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  • richardmitnick 3:12 pm on March 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , From NASA: "NASA Embraces Small Satellites" Video and text, NASA   

    From NASA: “NASA Embraces Small Satellites” Video and text 

    NASA image
    NASA


    Access mp4 video here .

    The earliest satellites of the Space Age were small. Sputnik, for instance, weighed just 184.3 lbs. America’s first satellite, Explorer 1, was even smaller at only about 30 lbs.

    Over time, satellites grew to accommodate more sensors with greater capabilities, but thanks to miniaturization and new technology capabilities, small is back in vogue.

    NASA is one of many government agencies, universities, and commercial organizations embracing small satellite designs, from tiny CubeSats to micro-satellites. A basic CubeSat has 4 inch sides and weighs just a few pounds!

    A CubeSat can be put into place a number of different ways. It can be a hitchhiker, flying to space onboard a rocket whose main purpose is to launch a full-sized satellite. Or it can be put into orbit from the International Space Station. Astronauts recently used this technique when they deployed the Miniature X-Ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS), a CubeSat that studies solar flares.

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    On Feb. 2, 2016, NASA announced which CubeSats will fly on the inaugural flight of the agency’s Space Launch System in late 2018. CubeSats are small satellites, about the size of a cereal box, which provide an inexpensive way to access space. This file photo shows a set of NanoRacks CubeSats in space after their deployment in 2014.
    Credits: NASA

    In 2018, NASA plans to launch the CubeSat to study Solar Particles (CuSP). It will hitch a ride out of Earth orbit during an uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Space Launch System.

    CuSP could serve as a small “space weather buoy.”

    Eric Christian, CuSP’s lead scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland says, “Right now, with our current fleet of large satellites, it’s like we’re trying to understand weather for the entire Pacific Ocean with just a handful of weather stations. We need to collect data from more locations.”

    For certain areas of science, having a larger number of less expensive missions will provide a powerful opportunity to really understand a given environment. Christian says, “If you had, say, 20 CubeSats in different orbits, you could really start to understand the space environment in three dimensions.”

    NASA scientists are taking this approach of using a constellation of sensors to probe the details of a large area with a number of recently launched and upcoming missions.

    The Cyclone Global Navigation Satallite System, or CYGNSS, launched in December 2016. CYGNSS uses eight micro-satellites to measure ocean surface winds in and near the eyes of tropical cyclones, typhoons, and hurricanes to learn about their rapid intensification. These micro-satellites each weigh about 65 lbs, larger than a CubeSat but still very small compared to traditional satellite designs.

    Additionally, the first four selections from the In-Space Validation of Earth Science Technologies (InVEST) program recently began launching. The goal of the InVEST program is to validate new technologies in space prior to use in a science mission.

    RAVAN, the first of the InVEST CubeSats, was launched in November 2016 to demonstrate a new way to measure radiation reflected by Earth. The next three InVEST missions to launch, HARP, IceCube, and MiRaTA, will demonstrate technologies that may pave the way for future satellites to measure clouds and aerosols suspended in Earth’s atmosphere, probe the role of icy clouds in climate change, and collect atmospheric temperature, water vapor, and cloud ice data through remote sensing, respectively.

    NASA’s Science Mission Directorate is looking to develop scientific CubeSats that cut across all NASA Science through the SMD CubeSat Initiative Program.

    Andrea Martin, communications specialist for NASA’s Earth Science Technology Office, believes this is just the beginning. She says, “CubeSats could be flown in formation, known as constellations, with quick revisit times to better capture the dynamic processes of Earth. Multiple CubeSats can also take complementary measurements unachievable by a single larger mission.” She envisions big things ahead for these little satellites.

    For more news about CubeSats and other cutting edge technologies both big and small, stay tuned to science.nasa.gov.

    See the full article here .

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    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:32 am on March 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ESA aim to ram asteroid, Moonlet of asteroid 65803 Didymos, NASA,   

    From COSMOS: “NASA, ESA aim to ram asteroid” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    COSMOS

    22 March 2017
    Richard A. Lovett

    1
    Artist’s impression of the binary asteroid Didymos, the ESA satellite watching, the NASA satellite heading in for impact. ESA/Getty Images [This is confusing. ESA satellite is easy to pick out, but NASA dart?]

    A planned NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) joint mission is poised to test whether it is possible to knock an asteroid from one orbit into another.

    The mission, which has not yet fully funded, is part of the space agencies’ focus on “planetary defense”: the protection of Earth from collision with dangerous asteroids.

    But instead of trying to blow up such a threat, as in the 1998 science fiction movie Armageddon, the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment mission intends to prove that an asteroid can be shifted by hitting it with a fast-moving spacecraft launched from Earth.

    “We save Bruce Willis’s life,” quips Patrick Michel, a planetary scientist from the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, in Nice, France, in a reference to the movie. “He doesn’t have to sacrifice himself.”

    The mission uses two spacecraft, one to be launched by ESA in 2020, the other by NASA in 2021.

    The ESA spacecraft, called AIM (for Asteroid Impact Mission) will rendezvous with the selected asteroid and go into orbit around it in early 2022.

    5
    ESA AIM

    The NASA spacecraft, called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) will be timed to hit the rock a few months later, at a speed of six kilometres per second, while the AIM spacecraft and earthbound telescopes watch.

    4
    NASA DART

    The target is a moonlet of 65803 Didymos, a near-Earth asteroid discovered in 1996. At the time of impact it will be about 11 million kilometres away.

    As the world “double” in the DART mission’s name suggests, Didymos is a binary system, meaning that there are two asteroids orbiting each other. The large one is about 800 metres across; the moonlet measures about 160 metres.

    The impact is expected to alter the moonlet’s orbital speed around Didymos by about a half-millimetre per second, says Andrew Cheng, a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, who is lead investigator for the NASA side of the project.

    “That doesn’t sound like much, but it is very easily measured, both by the AIM spacecraft and by telescopes on the ground,” he said, speaking by phone from the 2017 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in the Woodlands, Texas, where he is presenting details on the project.

    The effect is easy to measure from Earth, he adds, because the moonlet’s orbit is aligned so that viewed from down here it passes behind Didymos once each circuit.

    These disappearances make it easy to precisely measure its orbital period, Cheng says, estimating that even the tiny speed change expected to be imparted by the crash will alter its 11.9-hour orbit by several minutes.

    One of the goals of the mission is to test whether it is possible to hit such a small, distant object with a spacecraft moving at such a high speed. But it’s also important, Cheng says, to see how the asteroid responds to the impact.

    That’s because hitting an asteroid with a spacecraft isn’t like hitting a billiard ball with the cue ball.

    “When we have a high-speed impact on an asteroid, you create a crater,” Cheng says. “You blow pieces back in the direction you came from.”

    The ejection of this material shoves the asteroid in the opposite direction, significantly increasing its momentum change.

    “The amount can be quite large,” Cheng says, “More than a factor of two.”

    With the AIM spacecraft orbiting nearby, the impact will also allow the first scientific measurements of precisely what happens when an asteroid (or moon) gets hit by a fast-moving object, such as the 500-kilogram DART spacecraft.

    “This will tell us about cratering processes,” says Michel, who is the lead investigator of the ESA side of the mission.

    That is important because planetary scientists use crater counts on other worlds to help determine how old their surfaces are, based on the numbers and sizes of objects that have hit the surface since it formed.

    But most of the research designed to correlate crater size to the size of the impactor rests either on modeling or small-scale laboratory tests.

    This is the first time, Cheng says, that scientists will be able to test their models by looking at a crater on an asteroid, knowing exactly what hit it and how fast it was moving. Michel adds that the target moonlet will also be the smallest asteroid ever to be visited by a spacecraft.

    “This is important for science and for companies interested in asteroid mining because so far we don’t have any data regarding what we will find on the surface of such a small body,” he says.

    “Each time we discover a new world we have surprises,” he adds. “The main driver [of this mission] is planetary defence, but it has a lot of scientific implicaitons.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 5:01 pm on February 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NASA, When Rocket Science Meets X-ray Science,   

    From LBNL: “When Rocket Science Meets X-ray Science” 

    Berkeley Logo

    Berkeley Lab

    February 21, 2017
    Glenn Roberts Jr.
    glennemail@gmail.com
    510-486-5582

    Berkeley Lab and NASA collaborate in X-ray experiments to ensure safety, reliability of spacecraft systems.

    1
    Francesco Panerai of Analytical Mechanical Associates Inc., a materials scientist leading a series of X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab for NASA Ames Research Center, discusses a 3-D visualization (shown on screens) of a heat shield material’s microscopic structure in simulated spacecraft atmospheric entry conditions. The visualization is based on X-ray imaging at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Note: This is the first installment in a four-part series that focuses on a partnership between NASA and Berkeley Lab to explore spacecraft materials and meteorites with X-rays in microscale detail.

    It takes rocket science to launch and fly spacecraft to faraway planets and moons, but a deep understanding of how materials perform under extreme conditions is also needed to enter and land on planets with atmospheres.

    X-ray science is playing a key role, too, in ensuring future spacecraft survive in extreme environments as they descend through otherworldly atmospheres and touch down safely on the surface.

    Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and NASA are using X-rays to explore, via 3-D visualizations, how the microscopic structures of spacecraft heat shield and parachute materials survive extreme temperatures and pressures, including simulated atmospheric entry conditions on Mars.

    Human exploration of Mars and other large-payload missions may require a new type of heat shield that is flexible and can remain folded up until needed.


    Streaking particles collide with carbon fibers in this direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) calculation based on X-ray microtomography data from Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source. NASA is developing new types of carbon fiber-based heat shield materials for next-gen spacecraft. The slow-motion animation represents 2 thousandths of a second. (Credit: Arnaud Borner, Tim Sandstrom/NASA Ames Research Center)

    Candidate materials for this type of flexible heat shield, in addition to fabrics for Mars-mission parachutes deployed at supersonic speeds, are being tested with X-rays at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) and with other techniques.

    LBNL/ALS
    LBNL/ALS

    “We are developing a system at the ALS that can simulate all material loads and stresses over the course of the atmospheric entry process,” said Harold Barnard, a scientist at Berkeley Lab’s ALS who is spearheading the Lab’s X-ray work with NASA.

    The success of the initial X-ray studies has also excited interest from the planetary defense scientific community looking to explore the use of X-ray experiments to guide our understanding of meteorite breakup. Data from these experiments will be used in risk analysis and aid in assessing threats posed by large asteroids.

    The ultimate objective of the collaboration is to establish a suite of tools that includes X-ray imaging and small laboratory experiments, computer-based analysis and simulation tools, as well as large-scale high-heat and wind-tunnel tests. These allow for the rapid development of new materials with established performance and reliability.


    NASA has tested a new type of flexible heat shield, developed through the Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT) Project, with a high-speed blow torch at its Arc Jet Complex at NASA Ames, and has explored the microstructure of its woven carbon-fiber material at Berkeley Lab. (Credit: NASA Ames)

    This system can heat sample materials to thousands of degrees, subject them to a mixture of different gases found in other planets’ atmospheres, and with pistons stretch the material to its breaking point, all while imaging in real time their 3-D behavior at the microstructure level.

    NASA Ames Research Center (NASA ARC) in California’s Silicon Valley has traditionally used extreme heat tests at its Arc Jet Complex to simulate atmospheric entry conditions.

    Researchers at ARC can blast materials with a giant superhot blowtorch that accelerates hot air to velocities topping 11,000 miles per hour, with temperatures exceeding that at the surface of the sun. Scientists there also test parachutes and spacecraft at its wind-tunnel facilities, which can produce supersonic wind speeds faster than 1,900 miles per hour.

    Michael Barnhardt, a senior research scientist at NASA ARC and principal investigator of the Entry Systems Modeling Project, said the X-ray work opens a new window into the structure and strength properties of materials at the microscopic scale, and expands the tools and processes NASA uses to “test drive” spacecraft materials before launch.

    “Before this collaboration, we didn’t understand what was happening at the microscale. We didn’t have a way to test it,” Barnhardt said. “X-rays gave us a way to peak inside the material and get a view we didn’t have before. With this understanding, we will be able to design new materials with properties tailored to a certain mission.”

    He added, “What we’re trying to do is to build the basis for more predictive models. Rather than build and test and see if it works,” the X-ray work could reduce risk and provide more assurance about a new material’s performance even at the drawing-board stage.

    2
    Francesco Panerai holds a sample of parachute material at NASA Ames Research Center. The screen display shows a parachute prototype (left) and a magnified patch of the material at right. (Credit: Marilyn Chung/Berkeley Lab)

    Francesco Panerai, a materials scientist with NASA contractor AMA Inc. and the X-ray experiments test lead for NASA ARC, said that the X-ray experiments at Berkeley Lab were on samples about the size of a postage stamp. The experimental data is used to improve realistic computer simulations of heat shield and parachute systems.

    “We need to use modern measurement techniques to improve our understanding of material response,” Panerai said. The 3-D X-ray imaging technique and simulated planetary conditions that NASA is enlisting at the ALS provide the best pictures yet of the behavior of the internal 3-D microstructure of spacecraft materials.

    The experiments are being conducted at an ALS experimental station that captures a sequence of images as a sample is rotated in front of an X-ray beam. These images, which provide views inside the samples and can resolve details less than 1 micron, or 1 millionth of a meter, can be compiled to form detailed 3-D images and animations of samples.

    This study technique is known as X-ray microtomography. “We have started developing computational tools based on these 3-D images, and we want to try to apply this methodology to other research areas, too,” he said.

    Learn more about the research partnership between NASA and Berkeley Lab in these upcoming articles, to appear at :

    Feb. 22—The Heat is On: X-rays reveal how simulated atmospheric entry conditions impact spacecraft shielding.
    Feb. 23—A New Paradigm in Parachute Design: X-ray studies showing the microscopic structure of spacecraft parachute fabrics can fill in key details about how they perform under extreme conditions.
    Feb. 24—Getting to Know Meteors Better: Experiments at Berkeley Lab may help assess risks posed by falling Space rocks.

    The Advanced Light Source is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

    See the full article here .

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    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California

    University of California Seal

    DOE Seal

     
  • richardmitnick 1:23 pm on February 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: First-Ever Space Technology Research Institutes, NASA, Space Technology Mission Directorate   

    From NASA: “NASA Selects Proposals for First-Ever Space Technology Research Institutes” 

    NASA image
    NASA

    Feb. 16, 2017
    Gina Anderson
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-1160
    gina.n.anderson@nasa.gov

    NASA has selected proposals for the creation of two multi-disciplinary, university-led research institutes that will focus on the development of technologies critical to extending human presence deeper into our solar system.

    The new Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) created under these proposals will bring together researchers from various disciplines and organizations to collaborate on the advancement of cutting-edge technologies in bio-manufacturing and space infrastructure, with the goal of creating and maximizing Earth-independent, self-sustaining exploration mission capabilities.

    “NASA is establishing STRIs to research and exploit cutting-edge advances in technology with the potential for revolutionary impact on future aerospace capabilities,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “These university-led, multi-disciplinary research programs promote the synthesis of science, engineering and other disciplines to achieve specific research objectives with credible expected outcomes within five years. At the same time, these institutes will expand the U.S. talent base in areas of research and development with broader applications beyond aerospace.”

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    High performance materials and structures are needed for safe and affordable next generation exploration systems such as transit vehicles, habitats, and power systems.
    Credits: NASA

    Each STRI will receive up to $15 million over the five-year period of performance. The selected new institutes are:

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    Advanced biological engineering techniques are rapidly emerging that can lead to innovative approaches for in situ biological manufacturing techniques using microbes and plants, and provide the means to create sustainable technologies for both future space exploration and terrestrial applications.
    Credits: NASA

    Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space (CUBES)

    As NASA shifts its focus from low-Earth orbit to deep space missions, the agency is investing in the development of technologies that will allow long-duration mission crews to manufacture the products they need, rather than relying on the current practice of resupply missions from Earth.

    The CUBES institute will advance research into an integrated, multi-function, multi-organism bio-manufacturing system to produce fuel, materials, pharmaceuticals and food. While the research goals of the CUBES institute are to benefit deep-space planetary exploration, these goals also lend themselves to practical Earth-based applications. For example, the emphasis on using carbon dioxide as the base component for materials manufacturing has relevance to carbon dioxide management on Earth.

    The CUBES team is led by Adam Arkin, principal investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with Utah State University, the University of California, Davis, Stanford University, and industrial partners Autodesk and Physical Sciences, Inc.

    Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP)

    Affordable deep space exploration will require transformative materials for the manufacturing of next-generation transit vehicles, habitats, power systems, and other exploration systems. These building materials need to be lighter and stronger than those currently used in even the most advanced systems.

    US-COMP aims to develop and deploy a carbon nanotube-based, ultra-high strength, lightweight aerospace structural material within five years. Success will mean a critical change to the design paradigm for space structures. Through collaboration with industry partners, it is anticipated that advances in laboratories could quickly translate to advances in manufacturing facilities that will yield sufficient amounts of advanced materials for use in NASA missions.

    Results of this research will have broad societal impacts, as well. Rapid development and deployment of the advanced materials created by the institute could support an array of Earthly applications and benefit the U.S. manufacturing sector.

    US-COMP is a multidisciplinary team of 22 faculty members led by Gregory Odegard, principal investigator at the Michigan Technological University, in partnership with Florida State University, University of Utah, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Florida A&M University, Johns Hopkins University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, University of Colorado and Virginia Commonwealth University. Industrial partners include Nanocomp Technologies and Solvay, with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab as a collaborator.

    These awards are funded by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

    For more information about STMD, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

    See the full article here .

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    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:30 pm on January 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hidden Figures, Human computers, NACA, NASA,   

    From SA: “The Story of NASA’s Real “Hidden Figures”’ 

    Scientific American

    Scientific American

    January 24, 2017
    Elizabeth Howell

    1
    Mary Jackson was one of the “human computers” portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures.” Credit: NASA

    In the 1960s, Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn and others absorbed the accolades of being the first men in space. Behind the scenes, they were supported by hundreds of unheralded NASA workers, including “human computers” who did the calculations for their orbital trajectories. Hidden Figures, a 2016 book by Margot Lee Shetterly and a movie based on the book, celebrates the contributions of some of those workers.

    Beginning in 1935, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), a precursor of NASA, hired hundreds of women as computers. The job title designated someone who performed mathematical equations and calculations by hand, according to a NASA history. The computers worked at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia.

    Human computers were not a new concept. In the late 19th and early 20thcentury, female “computers” at Harvard University analyzed star photos to learn more about their basic properties.

    2

    Edward Charles Pickering, left, director of the Harvard College Observatory, hired women to analyze the images.
    Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. via Space.com.

    These women made discoveries still fundamental to astronomy today. For example: Williamina Fleming is best known for classifying stars based on their temperature, and Annie Jump Cannon developed a stellar classification system still used today (from coolest to hottest stars: O, B, A, F, G, K, M.)

    During World War II, the computer pool was expanded. Langley began recruiting African-American women with college degrees to work as computers, according to NASA. However, segregation policies required that these women work in a separate section, called the West Area Computers—although computing sections became more integrated after the first several years.

    As the years passed and the center evolved, the West Computers became engineers, (electronic) computer programmers, the first black managers at Langley and trajectory whizzes whose work propelled the first American, John Glenn, into orbit in 1962.

    “Hidden Figures” focuses on three computers, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan. Here are brief biographies of these women:

    Mary Jackson (1921-2005)

    Jackson hailed from Hampton, Virginia. She graduated with high marks from high school and received a bachelor of science degree from the Hampton Institute in Mathematics and Physical Science, according to a biography posted on NASA’s website. She began her career as a schoolteacher, and took on several other jobs before joining NACA.

    As a computer with the all-black West Area Computing section, she was involved with wind tunnels and flight experiments. Her job was to extract the relevant data from experiments and flight tests. She also tried to help other women advance in their career, according to the biography, by advising them on what educational opportunities to pursue.

    “She discovered that occasionally it was something as simple as a lack of a couple of courses, or perhaps the location of the individual, or perhaps the assignments given them, and of course, the ever present glass ceiling that most women seemed to encounter,” stated the biography.

    After 30 years with NACA and NASA (at which point she was an engineer), Jackson decided to become an equal opportunity specialist to help women and minorities. Although described as a behind-the-scenes sort of worker, she helped many people get promoted or become supervisors. She retired from NASA in 1985.

    Katherine Johnson (born 1918)

    Johnson showed early brilliance in West Virginia schools by being promoted several years ahead of her age, according to NASA. She attended a high school on the campus of West Virginia State College by age 13, and began attending the college at age 18. After graduating with highest honors, she started work as a schoolteacher in 1937.

    Two years later, when the college chose to integrate its graduate schools, Johnson and two male students were offered spots. She quickly enrolled, but left to have children. In 1953, when she was back in the workforce, Johnson joined the West Area Computing section at Langley.

    She began her career working with data from flight tests, but her life quickly changed after the Soviet Union launched the first satellite in 1957. For example, some of her math equations were used in a lecture series compendium called Notes on Space Technology. These lectures were given by engineers that later formed the Space Task Group, NACA’s section on space travel.

    For the Mercury missions, Johnson did trajectory analysis for Shepard’s Freedom 7 mission in 1961, and (at John Glenn’s request) did the same job for his orbital mission in 1962. Despite Glenn’s trajectory being planned by computers, Glenn reportedly wanted Johnson herself to run through the equations to make sure they were safe.

    “When asked to name her greatest contribution to space exploration, Katherine Johnson talks about the calculations that helped synch Project Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon-orbiting Command and Service Module,” NASA wrote. “She also worked on the space shuttle and the Earth Resources Satellite, and authored or coauthored 26 research reports.”

    Johnson retired from NASA In 1986. At age 97, in 2015, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.

    Dorothy Vaughan (1910-2008)

    Vaughan joined the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1943 after beginning her career as a math teacher in Farmville, Virginia. Her job during World War II was a temporary position, but (in part thanks to a new executive order prohibiting discrimination in the defense industry) she was hired on permanently because the laboratory had a wealth of data to process.

    Still, the law required that she and her black colleagues needed to work separately from white female computers, and the first supervisors were white. Vaughan became the first black NACA supervisor in 1949 and made sure that her employees received promotions or pay raises if merited.

    Her segregation was ended in 1958 when NACA became NASA, at which point NASA created an analysis and computation division. Vaughan was an expert programmer in FORTRAN, a prominent computer language of the day, and also contributed to a satellite-launching rocket called Scout (Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test). She retired from NASA in 1971.

    See the full article here .

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    Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., has been bringing its readers unique insights about developments in science and technology for more than 160 years.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:48 pm on December 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Black hole seeds, , NASA, NASA Telescopes Find Clues For How Giant Black Holes Formed So Quickly,   

    From NASA: “NASA Telescopes Find Clues For How Giant Black Holes Formed So Quickly” 

    NASA image
    NASA

    May 24, 2016 [Picked up for year end.]
    Felicia Chou
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-0257
    felicia.chou@nasa.gov

    Sean Potter
    Headquarters, Washington
    202-358-1536
    sean.potter@nasa.gov

    1
    This illustration represents the best evidence to date that the direct collapse of a gas cloud produced supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Researchers combined data from NASA’s Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer telescopes to make this discovery. Credits: NASA/CXC/STScI

    NASA/Chandra Telescope
    NASA/Chandra Telescope

    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope
    NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

    NASA/Spitzer Telescope
    NASA/Spitzer Telescope

    Using data from NASA’s Great Observatories, astronomers have found the best evidence yet for cosmic seeds in the early universe that should grow into supermassive black holes.

    Researchers combined data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope to identify these possible black hole seeds. They discuss their findings in a paper that will appear in an upcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    “Our discovery, if confirmed, explains how these monster black holes were born,” said Fabio Pacucci of Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) in Pisa, Italy, who led the study. “We found evidence that supermassive black hole seeds can form directly from the collapse of a giant gas cloud, skipping any intermediate steps.”

    Scientists believe a supermassive black hole lies in the center of nearly all large galaxies, including our own Milky Way. They have found that some of these supermassive black holes, which contain millions or even billions of times the mass of the sun, formed less than a billion years after the start of the universe in the Big Bang.

    One theory suggests black hole seeds were built up by pulling in gas from their surroundings and by mergers of smaller black holes, a process that should take much longer than found for these quickly forming black holes.

    These new findings suggest instead that some of the first black holes formed directly when a cloud of gas collapsed, bypassing any other intermediate phases, such as the formation and subsequent destruction of a massive star.

    “There is a lot of controversy over which path these black holes take,” said co-author Andrea Ferrara, also of SNS. “Our work suggests we are narrowing in on an answer, where the black holes start big and grow at the normal rate, rather than starting small and growing at a very fast rate.”

    The researchers used computer models of black hole seeds combined with a new method to select candidates for these objects from long-exposure images from Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer.

    The team found two strong candidates for black hole seeds. Both of these matched the theoretical profile in the infrared data, including being very red objects, and also emit X-rays detected with Chandra. Estimates of their distance suggest they may have been formed when the universe was less than a billion years old

    “Black hole seeds are extremely hard to find and confirming their detection is very difficult,” said Andrea Grazian, a co-author from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy. “However, we think our research has uncovered the two best candidates to date.”

    The team plans to obtain further observations in X-rays and the infrared to check whether these objects have more of the properties expected for black hole seeds. Upcoming observatories, such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope will aid in future studies by detecting the light from more distant and smaller black holes. Scientists currently are building the theoretical framework needed to interpret the upcoming data, with the aim of finding the first black holes in the universe.

    “As scientists, we cannot say at this point that our model is ‘the one’,” said Pacucci. “What we really believe is that our model is able to reproduce the observations without requiring unreasonable assumptions.”

    NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program while the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra’s science and flight operations.

    The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington.

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, whose science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado.

    For more on NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/chandra

    For more on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

    For more on NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:32 pm on December 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , BIG Idea Challenge, In-space Spacecraft Assembly, NASA   

    From NASA: “BIG Idea Challenge Finalists Devise Crafty Concepts for In-space Spacecraft Assembly” 

    NASA image
    NASA

    Dec. 15, 2016
    Joe Atkinson
    NASA’s Langley Research Center

    Shelley Spears
    National Institute of Aerospace

    1
    NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace have selected five university teams to develop their concepts for in-space spacecraft assembly. Credits: Analytical Mechanics Associates

    2
    No image caption. Mo image credit.

    It’s a complex and daunting thing, dreaming up ways to assemble spacecraft in space.

    But don’t tell that to a few whip-smart college students — they’re up for the challenge.

    In fact, five university teams will soon get the chance to make the case for their in-space spacecraft assembly concepts as part of the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge.

    This year’s challenge asked teams to propose innovative concepts for in-space assembly of spacecraft – particularly tugs – propelled by solar electric propulsion that transfer payloads from low-Earth orbit, to an orbit around the moon, or to a lunar distant retrograde orbit.

    After a competitive proposal review and selection process, a panel of judges selected five teams to continue with their designs. Finalists include, Tulane University, the University of Colorado Boulder, a multi-university team consisting of students from Georgia Tech, the University of Texas at Austin and New York University, as well as two teams from the University of Maryland.

    “These teams brought forth innovative approaches and impressive technical analysis for the design of modular solar electric propulsion orbit-transfer vehicles,” added Keith Belvin, principal technologist for structures, materials and nanotechnology in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and a judge for the challenge. “NASA plans to work with the students and their faculty advisors in development of their concepts to support space exploration beyond low Earth orbit.”

    Teams will present their final concepts to a panel of NASA experts during the 2017 BIG Idea Forum, scheduled for Feb. 15-16 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

    The BIG Idea Challenge is sponsored by NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development Program.

    “The BIG Idea Challenge provides a great opportunity to engage undergraduates and get them involved in solving real problems that NASA scientists and engineers encounter when developing technology for NASA needs,” said Game Changing Development Program Executive and BIG Idea judge LaNetra Tate. “The response to this year’s challenge was awesome, and the submissions show the technical sophistication of our next generation’s scientists and engineers.”

    NASA’s goal for in-space assembly of modular spacecraft is to reduce launch mass and to enable the construction of larger structures in space in a way that reduces costs associated with deep space exploration. Use of solar electric propulsion spacecraft could provide an efficient and cost-effective solution for delivering essential payloads needed for expansion beyond Earth’s boundaries.

    Each of the final five teams proposed unique system designs that provide the potential ability to construct large solar propulsion tugs in space. Some of their concepts employed new approaches for packaging modules that minimized launch loads, while others focused on modular solar arrays and ion engines, or robust robotic assembly of the modules that form the actual solar propulsion tug.

    During their design review at the BIG Idea Forum, the five finalists will compete to persuade the NASA judging panel that their concepts are not only revolutionary, but feasible as well. The team with the most promising concept will be offered an internship opportunity to continue working on its concept side-by-side with engineers and members of the Game Changing Development Program at NASA Langley during the summer of 2017.

    For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission directorate, go to:

    http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

    For more information about the 2017 Big Idea Challenge, please visit:

    http://bigidea.nianet.org/

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:54 am on December 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NASA, , Trump, Trump Adds Six More to NASA Transition Team   

    From SPACE.com: “Trump Adds Six More to NASA Transition Team” 

    space-dot-com logo

    SPACE.com

    December 11, 2016
    Brian Berger
    Jeff Foust

    1
    Steve Cook, left, and Aerojet Rocketyne’s Julie Van Kleeck brief reporters on the AR-1 engine at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs in April. Credit: SpaceNews/Brian Berger

    The transition team for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump added six more people to the NASA landing team Friday, representing a range of viewpoints on topics such as commercial spaceflight and development of heavy-lift launch vehicles.

    Among the new landing team members is Steve Cook, who was in charge of the Ares 1 and Ares 5 rocket programs at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, until leaving the agency in 2009 for Huntsville-based Dynetics. The Ares program was canceled under President Barack Obama, but elements of both rockets were folded into NASA’s design for the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket the agency is building to launch the Orion crew vehicle on deep space missions.

    As a Dynetics corporate vice president, Cook has been closely involved in Aerojet Rocketdyne’s development of the AR-1 engine — a candidate to replace the Russian RD-180 on United Launch Alliance’s next-generation rocket.

    Offering a different perspective on those issues is Greg Autry, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California. Autry has written extensively in support of commercial spaceflight despite setbacks like the Falcon 9 pad explosion in September.

    Autry, in an October op-ed that outlines space policy recommendations for the next administration, took a harder line on the SLS. “We will discontinue spending on Space Launch System (SLS), a giant government rocket, lacking both innovation and a mission,” he wrote. “While SLS has consumed the largest single piece of NASA’s budget for years, private sector operators like SpaceX and Blue Origin have leapfrogged it with more efficient, reusable boosters.”

    A third new landing team member, Jack Burns, is a professor at the University of Colorado and senior vice president of the American Astronomical Society. He has been an advocate for lunar exploration, serving as director of the Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research (LUNAR), a network of universities and NASA centers that studied the use of the moon to support space science research. He was also the chair of the NASA Advisory Council’s science committee in 2009 and 2010.

    The other members announced Friday are:

    Rodney Liesveld, a former senior policy adviser at NASA
    Sandy Magnus, a former NASA astronaut who flew on three missions, including a 4.5-month stay on the International Space Station, and has been executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics since 2012
    Jeff Waksman, a former research fellow at the U.S. House of Representatives

    The NASA landing team is led by Chris Shank, who worked for House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) until last week. Shank worked for NASA from 2005 to 2009, during the tenure of administrator Mike Griffin.

    Shank, formally named to the landing team Nov. 29, has already been meeting with NASA officials about transition issues. “We’ve had a great couple of days with Chris,” said NASA Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot at a Dec. 9 Space Transportation Association luncheon here. “He’s just starting the meetings with us, mostly at this point catching up on where we are on items. He’s asking a lot of questions and we’re working with him pretty well.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 12:59 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R), NASA,   

    From NASA: “GOES-R” 

    NASA image
    NASA

    Undated
    No writer credit

    1
    Artist’s rendering of GOES-R. Credits: NASA

    The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) is the next generation of geostationary weather satellites, planned for launch in 2016. The advanced spacecraft and instrument technology used on the GOES-R series will result in more timely and accurate forecasts and warnings. It will improve support for the detection and observations of meteorological phenomena that directly affect public safety, protection of property, and ultimately, economic health and development.

    The GOES-R series is a collaborative development and acquisition effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. The GOES-R satellite, the first of the series, will provide continuous imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere and space weather monitoring.

    The GOES-R spacecraft is designed for 10 years of on-orbit operation preceded by up to five years of on-orbit storage. The satellite will be able to operate through periodic station-keeping and momentum adjust maneuvers, which will allow for near-continuous instrument observations.

    2
    GOES-R with Earth in the background. Credits: NASA

    The GOES-R instrument suite consists of Earth sensing, solar imaging, and space environment measurement payloads. There are six primary instruments: the Advanced Baseline Imager; the Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensors, which includes an Extreme Ultraviolet Sensor, X-Ray Sensor, EUVS/XRS Electrical Box, and Sun Positioning Sensor; the Geostationary Lightning Mapper; the Magnetometer; the Space Environment In-Situ Suite, which includes an Energetic Heavy Ion Sensor, Magnetospheric Particle Sensor – Low Energy Range, Magnetospheric Particle Sensor – High Energy Range, Solar and Galactic Proton Sensor, and Data Processing Unit; and the Solar Ultraviolet Imager.

    The Launch Vehicle that will place GOES-R into geosynchronous orbit will be an Atlas V 541 expendable launch vehicle out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

    GOES-R will help meteorologists observe and predict local weather events, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, flash floods, and other severe weather. In addition, GOES-R will monitor hazards such as aerosols, dust storms, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires and will also be used for space weather, oceanography, climate monitoring, in-situ data collection, and for search and rescue.

    The GOES system currently consists of GOES-13 operating as GOES-East in the eastern part of the constellation and GOES-15, operating as GOES-West. The GOES-R series will maintain the 2-satellite system implemented by the current GOES series. The GOES-R Series operational lifetime extends through December 2036.

    Learn more at http://www.goes-r.gov
    Related Links for GOES-R

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on October 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , NASA, Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI)   

    From NASA: “NASA Establishes the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute” 

    NASA image
    NASA

    Oct. 21, 2016
    Loura Hall

    1
    No image caption. No image credit.

    NASA announces the addition of its newest virtual institute to advance the field of small spacecraft systems. The Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI), hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will leverage the growing small spacecraft community, promote innovation, identify emerging technology opportunities, and provide an efficient channel for communication about small spacecraft systems with industry, academia, and other government agencies.

    “NASA sees enormous benefits from investing in research and technology development in small spacecraft systems, such as propulsion, that will be essential in advancing the commercial space sector,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “Over the past several years, NASA has increased the generation of new, innovative applications of small spacecraft, with several mission directorates using small spacecraft to meet their goals.”

    STMD established the Small Spacecraft Technology Program in 2011 to develop and demonstrate the unique capabilities of small spacecraft to support science, exploration and space operations. The Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) each are using small spacecraft for a range of activities: earth and space science measurements to help understand our environment; investigations of microgravity effects on organisms to enable the safe exploration of space; and robotic precursors to maximize the productive use of space.

    The S3VI will coordinate with key activities such as STMD’s Cube Quest Challenge and HEOMD’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CLSI). These efforts will continue to offer opportunities for university students and industry to fly small spacecraft as auxiliary payloads on NASA launches.

    “The S3VI will provide the first one-stop shop for technical knowledge in the rapidly burgeoning small spacecraft technology fields,” said Jay Bookbinder, director of programs and projects at Ames. “This will result in more efficient development efforts, and enable smaller vendors to compete more effectively in this market.”

    Depending on the mission objective, a small spacecraft can range in size from a postage-stamp (under an ounce) up to the size of a refrigerator (about 400 pounds). Many recently launched NASA small spacecraft conform to the CubeSat standards – established by academia – in which a single cube (called a one-unit, or 1U) measures about 4 inches on each side, has an approximate volume of one quart, and weighs less than three pounds. The variety of sizes offers spacecraft capabilities tailored to specific science instruments, exploration sensors, or technology demonstrations.

    Over the next year, the S3VI will establish both a physical and virtual presence within NASA and the small spacecraft community at large. Strategic direction and tactical focus for the Institute will result from a series of community activities and workshops. The S3VI will engage with the small spacecraft communities, including academia, industry, and other government agencies to:

    Establish the Institute as the common portal into NASA for all small spacecraft activities. The Institute will capture information on small spacecraft activities and lessons learned; identify small spacecraft collaborative opportunities; and identify NASA points of contact for a variety of small spacecraft activities across the centers.

    Engage subject matter experts from across the small spacecraft communities to define the technical scope, policy issues and direction for the Institute.

    Host the Small Spacecraft Body of Knowledge (SSBK) as an online resource. This includes STMD’s Small Spacecraft Technology State of the Art report, a small spacecraft lessons learned library, a systems test data repository, reliability practices, etc.

    The S3VI portal will go live in early 2017, and is jointly sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate and the Science Mission Directorate. The S3VI is hosted at and managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

    For more information about the Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

    For more information about the Science Mission Directorate, visit:

    https://science.nasa.gov

    For more information about small satellites, visit:

    http://www.nasa.gov/smallsats

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.

    Since that time, most U.S. space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo moon-landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. Most recently, NASA announced a new Space Launch System that it said would take the agency’s astronauts farther into space than ever before and lay the cornerstone for future human space exploration efforts by the U.S.

    NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate’s Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories [Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the [JAXA]Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

     
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