Monthly Archives: February 2016

Test Versions of Space Launch System Booster Segments Arrive at Kennedy Space Center

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Arrival by train of Pathfinder SLS Booster Segments

A train hauls two pathfinder solid rocket booster segments to Kennedy Space Center. The segments are test versions of those that will be used on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

Two pathfinders, or test versions, of solid rocket booster segments for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket arrived at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The booster segments were transported from Promontory, Utah, for pathfinder operations at the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) to prepare for Exploration Mission-1.

The boosters, which are inert, were stored at the Jay Jay rail yard in Titusville, Florida, to prepare for the final move. The first booster was transported onto the center Feb. 23 by rail aboard a train service provided by Goodloe Transportation and was delivered to the RPSF. Inside the RPSF, the booster segment was offloaded and inspected. Its cover was removed, and the segment will undergo additional inspections to confirm it is ready for testing. The second booster segment which arrived later in the day will undergo the same preparations.

During the pathfinder operations, engineers and technicians with NASA and industry partners will conduct a series of lifts, moves and stacking operations using the booster segments and an aft skirt, with aft motor and aft exit cone attached, to simulate how the boosters will be processed in the RPSF to prepare for an SLS/Orion mission. The stacking operations will help train ground personnel before they handle flight hardware for the most powerful rocket in the world that will start to arrive at Kennedy in less than two years.

The pathfinder operations also will help to test recent upgrades to the RPSF facility as the center continues to prepare for the EM-1 mission, deep-space missions, and the journey to Mars.

Words of Inspiration: Traveling Exhibit Touches Hearts of Kennedy Workers

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Maya Angelou Training Exhibit with Orion EM-1 Crew Module inside the O&C.

Workers gather next to an exhibit that includes a United States flag and a plaque of Dr. Maya Angelou’s writing, “A Brave and Startling Truth,” at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 11. The O&C is housing the Orion spacecraft where Orion is being outfitted with the systems and subsystems necessary for flight, including its heat-shielding thermal protection system. The flag, presented to NASA on behalf of the men and women of Lockheed Martin, and the plaque were flown on the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 on Dec. 5, 2014. Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

Maya Angelou Training Exhibit with the RASSOR 2.0 Prototype at Swamp Works.

The Maya Angelou Training Exhibit was displayed in NASA’s Swamp Works Lab alongside the RASSOR 2.0 prototype. Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

Maya Angelou Training Exhibit inside the VAB.

Employees view the Maya Angelou Training Exhibit inside the VAB. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Maya Angelou Training Exhibit along with the Ground Zinnia Harvest in SSPF.

The Maya Angelou Training Exhibit stops by the Ground Zinnia Harvest in SSPF. Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

From watching a rocket launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to reading poetry, inspiration can come in many forms. While Dr. Maya Angelou was alive, many of her works inspired us and some even took our breath away, just like witnessing millions of pounds of thrust lifting a rocket toward the heavens.

Recently, a United States flag and a poem by Dr. Maya Angelou went on display at various locations around Kennedy Space Center. The United States flag was presented to NASA on behalf of the men and women of Lockheed Martin by Marillyn Hewson and Rick Ambrose.

Along with the flag, the Angelou Family “Cage Foundation” gifted a plaque of Dr. Angelou’s writing, “A Brave and Startling Truth” to NASA, which NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden accepted on behalf of the agency. Angelou, who died in 2014, was a poet and award-winning author known for her numerous poetry and essay collections. Both the flag and the plaque were flown on the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1 on Dec. 5, 2014. The two items are a traveling exhibit that will spend a month at each NASA center. The flag and poem will remain on display in the main lobby of Kennedy’s Headquarters Building until March 11.

The poem was written and delivered by Dr. Angelou in honor of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, a fitting tribute to Orion’s first flight.

All the stops on the exhibit tour showcased employees’ accomplishments toward making the journey to Mars. Here at Kennedy, Angelou’s writings never rang more true:

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

Kennedy’s Fire Rescue Team Practices Air Rescue Firefighting

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Air Rescue Fire Fighters train at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) operated by Space Florida at NASA's Kennedy Space CenterAir Rescue Fire Fighters train at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) operated by Space Florida at NASA's Kennedy Space Center

Firefighters participated in an Air Rescue Fire Fighting nighttime training exercise Feb. 17 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Members of Kennedy’s Fire Rescue team practiced putting out fires deliberately set on a modified aircraft fuselage.

Similar to NASA astronauts’ anomaly training before a spaceflight, the team takes part in a variety of realistic drills throughout the year to be ready to respond to any emergency under any conditions.

Photos by NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASCAR Driver Carl Edwards Behind the Wheel at Kennedy

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NASCAR Driver Carl Edwards drives MRAP around Pad 39B perimeter and visits the VAB. Photos by NASA/Bill White

NASCAR Driver Carl Edwards drives MRAP around Pad 39B perimeter and visits the VAB. Photos by NASA/Bill White

NASCAR driver Carl Edwards visited NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and slid behind the wheel of an entirely different kind of car: a Mine-resistant, Ambush-protected vehicle better known as MRAP.

The MRAP emergency egress vehicle.The agency’s Ground Systems Development and Operations Program selected the MRAP to serve as an upgraded version of an armored escape vehicle that would allow astronauts to evacuate the launch pad in the event of an emergency.

While at Kennedy, Edwards stopped by the massive Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Pad 39B. Both facilities are being prepared to support assembly and launch of NASA’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.

Edwards toured the spaceport ahead of Sunday’s Daytona 500 race, in which he is driving the No. 19 car for Joe Gibbs Racing.

Work Platform Arrives at Kennedy Space Center for NASA’s Journey to Mars

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The second half of the G-level work platforms arrives at Kennedy Space Center.

The second half of the G-level work platforms arrives at the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida received another work platform that will be used to modernize the massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), which is where the agency will test and process the SLS for flight before it is rolled out onto the launch pad. The agency’s Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program at Kennedy continues to make progress preparing the center to launch NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft that will take humans beyond Earth orbit and on to deep space.

The arrival of the second half of the G-level work platforms at Kennedy brings the total to eight platforms, or four levels of work platforms being readied for the VAB. The G platforms are the fourth of 10 levels of platforms that will support processing of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft for deep space missions including to an asteroid and the journey to Mars.

Tillet Heavy Haul Inc. of Titusville, Florida, transported the platform from Sauer Co. in Oak Hill, Florida to Kennedy Space Center for Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Orlando, Florida. A contract to modify the VAB’s High Bay 3 was awarded to Hensel Phelps in March 2014.

A total of 10 levels of new platforms, 20 platform halves altogether, will be used to access, test and process the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft in High Bay 3. In addition, 20 new elevator landings and access ways are being constructed for the platform levels. The high bay also will accommodate the 355-foot-tall mobile launcher tower that will carry the rocket and spacecraft atop the crawler-transporter to Launch Pad 39B.

The platforms are being fabricated by Steel LLC of Scottdale, Georgia, and assembled by Sauer. The GSDO team at Kennedy is overseeing upgrades and modifications to the high bay to prepare for NASA’s deep space exploration missions.

The first three sets of platforms, H, J and K, were delivered to the center last year.

Wreath Honors Apollo Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

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Edgar Mitchell Honored

In the Apollo Saturn V Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a ceremony took place to honor the memory of NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who died Feb. 4, 2016. A memorial wreath was placed at the Apollo 14 command module by, Mitchell’s son, Paul Mitchell, and daughter, Kimberly Mitchell. One of 12 humans to walk on the moon, Mitchell was Apollo 14’s lunar module pilot who landed in the moon’s Fra Mauro highlands on Feb. 5, 1971 with mission commander Alan Shepard while command module pilot Stuart Roosa remained in lunar orbit.
Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

In memory of NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, a memorial wreath was placed in the Apollo Saturn V Center at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The brief ceremony took place on the morning of Feb. 12, 2016. The wreath was placed in the Treasures of Apollo exhibit where the Apollo 14 command module, flown by Mitchell, Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa, is on display.

One of 12 humans to walk on the moon, Mitchell died Feb. 4, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 85. It was the eve of the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing.
As Apollo 14’s lunar module pilot, Mitchell and mission commander Shepard touched down in the moon’s Fra Mauro highlands aboard the lunar module Antares on Feb. 5, 1971.

Mitchell was born Sept. 17, 1930, in Hereford, Texas, but considered Artesia, New Mexico, his hometown. After being commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy, Mitchell went on to accumulate 5,000 hours flight time, including 2,000 hours in jet aircraft. NASA selected Mitchell as an astronaut in 1966.
Mitchell was drawn to spaceflight by President John F. Kennedy’s call to send astronauts to the moon.

“That’s what I wanted, because it was the bear going over the mountain to see what he could see and what you could learn,” Mitchell said after Kennedy announced the moon program. “I’ve been devoted to that, to exploration, education and discovery since my earliest years, and that’s what kept me going,”

As Apollo 14 command module pilot Stuart Roosa orbited the moon, Mitchell and Shepard collected 94 pounds of lunar rock and soil samples that later were distributed for analysis across 187 scientific teams in the United States and 14 other countries.
Mitchell retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy in 1972.
In an interview for NASA’s oral history program in 1997, Mitchell commented on what spaceflight meant to him.

“To me, that was the culmination of my being,” he said, “and what can I learn from this? What is it we are learning? That’s important, because I think what we’re trying to do is discover ourselves and our place in the cosmos and we don’t know. We’re still looking for that.”

Mitchell lived in Palm Beach County, Florida, since 1975. He is survived by four daughters, Karlyn Mitchell, Elizabeth Kendall, Kimberly Mitchell and Mary Beth Johnson, a son, Paul Mitchell, and nine grandchildren. His son Adam Mitchell died in 2010.

Booster Arrives to Prep for Orbital ATK CRS-6 Launch

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ULA Atlas V first stage arriving and offloading at wharf and being transported to the ASOC for Orbital ATK CRS-6 ULA Atlas V first stage arriving and offloading at wharf and being transported to the ASOC for Orbital ATK CRS-6The United Launch Alliance Atlas V first stage that will help launch the Orbital ATK Cygnus pressurized cargo module is offloaded from ULA’s Delta Mariner barge (above) Feb. 5 at Port Canaveral in Florida.

The booster was transported to the Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center (right) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to prepare for the upcoming launch of the Orbital ATK Commercial Resupply Services OA-6 flight to the International Space Station. The Cygnus module will carry hardware and supplies to the space station. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Cabana Remembers Moonwalker Edgar Mitchell

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edgarmitchellonmoon Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, an astronaut and former space shuttle mission commander, offered these words on hearing of the death of Apollo 14’s Edgar Mitchell, one of only 12 men to walk on the surface of the moon:

“It is with sadness that the Kennedy Space Center recognizes the passing of another Apollo astronaut and American hero, Edgar Mitchell. We will always think fondly of him when we pass by his Apollo 14 Command Module in the Saturn V facility. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family members.”

edgarmitchellandalshepard

Edgar Mitchel, left, and Al Shepard rehearse aspects of the Apollo 14 mission at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 1970. The mission, flown in February 1971, was a complete success.

Government, Industry Leaders Share Ideas at Roundtable Discussion

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The Center Planning and Development (CPD) Directorate at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida held a roundtable discussion with government and industry representatives, led by Scott Colloredo, CPD director, standing. The group toured facilities at the multi-user spaceport and then participated in a discussion about Kennedy’s partnership efforts and future plans. Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

The Center Planning and Development (CPD) Directorate at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida held a roundtable discussion with government and industry representatives, led by Scott Colloredo, CPD director, standing. The group toured facilities at the multi-user spaceport and then participated in a discussion about Kennedy’s partnership efforts and future plans. Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

The Center Planning and Development (CPD) Directorate hosted its fifth roundtable discussion Feb. 4 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Government and industry representatives toured facilities, including the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Pad 39B, and other facilities that have been upgraded to make the center a multi-user spaceport.

Scott Colloredo, CPD director, presented an overview of the center’s core strategies and the partnerships forged with commercial aerospace and industry companies. He led a panel discussion to receive panelists’ feedback on continued development of the center, how to get the message out to potential partners, and thoughts on the future of the center.

Participants for this roundtable included, Keisha Rice, former director of the Florida Office of Trade, Tourism and Economic Development; Mike Powell, CEO of the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority; Bill McCollum, former congressman and state of Florida agriculture commissioner; Marshall Heard, retired Boeing senior executive; Lee Solid, retired Rockwell senior executive; Louie Laubscher, Enterprise Florida; Frank O’Dea, Florida Department of Transportation, District 5; and Jesse Panuccio, former director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

SpaceX Tests Transporter Erector

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SpaceX-transerectorA critical piece of large equipment is being tested at Launch Complex 39A this week as SpaceX raises and lowers the transporter erector that will be used to move the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket to the launch pad for missions. Standing 212 feet high – more than 20 stories – the TE, as SpaceX calls the machine, will move launch-ready rockets and spacecraft from the processing hangar at the base of the pad up to the pad surface and into a vertical position over the flame trench.

The lift and lowering of the transporter erector are part of routine tests conducted on the pad to ensure all ground systems are prepared to launch astronauts to the International Space Station. The TE is a much larger and stronger version of the erector the company uses at Space Launch Complex 40, as it will also be used for processing and launching future Falcon Heavy rockets. Photo credit: SpaceX

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