astronauts on the space station, scientists will be able to take over the experiment from Earth to study how regolith particles behave in response to long-duration exposure to microgravity, including changes to pressure, temperate and shocks from impacts and other forces. The investigations will provide insight into the formation and behavior of asteroids, comets, impact dynamics and planetary evolution.
These are just a few of the hundreds of investigations that will help us learn how to keep astronauts healthy during long-duration space travel and demonstrate technologies for future human and robotic exploration beyond low-Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars. Space station research also provides opportunities for other U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions to conduct microgravity research that leads to new technologies, medical treatments, and products that improve life on Earth.
For more than 18 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, and making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 230 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,500 research investigations from researchers in 106 countries.
Get breaking news, images and features from the station on social media, at:
https://instagram.com/iss and https://www.twitter.com/ISS_Research and https://www.twitter.com/Space_Station
April 24, 2019
NASA's Next Space Station Resupply Launch
Re-Re-Scheduled NET for Wednesday, May 3rd at 3:11am exact.
|A two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on December 5, 2018 at 1:16 p.m. EST, carrying the 16th Commercial Resupply Services mission tothe International Space Station.
NASA commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting no earlier than 4:22 a.m. EDT Tuesday, April 30, for the launch of its next resupply mission to the International Space Station. Live coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency's website Monday, April 29, with prelaunch events.
This is the 17th SpaceX mission under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract. The Dragon spacecraft will deliver supplies including critical materials to support dozens of the more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 59 and 60. The spacecraft's unpressurized trunk will transport NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) and Space Test Program-Houston 6 (STP-H6).
OCO-3 will be installed robotically on the exterior of the space station's Japanese Experiment Module Exposed Facility Unit, where it will measure and map carbon dioxide from space to increase our understanding of the relationship between carbon and climate. STP-H6 is an X-ray communication investigation that will be used to perform a space-based demonstration of a new technology for generating beams of modulated X-rays. This technology may be useful for providing efficient communication to deep space probes, or communicating with hypersonic vehicles where plasma sheaths prevent traditional radio communications.
The spacecraft will take two days to reach the space station before installation on Thursday, May 2. When it arrives, astronaut David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will grapple Dragon, with NASA astronaut Nick Hague serving as backup. NASA astronaut Christina Koch will assist by monitoring telemetry during Dragon's approach. Station crew will monitor Dragon vehicle functions during rendezvous. After Dragon capture, mission control in Houston will send commands to the station's arm to rotate and install the spacecraft on the bottom of the station's Harmony module.
April 11, 2019
NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Asteroid Redirect Test Mission
NASA has selected SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, the first-ever mission to demonstrate the capability to deflect an asteroid by colliding a spacecraft with it at high speed - a technique known as a kinetic impactor.
The total cost for NASA to launch DART is approximately $69 million, which includes the launch service and other mission related costs.
The DART mission currently is targeted to launch in June 2021 on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. By using solar electric propulsion, DART will intercept the asteroid Didymos' small moon in October 2022, when the asteroid will be within 11 million kilometers of Earth.
NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will manage the SpaceX launch service. The DART Project office is located at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and is managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office in Washington.
For more information about NASA programs and missions, visit: https://www.nasa.gov
February 20, 2019
NASA, SpaceX Demo-1 Events and Broadcasts
NASA and commercial crew provider SpaceX are targeting 2:48 a.m. EST Saturday, March 2, for the launch of the Demo-1 uncrewed flight test to the International Space Station. The uncrewed test flights will be the first time a commercially-built and operated American rocket and spacecraft designed for humans will launch to the space station.
|This artist concept depicts SpaceX's Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 lifting off from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Image Credit: SpaceX
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About 10 minutes after launch, Crew Dragon will reach its preliminary orbit. It is scheduled to dock to station Sunday, March 3 at 5:55 a.m. EST. The Crew Dragon spacecraft will carry about 400 pounds of crew supplies and equipment to the space station and return some critical research samples to Earth.
The spacecraft will spend about five days attached to the space station. Dragon will remain at the space station until March 8 when the spacecraft will return to Earth. About five hours after Dragon leaves the station, it will conduct its deorbit burn, which lasts up to 10 minutes. It takes about 30 minutes for Dragon to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean.
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.
NASA TV Launch Coverage
NASA TV live coverage will begin at 2 a.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. Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.
NASA Web Launch Coverage
Launch day coverage of the SpaceX Demo-1 flight will be available on the NASA website. Coverage will include live streaming and blog updates beginning at 2 a.m. as the countdown milestones occur.
Postlaunch News Conference on NASA TV
A postlaunch news conference will occur at about 5 a.m. in Kennedy's Press Site TV Auditorium and air live on NASA Television and the agency's website at http://www.nasa.gov/ntv.
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. The goal of the program is safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station, which could allow for additional research time and increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity's testbed for exploration.
For launch countdown coverage, NASA's launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew