First Orion Flight Moves Closer as Adapter Passes Key Milestone

An adapter is lowered onto a ULA Delta IV test article for a fit check June 26 at the Marshall Center. (Credit:  NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton)
An adapter is lowered onto a ULA Delta IV test article for a fit check June 26 at the Marshall Center. (Credit: NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — It was a good fit for a spacecraft adapter and a Delta IV test article, as two critical elements of Exploration Flight Test-1 were successfully connected during a fit check June 26 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The adapter will join the Orion spacecraft to a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket which is being constructed at ULA’s facility in Decatur, Ala., and will launch Orion on the 2014 flight test.

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NASA Conducting Valuable Microbial Research on ISS

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Expedition Six Flight Engineer Donald Pettit uses a chemical/microbial analysis bag to collect water samples from the Potable Water Heater in the Zvezda Service Module on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASANASA PR) — Staying clean in a world full of germs is an important part of our daily lives. We regularly wash and bathe—knowing that these rituals help keep us healthy and prevent illness from spreading. But we still host millions of tiny organisms all over our bodies all the time, and they’re not all bad either.

NASA PR — Staying clean in a world full of germs is an important part of our daily lives. We regularly wash and bathe—knowing that these rituals help keep us healthy and prevent illness from spreading. But we still host millions of tiny organisms all over our bodies all the time, and they’re not all bad either.

These microscopic creatures, called microbes, are constant companions to every part of our Earth. Many microbes play important roles in the delicate balance of different biological environments, or ecosystems. An ecosystem can be a part of a person (like the gastrointestinal tract), the entire body or many people living together. It can be a speck of dirt or an entire planet. Every ecosystem, big or small, creates a new opportunity for microbes to live, die, multiply or change and to impact its fragile environment.

The microbial ecosystems on the International Space Station are no different. Some microbes were inhabitants from the time the station was assembled. Some join each time a new crew member or payload arrives. People, their habits, their physiological reactions to their emotional states, and their physical environment are all variables that have the potential to continue to alter microbe systems on the space station. With the potential to affect future space exploration missions, researchers funded by NASA’s Human Research Program plan to gather and analyze biological samples to study better the space station’s Microbiome—the ever-changing microbe environment that can be found on the space station and its inhabitants.

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Ad Astra Rocket Company Completes PDR for New Engine

ad_astraHOUSTON, TX (Ad Astra PR) – After more than a year of planning and preparation, a team of Ad Astra engineers and physicists, along with NASA engineers participating as part of a technical interchange, completed the company’s first formal preliminary design review (PDR) of the VF-200 engine. The 200 kW “proto-flight” is the company’s first engine planned to be tested in space. The review was conducted on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at Ad Astra’s research facility near Houston, TX.

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SETI Curiosity Movement Looks to Crowd Source $2 Million

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, June 27, 2013 (FundRazr PR) —
The crowdfunding innovators at FundRazr are proud to announce they are powering PayPal Galactic’s partnership with SETI Institute to crowdfund life on earth, and search for ET (extraterrestrial) life beyond it.

SETI’s Curiosity Movement crowdfunding campaign (http://seti.org/curiositymovement) is changing the way scientific research is funded and completed; FundRazr’s platform is making the exploration of these new frontiers possible.

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Getting Your Research Into Space Is Easier Than You Think

Duane Ratliff
Duane Ratliff

The following originally appeared on NASA’s A Lab Aloft blog.

In today’s A Lab Aloft, our guest blogger, CASIS Chief Operating Officer Duane Ratliff, shares the secret to success in doing business with the International Space Station.

“How do I get my research into space?” It is easily the most common question I receive when travelling across the country to support the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) at meetings and targeted events. After all, many scientists have been conditioned to think that microgravity research is expensive, complicated and, frankly, a mystery.

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Space Florida to Operate KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)
The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (June 28, 2013) — Today, NASA announced the selection of Space Florida to maintain and operate the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC). This historic 15,000 ft. long, 300 ft. wide launch and landing strip hosted 78 Shuttle landings over the past 30 years and provides a unique resource for growing commercial aerospace businesses that may have interest in operating from Florida.

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ULA Wins $1.1 Billion Contract for Air Force, NRO Launches

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United Launch Services LLC, Littleton, Colo., has been awarded a $1.088 million contract for seven launches of U.S. Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellites. The launch vehicles include:

  • AF Atlas V 401
  • AF Atlas V 501
  • NRO Atlas 401
  • NRO Atlas 541
  • AF Delta IV 4.2
  • AF Delta IV 5.4
  • NRO Delta IV 5.2. 

ULA will be paid $525 million out of the Fiscal Year 2013 procurement budget. The work is set to be completed by 2015.

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Ex-Scaled Composites Boss Doug Shane Moves Over to The Spaceship Company

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Doug Shane

MOJAVE, Calif. (VG PR) — Virgin Galactic today announced the appointment of Doug Shane as Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Spaceship Company (TSC). Shane joins the company after a 31 year career at Scaled Composites LLC (Scaled), where he served as that company’s President for five years. He will report directly to George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and TSC.

As the company progresses through its successful test flight program and approaches the start of commercial service with SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic has tapped Shane to oversee its manufacturing company, TSC, which has already begun the construction of the second set of SpaceShipTwo spaceships and WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft. TSC began as a joint venture between Virgin and Scaled, until 2012, when Virgin Galactic acquired full ownership of the venture.

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Joint Flight Testing On Commercial Crew Horizon

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By Rebecca Regan

John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s astronauts will play an integral role in flight testing America’s future space transportation vehicles as the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) works toward mid-decade service missions to the International Space Station.

During a media briefing at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 27, CCP’s manager Ed Mango and astronaut Mike Good discussed the joint test team concept that will be built into the program’s next phase of certification efforts.

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PISCES Looks to Print Space Tools from Hawaii’s Lava Rocks

RepRap v.2 'Mendel' open-source FDM 3D printer. Credit: CharlesC
RepRap v.2 ‘Mendel’ open-source FDM 3D printer. Credit: CharlesC

PISCES — the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems — is looking to develop 3-D printing capability for use on the moon under a new cooperative agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), according to Executive Director Rob Kelso.

Kelso said PISCES is seeking to develop printing technology that can make use of the island’s lava rock, which is similar to rock on the moon and Mars.

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ULA Selects RUAG Space to Develop Dual Launch Capability

Launch of Atlas V NRO satellite on June 20, 2012. (Credit: ULA)
Launch of Atlas V NRO satellite on June 20, 2012. (Credit: ULA)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., June 27, 2013 (ULA PR) — United Launch Alliance (ULA) today announced the selection of RUAG Space AG of Zurich, Switzerland as its strategic partner for Dual Launch Capability development.

“Our relationship with RUAG over the last 17 years has grown to be highly collaborative and synergistic,” said Michael Gass, ULA president and chief executive officer. “Forming this strategic partnership is the next evolutionary step, and creates future business possibilities for both our companies.”

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