NASA Orders Second SpaceX Crew Mission to International Space Station

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Interior of crewed Dragon (Credit: SpaceX)

Interior of crewed Dragon (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA took another important step Friday in returning U.S. astronaut launches from U.S. soil with the order of a second post-certification mission from commercial provider SpaceX in Hawthorne, California. Commercial crew flights from Florida’s Space Coast to the International Space Station will restore America’s human spaceflight launch capability and increase the time U.S. crews can dedicate to scientific research, which is helping prepare astronauts for deep space missions, including the Journey to Mars.

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SpaceX Test Fires Used First Stage Booster

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Dream Chaser Returning to the Mojave for Glide Tests

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Dream Chaser test vehicle prepares to ship. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser test vehicle prepares to ship. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., July 28, 2016 (SNC PR) Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser full-scale, flight test vehicle is ready for transportation to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in California where Phase Two flight tests will be conducted in coordination with Edwards Air Force Base (AFB).
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Atlas V Launches National Security Satellite

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Atlas V launches the NROL-61 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

Atlas V launches the NROL-61 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., July 28, 2016 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 July 28 at 8:37 a.m. EDT. Designated NROL-61, the mission is in support of national defense. This is ULA’s 6th launch in 2016 and the 109th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006.

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New Heart and DNA Research in Space Benefiting Health

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Astronaut Kate Rubins works to set up a new microscope for the Heart Cells study. (Credit: NASA TV)

Astronaut Kate Rubins works to set up a new microscope for the Heart Cells study. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — New science unloaded from the latest SpaceX Dragon to visit the International Space Station is under way. The variety of new and ongoing space research is designed to benefit life on Earth and astronauts on long duration missions.

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OneWeb Hires Airbus Veteran as CEO

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OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

OneWeb constellation. (Credit: Airbus Defence & Space)

LONDON, 26 July 2016 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb which is building a new global communications system to create affordable broadband services for all, announces the appointment of Eric Beranger as Chief Executive Officer.

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NASA to Map Surface of Asteroid

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By Sarah Schlieder
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch September 2016 and travel to a near-Earth asteroid known as Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to Earth for study. The science team will be looking for something special. Ideally, the sample will come from a region in which the building blocks of life may be found.

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GAO: NASA Facing Challenges on SLS, Exploration Ground Systems

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Artist concept of the Block I configuration of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). The SLS Program has completed its critical design review, and the program has concluded that the core stage of the rocket will remain orange along with the Launch Vehicle Stage Adapter, which is the natural color of the insulation that will cover those elements. (Credit: NASA)

Artist concept of the Block I configuration of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). (Credit: NASA)

NASA is facing challenges with its Space Launch System and the related Exploration Grounds Systems that could cause schedule delay and cost overruns, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report (GAO-16-612) released on Wednesday.

The SLS program has not positioned itself well to provide accurate assessments of core stage progress—including forecasting impending schedule delays, cost overruns, and anticipated costs at completion—because at the time of our review it did not anticipate having the baseline to support full reporting on the core stage contract until summer 2016—some 4.5 years after NASA awarded the contract.
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Mark Kelly’s & Gabby Gifford’s Speeches at Democratic National Convention

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GAO: Orion Cost & Schedule Estimates “Not Reliable”

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Orion_components

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (GAO-16-620) says that NASA has used bad on estimating the cost and schedule for its Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, leaving the program open to budget overruns and cost delays.

“GAO found that the Orion program’s cost and schedule estimates are not reliable based on best practices for producing high-quality estimates,” the report stated. “Cost and schedule estimates play an important role in addressing technical risks.”

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NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests

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Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 13 space technology payloads to flight test on parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new technologies. The selections were made through the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington.

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Bezos, Tyson Named to Defense Innovation Advisory Board

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Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos

WASHINGTON (DOD PR) — Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today announced nine additional members selected to join the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, which he established in March, 2016 to help keep the Department of Defense on the cutting edge of innovation. The new additions include Amazon CEO and Chairman Jeff Bezos, Code for America Founder Jennifer Pahlka, and astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Chaired by Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, the board is comprised of 15 innovators, scholars, and leaders of large private and public organizations focused on new technologies and organizational behavior and culture.  Secretary Carter has asked the board to identify innovative private-sector practices and technological solutions that the DoD could employ in the future.

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NASA Advisory Council Receives Updates on NASA Programs

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NASA LOGOThe NASA Advisory Council has been meeting in Cleveland this week, receiving program updates from top agency officials. Below is a summary of the first two days based on Tweets by Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) and Marcia Smith (@SpcPlcyOnline). There are updates below on:

  • Commercial crew
  • Commercial cargo
  • International Space Station
  • SLS/Orion
  • NextSTEP
  • Deep-space human mission planning
  • SpaceX’s Red Dragon
  • Mars 2020
  • Blue Origin

Enjoy!
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Boeing Debuts Modernized High Bay at Kennedy Space Center

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Boeing CST-100 Starliner high bay (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

Boeing CST-100 Starliner high bay (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Boeing on Tuesday unveiled its clean-floor facility that serves as the hub for its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft as they are manufactured and prepared for flight to and from the International Space Station, and where they’ll refurbished between missions. The high bay in the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, formerly known as Orbiter Processing Facility 3, is now modernized and ready to support the Starliner program.

It was once filled with about 1,000 tons of steel work platforms that enshrouded the space shuttle orbiters as they were refurbished and prepared for flight. Today, the facility contains several pieces of hardware and a mock-up that are key to Boeing’s and NASA’s efforts to launch astronauts from Florida’s Space Coast through the Commercial Crew Program.

(Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

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UK Space Agency Invests £1.15 Million in Launch Research

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UK_space_agencySWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — We are investing £1.15 million to fund preparatory research about sub-orbital spaceflight and small satellite launches from the UK.

In 2015, the National Space Policy set out the government’s ambition to establish a spaceport in the UK. In February 2016, proposals were invited for industrial research projects to investigate the challenges associated with the introduction and operation of commercial viable services in the UK, and to identify the underpinning technological developments required to support these activities.

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