NASA has requested SpaceX move off from May 1 for the launch of the company’s 17th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.
On April 29, the space station team identified an issue with one of the station’s Main Bus Switching Units that distributes power to two of the eight power channels on the station. There are no immediate concerns for the crew or the station. Teams are working on a plan to robotically replace the failed unit and restore full power to the station system. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. The earliest possible launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, May 3.
NASA’s commercial cargo provider SpaceX is targeting 3:59 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 1, for the launch of its 17th resupply mission to the International Space Station after successful completion of its static fire engine test. Packed with more than 5,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Follow along with the coverage of the SpaceX CRS-17 mission with prelaunch events on NASA Television and at www.nasa.gov/live.
Monday, April 29 at 10:30 a.m. — What’s On Board science briefing
Tuesday, April 30 at 1 p.m. — Prelaunch news conference
Wednesday, May 1 at 3:30 a.m. — NASA TV launch coverage
Two lunch and learns, held April 23 and April 24 in support of Earth Day, provided Kennedy Space Center employees with the opportunity to learn more about wildlife and protecting our planet’s natural environment.
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Jeff Sidor brought a K9, Harry, for a demonstration on how FWC is using specially trained dogs in airports, seaports and mail facilities to detect illegal and invasive fish and wildlife species shipping into Florida. Since the program’s inception in 2012, it has now grown to include 12 investigators and five canines.
Canine Harry went through about an 18-week training program in which he learned to detect six different odors. He can alert on saltwater, conch, lobster, reptiles, red snapper filets and ivory, and he has been a part of the program for three-and-a-half years.
Officer Sidor has three years left in the program before he plans to retire with Harry. “It’s the best thing that I’ve done,” he said. “It’s amazing. The dog is awesome, and we’re going to retire together.”
Also available for employees was a presentation on Florida-friendly landscaping. Sally Scalera, urban horticulture agent and master gardener coordinator from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Brevard Extension Office, shared some sustainable tips and tricks for a healthy yard and garden.
The first step is ensuring your soil is healthy, which in turn will help with water quality and produce healthy plants. Scalera covered multiple ways to increase soil health, including utilizing organic yard matter – such as leaves, twigs and grass clippings – as an alternative to purchasing compost, growing a variety of plants together for the different root systems to provide food for the soil, and using organic fertilizer as much as possible, among others.
Integrating sustainable landscaping practices and choosing the right plants for Florida’s environment can help protect our water resources from pollution, reduce overall water consumption and decrease the amount of fertilizer and pesticides needed for plant life to thrive.
The presentations held at Kennedy further promoted environmental awareness at the Florida spaceport and educated employees on a number of changes we can apply to further protect our home planet.
NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, a veteran of two spaceflights, was remembered by Kennedy Space Center officials and employees during a ceremony at the Florida spaceport’s visitor complex on April 18, 2019. Following the ceremony, a memorial wreath was placed in the Heroes and Legends exhibit within the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Garriott passed away on April 15, 2019, at the age of 88.
Speakers at the ceremony included Center Director Bob Cabana and Therrin Protze, chief operating officer at the Kennedy visitor complex. Also sharing a few words was former NASA astronaut Jon McBride.
Garriott was selected as one of the first six NASA scientist-astronauts in June 1965. He flew aboard the Skylab space station during the Skylab 3 mission, serving as the mission’s science-pilot, and also on space shuttle Columbia during the STS-9/Spacelab-1 mission.
This ninth space shuttle mission contained a crew of six – the largest to fly aboard a single spacecraft at the time. It also was the first international shuttle crew and the first to carry payload specialists.
Born in Enid, Oklahoma, Garriott received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He then went on to receive a master’s and doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
The space shuttle Columbia national tour launched at Kennedy Space Center on April 12, 2019, embarking on an educational journey that will take the program to all 10 NASA centers throughout the country.
Apollo Challenger Columbia Lessons Learned Program (ACCLLP) Manager Mike Ciannilli was the master of ceremonies for “Columbia: The Mission Continues,” an event that featured remarks from NASA senior managers and astronaut Shane Kimbrough, a “Lessons of Columbia” discussion with former space shuttle launch directors Bob Sieck and Mike Leinbach, multimedia presentations and a powerful speech by Evelyn Husband Thompson, widow of STS-107 Commander Rick Husband.
The event was held on the 38th anniversary of STS-1, April 12, 1981, the first orbital spaceflight of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.
“We are returning Columbia back to flight on a new mission to inspire, educate and powerfully share the invaluable lessons learned from the past to help bring us successfully into the future,” said Kennedy Associate Director, Technical, Kelvin Manning, who delivered the opening remarks.
The tour includes an exhibit of nine Columbia artifacts, which are on display in the lobby of Kennedy’s old Headquarters building through April 23, and training from APPEL Knowledge Services. The exhibit, APPEL training and a centerwide event focusing on lessons learned all will be a part of the traveling program.
An edited version of the “Columbia: The Mission Continues” event will be released in the near future. To learn more about the space shuttle Columbia national tour, listen to Episode 7 of the podcast “Small Steps, Giant Leaps,” available on the following platforms:
Each year, NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Safety and Health Days demonstrates how this topic is not only a top priority both centerwide and agencywide, but that it’s ingrained in the spaceport’s DNA. This year’s Safety and Health Days took place March 25 – 29. Events and presentations held during the week emphasized the importance Kennedy places on the wellbeing of its employees, both at home and at work.
A few of the classes and presentations open to employees included: “Stop the Bleed,” a hands-on course that teaches basic life-saving interventions to equip individuals with the knowledge and power to act quickly and save lives; “Moments Matter,” where a flight crash survivor revealed how resiliency, leadership and managing your mind can help you overcome obstacles to grow and thrive; and a briefing on the “Space Launch System Low Oxygen Tank Mishap,” in which a team of investigators delved into the cause of the incident and discussed recommendations and corrective actions that have helped to prevent future incidents at Kennedy.
Also available for employees were presentations on how to determine if they are getting a good night’s sleep, the seriousness of skin cancer and what to look for, the Crimeline, safety awareness, crime prevention and education program, presented by Brevard County’s well-known Sheriff Wayne Ivey, and the importance of safe behaviors at home and at work. In addition to presentations, Kennedy and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station employees had the opportunity to attend the KSC Walk Run on Tuesday, March 26. Employees and up to four of their registered guests were able to participate in a two-mile walk or run, a 5K run, or a 10K run.
The Tour de KSC, a bike tour on Kennedy grounds open to employees and up to five guests per employee, is another event employees were encouraged to attend. Originating in 2009, the Tour de KSC is another way the spaceport promotes an active lifestyle and a healthy work-life balance. This year’s tour took place Saturday, March 30, with attendees riding alongside Center Director Bob Cabana, an avid bicyclist.
In addition to the presentations and events that took place during the week, Kennedy offers year-round fitness center and balance zone classes every week, giving employees the opportunity to improve and maintain their health throughout the year. The activities and information readily available to all employees reinforce the notion that health and safety continues to be a hallmark of Kennedy’s values — not only during this week, but throughout the entire year.
This year, Kennedy Space Center kicked off its annual Earth Day celebrations with a butterfly release and sustainability expo at the center’s visitor complex. On April 11, approximately 40 exhibitors from across the nation assembled to provide information ranging from energy-saving solutions to wildlife and natural conservation.
Also on display were electric cars for attendees to admire. Plant and wildlife specialists from organizations such as Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), among others, were there to provide expertise on safeguarding wildlife and preserving natural resources.
Continuing the center’s Earth Day focus, Kennedy employees will have the opportunity to attend two lunch and learns, being held April 23 and 24, to further learn about ways in which we can protect our natural environment. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Investigator Steve Wayne and Officer Jeff Sidor will bring a special K9, Harry, for a demonstration. Dogs such as Harry are trained to locate protected species and detect non-native wildlife that can be harmful to native flora and fauna.
Sally Scalera, urban horticulture agent and master gardener coordinator from the UF/IFAS Brevard Extension office, will lead the second lunch and learn, which will educate employees on ways to make their yards Florida-friendly. Topics will include using native plants to reduce water consumption, reducing turf area, watering efficiently and learning how to employ integrated pest management.
For more than five decades, NASA has used the vantage point of space to understand and explore our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. The activities held at Kennedy in celebration of Earth Day further promote awareness of our planet’s natural resources and strengthen the center’s emphasis on the importance of sustainability. They encourage employees and guests to engage in practices that benefit the environment, both at work and at home.
Even the toughest vehicles need regular maintenance to function at their best. Recently, William Vardaman and Pat Brown, both working under the Jacobs contracting team, performed engine maintenance on NASA’s crawler-transporter 2 in the crawler yard located in the agency’s Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39 area in Florida.
The massive, tracked vehicles are powered by large electrical power engines and two 16-cylinder American Locomotive Company (ALCO) engines. Vardaman and Brown, both mechanical technicians supporting the agency’s Test and Operations Support Contract, spent several days rebuilding the vehicle’s fuel pump assemblies on both ALCO engines. They also installed new oil pumps that will lubricate the ALCOs from the top down before they’re started, minimizing future wear.
This is one of two crawler-transporters that carried rockets and spacecraft, including the Apollo/Saturn V and space shuttle, from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the launch pad. Now, they’re getting ready for NASA’s accelerated return to the Moon.
Crawler-transporter 2 has been modified and upgraded to carry the mobile launcher and NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, topped by the Orion spacecraft, for Exploration Mission-1, which will launch in 2020. The agency’s Exploration Ground Systems oversaw extensive upgrades to crawler-transporter 2, including new generators, gear assemblies, roller bearings and brakes, as well as the hydraulic jacking, equalization and leveling (JEL) cylinders that keep its carrying surface level.
Last fall, crawler-transporter 2 carried the newly completed mobile launcher from its construction site north of the VAB, out to Launch Pad 39B, then into the VAB, where the mobile launcher continues extensive testing. The crawler is gearing up for another move of the mobile launcher back to the pad later this spring for more testing.
A brand-new headquarters building boasting several sustainable features has opened for use at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The newly constructed facility anchors the multi-user spaceport’s Central Campus.
The facility has earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation. It has LED lighting throughout, along with occupancy sensors to turn off unneeded lights; windows, screens and shades designed to maximize natural light; chilled beam HVAC technology reducing the need for ductwork; and more. Outside, the parking lot has dual electric vehicle charging stations and Florida native plants.
More than 500 civil service and contractor employees will be based in the 200,000-square-foot building, including shared services such as printing, reprographics and the center’s post office. Several center organizations have recently moved in, and more will follow during the coming months.