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NASA Astronaut Joe Acaba, centre moderates a panel discussion with NASA's 2013 astronaut candidates, from left, Christina M. Hammock, Andrew R. Morgan, Victor J. Glover, Jessica U. Meir, Tyler N. "Nick" Hague, Josh A. Cassada, Anne C. McClain, and Nicole Aunapu Mann, at the annual White House State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (SoSTEM) address, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls. (Editor: Sarah Loff: NASA). P: 180216. Readmore

How About an Icy Dome Home for Mars

An artist's rendering of the Mars Ice Home concept. Image: NASA:Clouds AO:SEArch

|| January 06: 2017 || ά.  When astronauts set foot on Mars, they may stay for months rather than days as they did during Apollo missions to the moon. The surface of Mars has extreme temperatures and the atmosphere does not provide adequate protection from high-energy radiation. These explorers will need shelters to effectively protect them from the harsh Martian environment and provide a safe place to call home. For researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Centre in Hampton, Virginia, the best building material for a new home on Mars may lie in an unexpected material: ice.

Starting with a proposed concept called, 'Mars Ice Dome', a group of NASA experts and passionate designers and architects from industry and academia came together at Langley’s Engineering Design Studio. The project was competitively selected through the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s:STMD Centre Innovation Fund to encourage creativity and innovation within the NASA Centres in addressing technology needs. This is just one of many potential concepts for sustainable habitation on the Red Planet in support of the agency’s journey to Mars.

“After a day dedicated to identifying needs, goals and constraints we rapidly assessed many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution.” said Langley senior systems engineer Kevin Vipavetz, facilitator for the design session. The team at Langley had assistance in their concept study, as a collaborative team from Space Exploration Architecture and the Clouds Architecture Office that produced a first-prize winning entry for the NASA Centennial Challenge for a Three-D-printed habitat, Mars Ice House, played a key role in the design session.

The 'Mars Ice Home' is a large inflatable torus, a shape similar to an inner tube, that is surrounded by a shell of water ice. The Mars Ice Home design has several advantages that make it an appealing concept. It is lightweight and can be transported and deployed with simple robotics, then filled with water before the crew arrives. It incorporates materials extracted from Mars, and because water in the Ice Home could potentially be converted to rocket fuel for the Mars Ascent Vehicle, the structure itself doubles as a storage tank that can be refilled for the next crew.

Another critical benefit is that water, a hydrogen-rich material, is an excellent shielding material for galactic cosmic ray, and many areas of Mars have abundant water ice just below the surface. Galactic cosmic rays are one of the biggest risks of long stays on Mars. This high-energy radiation can pass right through the skin, damaging cells or DNA along the way that can mean an increased risk for cancer later in life or, at its worst, acute radiation sickness.

Space radiation is also a significant challenge for those designing potential Mars outposts. For example, one approach would envision habitats buried underneath the Martian surface to provide radiation shielding. However, burying the habitats before the crews arrive would require heavy robotic equipment that would need to be transported from Earth.

The Ice Home concept balances the need to provide protection from radiation, without the drawbacks of an underground habitat. The design maximizes the thickness of ice above the crew quarters to reduce radiation exposure while also still allowing light to pass through ice and surrounding materials. “All of the materials we’ve selected are translucent, so some outside daylight can pass through and make it feel like you’re in a home and not a cave.” Langley Mars Ice Home principal investigator Kevin Kempton said.

Selecting materials that would accomplish these goals was a challenge for materials experts. “The materials that make up the Ice Home will have to withstand many years of use in the harsh Martian environment, including ultraviolet radiation, charged-particle radiation, possibly some atomic oxygen, perchlorates, as well as dust storms – although not as fierce as in the movie ‘The Martian’.” said Langley researcher Sheila Ann Thibeault.

In addition to identifying potential materials, a key constraint for the team was the amount of water that could be reasonably extracted from Mars. Experts who develop systems for extracting resources on Mars indicated that it would be possible to fill the habitat at a rate of one cubic metre, or 35.3 cubic feet, per day. This rate would allow the Ice Home design to be completely filled in 400 days. The design could be scaled up if water could be extracted at higher rates.

Additional design considerations include a large amount of flexible workspace so that crews would have a place to service robotic equipment indoors without the need to wear a pressure suit. To manage temperatures inside the Ice Home, a layer of carbon dioxide gas would be used as in insulation between the living space and the thick shielding layer of ice. And, like water, carbon dioxide is available on Mars.

It’s important, Kempton said, for astronauts to have something to look forward to when they arrive on the Red Planet. “After months of travel in space, when you first arrive at Mars and your new home is ready for you to move in, it will be a great day.” he said.

Editor: Eric Gillard: NASA Langley Research Centre: ω.

Whatever Your Field of Work and Wherever in the World You are, Please, Make a Choice to Do All You Can to Seek and Demand the End of Death Penalty For It is Your Business What is Done in Your Name. The Law That Makes Humans Take Part in Taking Human Lives and That Permits and Kills Human Lives is No Law. It is the Rule of the Jungle Where Law Does Not Exist. The Humanion

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Marsiumanibitat: NASA Seeks Proposals for Deep Space Habitation Prototypes

Kathryn Hambleton Writing

Image: NASA

|| April 21: 2016 || NASA is soliciting proposals for the development of prototypes for deep space habitats that will give astronauts a place to call home during long-duration missions supporting the agency’s Journey to Mars.

The solicitation, Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2), is a follow-on to the NextSTEP Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) released in October 2014 and requesting industry proposals for concept studies and technology development projects in the areas of habitation, advanced propulsion and small satellites.

NASA’s Orion crew spacecraft and Space Launch System are the agency’s first major components for establishing a human presence in deep space. With these transportation systems progressing toward their maiden flight in 2018, NASA now is looking toward investments in deep space habitation -- the next major component of human space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.

NextSTEP is a public-private partnership model that seeks commercial development of deep space exploration capabilities to support more extensive human spaceflight missions in the proving ground of space around the moon, known as cislunar space, and to enable transit to Mars. This partnership model enables NASA to obtain innovative concepts and support private industry commercialization plans for low-Earth orbit.

“NASA is increasingly embracing public-private partnerships to expand capabilities, and opportunities in space,” said Jason Crusan, director of NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division, which sponsors NextSTEP. “Our NextSTEP partners commit their own corporate resources toward the development -- making them a true partner in the spaceflight economy.”

Under Appendix A of the NextSTEP-2 Ominbus BAA, the agency is providing the opportunity for additional contractors to join those already under contract through the previous NextSTEP BAA. Proposals will include plans for an evolvable approach to long-duration deep space habitation and the development of full-size, ground prototype habitat units no later than 2018.

Eligible applicants from U.S. companies, universities, and non-profit organizations must submit proposals electronically by 5 p.m. EDT June 15. Notices of intent should be provided by 5 p.m. May 13. Proposers will have a chance to ask questions about this particular solicitation during an industry forum on Monday, April 25. Additional inquiries must be submitted in writing by Monday, May 2 as directed in the solicitation.

NextSTEP is an example of NASA’s increased commitment to partnering with industry to stimulate the growth of commercial industry in space while enabling NASA’s human exploration mission.

NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Division pioneers innovative approaches to rapidly and affordably develop prototype systems for future human exploration missions. Learn more about AES at:  More information on the BAA can be found at:

For additional information on NextSTEP BAA, visit:

Kathryn Hambleton: Headquarters, Washington: 202-358-1100:
( Editor: Sarah Ramsey: NASA)


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You Mixed Far-real with Imagi-real and Scien-real to Bring Mars to Earthian Reality

Elizabeth Landau Writing















Erisa Hines, a driver for the Mars Curiosity rover, based at JPL, also talks to participants in "Destination: Mars." Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Microsoft

March 30, 2016: What might it look like if you were walking around on Mars? A group of researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, has been working on methods to take this question from the realm of imagination to the mind-bending domain of mixed reality.

As a result, NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to offer the public a guided tour of an area of Mars with astronaut Buzz Aldrin this summer in "Destination: Mars," an interactive exhibit using the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headset. "Mixed reality" means that virtual elements are merged with the user's actual environment, creating a world in which real and virtual objects can interact.

The "Destination: Mars" exhibit will open at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida this summer. Guests will "visit" several sites on Mars, reconstructed using real imagery from NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover, which has been exploring the Red Planet since August 2012. Buzz Aldrin, an Apollo 11 astronaut who walked on the moon in 1969, will serve as “holographic tour guide” on the journey. Curiosity Mars rover driver Erisa Hines of JPL will also appear holographically, leading participants to places on Mars where scientists have made exciting discoveries and explaining what we have learned about the planet.

“This experience lets the public explore Mars in an entirely new way. To walk through the exact landscape that Curiosity is roving across puts its achievements and discoveries into beautiful context,” said Doug Ellison, visualization producer at JPL.

"Destination: Mars" is an adaptation of OnSight, a Mars rover mission operations tool co-developed by Microsoft and JPL. A pilot group of scientists uses OnSight in their work supporting the Curiosity Mars rover's operations.

"We're excited to give the public a chance to see Mars using cutting-edge technologies that help scientists plan Curiosity's activities on Mars today," said Jeff Norris, project manager for OnSight and "Destination: Mars" at JPL. "While freely exploring the terrain, participants learn about processes that have shaped this alien world."















Buzz Aldrin, an Apollo 11 astronaut who walked on the moon, makes a holographic appearance in "Destination: Mars," a mixed-reality tour of a part of Mars that NASA's Curiosity rover has explored. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Microsoft

Abigail Fraeman, a Curiosity science team member at JPL, uses OnSight to make recommendations about where the rover should drive and which features to study in more detail. Recently OnSight helped her and a colleague identify the transition point between two Martian rock formations, which they would like to study in further detail.

"OnSight makes the whole process of analyzing the data feel a lot more natural to me," Fraeman said. "It really gives me the sense that I'm in the field when I put it on. Thinking about Martian geology is a lot more intuitive when I can stand in the scene and walk around the way I would if I were in the field."

By utilizing the same technologies and datasets as OnSight, "Destination: Mars" offers participants a glimpse of Mars as seen by mission scientists.

JPL is also developing mixed reality applications in support of astronauts on the International Space Station and engineers responsible for the design and assembly of spacecraft. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who recently returned from his historic "Year in Space" activities, used one of these applications to make the first Skype call from space to mission control in February 2016.

"By connecting astronauts to experts on the ground, mixed reality could be transformational for scientific and engineering efforts in space," Norris said.

“As we prepare to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, the public will now be able to preview the experience the astronauts will have as they walk and study the Martian surface,” said Dave Lavery, program executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Elizabeth Landau: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 818-354-6425:

( Editor: Tony Greicius: NASA)


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Let's Talk About the Hubble Space Telescope

Image: NASA

The Hubble Space Telescope is named in honor of astronomer Edwin Hubble.

March 21, 2016: From the dawn of humankind to a mere 400 years ago, all that we knew about our universe came through observations with the naked eye. Then Galileo turned his telescope toward the heavens in 1610. The world was in for an awakening.

Saturn, we learned, had rings. Jupiter had moons. That nebulous patch across the center of the sky called the Milky Way was not a cloud but a collection of countless stars. Within but a few years, our notion of the natural world would be forever changed. A scientific and societal revolution quickly ensued.

In the centuries that followed, telescopes grew in size and complexity and, of course, power. They were placed far from city lights and as far above the haze of the atmosphere as possible. Edwin Hubble, for whom the Hubble Telescope is named, used the largest telescope of his day in the 1920s at the Mt. Wilson Observatory near Pasadena, Calif., to discover galaxies beyond our own.

Hubble, the observatory, is the first major optical telescope to be placed in space, the ultimate mountaintop. Above the distortion of the atmosphere, far far above rain clouds and light pollution, Hubble has an unobstructed view of the universe. Scientists have used Hubble to observe the most distant stars and galaxies as well as the planets in our solar system.

Hubble's launch and deployment in April 1990 marked the most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo's telescope. Our view of the universe and our place within it has never been the same.

Hubble Facts

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was launched April 24, 1990, on the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Hubble has made more than 1.2 million observations since its mission began in 1990.

Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 12,800 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.
Hubble does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies. It takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at about 17,000 mph.

Hubble has traveled more than 3 billion miles along a circular low Earth orbit currently about 340 miles in altitude.

Hubble has no thrusters. To change pointing angles, it uses Newton’s third law by spinning its wheels in the opposite direction. It turns at about the speed of a minute hand on a clock, taking 15 minutes to turn 90 degrees.

Hubble has the pointing accuracy of .007 arc seconds, which is like being able to shine a laser beam on a dime 200 miles away.

Outside the haze of our atmosphere, Hubble can see astronomical objects with an angular size of 0.05 arc seconds, which is like seeing a pair of fireflies in Tokyo from your home in Maryland.

Hubble has peered back into the very distant past, to locations more than 13.4 billion light years from Earth.

The Hubble archive contains more than 100 Terabytes, and Hubble science data processing generates about 10 Terabytes of new archive data per year.

Hubble weighed about 24,000 pounds at launch and currently weighs about 27,000 pounds following the final servicing mission in 2009 – on the order of two full-grown African elephants.

Hubble's primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across.
Hubble is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long -- the length of a large school bus.

For more facts, please see  or

For Hubble achievements, please see


P: 220316


How Do You Turn 96% CO2 of Martian Air Into Fuel, Oxygen, Drinkable Water and Other Vital Resources to Support Humans on Mars Mission and Get Benefits on Earth Along the Way?

Image: NASA

March 16, 2016: At the end of a long day of work, many people like to grab a cold pint of beer. Few of them think about the bubbles in the glass and how much brewers have to pay to put them there. But Robert Zubrin — president of the Mars Society and founder of multiple aerospace technology companies — does.

Zubrin and his companies have worked with Johnson Space Center’s In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) team for years, developing technologies that could take existing substances on Mars — especially Martian air, which is 96 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) — and turn them into fuel, oxygen, drinkable water and other crucial resources.

The systems also have a range of applications on Earth, including an oil and natural-gas recovery technology Zubrin has developed and commercialized.

But when he’s not working to change this world or colonize others, Zubrin also enjoys a good microbrew. Now, he’s found a way to use space technology to recycle fermentation-created CO2 to help cut costs for brewers.
Air on Mars, Bubbles on Earth

“When you ferment beer, the process that produces alcohol also produces carbon dioxide,” explains Zubrin, noting that CO2 is also necessary later, to carbonate the beverage. Major breweries have multi-million dollar systems that capture and purify the CO2 produced during fermentation so it can be used later for carbonation and other functions, such as purging tanks.

These expensive systems, however, aren’t economical for the vast majority of craft breweries proliferating in the United States. Instead of capturing, processing, and storing CO2, small brewers instead let the gas dissipate into the air during fermentation, only to have more of it trucked in from supply companies later on, paying an average of $200 to $300 per ton.

Enter Lakewood, Colorado-based Pioneer Energy, with its CO2 Craft Brewery Recovery System, developed from technologies created to harvest, liquefy and store the gas on Mars. The mobile cart gives small brewers capabilities similar to those enjoyed by their large-scale competitors.

“Our system produces about five tons of carbon dioxide per month,” says Zubrin, adding that this amount could supply a brewery that makes up to 60,000 barrels of beer per year. For those making more, the units can be stacked to increase capacity.

Automated Success

A typical proposal for a mission to the Red Planet includes plans to send the return vehicle two years in advance of the crew, during which time the vehicle would autonomously produce resources both for the mission and the journey home. Any system for mixing and matching molecules on Mars, therefore, would also have to be fully automated using techniques like those Zubrin has worked out during his years of ISRU work.

Similarly, the CO2 Craft Brewery Recovery System can only save money if it doesn’t require an employee’s attention, Zubrin says. “On a smaller scale, this thing’s got to be totally automated, too. The robotic control you would need for a system on Mars is key to this.”

By mid-2015, the company had received more than a dozen orders for the system, which went into production late last year. Pioneer also has a unit that it brings around the country for demonstrations. Zubrin says the market potential is considerable: “Within the United States, there are several thousand breweries that would be targets for this, and probably 20,000 worldwide.”

He credits his NASA work as the foundation for the project, which he hopes will save breweries around the world money and greenhouse gas emissions.

“The intellectual capital being developed in NASA’s research and development programs is playing out across the economy, and this is just a small example,” Zubrin says. “The intellectual capital is the big spinoff.”

To learn more about this NASA spinoff, read the original article from Spinoff 2016.

For more information on how NASA is bringing its technology down to Earth, visit:

( Editor: William Bryan:NASA)


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Dawn Mission Wins Two Awards

Elizabeth Landau Writing

Image: NASA

March 14, 2016: NASA's Dawn project team recently earned two prestigious awards, honoring its successful mission to giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres.

On March 8, the Dawn project team was chosen to receive the prestigious National Aeronautic Association Robert J. Collier Trophy. This award is presented annually "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year." Established in 1911, the 8-foot tall trophy resides at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington and is engraved with the names of recipients. Dawn competed with a field of nine finalists to win this year’s award. The award will be presented on June 9.

Previous Collier Trophy recipients involving JPL missions include the teams from NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (2012) and Voyager (1980).

"We are grateful for this tremendous honor, recognizing the hard work, determination and unwavering commitment of this team to achieve mission success and advance the spirit of exploration," said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

On March 11, the Dawn project team was honored with the National Space Club and Foundation's Nelson P. Jackson Award, presented annually for "a significant contribution to the missile, aircraft or space field." The Dawn team accepted the award at the organization's 59th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in Washington.

"Dawn is a historic mission: The first mission to orbit two extraterrestrial targets and the first to encounter a dwarf planet. The Dawn team excelled at these

challenges, and our legacy of spectacular scientific data and strong public engagement has been exhilarating. We are truly honored to receive these recognitions," said Christopher Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission, based at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The spacecraft is currently exploring Ceres in its low-altitude mapping orbit, at an altitude of 240 miles (385 kilometers).

Dawn's mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

“The technical achievements of the Dawn mission have provided the scientific community with global datasets of two large bodies in the main asteroid belt, said Dawn Program Scientist Michael Kelley. “Unlike most objects in this region of the solar system, Vesta and Ceres are intact, which means that the spatial relationships of their surface features and internal layers are preserved. The unique datasets for these objects obtained by the Dawn mission provide a valuable look back to the earliest part of solar system history.”

Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team. For a complete list of mission participants, visit:

More information about Dawn is available at the following sites:

Elizabeth Landau: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

( Editor: Tony Greicius:NASA)


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Scott Kelly And His One Year at ISS ( And One Year of His Twin Mark Kelly on Earth): So Much Science in So Much Space in So Little Time

Rachel Hobson Writing

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (L) and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko year-long mission is twice as long as typical U.S. missions to the space station

Ten Things to Know About Scott Kelly’s #YearInSpace

1. It’s actually more like a three-year mission

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko may have had a year-long stay in space, but the science of their mission will span more than three years. One year before they left Earth, Kelly and Kornienko began participating in a suite of investigations aimed at better understanding how the human body responds to long-duration spaceflight. Samples of their blood, urine, saliva, and more all make up the data set scientists will study. The same kinds of samples continued to be taken throughout their stay in space, and will continue for a year or more once they return.

2. What we learn is helping us get to Mars

One of the biggest hurdles of getting to Mars is ensuring humans are “go” for a long-duration mission and that crew members will maintain their health and full capabilities for the duration of a Mars mission and after their return to Earth. Scientists have solid data about how bodies respond to living in microgravity for six months, but significant data beyond that timeframe had not been collected … until now. A mission to Mars will likely last about three years, about half the time coming and going to Mars and about half the time on Mars. We need to understand how human systems like vision and bone health are affected by the 12 to 16 months living on a spacecraft in microgravity and what countermeasures can be taken to reduce or mitigate risks to crew members during the flight to and from Mars. Understanding the challenges facing humans is just one of the ways research aboard the space station helps our journey to Mars.

3. The science will take some time

While scientists will begin analyzing data from Kelly and Kornienko as soon as they return to Earth, it could be anywhere from six months to six years before we see published results from the research. The scientific process takes time, and processing the data from all the investigations tied to the one-year mission will be no easy task. Additionally, some blood, urine and saliva samples from Kelly and Kornienko will still be stored in the space station freezers until they can be returned on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. Early on in the analytical process scientists may see indications of what we can expect, but final results will come long after Kelly and Kornienko land.

4. This isn’t the first time someone has spent a year in space

Cosmonaut Valery V. Polyakov is seen aboard Russia’s Mir space station.

This is the first time that extensive research using exciting new techniques like genetic studies has been conducted on very long-duration crew members. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is the first American to complete a continuous, year-long mission in space and is now the American who has spent the most cumulative time in space, but it’s not the first time humans have reached this goal. Previously, only four humans have spent a year or more in orbit on a single mission, all aboard the Russian Mir Space Station. They all participated in significant research proving that humans are capable of living and working in space for a year or more. Russian cosmonaut Valery Polyakov spent 438 days aboard Mir between January 1994 and March 1995 and holds the all-time record for the most continuous days spent in space. Cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev spent 380 days on Mir between August 1998 and August 1999, and cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Musa Manarov completed a 366-day mission from December 1987 to December 1988.

5. International collaboration is key

The International Space Station is just that: international. The one-year mission embodies the spirit of collaboration across countries in the effort to mitigate as many risks as possible for humans on long-duration missions. Data collected on both Kelly and Kornienko will be shared between the United States and Russia, and international partners. These kinds of collaborations help increase more rapidly the biomedical knowledge necessary for human exploration, reduce costs, improve processes and procedures, and improve efficiency on future space station missions.

6. So much science!

During Kelly’s year-long mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, his participation in science wasn’t limited to the one-year mission investigations. In all, he worked on close to 400 science studies that help NASA reach for new heights, reveal the unknown, and benefit all of humanity. His time aboard the station included blood draws, urine collection, saliva samples, computer tests, journaling, caring for two crops in the Veggie plant growth facility, ocular scans, ultrasounds, using the space cup, performing runs with the SPHERES robotic satellites, measuring sound, assisting in configuring cubesats to be deployed, measuring radiation, participating in fluid shifts testing in the Russian CHIBIS pants, logging his sleep and much, much more. All of this was in addition to regular duties of station maintenance, including three spacewalks!

7. No more food in pouches

After months of eating food from pouches and cans and drinking through straws, Kelly and Kornienko will be able to celebrate their return to Earth with food of their choice. While aboard the space station, their food intake is closely monitored and designed to provide exactly the nutrients they need. Crew members do have a say in their on-orbit menus but often miss their favorite meals from back home. Once they return, they won’t face the same menu limitations as they did in space. As soon as they land on Earth and exit the space capsule, they are usually given a piece of fruit or a cucumber to eat as they begin their initial health checks. After Kelly makes the long flight home to Houston, he will no doubt greatly savor those first meals.

8. After the return comes reconditioning

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.” The same thing can be said for astronauts’ muscles and bones. Muscles and bones can atrophy in microgravity. While in space, astronauts have a hearty exercise regimen to fight these effects, and they continue strength training and reconditioning once they return to Earth. They will also participate in Field Tests immediately after landing. Functional Task Tests once they are back at NASA’s Johnson Space Center will assess how the human body responds to living in microgravity for such a long time. Understanding how astronauts recover after long-duration spaceflight is a critical piece in planning for missions to deep space.

9. Twins Studies have researchers seeing double

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (R) and his identical twin former astronaut Mark are participating in a suite of investigations call the Twin Studies. Image: NASA

One of the unique aspects of Kelly’s participation in the one-year mission is that he has an identical twin brother, Mark, who is a former astronaut. The pair have taken part in a suite of studies that use Mark as a human control on the ground during Scott’s year-long stay in space. The Twins Study is comprised of 10 different investigations coordinating together and sharing all data and analysis as one large, integrated research team. The investigations focus on human physiology, behavioral health, microbiology/microbiome and molecular/omics. The Twins Study is multi-faceted national cooperation between investigations at universities, corporations, and government laboratories.

10. This mission will help determine what comes next

The completion of the one-year mission and its studies will help guide the next steps in planning for long-duration deep space missions that will be necessary as humans move farther into the solar system. Kelly and Kornienko’s mission will inform future decisions and planning for other long-duration missions, whether they are aboard the space station, a deep space habitat in lunar orbit, or a mission to Mars.

Rachel Hobson
International Space Station Program Science Office
NASA’s Johnson Space Center
( Editor: Kristine Rainey: NASA)


P: 2402116


NASA's Newest Class of Astronauts Readying Themselves for Travels Beyond Mother Earth

NASA Image

After an extensive year-and-a-half search, NASA has a new group of potential astronauts who will help the agency push the boundaries of exploration and travel to new destinations in the solar system. Eight candidates have been selected to be NASA's newest astronaut trainees.

The 2013 astronaut candidate class comes from the second largest number of applications NASA ever has received -- more than 6,100. The group will receive a wide array of technical training at space centers around the globe to prepare for missions to low-Earth orbit, an asteroid and Mars.

"These new space explorers asked to join NASA because they know we’re doing big, bold things here -- developing missions to go farther into space than ever before," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "They’re excited about the science we’re doing on the International Space Station and our plan to launch from U.S. soil to there on spacecraft built by American companies. And they’re ready to help lead the first human mission to an asteroid and then on to Mars."

The new astronaut candidates are:

Josh A. Cassada, Ph. D., 39, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, is originally from White Bear Lake, Minn. Cassada is a naval aviator who holds an undergraduate degree from Albion College, and advanced degrees from the University of Rochester, N.Y. Cassada is a physicist by training and previously served as co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Quantum Opus.

Victor J. Glover, 37, Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy, hails from Pomona, Calif., and Prosper, Texas. He is an F/A-18 pilot and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. Glover holds degrees from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Air University and Naval Postgraduate School. He currently is serving as a Navy Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Congress.

Tyler N. Hague (Nick), 37, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Air Force, calls Hoxie, Kan., home. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards, Calif. Hague currently is supporting the Department of Defense as Deputy Chief of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

Christina M. Hammock, 34, calls Jacksonville, N.C. home. Hammock holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. She currently is serving as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Station Chief in American Samoa.

Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, originally is from Penngrove, Calif. She is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stanford (Calif.) University and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md. Mann is an F/A 18 pilot, currently serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.

Anne C. McClain, 34, Major, U.S. Army, lists her hometown as Spokane, Wash. She is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; the University of Bath and the University of Bristol, both in the United Kingdom. McClain is an OH-58 helicopter pilot, and a recent graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.

Jessica U. Meir, Ph.D., 35 is from Caribou, Maine. She is a graduate of Brown University, has an advanced degree from the International Space University, and earned her doctorate from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Meir currently is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston.

Andrew R. Morgan, M.D., 37, Major, U.S. Army, considers New Castle, Pa., home. Morgan is a graduate of The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and earned doctorate in medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Md. He has experience as an emergency physician and flight surgeon for the Army special operations community, and currently is completing a sports medicine fellowship.

The new astronaut candidates will begin training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in August.

"This year we have selected 8 highly qualified individuals who have demonstrated impressive strengths academically, operationally, and physically” said Janet Kavandi, director of Flight Crew Operations at Johnson Space Center.

“They have diverse backgrounds and skill sets that will contribute greatly to the existing astronaut corps. Based on their incredible experiences to date, I have every confidence that they will apply their combined expertise and talents to achieve great things for NASA and this country in the pursuit of human exploration."

NASA Television’s Video File will include b-roll of astronaut interview sessions. For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

For more information about astronaut selection and training, visit:



P: 180216


It's All About HERA in the Name of Science and Space Travel

NASA Facility HERA : NASA Image

4 people are living in an isolated habitat for 30 days. Why? Science!

This 30 day mission will help our researchers learn how isolation and close quarters affect individual and group behavior. This study at our Johnson Space Center prepares us for long duration space missions, like a trip to an asteroid or even to Mars.

The Four Going into Isolation to Live inside HERA Facility for 30 Days: Wong, Spencer, Courtney and Honey: NASA Image

The Human Research Exploration Analog (HERA) that the crew members will be living in is one compact, science-making house. But unlike in a normal house, these inhabitants won’t go outside for 30 days. Their communication with the rest of planet Earth will also be very limited, and they won’t have any access to internet. So no checking social media kids!

The only people they will talk with regularly are mission control and each other.

The crew member selection process is based on a number of criteria, including the same criteria for astronaut selection.

What will they be doing?

Because this mission simulates a 715-day journey to a Near-Earth asteroid, the four crew members will complete activities similar to what would happen during an outbound transit, on location at the asteroid, and the return transit phases of a mission (just in a bit of an accelerated timeframe). This simulation means that even when communicating with mission control, there will be a delay on all communications ranging from 1 to 10 minutes each way. The crew will also perform virtual spacewalk missions once they reach their destination, where they will inspect the asteroid and collect samples from it.

A few other details

The crew follows a timeline that is similar to one used for the ISS crew.
They work 16 hours a day, Monday through Friday. This includes time for daily planning, conferences, meals and exercises.
They will be growing and taking care of plants and brine shrimp, which they will analyze and document.

But beware! While we do all we can to avoid crises during missions, crews need to be able to respond in the event of an emergency. The HERA crew will conduct a couple of emergency scenario simulations, including one that will require them to maneuver through a debris field during the Earth-bound phase of the mission.

Throughout the mission, researchers will gather information about cohabitation, teamwork, team cohesion, mood, performance and overall well-being. The crew members will be tracked by numerous devices that each capture different types of data.

Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA)

Past and Current HERA Participants: NASA Image

Past HERA crew members wore a sensor that recorded heart rate, distance, motion and sound intensity. When crew members were working together, the sensor would also record their proximity as well, helping investigators learn about team cohesion.

Researchers also learned about how crew members react to stress by recording and analyzing verbal interactions and by analyzing “markers” in blood and saliva samples.

In total, this mission will include 19 individual investigations across key human research elements. From psychological to physiological experiments, the crew members will help prepare us for future missions.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space 


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On Her Way to Jupiter The Lonely NASA-Traveller Juno Breaks Solar Power Distance Record

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Breaks Solar Power Distance Record

Launching from Earth in 2011, the Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter in 2016 to study the giant planet from an elliptical, polar orbit. Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming only 5,000 kilometers (about 3,000 miles) from the cloud tops at closest approach.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter has broken the record to become humanity's most distant solar-powered emissary. The milestone occurred at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST, 19:00 UTC) on Wednesday, Jan. 13, when Juno was about 493 million miles (793 million kilometers) from the sun.

The previous record-holder was the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft, whose orbit peaked out at the 492-million-mile (792-million-kilometer) mark in October 2012, during its approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

"Juno is all about pushing the edge of technology to help us learn about our origins," said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "We use every known technique to see through Jupiter's clouds and reveal the secrets Jupiter holds of our solar system’s early history. It just seems right that the sun is helping us learn about the origin of Jupiter and the other planets that orbit it."

Launched in 2011, Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft designed to operate at such a great distance from the sun. That's why the surface area of solar panels required to generate adequate power is quite large. The four-ton Juno spacecraft carries three 30-foot-long (9-meter) solar arrays festooned with 18,698 individual solar cells. At Earth distance from the sun, the cells have the potential to generate approximately 14 kilowatts of electricity. But transport those same rectangles of silicon and gallium arsenide to a fifth rock from the sun distance, and it’s a powerfully different story.

"Jupiter is five times farther from the sun than Earth, and the sunlight that reaches that far out packs 25 times less punch," said Rick Nybakken, Juno's project manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "While our massive solar arrays will be generating only 500 watts when we are at Jupiter, Juno is very efficiently designed, and it will be more than enough to get the job done."

Prior to Juno, eight spacecraft have navigated the cold, harsh underlit realities of deep space as far out as Jupiter. All have used nuclear power sources to get their job done. Solar power is possible on Juno due to improved solar-cell performance, energy-efficient instruments and spacecraft, a mission design that can avoid Jupiter’s shadow, and a polar orbit that minimizes the total radiation. Juno’s maximum distance from the sun during its 16-month science mission will be about 517 million miles (832 million kilometers), an almost five percent increase in the record for solar-powered space vehicles.

"It is cool we got the record and that our dedicated team of engineers and scientists can chalk up another first in space exploration," said Bolton. "But the best is yet to come. We are achieving these records and venturing so far out for a reason -- to better understand the biggest world in our solar system and thereby better understand where we came from."

Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4 of this year. Over the next year the spacecraft will orbit the Jovian world 33 times, skimming to within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops every 14 days. During the flybys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study Jupiter’s aurorae to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about Juno visit:  and

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

( Editor: Martin Perez: NASA)


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ESA's Invite for the Future Astronauts: It Could Be You

A pretty good impression
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took this image circling Earth on the International Space Station during his six-month Blue Dot mission while doing a spacewalk outside of the weightless research centre. Alexander commented: "I do not have words to describe what we did today, but this photo gives a pretty good impression! "  Read more about the Blue Dot mission Follow Alexander via Released 08/04/2015 2:47 pm. Copyright ESA/NASA

14 January 2016: With ESA astronaut Tim Peake stepping out of the International Space Station tomorrow, have you ever wanted to know if you have what it takes to be an astronaut? ESA is offering a trial version of a test developed for future astronauts for you to try at home – and by taking part you will help us select a new generation of astronauts.
Which way is up?

Trainers at ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany are always looking for ways to improve their methods. Part of the job is to find out who is suitable to become an astronaut in the first place.

One of the many challenges faced by astronauts is working in three-dimensional space. In a weightless universe, up can become down and left can become right depending on which way you are floating.

Everybody knows the feeling of disorientation on visiting a new city, and working in space adds a whole new dimension – literally. During a spacewalk this effect intensifies as the blackness of space offers little for astronauts’ brains to use for orientation.
Working in three dimensions

Working and using objects in this environment is something astronauts must excel at and so is a key aptitude that trainers look for in selecting candidates.

The head of ESA’s astronaut centre, Frank De Winne, says: “ESA is not currently running a selection campaign but developing tests for astronaut selection takes time and needs to be done right.”

Your task is to move and turn an object to fit exactly in a new position in three dimensions. The task is made harder because all your moves need to be programmed beforehand and the goal is to use as few as possible.
Taking the test

European Astronaut Centre experts in robotics and spacecraft docking worked with psychologists to design the test.

ESA’s Head of Astronaut Training, Rüdiger Seine, explains: “By ‘playing’ with the test online you will help the team validate it, essentially making sure it works. For us, the more people who participate, the better.”

Click here to go to the test website and start thinking like an astronaut as you work your way through progressively harder levels.




Our 'Tomorrowland:' NASA Advancing the Future on Earth and in Space

Main character Casey Newton marvels at the wonders of Tomorrowland as portrayed in the film. Image: Courtesy Disney

The new Disney film "Tomorrowland" imagines a world where dreaming about the technology of the future can advance civilization and make Earth a better place. At NASA, we're reaching for new heights to reveal the unknown, so what we learn can benefit all of humankind. With new technologies in development on Earth and space, and exciting new missions of exploration throughout the solar system being planned, NASA is helping advance a future that will inspire the world and improve lives on our home planet.

Though personal jetpacks aren't commonplace yet, NASA is with you when you fly. The world depends on aviation to stay connected and NASA Aeronautics is helping solve some of big challenges facing the aerospace industry, like reducing environmental impact, maintaining safety in more crowded skies, and revolutionizing aircraft shapes and propulsion.

To really help improve lives on Earth we need to understand it first. NASA Earth Science studies our planet to better understand how it is changing and how it might change in the future. This helps us make a difference in people's lives around the world by providing critical data on weather, natural disasters, air quality, sea levels, and natural resources.

Some 250 miles overhead, astronauts are working off the Earth for the Earth, conducting research only possible in microgravity across multiple scientific disciplines. From its unique vantage point, the International Space Station advances Earth observation research while providing a platform for new technology demonstrations, astrophysics, and research on the human body. The lessons we learn on the space station not only benefit humanity but are also paving the way for the human exploration of Mars in our lifetime.

Humankind's next giant leap in exploration will send astronauts to the Red Planet where we could finally answer the question "does life exist beyond Earth?" Mars could prove to be a suitable home for humans one day and even help us better understand how life developed here. The technologies we develop on the Journey to Mars and knowledge we learn there will forever change humanity's future of exploration.

Farther into the cosmos, new discoveries await us about the origin and evolution of our solar system, galaxy and the universe. Multiple robotic missions and telescopes are exploring our Solar System and Beyond to uncover their secrets.  The steps we take toward exploring our universe now could lead to a future where we have solved the mystery "are we alone?"

All of NASA's current and planned exploration depends on new technology. The inventions and advancements of NASA Technology create new opportunities for space exploration as well as tangible benefits here at home, like economic development and new ways to save lives.

We invite you to explore the many ways NASA provides Benefits to You as we keep reaching to tomorrow on Earth and in space, making lives better today.

( Editor: Jim Wilson: NASA)


Posted: January 4, 2016



NASA Research Reveals Biological Clock Misalignment Effects on Sleep for Astronauts

Since the beginning of the space program, astronauts have dealt with the realities of spaceflight from microgravity in weak muscles and space radiation, to sleep deprivation and disorientation. Both before and during astronauts’ flights, changes in biological clocks, or circadian rhythms, contribute to sleep deficiency and increase the use of sleep-promoting medications.

For most people, the circadian rhythm is a little longer than 24 hours. On Earth, our daily exposure to light from the sun keeps us synchronized to the 24-hour day. As they circle around Earth in orbit, astronauts experience a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes. Understanding the effects of spaceflight on astronauts may help prepare NASA for planning longer crew stays in deep space and possible missions to Mars, where the day length is a little longer than 24 hours. Most importantly, investigating these effects can reveal new ways to reduce the general consequences of the exposure of spaceflight on the human body.

At NASA’s Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley, Erin Flynn-Evans has been investigating the quality of astronauts’ sleep during spaceflight to better understand how sleep disturbances, such as noise and uncomfortable temperatures, cause sleep deficiency, which can throw off their circadian rhythms. Docking and undocking with the International Space Station requires astronauts to “slam-shift” their sleep patterns, which causes sleep disruption, much like people on the Earth who work rotating night shifts.

“Imagine flying across the country and getting jet-lagged,” said Flynn-Evans, a researcher at the Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory at Ames. “It’s very similar to what astronauts deal with on the International Space Station, only the stakes are higher.”

Flynn-Evans and her team at Ames worked with Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston, to conduct a study to evaluate causes of sleep deficiency and the use of sleep-promoting medication by astronauts during spaceflight. Because mission operations often dictate completion of tasks during the biological night and sleep during the biological day, the team investigated whether circadian misalignment was associated with adverse sleep outcomes before and during spaceflight missions.

For a recently published paper in Nature Microgravity about the topic, Flynn-Evans and her team collected data from 21 astronauts over 3,248 days of long-duration spaceflight on the space station, including 11 days prior to launch, and reviewed sleep logs to determine sleep medication use and sleep quality.

Astronauts wore activity monitors similar to popular fitness monitoring wristbands during the study. The researchers evaluated data about the astronauts’ sleep episodes, including bedtime, wake time and number and cause of awakenings, ratings of sleep quality, medication and caffeine use for one week during their spaceflight.

“Rapid schedule changes are a problem, but so is exposure to light at times when the astronauts are scheduled to sleep,” said Flynn-Evans. “The crewmembers will often look out the cupola window to get a view of Earth during their scheduled sleep time, which can expose them to a bright blast of sunlight and inhibit their ability to sleep.”

Flynn-Evans says crewmembers often use tablet computers, which expose them to even more light before bed. The additional light exposure disrupts their natural sleep cycles and can prevent them from sleeping well during the day.

With the support of NASA grants, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital designed Circadian Performance Simulation Software (CPSS) to consistently predict the effects of sleep-wake schedules and light exposure on the human biological clock. When crewmembers slept when their biological clocks were promoting sleep, they slept longer and used fewer sleep medications. When they slept when their biological clocks were not promoting sleep, they had more disrupted sleep and used more sleep medication.

During the experiment, NASA researchers interviewed the astronauts and evaluated journal entries in order to better understand how they were being affected by sleep loss. They discovered that space station astronauts as well as shuttle astronauts slept for just six hours per night on average, when most mission schedules called for 8.5 hours. Another finding revealed that where astronauts launched into space made a significant difference in disruptions to sleep patterns. In the weeks before astronauts took flight, those launching from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, compared to launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida, experienced better sleep. This could be due to other variables, such as training and preflight preparations and/or social activities or recovery from jet lag to get to Baikonour. In any case, astronauts used sleep aids to help them sleep most nights during preflight.

NASA is working to make improvements that promote astronaut crew health during spaceflight. Suggestions include special blue LED lights to help fight insomnia experienced by astronauts, spacecraft designed with luxuries of Earth to make sure astronauts are more comfortable while in space and more efficient schedules to balance the astronaut work-sleep times.

Still, more needs to be understood about the limitations of the human body in space. As the first one-year mission of living onboard the space station concludes in March 2016, studying the patterns of sleeping and waking is crucial to ensuring a well-rested astronaut crew for future deep space exploration missions.

For more information about living in space on the International Space Station, visit

Kimberly Williams
Ames Research Center

(Editor: Kimberly Williams: NASA)


P: 120116



China's New-type Airship Reaches World-leading Level

China's Near-space Airship Yuanmeng

China’s first new type near-space airship “Yuanmeng” was successfully launched in Xilinhot, Inner Mongolia on Tuesday.

“Yuanmeng” is a colossal silvery airship and occupies 18,000 cubic meters. With the lift of helium it rises into the air, and then it is mainly powered by solar energy. The airship will stay near space for 48 hours according to plan.

Near space is the region of Earth's atmosphere that lies between 20 to 100 km (65,000 and 328,000 feet) above sea level. Impeded by the height and air density of the region, traditional aircrafts find it difficult to enter.

The U.S. and Russia are committed to scientific and technology research in near-space. American X-51A and HTV-2 hypersonic aircraft can maintain high-speed flight in near space.If an aircraft can fly at five times the speed of sound, it would only take one hour for it to fly across the Atlantic.

The airship can be used to conduct data relays, weather forecasts, ground surveillance and missile warnings. Near-space airship technology has a huge potential in military and civil fields, so China needs to advance their research in this field, Chinese aviation expert Wang Yanan said.(People's Daily Online)

China National Space Administration CNSA


Posted: December 9, 2015



Technologies for the Future of Travelling in the Universes: NASA Announces New Public-Private Partnerships to Advance ‘Tipping Point,’ Emerging Space Capabilities

NASA Image

NASA has secured partnerships with 22 U.S. companies through two solicitations to advance the agency’s goals for robotic and human exploration of the solar system by shepherding the development of critical space technologies.

"These awards enable us to continue to foster partnerships with the commercial space sector that not only leverage capabilities to meet NASA's strategic goals, but also focus on U.S. industry markets that are at a tipping point for commercialization and infusion,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “At NASA, technology drives exploration and partnering with the private sector in this way supports the innovation economy and creates jobs.”

Through the "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies” solicitation, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate selected nine companies to mature technologies beyond their “tipping point” with the goal of enabling private industry to develop and qualify them for market, stimulating the commercial space industry while delivering technologies and capabilities needed for future NASA missions and commercial applications.

A technology is considered at the tipping point if an investment in a demonstration of its capabilities would result in a significant advancement of the technology's maturation, high likelihood of infusion into a commercial space application, and significant improvement in the ability to successfully bring the technology to market.

Through the Tipping Point solicitation, NASA has selected the following nine projects and U.S. companies:

Robotic In-Space Manufacturing and Assembly of Spacecraft and Space Structures

Public-Private Partnership for Robotic In-Space Manufacturing and Assembly of Spacecraft and Space Structures -- Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia
Versatile In-Space Robotic Precision Manufacturing and Assembly System -- Made in Space, Inc. of Moffett Field, California
Dragonfly: On-Orbit Robotic Installation and Reconfiguration of Large Solid RF Reflectors -- Space Systems Loral of Palo Alto, California

Low Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) Instruments for Remote Sensing Applications

EGO-XO: Nanosats for Advanced Gravity Mapping and Crosslink Occultation -- Geo Optics LLC of Pasadena, California
Advanced 1.65 Micron Seed Laser for LIDAR Remote Sensing of Methane -- Freedom Photonics LLC of Goleta, California

Small Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control (ADC) Sensors and Actuators

Hyper-XACT, A Long Life, High Performance Attitude Determination and Control System -- Blue Canyon Technologies LLC of Boulder, Colorado
Tipping Point Proposal for Reaction Sphere -- Northrop Grumman Support Services Corporation of Millersville, Maryland

Small Spacecraft Propulsion Systems

HYDROS Thruster -- Tethers Unlimited of Bothell, Washington
Enabling High Thrust High Delta-V Green Propulsion for CubeSats -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. of Redmond, Washington

These fixed-priced contracts include milestone payments that require a minimum 25 percent corporate or customer contribution, though all awards are contingent on the availability of appropriated funding. The contracts range in value from $1 million to $20 million, and each have an approximate two-year performance period culminating in a system-level demonstration of the technology.

NASA also secured partnerships with 13 U.S. companies through the Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity (ACO) solicitation, "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Emerging Space Technology System Capabilities.” Through these partnerships, NASA provides technical expertise and test facilities to aid industry partners in maturing key space technologies.

These awards will result in Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreements between the selected companies and NASA for the following technology projects:

Nanosatellite and Suborbital Reusable Launch Systems Development

Technology Maturation and Flight Validation for Air Launched Liquid Rockets -- Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. of Atlanta
LauncherOne Collaborative Opportunity to Advance Emerging Space Capabilities -- Virgin Galactic LLC of Long Beach, California
Spyder: A Dedicated CubeSat Launcher Project -- UP Aerospace, Inc. of Littleton, Colorado
Advanced Design and Manufacture of Cryogenic Propellant Tanks for Air Launched Liquid Rockets -- Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. of Atlanta

Thermal Protection System Materials and Systems Development

Validation of Fiber Optic Temperature Sensor Arrays for Thermal Protection System Materials -- Intelligent Fiber Optic Systems Corp. of Santa Clara, California
Development and Characterization of 3D Woven Thermal Protection System via Arc Jet Testing -- T.E.A.M, Inc. of Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Arc Jet Exposure of Ablative and Non-Oxide CMC TPS for Planetary Probe and Sample Return Applications -- Boeing of Huntington Beach, California

Green Propellant Thruster Technology Qualification

Flight Qualification of Busek’s 5N Green Monopropellant Thruster, BGT-5 -- Busek Co., Inc. of Natick, Massachusetts
Green Propellant Thruster Technology Qualification -- Orbital ATK of Elkton, Maryland
GR-1 Aerojet Rocketdyne Glenn Goddard (ARGG) Collaboration -- Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. of Redmond, Washington

Small, Affordable, High Performance Liquid Rocket Engine Development

Enhancement of Nanosat Launch Vehicle Booster Main Engine Using 3D Additive Manufacturing Techniques -- Garvey Spacecraft Corp. of Long Beach, California
Hydrogen Peroxide/Kerosene Engine Development -- Dynetics, Inc. of Huntsville, Alabama
Risk-Reduction Testing for the DESLA Upper Stage Engine -- Exquadrum, Inc. of Adelanto, California

“These new partnerships between NASA and U.S. industry can accelerate the development and infusion of these emerging space system capabilities,” Jurczyk said. “Sustained technology investments must be made to mature the capabilities required to reach the challenging destinations and meet the agency’s exploration goals, such as our journey to Mars.”

For more information about STMD’s continued investments in space technology development, demonstration and infusion, visit


(Gina Anderson: Headquarters, Washington. Editor: Karen Northon:NASA)

Posted on: November 22, 2015


NASA Orders SpaceX Crew Mission to International Space Station

NASA took a significant step Friday toward expanding research opportunities aboard the International Space Station with its first mission order from Hawthorne, California based-company SpaceX to launch astronauts from U.S. soil.

This is the second in a series of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. The Boeing Company of Houston received its first crew mission order in May.

"It’s really exciting to see SpaceX and Boeing with hardware in flow for their first crew rotation missions," said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. "It is important to have at least two healthy and robust capabilities from U.S. companies to deliver crew and critical scientific experiments from American soil to the space station throughout its lifespan."

Determination of which company will fly its mission to the station first crew rotation missions," said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. "It is important to have at least two healthy and robust capabilities from U.S. companies to deliver crew and critical scientific experiments from American soil to the space station throughout its lifespan."

Determination of which company will fly its mission to the station first will be made at a later time. The contracts call for orders to take place prior to certification to support the lead time necessary for missions in late 2017, provided the contractors meet readiness conditions.

Commercial crew missions to the space station, on the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, will restore America’s human spaceflight capabilities and increase the amount of time dedicated to scientific research aboard the orbiting laboratory.

SpaceX’s crew transportation system, including the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, has advanced through several development and certification phases. The company recently performed a critical design review, which demonstrated the transportation system has reached a sufficient level of design maturity to work toward fabrication, assembly, integration and test activities.

"The authority to proceed with Dragon's first operational crew mission is a significant milestone in the Commercial Crew Program and a great source of pride for the entire SpaceX team," said Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX. “When Crew Dragon takes NASA astronauts to the space station in 2017, they will be riding in one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown. We're honored to be developing this capability for NASA and our country.”

Commercial crew launches will reduce the cost, per seat, of transporting NASA astronauts to the space station compared to what the agency must pay the Russian Federal Space Agency for the same service. If, however, NASA does not receive the full requested funding for CCtCap contracts in fiscal year 2016 and beyond, the agency will be forced to delay future milestones for both U.S. companies and continue its sole reliance on Russia to transport American astronauts to the space station.

Orders under the CCtCap contracts are made two to three years prior to actual mission dates in order to provide time for each company to manufacture and assemble the launch vehicle and spacecraft. Each company also must successfully complete a certification process before NASA will give the final approval for flight. Each contract includes a minimum of two and a maximum potential of six missions.

A standard commercial crew mission to the station will carry up to four NASA or NASA-sponsored crew members and about 220 pounds of pressurized cargo. The spacecraft will remain at the station for up to 210 days, available as an emergency lifeboat during that time.

“Commercial crew launches are really important for helping us meet the demand for research on the space station because it allows us to increase the crew to seven,” said Julie Robinson, International Space Station chief scientist. “Over the long term, it also sets the foundation for scientific access to future commercial research platforms in low- Earth orbit.”

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manages the CCtCap contracts and is working with each company to ensure commercial transportation system designs and post-certification missions will meet the agency’s safety requirements. Activities that follow the award of missions include a series of mission-related reviews and approvals leading to launch. The program also will be involved in all operational phases of missions to ensure crew safety.

For the latest on Commercial Crew progress, bookmark the program’s blog at: here

( Tabatha Thompson: Headquarters, Washington: 202-358-1100 . Stephanie Martin: Kennedy Space Center, Fla. 321-867-2468
( Editor: Karen Northon: NASA)


Posted on: November 23, 2015






The Lake Eden Eye





The Window of the Heavens Always Open and Calling: All We Have to Do Is: To Choose to Be Open, Listen and Respond




Imagine a Rose-Boat

Imagine a rose floating like a tiny little boat on this ocean of infinity
And raise your soul-sail on this wee-little boat and go seeking out
All along feed on nothing but the light that you gather only light
Fear shall never fathom you nor greed can tempt nor illusion divert
For Love you are by name by deeds you are love's working-map



Only in the transparent pool of knowledge, chiselled out by the sharp incision of wisdom, is seen the true face of what truth is: That what  beauty paints, that what music sings, that what love makes into a magic. And it is life: a momentary magnificence, a-bloom like a bubble's miniscule exposition, against the spread of this awe-inspiring composition of the the Universe. Only through the path of seeking, learning, asking and developing, only through the vehicles and vesicles of knowledge, only through listening to the endless springs flowing beneath, outside, around and beyond our reach, of wisdom, we find the infinite ocean of love which is boundless, eternal, and being infinite, it makes us, shapes us and frees us onto the miracle of infinite liberty: without border, limitation or end. There is nothing better, larger or deeper that humanity can ever be than to simply be and do love. The Humanion


Poets' Letter Magazine Archive Poetry Pearl

About The Humanion The Humanion Team Home Contact Submission Guidelines
The Humanion Online Daily from the United Kingdom for the World: To Inspire Souls to Seek

At Home in the Universe : One Without Frontier. Editor: Munayem Mayenin

All copyrights @ The Humanion: London: England: United Kingdom: Contact Address: editor at thehumanion dot com

First Published: September 24: 2015