NASA’s SLS Core Stage Green Run Tests Critical Systems For Artemis I

Teams at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, completed the first test of the eight-part core stage Green Run test series for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket on Jan. 30. (Credits: NASA)

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (NASA PR) — NASA is resuming work on a series of tests to bring the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage to life for the first time, allowing engineers to evaluate the new complex stage that will launch the Artemis I lunar mission.

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Virgin Orbit Scrubs Launch for Sunday

Cosmic Girl with a fueled LauncherOne on approach to Mojave on April 12, 2020. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

UPDATE: Virgin Orbit will attempt a launch on Monday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. PDT.

Virgin Orbit has scrubbed the maiden flight of its LauncherOne booster that had been planned for Sunday over the Pacific Ocean.

The company tweeted that engineers discovered a problem with a sensor after fueling the booster at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, They drained the fuel and are addressing the problem.

Virgin Galactic has a backup launch date on Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The company has not yet confirmed that it will attempt a launch tomorrow.

LauncherOne will attempt to place an inert mass into orbit.

Ken Brown and I will be in Mojave to cover the takeoff and landing of the Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 aircraft.

NASA Science to Hold Virtual Community Town Hall Meeting

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Science Mission Directorate will hold a community town hall meeting via teleconference with Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen and his leadership team at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 28, to discuss updates in NASA’s science program and the current status of NASA activities.  

Members of the science community, academia, the media and the public are invited to participate by calling 888-989-9718. International participants should call 312-470-7045. Both numbers will use the passcode 8137047. Participants must provide their name at the prompt. A replay of the call will be available for one month at 203-369-3252. Charts for the meeting will be posted just prior to the start of the meeting and an audio recording will be available later that day at:

https://science.nasa.gov

To ask a question, participants can go to:

https://arc.cnf.io/sessions/ykc8/#!/dashboard

Users must provide their first and last name and organization, and can submit their own questions or vote up or down a list of questions submitted by others. The meeting leaders will try to answer as many of the submitted questions as possible.

For more about NASA science, visit:

https://science.nasa.gov

Last of NASA’s Vital, Versatile Science ‘EXPRESS Racks’ Heads to Space Station

Boeing engineers conduct checkout testing of NASA Basic EXPRESS Racks, the last of which will be delivered to the International Space Station in May aboard the Japanese HTV-9 resupply flight. The racks, developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have been integral to station science for 20 years — yielding a combined 85 years of rack operations. The 11th and final rack is expected to be in place and operational in fall 2020. (Credits: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — When the Japanese HTV-9 Kounotori cargo ship lifts off to deliver supplies and science equipment to the International Space Station, a landmark chapter in the station’s story will draw to a close — and a new chapter, helping to chart a course for Artemis-generation voyages into the solar system, will begin.

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Galactic Unite Grants Twelve Scholarships to Students

Scholarship students (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Through our Galactic Unite initiative, we’ve continued to award STEM scholarships to students pursuing degrees in aerospace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Psyche Mission Facing Delays in Acquiring Instruments, Electronic Parts

NASA’s Psyche mission to a distant metal asteroid will carry a revolutionary Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package. This artist’s concept shows Psyche spacecraft with a five-panel array. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA’s first mission to explore a metal asteroid has faced delays in obtaining key instruments and advanced electronic components, according to a new assessment from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The $996.4 million Psyche mission will explore asteroid 16 Psyche. The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched in August 2022.

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The Flame of Discovery Grows as Saffire Sets New Fires in Space

This edge view of Saffire’s flame shows it developing over a one-centimeter thick sample of a plexiglass type material found on spacecraft. The blue color is typical of microgravity flames and moves from left to right at 20 cm per second. (Credits: NASA)

CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — NASA ignited another set of space fire experiments last week when Saffire IV lit a number of longer, stronger flames inside Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Saffire, NASA’s Spacecraft Fire Safety Demonstration Project, is a series of six experiments that investigate how fires grow and spread in space, especially aboard future spacecraft bound for the Moon and Mars.

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NASA Flight Opportunities Program Seeks Additional Flight Providers

Northwestern University researchers gathered data for their foam experiment during parabolic flight. (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center has released a solicitation for additional providers to its Flight and Payload Integration Services contract for the Flight Opportunities program. This contract allows companies to fly research and development technology payloads on suborbital vehicles that provide exposure to space and space-relevant environments.

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Crew Dragon Notes: Weather Forecast Poor, Trump to Attend Launch

Credit: 45th Weather Squadron

President Donald Trump will join Vice President Mike Pence at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the Crew Dragon launch scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, May 27.

However, Trump and Pence may end up disappointed by Florida’s stormy weather. The latest forecast predicts a 60 percent probability of violating weather constraints. The main concerns are rain, lightning and clouds.

The backup launch date is Saturday, May 30.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are set to conduct a flight test to the International Space Station. It will be the first Crew Dragon flight with astronauts aboard.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Teams Preparing for May 27 Launch

Inside the Press Site auditorium at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, agency and industry leaders conduct a virtual news conference with members of the media on May 22, 2020, following the conclusion of the flight readiness review for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission is cleared to proceed toward liftoff on the first crewed flight of the agency’s  Commercial Crew Program, NASA and SpaceX officials said following a successful Flight Readiness Review concluded Friday at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Falcon 9 Completes Static Fire Test Ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Mission

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A during a brief static fire test ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission, Friday, May 22, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft that will launch American astronauts to the  International Space Station from American soil for the first time in nearly a decade has completed a key prelaunch milestone: the integrated static fire. Standing on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the rocket’s nine Merlin first-stage engines were fired for seven seconds for this critical but routine test.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly to the space station aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Demo-2 flight test. The mission will serve as an end-to-end test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, paving the way for NASA to certify the system for regular, crewed flights to the orbiting laboratory as a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff is slated for May 27 at 4:33 p.m. EDT.

NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 Briefings, Events and Broadcasts

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken practice extraction from a Crew Dragon capsule. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 flight test with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. The mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.

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Trump Administration Formally Asks FCC to Reconsider Ligado Decision

The Trump Administration has formally requested that the Federal Communications Commission reconsider its approval to Ligado to construct a nationwide mobile broadband network that it says “will cause irreparable harms to federal government users of the Global Positioning System (GPS).”

The National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) filed the appeal to rescind the approval on behalf of the Trump Administration, particularly the departments of Defense (DOD) and Transportation (DOT).

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Flight Readiness Review Approves Crew Dragon for Launch Next Week

The crew access arm is swung into position for the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-2 mission, Thursday, May 21, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX on Friday gave a “go” for the Demo-2 mission, the first launch of astronauts on an American rocket from American soil since the last space shuttle mission in 2011.

Launch of the mission, dubbed Launch America, is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 27. The launch of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be carried will be aired live on NASA TV. The space agency will provide continuous coverage from launch through docking with the International Space Station.

NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Make Progress as SLS/Orion Launch Slips

A liquid hydrogen storage tank is photographed at Launch Pad 39B on Nov. 8, 2019, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) required for NASA’s Artemis moon program are making progress as the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft continues to slip into the future.

“According to officials, most of the infrastructure needed for the Artemis I is nearing operational readiness. Currently, the program plans to finish the system acceptance and operational readiness reviews for vehicle stacking in September 2020,” according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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