The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft is seen as it lands with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020.
The Demo-2 test flight for NASA's Commercial Crew Program was the first to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station and return them safely to Earth onboard a commercially built and operated spacecraft. Behnken and Hurley returned after spending 64 days in space. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the Mars 2020 mission with the Perseverance rover for NASA, lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 on July 30 at 7:50 a.m. EDT.
ULA and its heritage rockets have launched every U.S. led mission to Mars, beginning in the 1960s. The launch of this mission marks ULA’s 20th trip to the red planet and the 85th successful launch of an Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V has previously launched four missions to Mars, including the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2005, the Curiosity rover in 2011, the MAVEN orbiter in 2013 and the InSight lander in 2018.
“Thank you to the ULA team and our NASA mission partners for diligently working through an ever-changing environment to successfully launch this historic mission,” said Gary Wentz, ULA vice president of Government and Commercial Programs. “The complexity of the Mars 2020 mission proves ULA’s acceptance of the most challenging launch requirements and we work together with NASA to achieve them. Our guidance accuracy for interplanetary missions is unmatched, and the Atlas V is the only vehicle certified to launch payloads with nuclear power sources.”
One of the most powerful rockets in the Atlas V fleet, the 541 configuration, with four solid rocket boosters, provides optimum performance to precisely deliver a range of mission types. In addition to three national security and two weather satellites, an
Atlas V 541 rocket launched NASA’s Curiosity rover on its 10-month, 354 million-mile journey to the surface of Mars.
This Atlas V 541 configuration vehicle included a 5-meter payload fairing (PLF) and stood at 197 ft. tall. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. Aerojet Rocketdyne provided the four AJ-60A SRBs and RL10C-1 engine for the Centaur upper stage.
NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP) at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) proven Atlas V vehicle for this mission and is responsible for management and oversight of the Atlas V launch services. LSP selected this rocket because it has the right liftoff capability for the "heavy weight" requirements for NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover launch.
To date ULA has launched 140 times with 100 percent mission success.
With more than a century of combined heritage, ULA is the world’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully launched more than 135 missions to orbit that provide Earth observation capabilities, enable global communications, unlock the mysteries of our solar system, and support life-saving technology.
NASA has released the crew poster for Crew-1, which will launch aboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket from LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida in September.
This will be Crew Dragon's first operational flight carrying humans to the International Space Station. The crew consists of NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
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History was postponed today as NASA and SpaceX were forced to scrub the historic Demo-2 mission 17 minutes before its scheduled liftoff. The first manned mission to launch from American soil since 2011 and the first commercial manned launch was called off due to storm conditions.
The Demo-2 mission was scheduled to launch from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4:33 pm EDT atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. With NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the mission was intended to make the first commercial flight to the International Space Station (ISS).
According to NASA, the launch attempt had encountered no major technical issues, but launch weather officials told SpaceX Launch Director Mike Taylor that there wasn’t enough time for weather to improve before the instantaneous launch window would pass. At the time, atmospheric electricity levels passed the safety threshold and rain, cumulus clouds, and anvil clouds closed in on the space center.
"We can see raindrops on the windows,” said Hurley as he and Behnken were told of the scrub. "We understand everybody’s probably a little bummed out, but that’s part of the deal."
The next Demo-2 launch attempt is scheduled for Saturday, May 30, at 3:22 p.m. EDT.
Blue Origin National Team, which includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper, was selected by NASA to begin to develop the Artemis Human Landing System.
“NASA’s Artemis program will be the next major milestone in the history of human space flight, and we’re honored to be a part of it,” said Bob Smith, CEO, Blue Origin. “Our National Team brings unparalleled heritage, passion and innovation that will enable Americans to return to the lunar surface and inspire another generation. It’s time to go back to the Moon, this time to stay.”
Using existing and in development technologies provides the head start needed to meet NASA’s goal of landing at the South Pole of the Moon. Lockheed Martin’s Ascent Element is based on Orion; Northrop Grumman’s Transfer Element is based on Cygnus; and Blue Origin’s Descent Element is based on the Blue Moon lander and BE-7 engine, which has been in development for several years.
“Lockheed Martin is honored to be partnered with Blue Origin and this National Team as we begin a moment in history that the world will point to for generations,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space. “The Artemis astronauts will descend to the surface and ascend off the surface inside an advanced crewed ascent element. The best way to accomplish this safely and quickly is to leverage NASA’s investment in Orion, an existing human-rated deep space spaceship, which maximizes common training and operations.”
“Putting humans back on the lunar surface is an inspiring goal for our nation,” said Blake Larson, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Space Systems. “We are proud to support this team and NASA with our decades of experience, comprehensive capabilities, and our proven space systems, as we return to the Moon.”
“Draper’s extensive portfolio and heritage in human exploration avionics is reinforced by current work on Lockheed Martin’s Orion, NASA’s SLS, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus and Blue Origin’s engine, New Glenn and Blue Moon programs,” said Seamus Tuohy, Principal Director of Space Systems, Draper. “We are prepared for this united team to return humans to the Moon, just as Draper did with Apollo.”
Each National Team partner brings industry-leading solutions:
The National Team looks forward to embarking on the next steps with NASA and continuing progress to return to the Moon – this time to stay.
From Blue Origin “Gradatim Ferociter” is Latin for “Step by Step, Ferociously.” Bezos says that's his approach to spaceflight. “If you're building a flying vehicle, you can't cut any corners
TOKYO — Japan had only a few dozen confirmed coronavirus infections when the 30-something nurse with a slight sore throat boarded a bus to Osaka, the country’s third-largest city, to attend a Valentine’s weekend performance by pop bands at a music club.
Less than two weeks later, she tested positive for the virus, and the authorities swiftly alerted others who had been at the club. As more infections soon emerged from three other music venues in the city, officials tested concertgoers and their close contacts, and urged others to stay home. All told, 106 cases were linked to the clubs, and nine people are still hospitalized.
But less than a month after the nurse tested positive, the governor of Osaka declared the outbreak over.
Ever since the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Japan in mid-January, health officials have reassured the public that they have moved quickly to prevent the virus from raging out of control. At the same time, though, Japan has puzzled epidemiologists as it has avoided the grim situations in places like Italy and New York without draconian restrictions on movement, economically devastating lockdowns or even widespread testing.
The puzzle may be about to gain some clarity. On Thursday, Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s health minister, said he had informed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that there was evidence that Japan was now at a high risk of rampant infection.
On Wednesday night, just a day after Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to delay the Tokyo Summer Games for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, warned citizens that the sprawling city of close to 14 million people was in a “critical phase before a possible infection explosion.”
Cases in Tokyo spiked this week, setting records for four days running — including an announcement of 47 cases on Thursday — as travelers returned from overseas. The limited testing for the virus has raised fears that many more are going undetected.
Ms. Koike implored the people of Tokyo to work from home, avoid unnecessary outings and stay inside over the weekend. On Thursday, governors from four neighboring prefectures also requested that residents refrain over the weekend from going outside for anything other than urgent needs.
“If we go without doing anything now,” Ms. Koike said, “the situation will worsen. I ask for everyone’s cooperation.”
The public so far has not taken such warnings seriously. Although schools have been closed for a month and the government has requested that large sports and cultural events be canceled or delayed, the rest of life has returned to normal.
People have been riding crowded subways, congregating in parks to view the cherry blossoms, shopping, drinking and dining, comforted by Japan’s relatively low number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.
For more information: 321GoSpace 24/7 News
Source and full article:
New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/26/world/asia/japan-coronavirus.html
Ben Dooley and Makiko Inoue contributed reporting from Tokyo, and Hiroko Masuike from Osaka, Japan. Motoko Rich is Tokyo bureau chief for The New York Times.
The Federal Senate approved the Agreement on Technological Safeguards (AST) signed between Brazil and the United States. The AST, which had already been approved by the House of Representatives, ensures the protection of US technologies used in rocket and non-war satellite satellites to be launched from the Alcântara Space Center (CEA), enabling the Center to use it commercially.
With the approval of the AST, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC), through the Brazilian Space Agency and the Ministry of Defense, will move to the next phase of the project, which includes the preparation of the commercial operations plan of the CEA. Launches are expected to begin in 2021.
The technology safeguard agreement (TSA) opens the way for U.S. companies interested in launching, rockets, spacecrafts and satellites at a lower cost from the Alcantara space center run by the Brazilian Air Force on the South American country’s north coast. The Brazil Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Brazil U.S. Space Alliance are organizing in March 2020 the first U.S. Space mission aiming to assist U.S. space companies interested in doing business in Brazil.
Because of the Brazilian base’s location so close to the equator, launches burn 30% less fuel and rockets can carry larger payloads, according to Air Force officers. Alcantara base is considered the best location on earth to launch rockets.
With TSA, Brazil wants to get a piece of the $300 billion-a-year space launch business, a market which is expected to grow fast in the next few years.
Source: Reuters and Brazil Florida Chamber of Commerce - BFCC
For NASA, the moon is only a steppingstone on the way to Mars.
With plans to put astronauts on the Red Planet by the late 2030s, NASA has created the Lunar Gateway, a space station that will orbit the moon and help astronauts learn how to live in deep space.
“Why do we go back [to the moon]? We’re going to explore, we’re going to learn about our solar system,” said Marshall Smith, NASA’s director of human lunar exploration. “How we move around on Mars, we can do that on the moon, very similar.”
The gateway is intended to be a permanent docking area for astronauts on their way to the moon and eventually Mars, which will require at least a 1-year round trip.
NASA’s goal is to start sending humans to the moon by the end of 2024. Learning to use the moon’s resources and how to stay there is a part of the plan to travel deeper into space, Mr. Smith said.
“It allows us to have a testing ground that’s not years away or months away, but days,” he said. “If something goes wrong on Mars, you have to deal with it until you can come back. That could be up to a year and a half.”
Source: Emily Ketterer - The Washington Times
One of the questions most folks ask about Space Camps is "Has anyone from Space Camps became an astronaut?" The answer is definitively yes.
Space Camp in Huntsville for instance, anxiously awaited the recent announcement of the 2017 NASA Astronaut Class to discover two of the 12 new astronaut candidates are Space Camp alumni: Maj. Jasmin Moghbeli and Robert, "Bob" Hines. These amazing 12 individuals were chosen from a unprecedented 18,300 applicants.
Jasmin and Bob join the ranks of five other Space Camp alumni from Alabama who came as children and have gone on to the astronaut corps. The members of the 2017 class become full-fledged astronauts after completing two years of rigorous training.
Learn more about some of the astronauts who attended Space Camps and their accomplishments, beginning with the newest two extraordinary astronaut candidates:
1) Robert "Bob" Hines
Robert, "Bob" Hines received his commission from Air Force Officer Training School in 1999. He completed Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. Upon completion of pilot training, he remained at Columbus as a T-37 instructor pilot. At the time of his astronaut selection in June, 2017, Hines was a Research Pilot for the Aircraft Operations Division of the Flight Operations Directorate at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He was also serving in the U.S. Air Force Reserves as the F-15E Program Test Director and Test Pilot the at the F-15 Operational Flight Program Combined Test Force, 84th Test & Evaluation Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Bob attended Space Camp at the age of 14 in 1989. In a recent Reddit “Ask Me Anything” with the new astronaut class, Bob said Space Camp “fanned the flame” and grew his interest in spaceflight.
2) Maj. Jasmin Moghbeli
Maj. Jasmin Moghbeli was born in Germany, but considers Baldwin, N.Y., her hometown. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. She is also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and has accumulated more than 1,600 hours of flight time and 150 combat missions.
At the time of her astronaut candidate section, she was testing H-1 helicopters and serving as the quality assurance and avionics officer for Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 of the U.S. Marine Corps in Yuma, Arizona.
Jasmin attended Advanced Space Academy in 1998 when she was 15 years old, and referenced her experience in a recent article in “The New Yorker".
3) Dottie Metcalf-Lindenbergur
Although a trip to Space Camp at the age of 14 opened up a world of possibilities for Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, it was a question from one of her eighth-grade astronomy students that really changed her life. The frequently asked question of “how do astronauts use the bathroom in space” led the young teacher to NASA’s website where the Educator Astronaut position had just been posted. Metcalf-Lindenburger had long been a science enthusiast and considers herself a sort of teacher for all people; the opportunity could not have been more perfect. So when she was selected as the youngest member of the 2004 Educator Astronaut Candidate Class, it was literally a dream come true. In February 2006, she completed Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training. Completion of this initial training qualified her for technical assignments within the Astronaut Office and future flight assignment. After completion of her astronaut training, Dottie was assigned to the STS-131 crew and flew to the International Space Station on the Space Shuttle Discovery in April 2010 – exactly 20 years to the month after graduating from Space Academy. Dottie is the first Space Camp graduate to reach space. She has logged more than 362 hours in space.
After her space flight, she worked as a Cape Crusader for the final three shuttle missions. She also supported the Astronaut Office Station Operation Branch as a lead for the provisions, manifests and stowage. In June 2012, Dottie commanded the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 16. In this underwater habitat, the international crew of four aquanauts and two habitat technicians carried out simulated spacewalks to investigate the techniques and tools that may be used at a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA).
4) Samantha Cristoforetti
Samantha is a 1995 alumna of Space Camp in Huntsville, a captain in the Italian Air Force and currently an astronaut with the European Space Agency. Samantha graduated from the Italian Air Force Academy in Pozzuoli, Italy, in 2005, and from 2005 to 2006, she was based at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. After completing the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, she became a fighter pilot and was assigned to the 132nd Squadron, 51st Bomber Wing, based in Istrana, Italy. From 2007 to 2008, she flew the MB-339 and served in the Plan and Operations Section for the 51st Bomber Wing in Istrana. In 2008, she joined the 101st Squadron, 32nd Bomber Wing, based at Foggia, Italy, where she completed operational conversion training for the AM-X ground attack fighter. Samantha has logged more than 500 hours flying six types of military aircraft: SF-260, T-37, T-38, MB-339A, MB-339CD and AM-X.
Samantha was selected as an European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut in May 2009, and completed basic astronaut training in November 2010. In July 2012, she was assigned to an Italian Space Agency ASI mission aboard the International Space Station - Expedition 42/43, which launched on a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in December 2014. This was the second long-duration ASI mission and the eighth long-duration mission for an ESA astronaut. In her 2016 mission, Samantha set the record for the longest single space flight by a woman and the longest uninterrupted spaceflight of a European astronaut. When not in training in the USA, Russia, Canada or Japan, Samantha is based at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.
5) Kate Rubins
Dr. Kate Rubins became the third Space Camp alumna to fly in space when she launched to the International Space Station in July 2016. Kate dreamed of becoming an astronaut as a child and did chores around the house to earn her trip to Space Camp in seventh grade. She left camp knowing she needed to take as many math and science courses as she could, and that focus paved the way to her study of viral diseases and, ultimately, the NASA astronaut corps. Kate received a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and a Ph.D. in cancer biology. Selected by "Popular Science" magazine as one of its "Brilliant 10" in 2009, Kate was a Fellow and Principal Investigator at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before becoming a member of the 20th NASA astronaut class.
On July 7, 2016, Kate launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station aboard the first test flight of the new Soyuz MS spacecraft. Together the international crew of Expeditions 48 and 49 conducted or participated in more than 275 different scientific experiments, including research in molecular and cellular biology, human physiology, fluid and combustion physics, Earth and space science and technology development. Kate was the first person to sequence DNA in space, eventually sequencing more than 2 billion base pairs of DNA during a series of experiments to analyze sequencing in microgravity. She also grew heart cells (cardiomyocytes) in cell culture, and performed quantitative, real-time PCR and microbiome experiments in orbit.
Kate conducted two spacewalks totaling 12 hours, 46 minutes. During her first spacewalk, Kate and astronaut Jeff Williams installed the first International Docking Adapter, a new docking port for U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. During the second, they performed maintenance of the station external thermal control system and installed high-definition cameras, enabling never-before seen images of the planet and space station. They also successfully captured the SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply spacecraft and then returned science experiment samples to earth.
6) Christina Hammock Koch
Christina M. Hammock Koch was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2013. She completed astronaut candidate training in July 2015, and is currently assigned to the International Space Station Crew Operations Branch. In this position, she is involved in crew conferences and IT-related issues onboard the station. Koch, a native of Michigan, graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Physics and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering.
Koch graduated from the NASA Academy program at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in 2001. She worked as an Electrical Engineer in the Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics at GSFC from 2002 to 2004. Koch was selected in June 2013, as one of eight members of the 21st NASA astronaut class. Her Astronaut Candidate Training included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, T‐38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training. She completed astronaut candidate training in July 2015, and is currently aboard the International Space Station, serving as a Flight Engineer on Expedition 59, 60, and 61.
7) Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor
Dr. Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor began working with NASA as a Flight Surgeon in 2006. In 2009, she was selected as a NASA astronaut. During her NASA career, Serena supported medical operations for International Space Station crew members. She also served as Deputy Crew Surgeon for STS-127 and spent 2 months in Antarctica from 2010 to 2011 searching for meteorites as part of the ANSMET expedition. Most of that time was spent living on the ice 200 nautical miles from the South Pole. In June 2012, Serena operated the Deep Worker submersible as part of the NEEMO 16 mission. She subsequently served as an Aquanaut aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory during the NEEMO 20 undersea exploration mission. Board certified in both Internal and Aerospace Medicine, Serena currently handles medical issues for both the Commercial Crew and International Space Station Operations branch.
She graduated in November 2011, from Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in space station systems, spacewalks, robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training. Currently, Serena spends most of her time handling medical issues for both the International Space Station Operations branch and Commercial Crew Branch. She is also certified as an International Space Station CAPCOM and served as the lead Capcom for the SpaceX-4 and SpaceX-8 cargo resupply missions.
8) Sandy Magnus
Dr. Sandra Magnus was selected by NASA in April 1996, and reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. She completed two years of training and evaluation and became qualified for flight assignment as a Mission Specialist. In August 2000, she served as a Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) for the International Space Station. In October 2002, she flew aboard STS-112, making her the first official Space Camp Astronaut to fly in space.
In July 2005, Dr. Magnus was assigned to the station expedition corps and began training for a future station long-duration mission. She flew to the station with the crew of STS-126, launching on November 14 and arriving at the station on Nov. 16, 2008, where she joined Expedition 18. Following her station mission, Dr. Magnus served six months at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., working in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. In July 2011, Dr. Magnus flew as a mission specialist on the crew of STS 135/ULF7, an ISS cargo delivery mission that carried the Multi Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), “Raffaello.” She became Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office, in September 2012. Dr. Magnus left the agency in October 2012, after being appointed Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Dr. Magnus has a different story than the majority of our astronaut alumni. She did not attend camp as a child. She attended a weekend Adult Space Academy in 1991, while a student at Georgia Tech.
America’s Best Space Camps
Camp Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s Space Coast is across the river from Cape Canaveral, the site of many exciting rocket launches. The Kennedy Space Center weeklong day camps immerse campers in STEM-based activities as they problem-solve for mission planning. Kids may tour the interactive Kennedy Space Center, participate in astronaut training and spend a virtual day on Mars. Sessions open in early June and run through July. Programs are available for second through eleventh-grade students. Tuition includes lunch and snacks.
Virginia Space Flight Academy
Virginia Space Flight Academy is designed for middle school students aged 11 – 15. This residential camp holds weeklong sessions that end with graduation from the Space Flight Academy. Campers learn rocketry by building their own rocket using CAD design and 3D printers. In the Robotics program, kids are challenged to design robots using Lego Mindstorm kits.
Camp activities include field trips to the nearby NASA Wallops Flight Facility, the NOAA weather facility and the Navy’s Surface Combat System Center. In the evening, a variety of activities ensures campers don’t miss out on traditional summertime fun such as miniature golf, go-cart racing and trips to the ice cream stand.
U.S. Space Camp
Space Camp is surrounded by one of the nation’s largest research parks. Its alumni include NASA astronauts, scientists and engineers. The program is open to fourth grade through high school students. The residential camp offers immersive experiences in space, aviation, robotics and cyber technologies. Space Camp activities include rocket construction, simulated launches to the International Space Station and design and construction of a Mars colony. Special programs are offered for hearing, visually impaired and other special need campers.