Although NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is famous for spectacular rocket-launch light shows, guests visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Wednesday night, Dec. 20, were treated to an entirely different optical experience.
The complex’s Holidays in Space 2017 kicked off with a dazzling performance by the dance group Fighting Gravity, which uses optical illusions, black light and the interplay of light and dark in its gravity-defying choreography. The group, which took home third place on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” is bringing its unique style to the spaceport with nightly performances in the towering Rocket Garden.
Visitors also were treated to some rockets’ red glare in the form of a fireworks finale.
Holidays in Space 2017 includes nightly performances from Dec. 20 through Dec. 31, excluding Dec. 25. All shows are open to park guests. For more information, visit:
Engineers and technicians gathered in the Prototype Development Laboratory at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec. 8, 2017, to sign a banner marking the successful delivery of a liquid oxygen test tank, affectionately named “Tardis” due to its large rectangular shape. The tank, made of aluminum, was built at the lab to support cryogenic testing at Johnson Space Center’s White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The tank is close to 12 feet tall and weighs 3,810 pounds. One side of the tank is curved to simulate the shape of a rocket for testing.
Engineers and technicians came together to work on the tank. It was designed by Robert Whited, a mechanical engineer at Kennedy. Following a critical design review in July 2017, construction of the tank began in August. Large sheets of aluminum were used to make the tank. All of the parts were welded together by Phil Stroda, a professional welder with NASA.
“This is a tremendous example of Kennedy’s engineering infrastructure being able to investigate and solve problems for major space programs,” said Pat Simpkins, Kennedy Engineering director.
Todd Steinrock, who is the chief of the Fabrication and Development Branch, and manager of the Prototype Development Lab, said this is a great example of the value of collaboration between engineers and engineering technicians.
“The technical input from the Prototype Lab technicians, especially our welder, had a huge impact on the design of the tank,” Steinrock said. “We refer to it as ‘Design for Manufacturability.’ The technician’s advice led to an improved design and fast fabrication.”
The test tank was loaded into a truck on Dec. 11 and transported to White Sands. At White Sands, the test tank will be filled with cryogenic fluids and simulate processing of flight hardware. The tank will be instrumented and the data that is collected will assist engineers in validating various structure, thermal and fluid models.
The Prototype Development Lab has been operating at Kennedy for more than 50 years.
A 4,800-pound care package is on its way to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The company’s 13th commercial cargo mission to resupply the space station began at 10:36 a.m. EST with liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
After a successful climb into space, the Dragon spacecraft now is in orbit with its solar arrays deployed and drawing power. The rocket’s first stage flew back for a successful landing at SpaceX’s Landing Zone One at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
“This was a fantastic way to end the year for SpaceX east coast launches,” said Jessica Jensen, director, Dragon Mission Management with SpaceX. “It was a great launch.”
Liftoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is on schedule for 10:36 a.m. EST. Countdown activities are in progress at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, where the rocket awaits launch on the company’s 13th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.
NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 10:36 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 15, for the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX is taking additional time for the team to conduct full inspections and cleanings due to detection of particles in the second stage fuel system. The next launch opportunity would be no earlier than late December.
A Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is now scheduled to arrive at the space station on Sunday, Dec. 17.
On Sunday, Scott Tingle of NASA, Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are also scheduled to launch at 2:21 a.m. (1:21 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.
NASA Television coverage for launch and arrival activities are as follows:
Friday, Dec. 15
10 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
12 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX
Sunday, Dec. 17
1:15 a.m. – Soyuz MS-07 launch coverage begins
4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture coverage begins
NASA and SpaceX are now targeting no earlier than 11:24 a.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 13th, for the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX requested additional time for prelaunch ground systems checks.
A Dragon spacecraft will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Dragon is now scheduled to arrive at the space station on Saturday, Dec. 16.
NASA Television coverage for launch is as follows:
Wednesday, Dec. 13
10:45 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
12:30 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX
Saturday, Dec. 16
4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture
Today marks “L-1” – launch minus one day – for tomorrow’s scheduled launch of SpaceX’s 13th commercial resupply to the International Space Station. Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is planned for 11:46 a.m. EST Tuesday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather at launch time, with liftoff winds the primary concern.
Mission coverage begins today with two news briefings. Both will be broadcast on NASA Television.
11 a.m. – Prelaunch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program, SpaceX, and the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base
NASA and our commercial cargo provider SpaceX are targeting no earlier than Dec. 12 at 11:46 a.m. EST for their 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. This new launch date takes into account pad readiness, requirements for science payloads, space station crew availability, and orbital mechanics. Carrying about 4,800 pounds of cargo including critical science and research, the Dragon spacecraft will spend a month attached to the space station.