VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the world’s first full-scale mission to test technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid or comet hazards, launched Wednesday at 1:21 a.m. EST on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
Just one part of NASA’s larger planetary defense strategy, DART – built and managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland – will impact a known asteroid that is not a threat to Earth. Its goal is to slightly change the asteroid’s motion in a way that can be accurately measured using ground-based telescopes.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) of Cologne, Germany, to provide use of its facility to support long-duration bed rest research.
The $49.9 million Bedrest Studies Contract will support a series of bed rest studies at the company’s facility in Cologne, Germany. Services also may be required at other NASA centers, contractor or subcontractor locations, or vendor facilities.
The contract provides support services for the Human Health and Performance Directorate and Human Research Program (HRP) at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. However, NASA does not anticipate any need to call for study volunteers in the U.S.
The HRP-sponsored studies will use strict head-down tilt bed rest as an analog for some of the physiological adaptations experienced by astronauts during spaceflight. The research aims to better understand and evaluate countermeasures for the risks associated with long-duration spaceflight missions including the International Space Station, Artemis and Gateway programs.
“Major research themes for this year are how crews perform when operating autonomously from Mission Control as well as other Earth-based support and the effectiveness of different advanced systems for supporting these types of autonomous operations,” said Brandon Vessey, the element scientist for research operations and integration within HRP. “Results from these studies will help to inform how NASA plans for future exploration missions when astronaut crews will need to operate more independently from Earth than they do in current International Space Station missions in low-Earth orbit.”
The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with firm, fixed-price task orders, begins Nov. 23, 2021, and extends through Dec. 31, 2025, with no phase-in period.
Editor’s Note: DART is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg on Nov. 23 at 10:21 p.m. PST (Nov. 24 at 1:21 a.m. EST). NASA will stream the launch live on its website.
By Wayne Smith NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
It sounds like a plot for a movie but protecting Earth from a potential impact by a hazardous asteroid is the objective of an upcoming NASA mission.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission is a planetary defense-driven test of technologies for mitigating such a threat. DART’s target asteroid is not a threat to Earth. The DART spacecraft launch window opens Nov. 24. It will launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded Intuitive Machines of Houston a contract to deliver research, including science investigations and a technology demonstration, to the Moon in 2024. The commercial delivery is part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative and the Artemis program.
VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s first planetary defense test mission, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The mission will help determine if intentionally crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid is an effective way to change its course. DART’s target asteroid is not a threat to Earth.
DART is scheduled to launch no earlier than 1:20 a.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 24 (10:20 p.m. PST Tuesday, Nov. 23) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — On Monday Moscow Standard Time, the International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control team was notified of indications of a satellite breakup that may create sufficient debris to pose a conjunction threat to the station. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson released the following statement about the incident:
“Earlier today, due to the debris generated by the destructive Russian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) test, ISS astronauts and cosmonauts undertook emergency procedures for safety.
“Like Secretary Blinken, I’m outraged by this irresponsible and destabilizing action. With its long and storied history in human spaceflight, it is unthinkable that Russia would endanger not only the American and international partner astronauts on the ISS, but also their own cosmonauts. Their actions are reckless and dangerous, threatening as well the Chinese space station and the taikonauts on board.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Two NASA astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station on Tuesday, Nov. 30, for a spacewalk to replace a faulty antenna system. NASA officials will describe the upcoming spacewalk during a news conference on Wednesday, Nov. 17.
NASA will provide live coverage of the news conference and spacewalk on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is announcing new leadership roles, as well as the merging of two offices into the Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS), in support of Biden-Harris Administration priorities and the focus on space strategy.
Dr. Bhavya Lal will serve as the associate administrator for OTPS
Melanie Saunders will serve as the agency’s new chief resilience officer
Casey Swails will serve as the deputy associate administrator for business operations
Tom Cremins will serve as the associate administrator for space security interests
Douglas Terrier, the agency’s current chief technologist, will serve in a new position as the associate director for vision and strategy at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. In the interim, Lal will serve as acting chief technologist
NASA is looking into whether mixed reality technology could help with repairs and upgrades on the cutting-edge Cold Atom Lab aboard the space station.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Cold Atom Lab is a first-of-its-kind physics laboratory operating in Earth orbit. About the size of a mini-fridge, it hosts multiple experiments that explore the fundamental nature of atoms by cooling them down to nearly absolute zero (the coldest temperature matter can reach). The ultracold atoms provide a window into the quantum realm, where matter exhibits strange behaviors that underpin many modern technologies.
VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Just two days after leaving the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, in a specialized container carefully strapped to the deck of a semi-trailer truck, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft arrived in California — its final stop here on Earth.
The truck, spacecraft and a small motorcade of APL engineers and technicians pulled into Vandenberg Space Force Base near Lompoc, California, on Saturday, Oct. 2, in the early afternoon local time.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station. This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
The launch is targeted for 2:21 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon Endurance is scheduled to dock to the space station at 12:10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 1. Prelaunch activities, launch, and docking will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Variety, nutrition, and taste are some considerations when developing food for astronauts. For NASA’s Deep Space Food Challenge, students, chefs, small businesses, and others whipped up novel food technology designs to bring new solutions to the table.
NASA has selected 18 U.S. teams to receive a total of $450,000 for ideas that could feed astronauts on future missions. Each team will receive $25,000. Additionally, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) jointly recognized 10 international submissions.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Artemis moonwalkers exploring the lunar South Pole will wear revolutionary spacesuits that stand up to the Moon’s harsh environment and keep them safe. NASA is embracing commercial partnerships to optimize spacesuit technology and inspire pioneering in the space market.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 10 proposals led by early-career employees across the agency for two-year projects that will support the development of new capabilities for deep space human exploration.
These proposals were selected under Project Polaris, a new initiative to support the NASA workforce in efforts to meet the challenges of sending humans to the Moon and Mars. Project Polaris seeks to fill high-priority capability gaps on deep space missions like those planned under Artemis and introduce new technologies into human exploration flight programs. The project also aims to create opportunities for early-career employees across NASA centers to gain experience building and testing flight hardware while developing technologies and reducing risk for future human exploration missions.
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — The Advanced Exploration Systems’ (AES) Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) team, including members from NASA Ames’ Intelligent Systems Division, developed and demonstrated new technologies designed to automate the operation of Gateway, a key element of the Artemis mission. (Gateway will be an outpost orbiting the Moon that provides vital support for a long-term human return to the lunar surface, as well as a staging point for deep space exploration.)