Natives in Florida: An Integral Part of Our Past and Present

Daniel Murphree, Ph.D., associate professor of history at the University of Central Florida, presents information to NASA Kennedy Space Center employees on the impact Florida natives have had on, and how they were affected by, Atlantic World events from 1492 to the present on June 11, 2019.
Daniel Murphree, Ph.D., associate professor of history at the University of Central Florida, presents information to NASA Kennedy Space Center employees on the impact Florida natives have had on, and how they were affected by, Atlantic World events from 1492 to the present. The presentation took place June 11, 2019, in Kennedy’s Training Auditorium and was brought to Kennedy by the Native American Heritage Initiative (NAHI) Employee Resource Group. One of eight resource groups at the Florida spaceport, NAHI aims to bring employees together, provide networking opportunities and inform the Kennedy workforce about Native American heritage. Photo credit: NASA/Chris Swanson

Native Americans in Florida have been largely affected by world events, but they also played an important role in influencing the outcomes of the world. Kennedy Space Center employees had the opportunity to attend a presentation on this topic June 11.

The presentation was brought to Kennedy by the Native American Heritage Initiative (NAHI) Employee Resource Group. One of eight resource groups at Kennedy, NAHI aims to bring employees together, provide networking opportunities and inform the workforce about our heritage.

Daniel Murphree, Ph.D., associate professor of history at the University of Central Florida, spoke on the history of native peoples in Florida and how their influences on the world continue even into today. “I always like to remind people that indigenous people were here before us,” he said. “The indigenous people who were here before us really paved the way for us to be here.”

NASA Kennedy Space Center employees attend a presentation on June 11, 2019, on Native American presence in Florida in Kennedy’s Training Auditorium.  Daniel Murphree, Ph.d., associate professor of history at the University of Central Florida, spoke on the impact Florida natives have had on, and how they were affected by, Atlantic World events from 1492 to the present.
NASA Kennedy Space Center employees attend a presentation on June 11, 2019, on Native American presence in Florida in Kennedy’s Training Auditorium.

Native peoples played a large role in the European colonization of Florida, participated in revolutionary activity during the American Revolution, and served in 20th and 21st century wars. They also contributed to the economics of the world by selling gold they would salvage from shipwrecks back to the Europeans, providing fish and farm produce to Florida settlers, and supplying materials, such as deerskins, alligator hides and exotic bird feathers, that were used in London and New York fashion.

More presently, Native Americans contribute to tourism in Florida and have capitalized on the gaming industry. A large number of casinos are found on reservations mainly because many state restrictions on gambling don’t apply on the reservations due to Native American sovereignty. “The Indians didn’t create the same kind of laws restricting gambling that you would see in the states and, therefore, they became the places people would go,” said Murphree.

They also have influenced world views, sparking the debate on what savagery and civilization mean, the understanding of what conquest and sovereignty mean, and have been key to the societal acceptance of the gender roles that we enjoy today.

“Instead of Native Americans being outside of this Atlantic World that was formed, they were an integral part of it,” said Murphree. “They weren’t just affected by it, but they affected it themselves.”

Triage Forces on Display During Familiarization Training

Kennedy Space Center personnel and American Medical Response (AMR) contractor paramedics prepare to load a “patient,” a KEMCON Fitness Center staff member, into a NASA helicopter during a medical support training course in the Space Florida hangar at the spaceport’s Shuttle Landing Facility on May 17, 2019.
Kennedy Space Center personnel and American Medical Response (AMR) contractor paramedics prepare to load a “patient,” a KEMCON Fitness Center staff member, into a NASA helicopter during a medical support training course in the Space Florida hangar at the spaceport’s Shuttle Landing Facility on May 17, 2019. The course was designed to familiarize the AMR paramedics with the center’s Triage Forces deployment, which included medical team members, fire/rescue personnel, environmental health specialists and flight operations crew members, as well as a helicopter, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) tactical vehicle, fire pumper truck and triage vehicles. The AMR paramedics will assist the agency in contingency planning for the return of human spaceflight from Kennedy. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

Kennedy Space Center personnel and American Medical Response (AMR) contractor paramedics gathered at the Florida spaceport’s Shuttle Landing Facility on May 17, 2019, for a medical support training course.

A Kennedy Space Center fire pumper truck stands at the ready during a medical support training course at the Florida spaceport’s Shuttle Landing Facility on May 17, 2019.
A Kennedy Space Center fire pumper truck stands at the ready during a medical support training course at the Florida spaceport’s Shuttle Landing Facility on May 17, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Cory Huston

The course was designed to familiarize the AMR paramedics with the center’s Triage Forces deployment, which included medical team members, fire/rescue personnel, environmental health specialists and flight operations crew members, as well as a helicopter, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) tactical vehicle, fire pumper truck and triage vehicles.

Signs indicated the “dirty side,” where patient off-loading and decontamination would take place, and the “clean side,” used for patient evaluation and medevac.

The AMR paramedics will assist the agency in contingency planning for the return of human spaceflight from Kennedy.

Update from Everest: Hintze, Gateway Flag Reach Base Camp

Hintze wrote, “The NASA Gateway flag has made it to Everest Basecamp! That’s @OceanDebra, me, Bhalakaji our porter, and Dambar our guide!”
Hintze wrote, “The NASA Gateway flag has made it to Everest Basecamp! That’s @OceanDebra, me, Bhalakaji our porter, and Dambar our guide!”

Dr. Paul Hintze of NASA’s Exploration Research and Technology Programs is trekking Nepal and has reached his final destination: Everest base camp. With him is a NASA flag representing the Kennedy Space Center team supporting the Gateway.

Keep up with Dr. Hintze on Twitter @KSCPaul.

On a Roll! Ascent Abort Test-2 Flight Test Article Moves to Launch Pad 46

The flight test article for Orion’s Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) flight test passes by the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on its 21.5-mile-trek to Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 22, 2019.
The flight test article for Orion’s Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) flight test passes by the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on its 21.5-mile-trek to Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 22, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

Engineers rolled a test version of the Orion spacecraft integrated with the Launch Abort System for the Ascent Abort-2 flight test from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Abort System Facility to Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in preparation for its launch this summer.

The 21.5 mile trek began around 6 p.m. on May 22, and finished at 3:18 a.m. on May 23. The team will be stacking all the AA-2 elements together at the launch pad over the next several weeks.

During the flight, planned for July 2, a test version of Orion will launch on a booster to more than six miles in altitude, where Orion’s launch abort system will pull the capsule and its crew away to safety if an emergency occurs during ascent on the Space Launch System rocket.

The test helps pave the way for Artemis missions at the Moon and will enable astronauts to set foot on the lunar surface by 2024.

Orion Flight Test Article Attached to Launch Abort System for Ascent Abort-2

The Launch Abort System flight test article for AA-2 is stacked inside the Launch Abort System Facility at Kennedy Space Center.
Inside the Launch Abort System Facility (LASF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a test version of the Orion crew module has been integrated with the Launch Abort System (LAS) on May 18, 2019. It is being lifted by crane for transfer to a KAMAG transporter. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

The 46,000-pound flight test article that will be used for a test of Orion’s Launch Abort System (LAS) was lifted and mated to its transportation pallet inside the Launch Abort System Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 18, 2019. The flight test article includes the Orion test article, a separation ring created for this test, and the LAS. This operation marks the completion of the flight test article integration and checkout operations necessary for NASA’s Ascent Abort-2 (AA-2) flight test scheduled for July. Next, the system will roll to Pad 46 where the team will be stacking all the AA-2 elements together at the launch pad over the next several weeks.

The flight test vehicle for AA-2 is integrated inside the Launch Abort System Facility at Kennedy Space Center.
Inside the Launch Abort System Facility (LASF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, workers are completing the integration of a test version of the Orion crew module with the Launch Abort System (LAS) on May 18, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

AA-2 will demonstrate the abort system can activate, steer the spacecraft, and carry astronauts to a safe distance if an emergency arises during Orion’s climb to orbit as the spacecraft faces the greatest aerodynamic pressure during ascent. AA-2 is an important test to verify Orion’s design to safely carry astronauts on deep space missions as NASA works to land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024

During the three-minute test, the LAS with the Orion test article will launch atop a booster from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, to an altitude of about six miles and traveling at more than 1,000 mph. The abort motor will quickly whisk the crew module away from the booster, and the attitude control motor will maneuver the assembly into position to jettison the crew module. Test data from 890 sensors will be sent in real-time to ground sites as well as recorded on board by 12 data recorders. The 12 data recorders will eject from the crew module before Orion reaches the water and will be retrieved after the test.

With no astronauts on board, the test concludes after the data recorders are ejected and does not include parachutes or recovery of the test capsule. AA-2 is focused on testing Orion’s ability to abort during ascent, and NASA has already fully qualified the parachute system for flights with crew through an extensive series of 17 developmental tests and 8 qualification tests completed at the end of 2018.

The LAS was designed and built by NASA and Lockheed Martin with motors provided by Northrop Grumman and Aerojet Rocketdyne. NASA’s Orion and Exploration Ground Systems programs, contractors Jacob’s, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, in conjunction with the Air Force Space and Missile Center’s Launch Operations branch and the 45th Space Wing will perform flight operations for AA-2.

10th Annual First Nations Rocket Launch

Students show off their rockets at the 10th annual First Nations Launch on April 26, 2019.
Students show off their rockets at the 10th annual First Nations Launch on April 26, 2019. Photo credit: Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium/Lars Ullberg

As winter storm Xyler approached southern Wisconsin, a group of 15 tribal college teams gathered in the cold to launch high-powered rockets at the 10th annual First Nations Launch in Kansasville, Wisconsin. The competition was bumped up a day early to avoid the storm. On Friday April 26, 2019, in spite of a couple anomalies, all Native American college teams were successful in launching a rocket that they hand-built.

A team's rocket lifts off at the 10th annual First Nations Launch on April 26, 2019.
A team’s rocket lifts off at the 10th annual First Nations Launch on April 26, 2019. Photo credit: Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium/Lars Ullberg

Students were evaluated for rocket aesthetics, team spirit and altitude, among other criteria. The competition was separated into two subcategories, the Tribal Challenge and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Challenge. The Tribal Challenge required students to build a high-powered rocket equipped with a camera and to create a montage of photos and videos showing construction, preparation, flight and recovery. Target apogee was between 2,400 and 3,000 feet above ground level for Tribal teams. The AISES Challenge required students to build a rocket with a microcontroller system installed to capture critical flight data. Target apogee for AISES teams was between 3,500 and 5,000 feet.

The event, which is funded by NASA’s Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, was supported by a number of NASA employees.  Rob Cannon and Theresa Martinez, from Kennedy Space Center’s Academic Engagement Office; James Wood, chief engineer of the Launch Services Program at Kennedy; Orson John from Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; and Joseph Connolly from Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, all attended to oversee the competition and issue awards.

Fifteen student teams gathered in the cold in Kansasville, Wisconsin to compete in the high-powered rocket competition on April 26, 2019.
Fifteen student teams gathered in the cold in Kansasville, Wisconsin to compete in the high-powered rocket competition on April 26, 2019. Photo credit: Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium/Lars Ullberg

NASA Flag from Kennedy’s Gateway Team en Route to Mount Everest

On the way to Everest Base Camp, the NASA flag made a stop at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where shuttle Endeavour is displayed.
On the way to Everest Base Camp, the NASA flag made a stop at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where shuttle Endeavour is displayed. Photo credit: Paul Hintze

A NASA flag representing the Kennedy Space Center team supporting the Gateway—the agency’s “base camp” for the Moon—is on its way to the base camp for one of the most challenging exploration destinations on Earth: Mount Everest.

Hintze with Kanccha Sherpa and NASA flag
Hintze wrote, “This is me with Kanchha Sherpa. He is the last surviving member of the team that enabled Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary to reach the summit of Everest. He pointed to a picture Hillary and Norgay and said he carried the oxygen bottles they were using.”

Gateway is a lunar outpost that will enable the first woman and next man to set foot on the Moon in 2024. Mark Wiese, Gateway Logistics Element manager at Kennedy, is assembling the team that will provide logistics to the Gateway.

One of those team members, Dr. Paul Hintze of Exploration Research and Technology Programs, is in Kathmandu, Nepal. The flag, signed by Kennedy’s Gateway team members, is among the supplies he’s carrying on his journey. After leaving Florida, Hintze made a stop at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where he took out the flag for a photo op with shuttle Endeavour, on display at the museum. Next stop: Nepal.

Hintze with flag in Kathmandu
Hintze wrote, “In Kathmandu and our Gateway flag has its first Nepali signatures! Snow Leopard Trek is providing logistics for our two passes trek to EBC. That’s our guide, Dambar, on the right.”

According to Wiese, complex exploration campaigns require planning, professionals that know the route, and detailed staging of supplies in order to create a base camp from which the final leg of the trip can be carefully monitored and initiated… not unlike the logistical needs of an Everest adventure.

To keep up with Dr. Hintze, follow him on Twitter @KSCPaul.

Crew Safety A Top Priority

NASA and the Department of Defense Human Space Flight Support (HSFS) Office Rescue Division conducted a crew rescue training event April 25 and 27, 2019, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in support of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

For commercial crew flights, we plan for any scenario that may arise, including unlikely emergencies, such as a spacecraft abort and subsequent splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean. Recently, two NASA astronauts as well as a team from the Department of Defense Human Space Flight Support Office Rescue Division practiced what they will do in that very scenario. The DoD team is responsible for quickly and safely rescuing astronauts in the unlikely event of an emergency during ascent, free flight or landing. To learn more about both team’s practices, check out our crew rescue feature.

Students Show off Plant Research at Symposium in Miami

Trent Smith, left, and Gioia Massa give a talk on Veggie at the Student Research Symposium in Miami on April 27, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Dinah Dimapilis
Trent Smith, left, and Gioia Massa give a talk on Veggie at the Student Research Symposium in Miami on April 27, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Dinah Dimapilis

By Rachel Cox
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Students from around the country convened with NASA scientists in Miami for the Student Research Symposium on April 27 as part of the Growing Beyond Earth program, a partnership between NASA and the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

Growing Beyond Earth is an educational outreach and citizen science program that reaches over 170 middle and high schools from Florida, Colorado and Puerto Rico. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center plant production scientists Gioia Massa and Trent Smith train teachers, who then receive plant growth chambers that mimic Veggie, the space garden residing on the International Space Station.

Students and teachers listen to Ray Wheeler discuss the history of plant research for space. Photo credit: NASA/Dinah Dimapilis
Students and teachers listen to Ray Wheeler discuss the history of plant research for space. Photo credit: NASA/Dinah Dimapilis

In the fall, students set up their plant growth chambers and conduct experiments designed by Fairchild in conjunction with Kennedy.

“Every year, it’s something different,” Massa explained. “Last year, they were looking at photoperiod, how plants respond to different durations of light. This year, they’re looking at the neighbor effect, how different plants influence each other by growing next to each other.”

Since the beginning of the program, students have tested approximately 130 plant varieties under different conditions. Some schools are in high humidity areas, like Puerto Rico, while others have low humidity, like Colorado. Sometimes students overwater their plants; other times they forget. Sometimes the power goes out over the weekend. Plants that do well across these different environments make good candidates for space.

Both middle and high schools participate in new crop testing. But after getting a good grasp on the system in the fall, high school students can take it a step further and design independent experiments in the spring. These projects were the focus of the Miami symposium; 34 high schools presented their independent research, plus 17 middle schools presented their work on new crop testing.

“We had the students testing some really creative things,” Massa said. One project looked at using nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the substrate. Another 3D printed different containers.

The students created scientific posters, just like a NASA scientist would for a conference, with sections for the abstract, introduction, materials, results, conclusion and references. Fairchild printed out the posters, and the students presented them. Then Massa and her colleagues judged them on their poster, the quality of their project and presentation, the significance to NASA and how well they understood it.

Twelve Kennedy employees supported the event, including Bryan Onate, chief of the Life Sciences and Utilization Division, and Josie Burnett, director of Exploration Research and Technology Programs, along with plant production scientists and interns. Massa, Smith and Ray Wheeler gave talks to the students about Veggie and plant space research.

Group of Four Honored as ‘Chroniclers’ at Kennedy

Current and former NASA officials, space journalists, and friends and families gather in Kennedy Space Center’s NASA News Center in Florida during a ceremony May 3, 2019, in which four individuals were added to The Chroniclers roll of honor. The 2019 Chroniclers are journalists Jim Banke and Todd Halvorson, radio broadcaster Vic Ratner and photographer Peter Cosgrove.
Current and former NASA officials, space journalists, and friends and families gather in Kennedy Space Center’s NASA News Center in Florida during a ceremony May 3, 2019, in which four individuals were added to The Chroniclers roll of honor. The program recognizes retirees of the news and communications business who have helped spread news of American space exploration from Kennedy for 10 years or more. The 2019 Chroniclers are journalists Jim Banke and Todd Halvorson, radio broadcaster Vic Ratner and photographer Peter Cosgrove. They were selected by a committee of their peers on March 25. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

By Danielle Sempsrott
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Four honorees were distinguished as “Chroniclers” during a ceremony May 3, 2019, at Kennedy Space Center’s NASA News Center in Florida among their families and friends, space journalists, and current and former NASA officials.

Jim Banke, Todd Halvorson, Vic Ratner and Peter Cosgrove were recognized for their roles in helping spread the news of American space exploration from Kennedy. To be considered for The Chroniclers, retirees of the news and communications business must have worked in the field for 10 years or more. The group of four was chosen by their peers on March 25.

“These men inspired the world,” said NASA Public Affairs Officer Greg Harland. “These men were the voice of the Kennedy Space Center and the history of space launch. And that’s no easy feat.”

Brass strips engraved with the names of Jim Banke, Peter Cosgrove, Todd Halvorson and Vic Ratner were unveiled during a ceremony on May 3, 2019, at Kennedy Space Center’s NASA News Center in Florida. Banke, Halvorson, Ratner and Cosgrove were honored as members of The Chroniclers, which recognizes retirees of the news and communications business who have helped spread news of American space exploration from Kennedy for 10 years or more.
Brass strips engraved with the names of Jim Banke, Peter Cosgrove, Todd Halvorson and Vic Ratner were unveiled during a ceremony on May 3, 2019, at Kennedy Space Center’s NASA News Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

A former journalist with Florida Today, Banke spent more than 20 years covering NASA launches and missions from Kennedy and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). He was the co-creator of Florida Today’s online space news site, Space.com – the first newspaper website dedicated solely to publishing real-time space news. Banke remains active in the local space community and currently works as a contractor at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Halvorson retired as the senior aerospace reporter with Florida Today and Kennedy Bureau Chief in 2013 after reporting space news for more than three decades. During his career, he chronicled 108 space shuttle missions and the journey of the Hubble Space Telescope. Halvorson also is a member of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

Ratner covered the space program for ABC Radio, providing coverage ranging from the early days of Gemini and the Apollo Moon landings to the last space shuttle mission. He was the only radio correspondent on the air live during the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, delivering on-the-scene information for over five hours that day after the tragedy. Some of Ratner’s reports also were seen on ABC TV “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America.”

Vic Ratner, left, and Todd Halvorson unveil their names, along with the names of Jim Banke and Peter Cosgrove, now on display on The Chroniclers wall at Kennedy Space Center’s NASA News Center in Florida during a ceremony May 3, 2019. Banke, Halvorson, Ratner and Cosgrove were honored as members of The Chroniclers, which recognizes retirees of the news and communications business who have helped spread news of American space exploration from Kennedy for 10 years or more.
Vic Ratner, left, and Todd Halvorson unveil their names, along with the names of Jim Banke and Peter Cosgrove, now on display on The Chroniclers wall at Kennedy Space Center’s NASA News Center in Florida during a ceremony May 3, 2019. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Cosgrove’s photojournalism career spanned nearly 50 years for the Associated Press. He covered four Apollo Moon mission crew recoveries at sea and was aboard the recovery ship when the first astronauts to walk on the Moon were picked up after their return to Earth. He also covered both Challenger and Columbia shuttle tragedies.

Cosgrove retired in 2005 and passed away in 2019. His award was accepted by his three children on his behalf, and his granddaughter, Amanda, shared some remarks. “We know how honored he would feel being given this award, as we are honored to be able to accept it for him,” she said. “This is a memory that my family and I will treasure for a lifetime.”

Brass strips engraved with the name of each honoree were added to The Chroniclers wall on display in the news center and unveiled during the ceremony. The addition of Banke, Halvorson, Ratner and Cosgrove bring the total number of Chroniclers to 80.