NASA Names Headquarters After ‘Hidden Figure’ Mary W. Jackson

Mary Winston Jackson (1921–2005) successfully overcame the barriers of segregation and gender bias to become a professional aerospace engineer and leader in ensuring equal opportunities for future generations. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Wednesday the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA.

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NASA to Release RFI for Astronauts to Fly on New Shepard, SpaceShipTwo

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine floated this idea during the Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference back in March. They’re clearly moving forward with it.

Bridenstine has mentioned that NASA needed some sort of plan to certify the vehicles. It will be interesting to see what the space agency will require of Blue Origin’s New Shepard and Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo before conducting any astronaut training on the suborbital systems.

The vehicles can provide several minutes of continuous weightless as well as experience in rocket-powered acceleration and re-entry.

Astronauts train aboard aircraft flying parabolic arcs that provide about 25 seconds of microgravity at a time. NASA contracts for training with Zero Gravity Corporation, which uses a modified Boeing 727.

The Launch Is Approaching for NASA’s Next Mars Rover, Perseverance

In a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover on Dec. 17, 2019. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Red Planet’s surface has been visited by eight NASA spacecraft. The ninth will be the first that includes gathering Mars samples for future return to Earth. 

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is just over a month from its July 20 targeted launch date. The rover’s astrobiology mission will seek signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site, and demonstrate key technologies to help prepare for future robotic and human exploration. And the rover will do all that while collecting the first samples of Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) for return to Earth by a set of future missions.

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NASA to Host Teleconference with New Human Exploration Leader

Kathryn Lueders

WASHIGNTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will host a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 18, to introduce Kathy Lueders, the newly selected associate administrator of the agency’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

Audio of the teleconference will stream live online at:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Prior to her appointment as the head of NASA’s human spaceflight office, Lueders served as the program manager for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Since 2014, she has worked with private industry to develop, test and fly next-generation American human space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit, including to the International Space Station.

For information about NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/index.html

Kathy Lueders Selected to Lead NASA’s Human Spaceflight Office

Kathryn Lueders

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Friday selected Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders to be the agency’s next associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate. Since 2014, Lueders has directed NASA’s efforts to send astronauts to space on private spacecraft, which culminated in the successful launch of Demo-2 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 30.

“Kathy gives us the extraordinary experience and passion we need to continue to move forward with Artemis and our goal of landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024,” said Bridenstine. “She has a deep interest in developing commercial markets in space, dating back to her initial work on the space shuttle program. From Commercial Cargo and now Commercial Crew, she has safely and successfully helped push to expand our nation’s industrial base. Kathy’s the right person to extend the space economy to the lunar vicinity and achieve the ambitious goals we’ve been given.”

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NASA Selects Astrobotic to Fly Water-Hunting VIPER Rover to the Moon

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. (Credit: NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded Astrobotic of Pittsburgh $199.5 million to deliver NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023.

The water-seeking mobile VIPER robot will help pave the way for astronaut missions to the lunar surface beginning in 2024 and will bring NASA a step closer to developing a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program.

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NASA Awards Northrop Grumman Artemis Contract for Gateway Crew Cabin

Artist’s concept of the Gateway power and propulsion and Habitation and Logistics Outpost, or HALO, in orbit around the Moon. (Credits: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has finalized the contract for the initial crew module of the agency’s Gateway lunar orbiting outpost.

Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Space, has been awarded $187 million to design the habitation and logistics outpost (HALO) for the Gateway, which is part of NASA’s Artemis program and will help the agency build a sustainable presence at the Moon. This award funds HALO’s design through its preliminary design review, expected by the end of 2020.

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NASA Updates Coverage for Crew Dragon Launch on Saturday

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley, left, and Robert Behnken, wearing SpaceX spacesuits, are seen in the Tesla taking them to the launch pad for a dress rehearsal of their upcoming flight. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide live coverage of prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 3:22 p.m. EDT Saturday, May 30, for the launch of the first commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft carrying astronauts to the space station. The first launch attempt, on May 27, was scrubbed due to unfavorable weather conditions.

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Kelly Clarkson to Sing National Anthem at Crew Dragon Launch

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley, left, and Robert Behnken, wearing SpaceX spacesuits, are seen in the Tesla taking them to the launch pad for a dress rehearsal of their upcoming flight. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide live coverage of prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight on Wednesday, May 27, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.

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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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Discovery & Science Channels to Provide Live Coverage of Crew Dragon Launch

On Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20, SpaceX teams in Firing Room 4 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the company’s Mission Control in Hawthorne, California, along with NASA flight controllers in Mission Control Houston, executed a full simulation of launch and docking of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken (left) and Doug Hurley participating in SpaceX’s flight simulator. (Credits: SpaceX)

‘SPACE LAUNCH LIVE: AMERICA RETURNS TO SPACE,’ a Multiplatform Event, to Simulcast Live Coast to Coast on Wednesday, May 27, at 2 PM ET/11 AM PT on Discovery and Science Channel

All-Star Line-up of Celebrity Guests Include Global Superstar KATY PERRY, TV and Internet Personality Adam Savage, Former NASA Engineer and YouTube Phenom Mark Rober, Among Others

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Head of NASA Human Spaceflight Resigns on Eve of SpaceX Crew Dragon Flight

Douglas Loverro (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The head of NASA’s human spaceflight program has resigned three days before a flight readiness review (FRR) for the first human spaceflight from U.S. soil in nearly nine years.

Douglas Loverro, associate administrator for the human exploration and operations (HEO), resigned on Monday — nine days before a Crew Dragon spacecraft with astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley and aboard is scheduled to be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket on May 27.

Loverro, who took on the job in December, was to have presided over a two-day review set to begin this Thursday on whether to go ahead with the crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Loverro would have made the final go/no decision.

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Roscosmos Official: U.S.-Russian Space Cooperation Deteriorating

Roscosmos boss Dmitry Rogozin meets with Russia’s boss of bosses, President Vladimir Putin. (Credit: Russian President’s Office)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently U.S. President Donald Trump’s favorite autocratic ruler, cooperation between the two nations on future space projects are breaking down, a high-ranking Roscosmos official said.

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Former Congressman Culberson Joins National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group

John Culberson

Vice President Mike Pence has nominated former Congressman John Culberson and four other people to serve two-year terms on National Space Council Users’ Advisory Group. Four current members are leaving the board.

“The nominated members of the Users’ Advisory Group will serve to fulfill President Trump’s directive to ‘foster close coordination, cooperation, and technology and information exchange’ across our nation’s space enterprise to ensure that the United States remains the world’s foremost spacefaring country,” the White House said in a press release.

Nominees are pending official appointment by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

New Members

John Culberson
Former U.S. Congressman, Texas

Eileen Drake
President and CEO, Aerojet Rocketdyne

Dr. Bruce Jakosky
Professor of Atmosphere and Space Physics, University of Colorado

Jeanette Nuñez
Lieutenant Governor of Florida
Chairwoman of the Board, Space Florida

James D. Taiclet, Jr.
Board member, Lockheed Martin Corporation
Takes over as President and CEO on June 15

Departing Members

Marillyn Hewson
President and CEO, Lockheed Martin
Retiring on June 15

David Thompson
Former President and CEO, Orbital ATK

Steve Crisafulli
Former Speaker, Florida House of Representatives

Eric Schmidt
Former CEO and Executive Chairman, Google

Current Members

Admiral James Ellis, Jr., USN, Retired
Chairman, Users’ Advisory Group

Former Commander, United States Strategic Command, member of the Space Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. Buzz Aldrin, USAF, Retired
Apollo 11 astronaut

Tory Bruno
President and CEO, United Launch Alliance

David Calhoun
President and CEO, The Boeing Company

Dean Cheng
Scholar at the Heritage Foundation

Colonel Eileen Collins, USAF, Retired
Four-time shuttle astronaut, first female shuttle commander

Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar
President and CEO, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

Tim Ellis
CEO, Relativity Space

Homer Hickam
Board Member, U. S. Space & Rocket Center; former NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center engineer; Author of “Rocket Boys”

The Honorable Kay Ivey
Governor of Alabama

Fred Klipsch
Board of Trustees, Marian University;
Chairman and CEO, Klipsch Audio Technologies, Retired

General Les Lyles, USAF, Retired
Chairman, NASA Advisory Council

Colonel Pam Melroy, USAF, Retired
Three-time shuttle astronaut, former Deputy Director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Fatih Ozmen
CEO, Sierra Nevada Corporation

Harrison H. Schmitt
Former United States Senator, New Mexico; Apollo 17 astronaut

Gwynne Shotwell
President and COO, SpaceX

Dr. Robert H. Smith
CEO, Blue Origin

Eric Stallmer
President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Pamela Vaughan
STEM Integration Specialist for the Arkansas Department of Education

Mandy Vaughn
President, VOX Space

Kathy Warden
Chairman, CEO, and President, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Stuart O. Witt
Former Navy pilot; founder, Mojave Air and Spaceport; former chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

David Wolf, M.D.
Four-time shuttle astronaut, Purdue University

Bridenstine Criticizes Uncontrolled Long March 5B Stage Reentry

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

In a statement on Friday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the uncontrolled reentry of the core stage from the recently launched Chinese Long March 5 could have fallen on U.S. cities before reentering over the Atlantic Ocean and west Africa.

“The empty core stage of the Long March 5B, weighing nearly 20 tons, was in an uncontrolled freefall along a path that carried it over Los Angeles and other populated areas. As a matter of fact, had this spent rocket stage, which is the largest uncontrolled object to fall from low-Earth orbit in almost 30 years, reentered earlier, it could have hit New York. Two villages in Cote d’Ivoire have reported finding what they believe to be debris from the fallen rocket.

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