First Female Chief Flight Director to Join NASA’s Gateway Leadership

Holly Ridings, the first female chief of NASA’s flight directors, will help lead the agency’s Gateway Program to establish humanity’s first space station around the Moon.
(Image Credits: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA Johnson PR) — Holly Ridings, the first female chief of NASA’s flight directors, will now help lead the agency’s Gateway Program, an international partnership to establish humanity’s first space station around the Moon.

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NASA Picks New Crew to Simulate Trip to Mars Moon

Newly-selected crew for the next mission of NASA’s Human Exploration Research Analog. From left to right: Brad Hensley, Jennifer Milczarski, Alejandro Diaz, and Roberto Carlino. (Image Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A new crew is gearing up to participate in NASA’s next simulated mission to Mars. Crew members will soon enter the Human Exploration Research Analog, or HERA, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Once inside HERA, they will live and work like astronauts for 45 days while “traveling” to the Martian moon Phobos.

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NASA and SpaceX Push Back Crew-4 Launch to April 27

NASA astronauts and Crew-4 crewmembers Jessica Watkins, Bob Hines and Kjell Lindgren stand alongside ESA astronaut and Crew-4 crewmember Samantha Cristoforetti. (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX now are targeting no earlier than 3:52 a.m. EDT Wednesday, April 27, for launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Coverage Set for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Briefing, Events, Broadcast

Official portrait of Crew-4 astronauts Bob Hines, Samantha Cristoforetti, Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren. (Credit: NASA-J.Valcarcel/ R.Markowitz/N.Moran)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission sending astronauts to the International Space Station.

The launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT Saturday, April 23, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, dubbed by Crew-4 as Freedom, is scheduled to dock to the space station at 6 a.m. Sunday, April 24.

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NASA to Host Briefings, Interviews for Agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 Mission

Official portrait of Crew-4 astronauts Bob Hines, Samantha Cristoforetti, Jessica Watkins and Kjell Lindgren. (Credit: NASA-J.Valcarcel/ R.Markowitz/N.Moran)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — A pair of news conferences on Thursday, March 31, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will highlight the agency’s upcoming SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station. The mission will be NASA’s latest crew rotation flight involving a U.S. commercial spacecraft carrying astronauts.

The agency will hold a mission overview news conference at 10:30 a.m. EDT and a crew news conference at noon. Both news conferences will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

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Fifty Years Later, Curators Unveil One of Last Sealed Apollo Samples

The Apollo 17 core sample 73001 processing team in front of the newly opened sample at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. From left, Charis Krysher, Andrea Mosie, Juliane Gross and Ryan Zeigler. (Credits: NASA/Robert Markowitz)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Like a time capsule that was sealed for posterity, one of the last unopened Apollo-era lunar samples collected during Apollo 17 has been opened under the careful direction of lunar sample processors and curators in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This precious and well-preserved sample will serve as a narrow window into the permanent, geological record of Earth’s closest celestial neighbor – the Moon.

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NASA Sets Coverage for First Rollout of Space Launch System

SLS and Orion full stacked in the Vehicle Assembly Building. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will hold a media teleconference on Monday, March 14 to discuss the upcoming debut of the agency’s Mega Moon rocket and integrated spacecraft for the uncrewed Artemis I lunar mission.

Roll out of the integrated Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to Launch Pad 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is slated for Thursday, March 17.

The media call will begin at 5:30 p.m. EDT after completion of a test readiness review, which will determine if the agency is ready to move forward with mission activities. The call will air live on the agency’s website.

Teleconference participants include:

  • Tom Whitmeyer, associate administrator for exploration systems development, NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, NASA Headquarters
  • Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, Artemis launch director, NASA Exploration Ground Systems program, Kennedy
  • John Honeycutt, manager, Space Launch System program, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
  • Howard Hu, manager, Orion program, Johnson Space Center in Houston

Live coverage for rollout begins at 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, March 17 and will include live remarks from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other guests. Coverage will air on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website

At the pad, NASA will conduct a final prelaunch test known as wet dress rehearsal, which includes loading the SLS propellant tanks and conducting a launch countdown.

The rollout involves a 4-mile journey between the Vehicle Assembly Building and the launch pad, expected to take between six and 12 hours. Live, static camera views of the debut and arrival at the pad will be available starting at 4 p.m. EDT on the Kennedy Newsroom YouTube channel.

Credentialing deadlines for in-person activities have closed.

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone on the way to Mars.

For updates, follow along on NASA’s Artemis blog at:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/artemis/

NASA Promotes Howard Hu to Lead Orion Ahead of First Artemis Mission

Howard Hu (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Howard Hu as the Orion Program manager, based at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. In this role, he will be responsible for the design, development, production, and operations of the agency’s Orion, which is poised to make its first uncrewed flight test around the Moon in the coming months. Hu begins his new position effective Monday.

Hu succeeds Catherine Koerner, who has accepted a position as deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“The Orion team is comprised of highly talented and dedicated individuals across NASA, the European Space Agency, and industry,” Hu said. “It is an honor to have the opportunity to help lead our teams as we are set to begin our Artemis voyages to deep space. With the upcoming Artemis I mission, we are on the cusp of another major milestone toward NASA’s goals of landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and preparing for human missions to Mars.”

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NASA Invests in Tech Development From Small Businesses, Researchers

A new round of awards for small business and research partnerships will advance technology development. A partnership between Interstel Technologies, Inc., and University of Hawaii at Manoa will develop a system for guiding swarms of vehicles, such as rovers, illustrated here. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program has awarded $15 million to U.S. small businesses and research institutions to continue developing technologies in areas ranging from aeronautics to science and space exploration.

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Astra Space Rocket 3.3 Fails, 4 Payloads Lost in First Operational Launch Attempt

Scott Manley put together this comparison of second stage separation and ignition of the successful flight no. 7 and today’s failed flight.

Astra Space’s first attempt to place satellites into orbit failed on Thursday, with the company’s Rocket 3.3 tumbling out of control after ignition of the booster’s second stage. Astra’s stock (ASTR) plunged by as more than 31 percent to a low of $3.59 before recovering to $3.91 in after-hours trading.

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Astra Space to Attempt Rocket 3.3 Launch Today From Florida

The NASA-funded mission includes three CubeSats built by universities and one CubeSat developed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Astra Space Seeks to Launch First Satellites Today

Launch Date Set for NASA CubeSat Mission Aboard Astra Space’s Rocket 3.3

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s first mission under the agency’s Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) Demonstration 2 contract is scheduled to launch four CubeSats to space no earlier than Feb. 5, 2022. The CubeSats, which make up the agency’s 41st Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission, will be the first VCLS launch from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Astra Space Inc’s first operational satellite launch aboard its Rocket 3.3.

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NASA, Space Station Partners Approve First Axiom Mission Astronauts

Pilot Larry Connor, mission commander Michael López-Alegría, mission specialist Mark Pathy, and mission specialist Eytan Stibbe.

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA and its international partners approved crew members for Axiom Space’s first private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. The flight, called Axiom Mission 1 or Ax-1, is targeted to launch Wednesday, March 30, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The Ax-1 crew will fly on Crew Dragon Endeavour to and from the space station. After 10 days in orbit, the Ax-1 crew will splash down off the coast of Florida.

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