Author: Doug Messier

Dava Newman Approved as NASA Deputy Administrator

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Dava J. Newman

Dava J. Newman

The Senate has approved Dava J. Newman as NASA’s new deputy administrator by an 87-0 vote. The approval comes 20 months after Lori Garver left the position for the top staff job at the Air Line Pilots Association.

Newman is a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and of engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). [Biography] The White House nominated her for the position in October.

“It’s an enormous honor to serve at NASA in times when our country is extending humanity’s reach into space while strengthening American leadership here on Earth,” Newman said in a statement. “I’m profoundly grateful to President Obama, the United States Senate, and Administrator Bolden – along with everyone at MIT. I can’t wait to come aboard.”

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House Science Committee Explanation for Slashing NASA Science Budget

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (House Science Committee PR) –
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today announced the Committee will mark up the NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 on Thursday of next week. The legislation reaffirms Congress’s commitment to NASA and restores much-needed balance to the nation’s only agency responsible for space exploration. It also supports NASA’s role as a multi-mission agency with programs in science, aeronautics, exploration, and human spaceflight, and makes clear that Mars should be NASA’s primary goal.

“For more than 50 years, the U.S. has led the world in space exploration,” stated Chairman Lamar Smith. “We must ensure that the U.S. continues to lead in space for the next 50 years.

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House Science Committee Whacks NASA Science Budget

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Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

The House Science Committee would whack nearly a half billion dollars out of NASA’s proposed Earth Science budget in order to boost funding for deep space exploration under a two-year authorization legislators will mark up on Thursday.

“For more than 50 years, the U.S. has led the world in space exploration,” said Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX). “We must ensure that the U.S. continues to lead in space for the next 50 years.

“The NASA Authorization Act for 2016 and 2017 builds on the bipartisan one-year agreement that the House passed just weeks ago,” Smith added. “It restores much-needed balance to NASA’s budget while complying with funding levels set by current law. It authorizes full funding for the exploration systems that will take us to the Moon and Mars as well as the Commercial Crew program. It provides NASA with a science portfolio that is truly balanced.”

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This Week on The Space Show

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

1. Monday, April 27, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome ERIC BERGER, space & science journalist with the Houston Chronicle. He spent all of 2014 working on a series, Adrift, about the present and future of American spaceflight.

2. Tuesday, April 28, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): OPEN LINES. All space and STEM topics are welcome. First time callers are welcome and encouraged to call.

3. Friday, May 1, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome back Brent Sherwood who is a space architect at JPL. He will be updating us with his earlier work on human spaceflight.

:4. Sunday, May 3, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome DAMIAN PEACH, one of the top amateur astronomers in the world. Mr. Peach is in the UK. Check out his website at www.damianpeach.com.

NASA 3-D Prints First Full-Scale Copper Rocket Engine Part

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NASA engineers used 3-D printing to make the first full-scale copper engine part, a combustion chamber liner that operates at extreme temperatures and pressures. Structured light scanning, seen on the computer screen, helped verify that the part was built as it was designed. (Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)

NASA engineers used 3-D printing to make the first full-scale copper engine part, a combustion chamber liner that operates at extreme temperatures and pressures. Structured light scanning, seen on the computer screen, helped verify that the part was built as it was designed. (Credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)

HUNSTVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — When you think of copper, the penny in your pocket may come to mind; but NASA engineers are trying to save taxpayers millions of pennies by 3-D printing the first full-scale, copper rocket engine part.

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ISS to Get New Docking Ports

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One of the International Space Station's new docking ports. (Credit: NASA)

One of the International Space Station’s new docking ports. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — In the next year, the International Space Station will gain two new docking ports for spacecraft visiting the orbiting laboratory, including the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon under development in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Earlier this year, NASA astronauts conducted three spacewalks to rig the power, data, and communications cables for the docking ports.

The next step is to add the International Docking Adapters that will provide a flawless fit between the space station and any visiting spacecraft so crews can safely move between them through connecting hatches. The first docking adapter now is deep into processing at Kennedy Space Center to prepare for its delivery to the station on the seventh SpaceX commercial resupply services mission, scheduled to launch no earlier than June 19. The second adapter will go through similar processing later this year for launch on the ninth SpaceX resupply mission.

Engineers will continue in-depth analysis and measurements of the ports before they are launched. Commercial Crew providers, Boeing and SpaceX, are using the precise measurements and standards of the adapters and space station as they build the spacecraft and docking mechanisms they will launch to carry astronauts to the station.

Latest Update on Space Access 15

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From Henry Vanderbilt:

Sunday 4/26/15 – We’ve posted our Final Pre-Conference Update for Space Access’15, with the latest near-final schedule plus Travel, Conference Style, and Speakers information, at http://space-access.org/updates/sa15info.html

The Radisson still has rooms available, at http://www.radisson.com/reservation/itineraryEntrance.do?hotelCode=USAPNIX&promotionalCode=SPA

SA’15 Online Conference Registration closes after Tuesday, so register now, at http://space-access.org/updates/sa15PreRegister.html

SA’15 At-Door Registration will open at noon on Thursday April 30th in the Radisson Phoenix North main ballroom lobby, and SA’15 sessions will commence at 1:30 pm sharp. See you there!

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=10220+n+metro+parkway+e+phoenix+az&hl=en&ll=33.57654,-112.119845&spn=0.010843,0.006888&sll=37.6,-95.665&sspn=80.595025,56.425781&hnear=10220+North+Metro+Pkwy+E,+Phoenix,+Arizona+85051&t=m&z=17

NASA Selects Small Business CubeSat Projects for Funding

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CubeSat

CubeSat

NASA has selected three projects for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards that focus on propulsion, laser communications and attitude control for advanced CubeSat missions.

Digital Solid State Propulsion of Reno, Nev., and QorTek of Williamsburgh, Pa., was selected for a SBIR awards worth up to $750,000 apiece for their propulsion and attitude control proposals., respectively.  Fibertek of Herndon, Va., was chosen for a SBIR Select award worth up to $1.5 million.

Phase III, or the commercialization of an innovation, may occur after successful completion of Phase II.

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Students Test Experimental Rocket at Spaceport America

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Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

Spaceport America, NM (NMSA PR) – Spaceport officials announced the April 18th launch of the New Mexico Tech Rocket Design Team’s experimental rocket. The nearly ten-foot-long experimental rocket was designed and built by the students in the Mechanical Engineering Department at New Mexico Tech. The launch took place from Spaceport America’s Vertical Launch Area. The student rocket lifted off at 8:03 am (MDT), which was within the dedicated launch window, and flight data indicates the rocket attained its predicted 11,500-foot altitude.

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Gloyer-Taylor Labs, U Tennessee Pursue Small Launch Vehicle

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NASA LOGONASA has selected Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories (GTL) and the University of Tennessee Space Institute for a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II award to develop a new small-satellite launch vehicle.

“GTL has developed the conceptual design for the Advanced Cryogenic Expendable (ACE) nano-launch vehicle,” according to the program’s technical abstract. “The 7700 lb gross lift-off weight ACE vehicle is capable of delivering a 154 lb payload to 400 nmi circular orbit at 28.5 deg inclination.

“With a launch cost of less than $1M at low launch rate, ACE is directly competitive with existing large launch vehicles on a $/lb basis. This affordability is enabled by a combination of high performance, reduced stages and parts count, and simplified operations,” the abstract reads.

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