Women Launching Women: How NASA Mentors Artemis Generation

On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission lifted off on a Saturn V rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Crowds gathered with their eyes craned toward the sky, as NASA set out to make history with their next giant leaplanding astronauts on the Moon. 

One historical member watching the launch, JoAnn Morgan, instrumentation controller for Apollo 11, and the only female in the firing room inside NASA’s Launch Control Center.

Photo show members of Kennedy Space Center team inside the Launch Control Center to watch Apollo 11 liftoff. JoAnn Morgan is seated to the left of center in third row.
Members of the Kennedy Space Center government-industry team rise from their consoles within the Launch Control Center to watch the Apollo 11 liftoff through a window. JoAnn Morgan is seated to the left of center in the third row. Photo credit: NASA

“I look at that picture of the firing room where I’m the only woman. And I hope all the pictures now that show people working on the missions to the Moon and onto Mars, in rooms like mission Control or launch Control or wherever — that there will always be several women. I hope that photos like the ones I’m in don’t exist anymore,” said Morgan. 

NASA is hard at work 55 years later returning astronauts to the Moon with the Artemis campaign which will land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon – and establish the first long-term presence on the Moon. With these new missions supporting lunar exploration, Morgan’s hope for several women in the STEM field is coming true.  

Today, in that very same room where Morgan once sat as the only female engineer, dozens of women sit on console preparing to launch the mighty SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft back to the Moon for Artemis II. The room itself is not only full of a diverse group of engineers, but leading the team to liftoff is NASA’s first female Launch Director, Charlie Blackwell Thompson.

Photo shows women of Artemis launch team wearing green for
The women of Artemis launch team pose for a photo wearing green for “go” inside the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

This Women’s History Month, female leaders within the space industry met at NASA Kennedy to reflect on what mentorship means to them.  

“JoAnn, you did show us, whether you knew it at the time or not, that we belong in this room,” Blackwell-Thompson said. “Because of the work you did all those years ago, you made it possible for me.” 

The leaders meeting shared their thoughts on ways women can lead in the space industry. 

  1. Sharing is caring 
    Sharing is the basis of mentorship. Share your experiences either as a guiding tool or a lesson learned.
  2. An attitude of gratitude  
    We grow stronger when we grow together. Shine the light their way and give them a moment in the sun. A sense of gratitude and encouragement amongst others can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of the team.
  3. Stepping up to the plate  
    How can you be a person of action?  
  4. Growing pains are good  
    Just like physical growing pains, experiencing uncomfortableness in your career can be a sign of growth. Outperformance will feel uncomfortable. Trying something new will feel uncomfortable. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  5. Define how others view you  
    Deliver on your word. Do the right thing when nobody is looking. Be the person you would want on your team.
  6. Leadership is not defined by your title 
    Rise to the challenge within your everyday activities. Inspire those around you and offer a helping hand when it is needed. You can embody all of the characteristics of someone who leads long before you have the words manager, supervisor, or director in your official title.
  7. Identify your board of advisors  
    Just like any company trying to grow, your career deserves a board of advisors to grow. Create a space where you can talk your career navigation. Your board of advisors can change over periods of time and take shape in formal or informal relationships. 
  8. Bet on yourself 
    At every stage in your career, you hold power. Ask for a new challenge, the power to say no, and the power to ask for help.  
  9. Surround yourself with the best of the best  
    Teams can only be the best of the best when they include diverse thought. Be mindful of who you can collaborate with that will bring ideas unique from yours.  
  10. Make your mistakes matter   
    What did you learn? What can you teach others? How will this mistake lead you in the future? 

The work NASA does today, wouldn’t be possible without the mentors who have blazed the trail before. NASA Kennedy Center Director Janet Petro shares the importance of this teamwork, reminding us, “We are not doing any of this work for just ourselves, it is for the bigger goals of the agency and humanity.”  

Have a mentor you would like to thank? Send them your very own NASA thank you card: SP-2024-02-154-KSC EGS Women Launching Women Notecards_fillable.pdf 

¿Tienes un mentor al que le gustaría agradecer? Envíales tu propia tarjeta de agradecimiento de la NASA: SP-2024-03-246-KSC EGS WLW – Thank You Card Spanish Notecards_Fillable.pdf 

NASA’s SpaceX CRS-30: Liftoff at 4:55 p.m. EDT

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward after its liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 4:55 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 21, on the company’s 30th Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station. The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the orbiting outpost before it returns to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down off the coast of Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward after its liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 4:55 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 21, on the company’s 30th Commercial Resupply Services mission for the agency to the International Space Station. The spacecraft is expected to spend about a month attached to the orbiting outpost before it returns to Earth with research and return cargo, splashing down off the coast of Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn BensonA SpaceX Dragon launched on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at 4:55 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying more than 6,000 pounds of research, hardware, and supplies to the International Space Station.

NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website continue to provide live coverage of the ascent. About 12 minutes after launch, Dragon will separate from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, open its nosecone, and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station

The spacecraft is on track to arrive at the International Space Station on Saturday, March 23, with an expected docking of the cargo spacecraft about 7:30 a.m. EDT. Watch live coverage  of the arrival on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

When it arrives to the space station, Dragon will dock to the station’s Harmony module. NASA astronauts Loral O’Hara and Michael Barratt will monitor the arrival of the spacecraft.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on X as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA’s SpaceX CRS-30: Launch Coverage Underway

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Dragon spacecraft atop, stands in a vertical position at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, in preparation for the 30th commercial resupply services launch to the International Space Station. NASA and partner research flying aboard the mission includes a look at plant metabolism in space and a set of new sensors for free-flying Astrobee robots to provide 3D mapping capabilities. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:55 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 21, 2024. Photo credit: SpaceX

New research and technology demonstrations for NASA are scheduled to launch aboard the agency’s SpaceX 30th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station at 4:55 EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Coverage of launch and docking activities will air live on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

Full mission timeline is as follows (all times Eastern and subject to change based on operations):

COUNTDOWN
Hour/Min/Sec Events
00:38:00       SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for propellant load
00:35:00       RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading begins
00:35:00       1st stage LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins
00:16:00       2nd stage LOX loading begins
00:07:00       Falcon 9 begins pre-launch engine chill
00:05:00       Dragon transitions to internal power
00:01:00       Command flight computer to begin final prelaunch checks
00:01:00       Propellant tanks pressurize for flight
00:00:45       SpaceX Launch Director verifies go for launch
00:00:03       Engine controller commands engine ignition sequence to start
00:00:00       Falcon 9 liftoff

 LAUNCH AND DRAGON DEPLOYMENT
Hour/Min/Sec Events
00:00:58       Max Q (moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket)
00:02:19       1st stage main engine cutoff (MECO)
00:02:22       1st and 2nd stages separate
00:02:29       2nd stage engine starts
00:02:32       Boostback Burn Starts
00:03:24       Boostback Burn Ends
00:06:20       1st stage entry burn starts
00:06:40       1st stage entry burn ends
00:07:26       1st stage landing burn starts
00:07:50       1st stage landing
00:08:35       2nd stage engine cutoff (SECO-1)
00:11:48       Dragon separates from 2nd stage
00:12:40       Dragon nosecone open sequence begins

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will carry more than 6,000 pounds of cargo, including new science investigations, supplies, and equipment to the international crew aboard the orbiting laboratory. NASA and its partners will send studies aboard the mission on plant metabolism in space and a set of new sensors for free-flying Astrobee robots to provide 3D mapping capabilities. Other research includes a fluid physics study that could benefit solar cell technology and a university project from CSA (Canadian Space Agency) that will monitor sea ice and ocean conditions.

Arrival at the station is scheduled for approximately 7:30 a.m. Saturday, March 23. The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will dock autonomously to the zenith port of the station’s Harmony module.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on X as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Weather 90% Favorable for NASA’s SpaceX 30th Cargo Mission

Close up view of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on Space Launch Complex 40
Seen here is an up-close view of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket after being raised to a vertical position at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, in preparation for the 30th commercial resupply services launch to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:55 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 21, 2024. Photo credit: SpaceX

New research and technology demonstrations for NASA are set to launch aboard the agency’s SpaceX 30th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. The U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch pad for liftoff. Launch is targeted for 4:55 p.m. EDT Thursday, March 21, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Live launch coverage will air on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will carry more than 6,000 pounds of cargo, including new science investigations, supplies, and equipment to the international crew aboard the orbiting laboratory. NASA and its partners will send studies aboard the mission on plant metabolism in space and a set of new sensors for free-flying Astrobee robots to provide 3D mapping capabilities. Other research includes a fluid physics study that could benefit solar cell technology and a university project from CSA (Canadian Space Agency) that will monitor sea ice and ocean conditions.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog, @space_station and @ISS_Research on X as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA’s Europa Clipper Mission Advances with Solar Array Deployment

Three people in jumpsuits stand in front of a stretched out five-panel solar array inside of a building.
Technicians examine the first of two fully extended five-panel solar arrays built for NASA’s Europa Clipper suspended on a support system called a gravity offload fixture during inspection and cleaning as part of assembly, test, and launch operations inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Processing of the large solar arrays built for NASA’s Europa Clipper is now underway inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

Planned to arrive at Jupiter in April 2030, the spacecraft will study Jupiter’s moon Europa, which shows strong evidence beneath its icy crust of a global ocean over twice the volume of all Earth’s oceans. Europa is currently considered one of the most promising habitable environments in our solar system.

The first of two five-panel solar arrays built for NASA’s Europa Clipper stands inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for inspection and cleaning as part of assembly, test, and launch operations on Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Once processing of the first five-panel solar array is complete, technicians will remove it from the gravity offload fixture, which helps support the weight of the array. The same steps will then be repeated with the second solar array. Built by Airbus in Leiden, Netherlands, the arrays arrived at Kennedy late last month by truck, after travelling to the U.S. by air. 

When both solar arrays are installed and deployed on Europa Clipper – the agency’s largest spacecraft ever developed for a planetary mission – the spacecraft will span a total length of more than 100 feet and weigh 7,145 pounds without the inclusion of propellants. The spacecraft needs the large solar arrays to collect enough light to power it as it operates in the Jupiter system, which is more than five times as far from the Sun as Earth. 

Europa Clipper is being assembled at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and is managed in partnership with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. The spacecraft will ship to Florida later this year for launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy, is managing the launch service.  

Join the conversation and get Europa Clipper mission updates from these accounts: 

X: @EuropaClipper, @NASA, @NASAJPL, @NASA_LSP, @NASASolarSystem, @NASAKennedy 

Facebook: NASA’s Europa Clipper Mission, NASA, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA’s Launch Services Program, NASA Solar System Exploration, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center 

Instagram: @NASA, @NASAJPL, @NASASolarSystem, @NASAKennedy 

NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test Stacking Up For Launch

Crews raise a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to a vertical position at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.
Crews raise a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to a vertical position at the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

NASA, Boeing, and ULA (United Launch Alliance) are readying the rocket that will launch the first crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands vertical, awaiting integration with the rocket’s Centaur upper stage and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner after moving inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands vertical, awaiting integration with the rocket’s Centaur upper stage and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner after moving inside the Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/Frank Michaux

The ULA Atlas V rocket was moved into the company’s Vertical Integration Facility at Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, which starts the preparations for its stacking operations ahead of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test.

The rocket’s main stage was transferred from the nearby Advanced Spaceflight Operations Center to the integration facility Wednesday, Feb. 21, where it will await integration with the rocket’s upper Centaur stage and Starliner. The spacecraft will carry NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore to the orbiting laboratory for a short stay of about one to two weeks before returning to a landing site in the southwest United States.

The mission will test the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system, including launch, docking, and a return to Earth. After successful completion of the mission, NASA will begin the final process of certifying Starliner and its systems for crewed rotation missions to the space station.

NASA and Boeing are targeting no earlier than late April for launch. Starliner completed two uncrewed flight tests, including Orbital Flight Test-2, which docked to the space station on May 21, 2022, and provided valuable data leading up to its first crewed flight.

Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, X, and Facebook.

Signal Acquired: NASA’s PACE Spacecraft Begins Its Science Mission

NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft has successfully made contact with ground stations back on Earth providing teams with early readings of its overall status, health, operation, and capabilities postlaunch.  

A full postlaunch assessment review to determine PACE’s readiness to move into the operational phase of its mission will be conducted in the coming weeks.  

Information collected throughout PACE’s mission will benefit society in the areas of ocean health, harmful algal bloom monitoring, ecological forecasting, and air quality. PACE also will contribute new global measurements of ocean color, cloud properties, and aerosols, which will be essential to understanding the global carbon cycle and ocean ecosystem responses to a changing climate.  

The PACE’s mission is designed to last at least three years, though the spacecraft is loaded with enough propellant to expand that timeline more than three times as long. 

To read more about the launch of the PACE mission, please visit: 

https://www.nasa.gov/news-release/nasa-launches-new-climate-mission-to-study-ocean-atmosphere/

NASA’s PACE Spacecraft Separation

Photo credit: NASA Television

NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft has separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, beginning its science mission from sun-synchronous orbit about 420 miles above the Earth’s surface. 

The Falcon 9 Sticks Its Landing

Photo credit: NASA Television

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage has successfully landed at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Tonight’s mission marks the fourth completed flight for this Falcon 9.  

Coming Up: Falcon 9 Max Q, Main Engine Cutoff, and Stage Separation

Photo credit: NASA Television

A series of rapid events occurs after launch. After Max Q – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket – the nine Merlin engines of the Falcon 9’s first stage will finish their burn and cut off during a phase called MECO or Main Engine Cutoff. 

Quickly after MECO, the stage separation sequence occurs. The second stage carrying NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft will continue on its journey to sun-synchronous orbit.  

Coming up next, the Falcon 9’s second stage engine ignites, and the protective payload fairings will be jettisoned to reveal NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft to the vacuum of space for the first time.   

Meanwhile, the first stage of the rocket begins its recovery journey for a vertical landing at SpaceX Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Landing should occur about eight and a half minutes after liftoff. 

Stay right here on the blog for more live mission coverage.