Wreath Honors Apollo Astronaut Edgar Mitchell

Edgar Mitchell Honored
In the Apollo Saturn V Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a ceremony took place to honor the memory of NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who died Feb. 4, 2016. A memorial wreath was placed at the Apollo 14 command module by, Mitchell’s son, Paul Mitchell, and daughter, Kimberly Mitchell. One of 12 humans to walk on the moon, Mitchell was Apollo 14’s lunar module pilot who landed in the moon’s Fra Mauro highlands on Feb. 5, 1971 with mission commander Alan Shepard while command module pilot Stuart Roosa remained in lunar orbit.
Photo credit: NASA/Bill White

In memory of NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell, a memorial wreath was placed in the Apollo Saturn V Center at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The brief ceremony took place on the morning of Feb. 12, 2016. The wreath was placed in the Treasures of Apollo exhibit where the Apollo 14 command module, flown by Mitchell, Alan Shepard and Stuart Roosa, is on display.

One of 12 humans to walk on the moon, Mitchell died Feb. 4, 2016, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 85. It was the eve of the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing.
As Apollo 14’s lunar module pilot, Mitchell and mission commander Shepard touched down in the moon’s Fra Mauro highlands aboard the lunar module Antares on Feb. 5, 1971.

Mitchell was born Sept. 17, 1930, in Hereford, Texas, but considered Artesia, New Mexico, his hometown. After being commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy, Mitchell went on to accumulate 5,000 hours flight time, including 2,000 hours in jet aircraft. NASA selected Mitchell as an astronaut in 1966.
Mitchell was drawn to spaceflight by President John F. Kennedy’s call to send astronauts to the moon.

“That’s what I wanted, because it was the bear going over the mountain to see what he could see and what you could learn,” Mitchell said after Kennedy announced the moon program. “I’ve been devoted to that, to exploration, education and discovery since my earliest years, and that’s what kept me going,”

As Apollo 14 command module pilot Stuart Roosa orbited the moon, Mitchell and Shepard collected 94 pounds of lunar rock and soil samples that later were distributed for analysis across 187 scientific teams in the United States and 14 other countries.
Mitchell retired from NASA and the U.S. Navy in 1972.
In an interview for NASA’s oral history program in 1997, Mitchell commented on what spaceflight meant to him.

“To me, that was the culmination of my being,” he said, “and what can I learn from this? What is it we are learning? That’s important, because I think what we’re trying to do is discover ourselves and our place in the cosmos and we don’t know. We’re still looking for that.”

Mitchell lived in Palm Beach County, Florida, since 1975. He is survived by four daughters, Karlyn Mitchell, Elizabeth Kendall, Kimberly Mitchell and Mary Beth Johnson, a son, Paul Mitchell, and nine grandchildren. His son Adam Mitchell died in 2010.

Aft Skirt Moved to RPSF for Solid Rocket Booster Pathfinder Operations at Kennedy Space Center

An aft skirt is moved to the RPSF facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
An aft skirt is moved from the Booster Fabrication Facility to the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility to be prepared for solid rocket booster pathfinder operations at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Charles Babir

An aft skirt similar to one that will be used on a solid rocket booster (SRB) that will help launch NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket into space was transported from the Booster Fabrication Facility to the Rotation, Processing and Surge Facility (RPSF) at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The aft skirt will remain in the RPSF and be readied for simulated stacking operations with a pathfinder, or test version, of a solid rocket booster. February 1 will mark the official start date for booster pathfinder operations after the aft skirt is inspected and undergoes limited processing.

Segments of the pathfinder SRB will arrive from Promontory, Utah, to Kennedy in mid-February and will be transported to the RPSF.

Engineers and technicians with NASA and industry partners will conduct a series of lifts, moves and stacking operations using the aft skirt and pathfinder SRB to simulate how SRB will be processed in the RPSF to prepare for an SLS/Orion mission.

The pathfinder operations will help to test recent upgrades to the RPSF facility as the center prepares for NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, deep-space missions, and the journey to Mars.

First Work Platform for NASA’s Space Launch System Installed in Vehicle Assembly Building

A 325-ton crane has lowered the first half of the K-level work platforms into High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The platform will be secured into position on tower E, about 86 feet above the floor. The K work platforms will provide access to NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) core stage and solid rocket boosters during processing and stacking operations on the mobile launcher.  Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky
A 325-ton crane has lowered the first half of the K-level work platforms into High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The platform will be secured into position on tower E, about 86 feet above the floor. The K work platforms will provide access to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) core stage and solid rocket boosters during processing and stacking operations on the mobile launcher. Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

The first of ten new work platforms that will provide access to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has been installed in High Bay 3 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

An overhead crane that can hold as much as 325 tons was used to lift the first half of the K-level work platforms up from High Bay 4, across the transfer aisle 19 floors up, and then lowered it into High Bay 3. The platform was secured into position, about 86 feet above the VAB floor, or nearly 9 stories high. The K-level work platform halves will provide access to the SLS core stage and solid rocket boosters during processing and stacking operations on the mobile launcher.

A total of 10 levels of new platforms — 20 platform halves altogether — will surround the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft and provide access for testing and processing. The giant steel platforms, each measuring 38 feet long and 62 feet wide, will be attached to rail beams that will provide structural support and contains the drive mechanisms to move them in and out or up and down as needed.

The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to the VAB, including installation of the new work platforms, marking preparations for the agency’s journey to Mars.

NASA awarded a contract to modify High Bay 3 to the Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Orlando, Florida, in March 2014. Steel LLC, of Scottdale, Georgia, is the subcontractor fabricating the huge steel platforms, and Sauer Co. in Oak Hill, Florida, is assembling the platforms.

Hensel Phelps, along with its subcontractors, and Kennedy’s Institutional Services Contract, Engineering Services Contract and safety personnel are supporting crane operations, installation and initial inspection of each of the platforms.

For more information about the new work platforms, visit https://www.nasa.gov/feature/first-work-platform-for-nasas-space-launch-system-arrives-at-kennedy-space-center.

Orbital ATK CRS-4 Liftoff Scrubbed Due to Weather

Because of thick clouds and precipitation that violated the weather rules for launching, Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance have postponed the planned launch of the Atlas V rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft. It is Orbital ATK’s fourth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station.

The next 30-minute launch window opens tomorrow, Dec. 4, at 5:33:11 p.m. EST. The chance of favorable weather for the next launch is 30 percent. NASA Television coverage will begin at 4:30 p.m. and can be viewed online at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

New Launch Time; 10 Percent Chance of ‘Go’ Weather

Launch managers now are targeting 6:25:45 p.m. EST for the liftoff of the fourth Orbital ATK commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. Weather is the concern; the thick cloud rule and disturbed weather rule are preventing launch. The probability of unfavorable weather preventing launch currently is 90 percent.

Ponce De Leon Inlet Tracking Site to Support Space Launch System

PDL-11_05_2015-Dish-Install-(17)Engineers and technicians from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and contractor ViaSat Inc. are completing restoration of a launch communications site at the Ponce De Leon Inlet Tracking Annex. The facility is located in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, 35 miles north of the spaceport. The annex will provide a crucial tracking capability following liftoff of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Carlsbad, California, based ViaSat recently installed the S-band dish antenna site that will provide tracking during the second and third minutes after liftoff. One minute into flight, the line-of-site from Kennedy tracking antennas are obscured because of the highly reflective plume from the SLS solid rocket boosters. The S-band portion of the microwave spectrum combines command, voice and television signals though a single antenna. The Ponce De Leon Inlet Tracking Annex is being reestablished following decommissioning at the end of the Space Shuttle Program.
Photo credit: NASA

Kennedy Space Center Employees Support America Recycles Day

John Ryan of Goodwill Industries loads electronic equipment for recycling
John Ryan of Goodwill Industries loads electronic equipment for recycling. On Nov. 9 and 10, Kennedy Space Center employees turned in no longer needed household items as part of America Recycles Day. The national emphasis focuses on opportunities not to discard items that can be recycled, giving them new life and protecting the environment.
Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

On Nov. 9 and 10, NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida partnered with Keep America Beautiful and Goodwill Industries participating in America Recycles Day. The national emphasis focuses on opportunities not to discard items that can be recycled, giving them new life.

This year, Kennedy’s Spaceport Integration and Services Directorate encouraged employees to bring in personal electronic waste, either working or not, as well as new and “gently used” household articles. These items were collected by Goodwill Industries for reuse.

Altogether, 182 people dropped off more than 7,500 pounds of items to be recycled.

America Recycles Day is a program of Keep America Beautiful and is nationally recognized as a time dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. Every year on or around Nov. 15, event organizers work to educate neighbors, friends and colleagues about the value of not discarding no-longer-needed items.

According to the website of Keep America Beautiful, the national recycling rate has increased annually for the past 30 years. The current recycling rate in the U.S. is 34.5 percent.

During the two-day event, scores of Kennedy employees turned in goods to be recycled, dropping them off in the parking lots of the Kennedy Learning Institute and Vehicle Assembly Building. While some of the materials turned in were used household items, much of it was electronic waste.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics and glass, all of which require energy to mine or manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing.

Noting the value of recycling electronics, the EPA reports that recycling one million laptop computers saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used annually by more than 3,500 U.S. homes. For every million cell phones recycled, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering, increase recycling and beautify America’s communities. Among the organization’s most effective efforts was their 1971 ad campaign discouraging litter. During the 1950s and 1960s, roadside trash was commonplace.

The public service announcement came to be known as the “Crying Indian ad.” Narrated by actor William Conrad, the message featured actor Iron Eyes Cody, portraying a Native American saddened to see the damage to the Earth’s natural beauty by the thoughtless litter.

A short promotional video for Kennedy employees recently was produced encouraging everyone to avoid throwing recyclable waste into an ordinary trash can, but choose a recycling bin.

#NASAinNOLA

Are you in New Orleans for the Fourth of July weekend? NASA has a large exhibit at Essence Fest this year. Stop by the Audubon Institute’s Aquarium July 1-5!

NASAinNOLA

SpaceX Pad Abort Test Window Begins Two Hours Later at 9 a.m. EDT

SpaceX reported this evening that it has moved the start of its Pad Abort Test window two hours to 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 6, from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The test will see a Crew Dragon and trunk – together about 20 feet tall – fly on the power of eight SuperDraco engines. There will be no crew members aboard the spacecraft during the test, which will simulate an emergency escape from the launch pad in the unlikely case of booster failing at liftoff or other scenario that would threaten astronauts inside the spacecraft.

NASA will provide updates about the test on the Commercial Crew Blog and air the test live on NASA Television. To join the online conversation about the SpaceX Pad Abort Test, follow the hashtag #LaunchAmerica.spacex_pad_abort_vehicle_split