Jason-3 to be Powered On for the First Time Today

The Jason-3 spacecraft was removed from its shipping container over the weekend at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It has been placed on a movable rotation and test fixture inside the payload processing facility at Space Launch Complex-4 East, where it will be powered on for the first time today as a prelude to upcoming testing.

SpaceX CRS-7 Launch Date: June 28

The seventh SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract now is targeted for launch at 10:21 a.m. EDT on Sunday, June 28, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. If the launch does not occur on Sunday, the next launch opportunity would be at 9:58 a.m. on Monday, June 29.

The company’s Falcon 9 rocket will carry its Dragon cargo spacecraft filled with more than 5,500 pounds of supplies and payloads for the station, including critical materials to the science and research investigations that will occur during Expedition 44 and 45.

A Brief Look at CRS-7

spacex_launchThe CRS-7 mission will be the seventh operational cargo delivery flight by SpaceX to the International Space Station. It will carry a host of experiments, supplies and equipment for the crew of the orbiting laboratory. It also will ferry the first of two Boeing-built International Docking Adapters that will be used by Commercial Crew spacecraft in the future when they dock at the station.

Launch of CRS-7 from SpaceX’s facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is targeted for June 26 at 11:09 a.m. We will cover the countdown, launch and ascent into orbit here on the NASA Blog and on NASA TV at www.nasa.gov/ntv.

Mourning Jack King, Apollo ‘Voice of Launch Control’

John W. (Jack) King, former chief of Public Information at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, died June 11, 2015 He was 84. A resident of Cocoa Beach, Fla., King worked in the space agency’s Public Affairs office from 1960 until 1975. He returned to Kennedy in 1997, working for space shuttle contractor United Space Alliance until his 2010 retirement.

King served as manager of press operations for 12 years, spanning the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. During that time, he was the “voice of launch control” for virtually every human mission from Gemini 4 to Apollo 15. He described countdown events as millions around the world watched the liftoff of the Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon.

Read the full story at http://go.nasa.gov/1L3NDMh.

All Kennedy Facilities Open After Wednesday Storms

A severe thunderstorm cell moved through Kennedy Space Center at approximately 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10 with a maximum wind speed reaching 84 knots (96 mph) in the Kennedy Industrial Area.

A severe thunderstorm watch had been issued shortly after 8 a.m. for the period of 3 to 8 p.m. and included Strong Wind and Damaging Wind Warnings at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively.

Most damage was confined to the KSC Industrial Area, particularly the NASA Headquarters Building. Approximately ten building windows were cracked, there were numerous roof and window leaks and water intrusion, and some inside ceilings in offices collapsed. In the area of the Central Campus construction site between the Headquarters Building and the Operations and Checkout Building, temporary fencing and barricades were blown over, and a construction trailer moved horizontally approximately 100 feet into a parked vehicle. Also, approximately 15-20 cars were damaged in the front and rear parking lots of the Headquarters Building including some with windows blown out.

Around Kennedy, limbs and small trees were down and there was ponding or minor flooding and some traffic lights out. There was no damage to operational facilities or flight hardware. Once the storm had passed and it was safe to initiate temporary repairs, crews worked through the evening to ensure a safe work place for personnel returning to work this morning. All Kennedy facilities are open and operating today.

Budding Engineers Build Spacecraft

“Sometimes when you are an engineer, you have to get it wrong, before you can get it right,” said Rebecca Regan, an employee at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Yesterday, Regan taught 17 elementary school students at Kennedy’s Child Development Center about the Commercial Crew Program and the need to have American-made spacecraft and rocket systems to carry people to and from space. After the lesson, each student built their own spacecraft out of cardboard boxes and art supplies.

Take a look at the designs these budding engineers created.

 

DSC_9577_COWant to build your own spacecraft this summer? We used the following supplies:

  • Cardboard box
  • Disposable plates (for portholes)
  • Pictures (to place on the portholes)
  • Plastic cups (to make rocket engines)
  • Foil (to cover the cups)
  • Tissue Paper – red, orange and yellow (to make fire for the engines)
  • Construction Paper (for decorating)
  • Stencils (for decorating)
  • Pencil (for a steering wheel)
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • NASA and Commercial Crew Program logos

Commercial Crew Rotation Mission in Motion

4-astros_webfeature-graphicNASA took another step toward returning America’s ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017. Commercial Crew ordered its first crew rotation mission from The Boeing Company. SpaceX is expected to receive its first order later this year. Determination of which company will fly its mission to the station first will be made at a later time.

“Final development and certification are top priority for NASA and our commercial providers, but having an eye on the future is equally important to the Commercial Crew and station programs,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of Commercial Crew. “Our strategy will result in safe, reliable and cost-effective crew missions.”

Missions flown to the station on Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will restore America’s human spaceflight capabilities and increase the amount of scientific research that can be conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory. A standard mission to the station will carry four NASA or NASA-sponsored crew members and about 220 pounds of pressurized cargo. The spacecraft will remain at the station for up to 210 days and serve as an emergency lifeboat during that time.

“Commercial Crew launches are critical to the International Space Station Program because it ensures multiple ways of getting crews to orbit,” said Julie Robinson, International Space Station chief scientist. “It also will give us crew return capability so we can increase the crew to seven, letting us complete a backlog of hands-on critical research that has been building up due to heavy demand for the National Laboratory.”

Astronauts to Join Hall of Fame on May 30

In this image from March 2002, John M. Grunsfeld is shown in space shuttle Columbia's cargo bay.Four accomplished NASA astronauts soon will be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Joining the hall of fame this year are NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld, and former astronauts Steve Lindsey, Kent Rominger, and M. Rhea Seddon. Their induction brings the total number of space explorers enshrined to 91.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of the induction ceremony at 2 p.m. EDT on Saturday, May 30.

For more information, go to http://go.nasa.gov/1QalTnm.

Robotic Miners Compete at Kennedy

Inside the robot pit preparation facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, college team members look over their custom-made robot in preparation for NASA's Robotic Mining Competition.
Inside the robot pit preparation facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, college team members look over their custom-made robot in preparation for NASA’s Robotic Mining Competition.

University teams and their mining robots have descended on the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex this week for the 2015 NASA Robotic Mining Competition.

Teams have designed and built remote-controlled mining robots that can traverse the simulated Martian terrain features and excavate simulated regolith. During the competition, the teams’ robots will go head-to-head to determine which machine can collect and move the most regolith within a specified amount of time.

The competition is a NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate project designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields by expanding opportunities for student research and design. The project provides a competitive environment to foster innovative ideas and solutions that potentially could be applied to future NASA missions.

NASA Seeks CubeSat Launchers

CubeSat artist conceptNASA’s Launch Services Program is looking for a couple of launch vehicles suited to the needs of CubeSats, small spacecraft that fit inside a 4-inch cube. After five years of launching cubes as secondary payloads on larger missions, the industry has matured to the point that designers and scientists are able to perform significant science in Earth and space studies. Along the way, a backlog of about 50 CubeSat missions has built up, so the agency wants to put a new small rocket to use that is capable of sending an assortment of the small satellites into orbit at one time. Read more about the draft proposal at http://go.nasa.gov/1JTwRPz