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More RS-25 Engine Tests Conducted at Stennis

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Four RS-25 engines, like the one pictured undergoing a hot-fire test, will power the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) -- NASA's new heavy-lift launch vehicle. (Credit: NASA)

Four RS-25 engines, like the one pictured undergoing a hot-fire test, will power the core stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) — NASA’s new heavy-lift launch vehicle. (Credit: NASA)

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (NASA PR) — The RS-25 engine that will power NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), off the launch pad and on journeys to an asteroid and Mars is getting ready for the test stand. And it is packing a big punch.

Engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., are now focusing their attention on preparing the RS-25 engine after completing testing of the J-2X engine April 10. Four RS-25 engines, previously known as space shuttle main engines, will muscle the core stage of SLS for each of its missions. Towering more than 200 feet tall with a diameter of 27.6 feet, the core stage will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the vehicle’s RS-25s.

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Whitesides: First Spaceflight on Schedule for This Year

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George Whitesides

George Whitesides

Aabar Investments, the Abu Dhabi government company which owns 37.8 percent of Virgin Galactic, release the following Q&A today with Galactic CEO and President George Whitesides.

What brings you to the UAE?

We’re here for two events. The first was the Global Aerospace Summit. Secondly, we had a board meeting with our fellow Virgin Galactic shareholders, Aabar Investments, in their parent company’s, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), HQ building.

Is this your first time in Abu Dhabi?

We are co-owned by Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments. Naturally, with significant Abu Dhabi ownership, represented on our Board, we have been frequent visitors since Aabar made its initial investment in [2010]. We are very proud of our Emirati connections and continue to benefit from Aabar Investments’ ownership.

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Dragon Berthed at International Space Station

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Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

NASA PR — ISS Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, with the assistance of NASA’s Rick Mastracchio, successfully berthed the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at the space station at 9:06 a.m. EDT. The mission is the company’s third cargo delivery flight to the station. Dragon’s cargo will support more than 150 experiments to be conducted by the crews of ISS Expeditions 39 and 40.

The scientific payloads on Dragon include investigations that focus on efficient ways to grow plants in space, demonstrating laser optics to communicate with Earth, human immune system function in microgravity and Earth observation. Also being delivered is a set of high-tech legs for Robonaut 2, which can provide the humanoid robot torso already aboard the orbiting laboratory with the mobility it needs to help with regular and repetitive tasks inside the space station.

Dragon also will deliver the second set of investigations sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the portion of the space station designated a U.S. National Laboratory. CASIS investigations on Dragon are part of the organization’s initial suite of supported payloads linked to Advancing Research Knowledge 1, or ARK 1. The investigations include research on protein crystal growth, which may lead to drug development through protein mapping, and plant biology.

Space Veggies to Improve Cuisine on International Space Station

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Outredgeous red romaine lettuce plants grow inside in a prototype Veggie flight pillow. The bellows of the hardware have been lowered to better observe the plants. A small temperature and relative humidity data logger is placed between the pillows small white box, central. (Credit: NASA/Gioia Massa)

Outredgeous red romaine lettuce plants grow inside in a prototype Veggie flight pillow. The bellows of the hardware have been lowered to better observe the plants. A small temperature and relative humidity data logger is placed between the pillows small white box, central. (Credit: NASA/Gioia Massa)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

A plant growth chamber bound for the International Space Station inside the Dragon capsule on the SpaceX-3 resupply mission may help expand in-orbit food production capabilities in more ways than one, and offer astronauts something they don’t take for granted, fresh food.

NASA’s Veg-01 experiment will be used to study the in-orbit function and performance of a new expandable plant growth facility called Veggie and its plant “pillows.” The investigation will focus on the growth and development of “Outredgeous” lettuce seedlings in the spaceflight environment.

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CASIS Sends Second Series of Sponsored Payloads to ISS

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casis_new_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL. (April 18, 2014) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is proud to announce several sponsored research payloads have launched to the International Space Station (ISS) onboard Space Exploration Technology Corporation’s (SpaceX) Dragon cargo capsule. This marks the second series of investigations headed to the station that are sponsored by CASIS, the nonprofit responsible for managing research onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory.

Research on this flight includes multiple protein crystallization projects supported by grant funding from the first CASIS request for proposals, awarded in late 2012 and early 2013. In all, five of the funded protein crystallization researchers saw their investigations launch on this flight to the ISS National Lab. These investigators are evaluating various proteins involved in human health: the protein responsible for Huntington’s disease; proteins involved in other neurodegenerative conditions, Cystic Fibrosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other aliments; and membrane proteins involved in drug effectiveness.

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Scaled Composites’ Aircraft Keep Getting Larger

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The Think Big image was initially created to show the progression of a selection of Scaled Composite’s projects. (Courtesy of Scaled Composites, LLC)

The Think Big image was initially created to show the progression of a selection of Scaled Composite’s projects. (Courtesy of Scaled Composites, LLC)

SpaceX Reports Successful Splashdown of Falcon 9 First Stage

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Video of Falcon 9 Reusable Test Vehicle Flight

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Video Caption:
  Video of Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) taking its first test flight at our rocket development facility. F9R lifts off from a launch mount to a height of approximately 250m, hovers and then returns for landing just next to the launch stand. Early flights of F9R will take off with legs fixed in the down position. However, we will soon be transitioning to liftoff with legs stowed against the side of the rocket and then extending them just before landing.

The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of the Grasshopper program last year (Grasshopper can be seen in the background of this video). Future testing, including that in New Mexico, will be conducted using the first stage of a F9R as shown here, which is essentially a Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage with legs. F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like.

SpaceX Launches Dragon to Space Station

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A Falcon 9 carries a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

A Falcon 9 carries a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying the Dragon spacecraft loaded with nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiment hardware for the International Space Station’s Expedition 39 crew, lifted off at 3:25 p.m. EDT Friday from Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Friday’s launch of the third SpaceX commercial resupply services mission sent the Dragon space freighter on a course to rendezvous with the station Sunday morning. Commander Koichi Wakata and Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio will capture Dragon using the Canadarm2 robotic arm at 7:14 a.m. to set it up for its berthing to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Live NASA Television coverage of Sunday’s Dragon activities begins at 5:45 a.m. and returns at 9:30 a.m. for coverage of the berthing of Dragon to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony node.

Report: California Should Improve Business Environment for Aerospace

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California_Great_SealCalifornia Aerospace Industry Economic Impact Study Summary

A.T. Kearney

Aerospace is one of California’s most important sources of jobs and revenues. The state must take steps to support it into the future.

California has been at the forefront of the aerospace industry for more than a century.1 California-based aerospace businesses and government organizations play crucial roles in commercial, civil, and national security programs, and the industry is a crucial source of high-paying jobs, tax revenues, and technological innovation.

A.T. Kearney recently conducted an independent study on the aerospace industry’s impact on California’s economy. This study shows the importance of this industry’s revenue impact, employment impact, and share of the global aerospace market.

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