JPL to Host Live Webcast for Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator

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Divers retrieve the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator off the coast of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. (Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Divers retrieve the test vehicle for NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator off the coast of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. (Credit:
NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project will be flying a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle into near-space from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, in June.

The public is invited to tune in to an hour-long live, interactive video broadcast from the gallery above a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where this near-space experimental test vehicle is being prepared for shipment to Hawaii. During the broadcast, the 15-foot-wide, 7,000-pound vehicle is expected to be undergoing a “spin-table” test. The event will be streamed live on www.ustream.tv/NASAJPL2 on March 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PDT. JPL’s Gay Hill will host the program while LDSD team members will answer questions submitted to the Ustream chat box or via Twitter using the #AskNASA hashtag.

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NASA Announces 12 NextSTEP Partnerships

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NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Building on the success of NASA’s partnerships with commercial industry to date, NASA has selected 12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) to advance concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of advanced propulsion, habitation and small satellites.

Through these public-private partnerships, selected companies will partner with NASA to develop the exploration capabilities necessary to enable commercial endeavors in space and human exploration to deep-space destinations such as the proving ground of space around the moon, known as cis-lunar space, and Mars.

“Commercial partners were selected for their technical ability to mature key technologies and their commitment to the potential applications both for government and private sector uses,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters. “This work ultimately will inform the strategy to move human presence further into the solar system.”

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SpaceShipOne Touches Down Again

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SpaceShipOne on the floor beside the Spirit of St. Louis of the National Air & Space Museum. (Credit: National Air & Space Museum)

SpaceShipOne on the floor beside the Spirit of St. Louis of the National Air & Space Museum. (Credit: National Air & Space Museum)

SpaceShipOne has been lowered to the floor of the National Air & Space Museum for assessment and conservation. It sits beside Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis.

This Week on The Space Show

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spaceshowlogo

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, March 30, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome TONY MILLIGAN to the program to discuss his new book “Nobody Owns the Moon: The Ethics of Space Exploitation.” Mr. Milligan is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK and specializes in ethics.

2. Tuesday, March 31,, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome back BRUCE DAMER to the show to discuss new architectures for sustainable spaceflight plus Human NEO missions, asteroids, planetary missions. Bruce was last a guest on the show July 9, 2013.

3. Friday, April 3, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome back JIM KERVALA, Chief Operating Officer, Shackleton Energy Company. Jim will be providing us with updates on the Shackleton project for the Moon.

4. Sunday, April 5, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): Because today is Easter there will be no Space Show today.

ESA Exploring Ways to Remove Spacecraft From Orbit

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Four-quadrant solar sail attached to Earth-orbiting satellite, which could speed up the deorbiting process for future missions. (Credit: NASA)

Four-quadrant solar sail attached to Earth-orbiting satellite, which could speed up the deorbiting process for future missions. (Credit: NASA)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA PR) — It takes a lot of ingenuity – not to mention a massive quantity of sheer force – to get satellites into orbit. Now space engineers are applying comparable ingenuity to the challenge of getting their missions out of there, too.

ESA, working closely with Europe’s satellite builders, will ask industry for new designs to help remove satellites from orbit at the end of their working lives, as well as ‘passivating’ them – making them safer for neighbouring missions.

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Scaled Composites’ Aircraft Just Keep Getting Bigger

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Credit: Douglas Messier

Credit: Douglas Messier

Scaled Composites is doing a bit of advertising on Highway 14 south of Rosamond.

Crew Arrives at ISS for 1-Year Mission

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Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka joined their Expedition 43 crewmates Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti in the Zvezda service module for a crew greeting ceremony. (Credit: NASA)

Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka joined their Expedition 43 crewmates Terry Virts, Anton Shkaplerov and Samantha Cristoforetti in the Zvezda service module for a crew greeting ceremony. (Credit: NASA)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Three crew members representing the United States and Russia have arrived at the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EDT Friday (1:42 a.m., March 28 in Baikonur).

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend about a year living and working aboard the space station to help scientists better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space.

 “Scott Kelly’s mission is critical to advancing the administration’s plan to send humans on a journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We’ll gain new, detailed insights on the ways long-duration spaceflight affects the human body.”

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Disconnect Between USAF & SpaceX Led to Certification Problems

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Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

An independent review of the U.S. Air Force’s certification of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket found a “stark disconnect in perceptions” between the two parties about how the process was to unfold.

“There is also a lack of common understanding” of “some basic objectives and definitions” spelled out in a 2013 agreement on the steps toward certifying Musk’s company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., retired Air Force Chief of Staff Larry Welch said in the review.

While the two sides have become conciliatory and say they expect SpaceX to be certified for launches by June, the report lays out a cultural collision between Musk’s entrepreneurial impatience and the Air Force’s methodical bureaucracy.

Describing the past conflicts, Welch said the company’s view “is that the Air Force should have confidence in SpaceX capabilities based on its track record of performance,” while the Air Force “has approached certification as a detailed design review.”

“Neither view was the intent of the original certification plan,” which envisioned a “partnership that leveraged the commercial practices and experience of SpaceX and decades of Air Force experience,” Welch said. “Both teams need to adjust.”

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Asteroid Redirect Mission Video: Crew Segment

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Video Caption: NASA announced the next step in the plan to retrieve an asteroid boulder from a near-Earth asteroid and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon to carry out human exploration missions, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars. For NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of an asteroid for exploration by astronauts in the mid-2020s to test a number of new capabilities needed for future human expeditions to deep space, including to Mars. This animation illustrates the crewed part of ARM, showing how astronauts will travel to the asteroid using NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft, investigate the boulder and return a sample of the asteroid back to Earth.

My Appearance on John Batchelor Show Now Archived Online

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The John Batchelor Show

The John Batchelor Show

My appearance on Wednesday night on The John Batchelor Show’s “Hotel Mars” segment has been archived by David Livingston on The Space Show website. You can listen to it here.

We had a very nice discussion about whether Mars One was viable or not and the future of Virgin Galactic.