March is Women’s History Month, and NASA is celebrating all of the trailblazing women making history each and every day. Among those pioneers are 16 active astronauts, including NASA’s Jessica Watkins and Kayla Barron, and ESA’s (European Space Agency) Samantha Cristoforetti.
Watkins and Cristoforetti will fly to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew 4 mission slated to launch no earlier than April 19, 2022. This will be Watkins’ first trip to space, while Cristoforetti has 200 days of spaceflight under her belt. Barron flew to the space station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission and is scheduled to return to Earth in late April.
These remarkable women will join the ranks of other female astronauts whose participation in scientific research on the space station have helped benefit those on Earth.
Learn more about Watkins, Cristoforetti, and many other women who have conducted scientific work on the space station.
Three teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida earned Fiscal Year 2021 Sustainable Environment Awareness (SEA) Awards and will be recognized during the upcoming 2022 KSC Honor Awards Ceremony this spring.
The Phase 1 Utility Energy Service Contract (UESC) Award Team won in the Building Efficiency/Performance Contracts category, the Kimberly-Clark RightCycle Program Team was selected in the Waste Management category, and the Sustainable Acquisition Reporting Team earned an award in the Sustainable Acquisition category.
The Phase 1 UESC Award Team’s project bundles a diverse mixture of energy conservation measures to provide energy savings, resiliency, and efficiency; two-megawatt solar farm, water fixtures, transformers, internal lighting, street and parking lot lighting, boilers, chillers, and other mechanical-related improvements. The effort, which uses the concept of financing and then paying it off through the savings, will result in $1.4 million in annual savings for NASA.
Sustainability is a critical part of NASA’s current and future goals – at Kennedy and throughout the agency.
“The UESC provides a win-win alternative where we can meet our energy and water conversation metrics and goals for the center and the agency,” said Launch Services Program Facility Operations and Maintenance Coordinator Cory Taylor, who works in the Spaceport Integration and Services (SI) directorate. “It also allows the programs to invest in their own facilities in a way that doesn’t impact their budget, as well as reducing their long-term utility expenses.”
The team comprises more than 35 members, including NASA civil servants and contractors, as well as Florida Power and Light employees. During the effort, Taylor engaged with about 120 people for feedback.
“It was an amazing project on a personal level to get to learn and engage with so many people, but also from a center level perspective – getting to understand the functions that everyone holds and how they work together to make this such a successful spaceport,” Taylor said.
A UESC 2 is already underway.
The Kimberly-Clark RightCycle Program Team reduced waste by replacing personal protective equipment (PPE) with recyclable products throughout Jacobs’ Test and Operations Support Contract (TOSC) facilities wherever possible, reducing waste disposal costs. The effort also lowered the purchase cost of gloves, with reductions of up to 35 percent.
“We wanted to make sure we did this to its full capabilities and did it throughout the TOSC contract. We’ve gotten almost all of the PPE changed over to Kimberly-Clark so it can be recycled,” said Environmental Scientist April Smith, who spearheaded the effort, along with An Huynh, also an environmental scientist on the TOSC contract. “I’d like to see us change in every area possible and expand this as far as it can go.”
As part of the newly established process, all supplier PPE is collected, placed in a recycle container, and shipped back to the company to be recycled into usable products. The containers are set up throughout multiple TOSC facilities on center.
The Sustainable Acquisition Team created a process to identify contract actions that were reported incorrectly in the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation. The new process ensures Kennedy receives credit for contracts that include mandatory clauses for the purchase of biobased, energy-efficient, recycled content and other sustainable features.
Annie Williams (SI) led the team, which included Hien Nguyen (SI), Karen Rivaud (Procurement), and consultant Angela Solorio.
The SEA Award Program recognizes NASA civil servants and contractors who demonstrate leadership to enhance the environment, implement sustainable practices, conserve energy and preserve natural resources. Click here for more information about the SEA program.
During recent training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, the crew participated in simulations focused on undocking and departing from the space station. All four astronauts practiced in a high-fidelity simulator of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, complete with flight-realistic hardware, displays, and seats. Each astronaut gained experience suiting up and configuring the spacecraft for departure. Commander Lindgren and pilot Hines took their places in the center seats, with access to flight displays they’ll use to monitor the spacecraft’s status and, if needed, take manual control of the spacecraft.
Astronaut crews regularly train for all phases of flight, using simulations to practice normal operations and respond to any unexpected issues. These simulations typically include multiple “runs” for a given day, with crew and flight controllers practicing a specific phase of the mission. Using simulated data to train personnel, simulations introduce system failures and other challenges to give teams the opportunity to prepare for and understand potential anomalies that could arise during a spaceflight, all while arming the crew with the skills needed for effectively overcoming these challenges.
While at Kennedy Space Center for emergency preparedness training, the crew visited the launch tower at Launch Complex 39A and trained on the emergency egress system, which employs slide wire baskets that enable crew and personnel to safely and quickly evacuate from the launch tower in the event of an emergency.
To become more familiar with recovery operations, the astronauts found their sea legs aboard SpaceX’s Dragon recovery vessels that will be used by joint SpaceX and NASA teams to pick up the crew following splashdown at the end of their mission. Two identical vessels cover potential landing zones off of the coast of Florida. The astronauts also toured one of SpaceX’s hangars where Falcon 9 rockets are refurbished and prepared for flight.
The crew is scheduled for a science expedition aboard the International Space Station, living and working as part of orbiting laboratory’s Expeditions 67 and 68. Crew-4 will be the fourth crew rotation mission with SpaceX, and fifth crewed flight overall including the Demo-2 flight test, for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Following completion of a third planned start and then cutoff of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 Centaur main engine, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) satellite separated from the spacecraft and is continuing on its journey to help meteorologists observe and predict local weather events, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, hurricanes, flash floods and other severe weather.
In addition, GOES observations have proven helpful in monitoring dust storms, volcanic eruptions, and forest fires.
“That is what it’s all about – when we get to the spacecraft separation. It’s years of work going into that one event,” said NASA Launch Director Tim Dunn. “Today, we were blessed with a smooth and successful countdown.”
A joint effort between NASA and NOAA, GOES-T will be renamed GOES-18 once it reaches geostationary orbit, replacing GOES-17 as GOES West. It will be positioned to watch over the western contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, and the Pacific Ocean. The satellite will be ideally located to monitor weather systems and hazards that most affect this region of the Western Hemisphere.
GOES-T is about the size of a small school bus and weighs more than 6,000 pounds. Liftoff, aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida, occurred right at the top of the two-hour launch window, at 4:38 p.m. EST. All milestones were successfully reached – from liftoff through spacecraft separation.
Have you ever wondered what the three numbers (541) on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V 541 rocket stand for? The numbers signify a payload fairing, or nose cone, that is approximately 5 meters (16.4 feet) in diameter; 4 solid-rocket boosters fastened alongside the central common core booster; and a 1-engine Centaur upper stage.
Just an interesting fact to throw in while we announce main engine cutoff (MECO) has occurred and the first stage has separated from the rocket. Coming up next, in about 10 minutes, will be Centaur main engine start #2, followed by main engine cutoff #2 about five minutes later.
3, 2, 1 … LIFTOFF! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) satellite spacecraft lights up the late afternoon Florida sky as it roars off the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on a joint effort with NASA to help meteorologists observe and predict local weather events.
Stay right here on the blog, or tune in to NASA TV, the NASA app, or the agency’s website to watch the spacecraft and rocket eclipse more launch milestones. Live coverage continues through GOES-T spacecraft separation at approximately 8:30 this evening. The next milestone is main engine cutoff, or MECO, coming in about 10 minutes.
Excitement is building as the mission nears launch. A joint effort between NASA and NOAA, GOES-T will help meteorologists observe and predict local weather events, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, fog, hurricanes, flash floods and other severe weather.
If you’re just joining us, liftoff – aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket from Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 – is set for 4:38 p.m. EST. Stay right here, or tune in to NASA TV, the NASA app, or the agency’s website for continuing coverage.
The weather outlook for today’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-T (GOES-T) satellite launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station remains positive. Weather officials with the Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict an 80% chance of favorable conditions for liftoff from Space Launch Complex 41.
The launch, which is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, is targeted for 4:38 p.m. EST. There is a two-hour launch window.
“Liftoff winds are going to be our primary concern with a smaller concern coming from some of those passing cumulus clouds,” said Arlena Moses, launch weather officer with the 45th Weather Squadron.