Monthly Archives: September 2017

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Makes Grand Finale Plunge

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Rings of Saturn as viewed by the Cassini spacecraft.

Cassini gazes across the icy rings of Saturn toward the icy moon Tethys, whose night side is illuminated by Saturnshine, or sunlight reflected by the planet. Photo credit: NASA/JPL

The spacecraft that revealed the remarkable planet Saturn to the world and sent back stunning images of its rings and nearby moons has completed its mission. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its final grand finale plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere Sept. 15, 2017.

Cassini made distant flybys of Saturn moons Janus, Pan, Pandora and Epimetheus before making its last dive.

The spacecraft and its attached Huygens probe launched aboard a Titan IVB/Centaur rocket on Oct. 15,1997, from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, on its seven-year, 2.2-billion mile journey.

Cassini arrived in the Saturn system on June 30, 2004, and began a four-year mission to study the giant planet, its rings, moons and magnetosphere. The spacecraft made 22 weekly dives between the planet and its rings. It continued to beam back to Earth hundreds of gigabytes of scientific data. The Huygens probe made the first landing on a moon (Titan) in the outer solar system.

The Cassini-Huygens mission was a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, managed the mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. JPL designed, developed and assembled the Cassini orbiter.

For more information on Cassini’s mission finale, visit: https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/grandfinale.

Kennedy Space Center Closed Friday

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Kennedy Space Center will remain closed on Friday, Sept. 15.

The center’s damage assessment and recovery team has completed a 90 percent review of the center and continues to recover key systems throughout Kennedy.

Based on the initial analysis provided by the Patrick Air Force Base 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron, wind speeds at the center varied from 67-94 mph (59-82 knots) at the 54-foot level to 90-116 mph (79-101 knots) at the 458-foot level during the storm.

The center currently is without potable water service, which is used for drinking, food preparation and cleaning.

The center and surrounding community remain under a boil water restriction.

The center’s chillers rely on industrial water and are unaffected by the water restriction.  The center will re-open following restoration of full water service.

Kennedy Space Center Closed Thursday

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Kennedy Space Center will remain closed on Thursday, Sept. 14, as the center’s damage assessment and recovery team continues to survey the impacts of Hurricane Irma.

The center currently is without potable water service, which is used for drinking, food preparation and cleaning. The center and surrounding community remain under a boil water restriction. The center’s chillers rely on industrial water and are unaffected by the water restriction.  The center will re-open following restoration of full water service.

Kennedy Sustains Damage from Hurricane Irma

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Launch Complex 39 and surrounding areas are seen during an aerial survey of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 12, 2017. The survey was performed to identify structures and facilities that may have sustained damage from Hurricane Irma as the storm passed Kennedy on Sept. 10, 2017. NASA closed the center ahead of the storm’s onset and only a small team of specialists known as the Rideout Team was on the center as the storm approached and passed.

Facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida sustained a variety of damage as powerful Hurricane Irma churned past the spaceport Sunday, Sept. 10.

Center Director Bob Cabana joined the center’s Damage Assessment and Recovery Team for a survey of the spaceport Tuesday. A damage assessment report will be compiled over the next several weeks after a full inspection of the center has been conducted.

The Kennedy Space Center will remain closed Wednesday, Sept. 13, as the DART continues its efforts to assess and mitigate any issues it finds in order to open and fully resume operations at the Kennedy Space Center.

The center currently is without water service.

Visit http://images.nasa.gov for photos taken during the damage assessment and recovery process.

Hurricane Irma’s Eye Approaches KSC

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9:45 p.m. EDT–During today’s 6 o’clock hour, Irma packed sustained winds of 35 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 64 m.p.h. The storm’s eye is forecast to come within 116 miles of KSC, its closest proximity to the center, at 2 a.m. Monday, producing maximum sustained winds of 60 m.p.h. for approximately 3 hours. Gusts as high as 74 m.p.h. are possible. Rainfall of 8 – 12” rain is expected, with 15 to 18” possible in isolated areas. A 1- to 3-foot storm surge remains forecast. Irma is expected to exit our immediate area by mid-day Monday, Sept. 11.

Final decisions from the Damage Assessment and Recovery Team, and the center’s return to work, are expected to be made during a 9 a.m. briefing Monday, Sept. 11.

Kennedy Space Center Closing Friday Ahead of Hurricane Irma

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GOES-16 captured this geocolor image of Hurricane Irma -- a category 5 storm with winds as high as 185 miles per hour -- today at about 3:15 pm (eastern), September 6, 2017. Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days.

GOES-16 captured this geocolor image of Hurricane Irma — a category 5 storm with winds as high as 185 miles per hour — today at about 3:15 pm (eastern), September 6, 2017. Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days. Image credit: NOAA

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is closing Friday, Sept. 8 through at least Monday, Sept. 11, due to the approach of Hurricane Irma. The storm currently is expected to make its closest approach to the Kennedy/Cape Canaveral Air Force Station area during the weekend. Currently a Category 5 hurricane, Irma could potentially bring heavy rain and strong winds to the spaceport.

Essential personnel will make final preparations to secure center facilities and infrastructure. After the storm has left the area, Kennedy’s Damage Assessment and Recovery Team will evaluate all center facilities and infrastructure for damage. The spaceport will reopen after officials determine it is safe for employees to return.

 

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NOAA’s JPSS-1 Satellite Arrives in California for Launch

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Above and below right: The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, arrives at the Astrotech Processing Facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. JPSS is the first in a series four next-generation environmental satellites in a collaborative program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. The satellite is scheduled to liftoff later this year atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Photo credits: NASA/Randy Beaudoin

NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) satellite arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 1, 2017, to begin preparations for a November launch.

After its arrival, the JPSS-1 spacecraft was pulled from its shipping container, and is being prepared for encapsulation on top of the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket that will take it to its polar orbit at an altitude of 512 miles (824 km) above Earth. JPSS-1 is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex-2 on Nov. 10 at 1:47 a.m. PST.

NOAA partnered with NASA to implement the JPSS series of U.S. civilian polar-orbiting environmental remote sensing satellites and sensors. JPSS-1 has a seven-year design life and is the first in a series of NOAA’s four next-generation, polar-orbiting weather satellites.

For more information, please visit www.jpss.noaa.gov.