Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing predict a 60 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket for the company’s 16th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 4 at 1:38 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concerns are violation of the thick cloud layer and cumulus cloud rules and flight through precipitation.
SpaceX’s 16th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA is targeted to launch at 1:39 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 4, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Join us Monday, Dec. 3, as we start SpaceX CRS-16 launch week coverage with prelaunch events on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
9:30 a.m. – What’s on Board science briefing from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The briefing will highlight the following research:
Jill McGuire, project manager, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will discuss RRM3.
Dr. Ralph Dubayah, principal investigator, University of Maryland, and Bryan Blair, deputy principal investigator, Goddard, will discuss GEDI.
Dr. Elaine Horn-Ranney, principal investigator, Tympanogen, will discuss an investigation into novel wound dressings and how antibiotics can be directly released on wound sites.
Nicole Wagner, LambdaVision, will discuss the Enhancement of Performance and Longevity of a Protein-Based Retinal Implant.
Winners of the Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Space Station Challenge:
Adia Bulawa, project lead, Staying Healthy in Space
Sarina Kopf, project lead, Aeroponic Farming in Microgravity
3:30 p.m. – Prelaunch News Conference from Kennedy with the following representatives:
Joel Montelbano, deputy ISS program manager, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of Build and Flight Reliability at SpaceX
Kirt Costello, ISS program chief scientist, Johnson
Clay Flinn, launch weather officer
For the latest schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/content/spacex-crs-16-briefings-and-events/
Learn more about the SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station at: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex
Seniors from Brevard County area high schools were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, ate lunch with an astronaut, and participated in a roundtable discussion with Kennedy engineers, scientists and business experts at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Nov. 7, 2018.
The students heard from astronaut Bob Springer, a member of the second class of NASA astronauts, who flew on the STS-29 and STS-38 missions. Mixing pertinent information with humor, Springer shared his experiences in training and flying on a space shuttle, and the astronaut selection criteria.
The annual event, hosted by the NASA Academic Engagement Office at the center, also provided information about NASA’s internships and scholarships. At the end of the day, each student received a certificate of recognition. From there, they were invited to tour the visitor complex and view the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit.
“Each year, the schools select a superb group of students to participate,” said Denise Coleman, Education Program specialist. “They were engaged and eager to see and hear as much as possible about Kennedy, NASA missions, and how all of that might relate to their future.”
NASA Kennedy Space Center’s use of a technology widely employed in sophisticated manufacturing supports the agency’s space exploration efforts and also has led to improvements in the product’s design.
The technology is a sensor called a residual gas analyzer/mass spectrometer, or RGA. At each step in the process of producing complex items like semi-conductors, which can involve thousands of RGAs for process control, the devices can rapidly detect vacuum leaks as well as contamination that, if left unchecked, could result in manufacturing defects. RGAs also can determine the type and location of a leak by identifying its chemical composition.
A team at Kennedy leveraged their experience working with RGAs while they worked with members of industry to troubleshoot Kennedy’s thermal vacuum chamber, or TVAC. The chamber can simulate various space environments to test and prepare hardware for flight.
The NASA researchers, members of the Water Analysis and Volatile Extraction (WAVE) team, are developing RGAs as payloads for landers to detect resources on the Moon, such as water that astronauts can drink or convert to rocket fuel. During testing of the TVAC, engineers had detected pressure spikes indicative of small, invisible leaks. The WAVE team and members of industry demonstrated how to use a RGA sensor to troubleshoot the leaks by identifying gases present in the chamber which would indicate the source of a leak, thus avoiding a costly and time-consuming delay to operations.
This was not their first collaboration.
The NASA researchers had already put their RGA through numerous flight verifications, and had worked with the vender to resolve issues that arose when adapting the technology for space. Vibration testing, in particular, highlighted several ways in which RGA manufacturers could make their devices more robust. Ken Wright, chief scientist and instrument development lead for sensor manufacturer Inficon, said working with NASA produced at least three direct improvements to the company’s residual gas analyzer. “Our main product is now better because of this collaboration,” Wright said.
Janine Captain, a researcher at Kennedy, said the work was beneficial to everyone involved. “This collaboration makes the center stronger and better equipped to provide testing facilities to our customers,” she said. “Working with commercial providers enables us to continue expanding our capabilities.”
Employing the RGA sensor to troubleshoot Kennedy’s thermal vacuum chamber while preparing the same equipment for use in space is another example of harnessing innovation to develop the agencies capabilities and using technology to drive exploration.
Today, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida celebrates U.S. Constitution Day, the official birthday of our country’s government. With the theme “Freedom Needs Space,” a remembrance poster makes appearances in various locations around the multi-user spaceport, including the crawlerway, Vehicle Assembly Building and Shuttle Landing Facility.
Constitution Day is an American federal observance. It recognizes the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. Constitution Day is observed on Sept. 17, the day in 1787 that 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing the 13 original colonies, met for the last time and signed the document in Philadelphia.
For more information about Constitution Day, resources and activities, visit http://www.constitutionday.com/.
The launch is planned for Sunday, Aug. 12 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The forecast shows a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The launch time is 3:31 a.m. ET.
The team that tested the umbilical lines and launch accessories that will connect from the mobile launcher (ML) to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission-1 celebrated their achievement during a banner signing at the Launch Equipment Test Facility (LETF) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Engineers and technicians in the Engineering Directorate and the Exploration Ground Systems Program, along with contractor support, began the tests at the LETF about 2.5 years ago. The first to be tested was one of two aft skirt electrical umbilicals. Testing of the final umbilical, the second of two tail service mast umbilicals, was completed on June 27.
“The team of NASA test engineers and test managers, and contractor engineers and technicians, worked tirelessly six days a week, 10 hours a day, in order to meet the highly aggressive schedule and deliver the hardware to the mobile launcher for installation,” said Jeff Crisafulli, Test and Design branch chief in the Engineering Directorate.
In all, 21 umbilicals and launch accessories were tested on various simulators at the LETF that mimicked conditions during launch to ensure they are functioning properly and ready for installation on the ML. Most have been delivered and installed on the ML tower. These include the Orion service module umbilical, interim cryogenic propulsion stage umbilical, core stage forward skirt umbilical and core stage inter-tank umbilical. Two aft skirt electrical umbilicals, two aft skirt purge umbilicals, a vehicle stabilizer system, eight vehicle support posts and two tail service mast umbilicals were installed on the 0-level deck of the ML.
Before launch, the umbilical lines will provide power, communications, coolant and fuel to the rocket and spacecraft. Additional accessories will provide access and stabilization. During launch, each umbilical and accessory will release from its connection point, allowing the SLS and Orion to lift off safely from the launch pad.
“Design, fabrication and testing of the new mobile launcher’s umbilicals and launch accessories is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I am proud to have been part of,” Crisafulli said.
NASA and Northrop Grumman have postponed the launch of the agency’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) satellite. ICON, which will study the frontier of space, was targeted to launch on a Pegasus XL rocket June 14 from the Kwajalein Atoll in Marshall Islands.
During a ferry transit, Northrop Grumman saw off-nominal data from the Pegasus rocket. While ICON remains healthy, the mission will return to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for rocket testing and data analysis. A new launch date will be determined at a later date.
Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) chilled out recently with a pressurization test of the liquid oxygen (LO2) tank at Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – Pad 39B, recently upgraded by the EGS team for the agency’s new Space Launch System rocket.
The six-hour test of the giant sphere checked for leaks in the cryogenic pipes leading from the tank to the block valves, the liquid oxygen sensing cabinet, and new vaporizers recently installed on the tank.
The SLS will use both liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen. During tanking, some of the liquid oxygen, stored at minus 297 degrees Fahrenheit, boils off and vapor or mist is visible. While the tank can hold up to 900,000 gallons of liquid oxygen; during the test it only contained 590,000 gallons of the super-cooled propellant.
The test was monitored by engineers and technicians inside Firing Room 1 at the Launch Control Center, a heritage KSC facility also upgraded by the EGS team in preparation for the upcoming mission. Results of the test confirmed that the fill rise rate was acceptable, the tank pressurization sequence works and that only one of the two vaporizers was needed to accomplish pressurization.
Another system is “go” for the first integrated launch of SLS and the Orion spacecraft!
The robots are coming! Forty-five teams of undergraduate and graduate students, from universities and colleges throughout the U.S., are expected to soon descend upon NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida with their uniquely designed robotic miners, in all shapes and sizes. They will compete May 16-18 in the agency’s 2018 Robotic Mining Competition (RMC).
Each team’s robot will traverse and excavate the simulated Martian regolith, seeking to mine and collect the most regolith within a specified amount of time. Teams also are required to submit a Systems Engineering Paper, perform STEM Outreach in their communities and provide a presentation and robot demonstration.
The competition will conclude May 18 with an evening awards ceremony at the Apollo Saturn V Center. A list of winners will be available by May 21 at http://www.nasa.gov/nasarmc.
Watch the RMC competition live at http://bit.ly/nasarmc.
The Robotic Mining Competition is a NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate project designed to encourage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields. The project provides a competitive environment to foster innovative ideas and solutions that could be used on NASA’s deep space exploration missions.
For more information on the RMC, associated activities and social media, visit http://www.nasa.gov/nasarmc.