Research Launching on SpaceX Dragon to Enable Better Earth Images, Easier Leak Checks

This image of the Chapman Glacier, located on Ellesmere Island in Canada, was taken by ASTER. Formed by the merger of several smaller glaciers, rocky debris on top of the glacier clearly marks the edge of each glacier. The JAXA Hyperspectral Imager Suite (HISUI) is a follow-on to ASTER, serving as a next-generation, space-borne hyperspectral Earth imaging system. (Credits: NASA/METI/AIST/Japan Space Systems, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — The 19th SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-19) contract mission for NASA carries a variety of cutting-edge scientific experiments to the International Space Station. The Dragon cargo spacecraft blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than Dec. 4, 2019.

Its payloads include investigations studying malting barley in microgravity, the spread of fire and bone and muscle loss, which will be added to the dozens of research projects already under way aboard the microgravity lab.

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NASA Receives 9th Consecutive Clean Audit

The NASA Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) has led the way for an unmodified audit opinion on the agency’s fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) financial statements. This represents NASA’s ninth consecutive “clean” opinion from an independent accounting firm – the highest opinion possible.

“This audit opinion is an affirmation of NASA’s commitment to its fiduciary responsibility for maintaining the public trust regarding the agency’s valuable financial resources,” said NASA CFO Jeff DeWit. “Our highly trained financial professionals will continue the quest for accountability, efficiency, and excellence as NASA pushes each day to further America’s leadership in space.”

NASA’s OCFO prepared the FY 2019 Agency Financial Report, which highlights the agency’s accountability to taxpayers as the agency works to accomplish President Donald Trump’s vision of placing the first woman and next man on the surface of the Moon by 2024, and then on to Mars.

Through the OCFO, NASA manages about 0.5% of the federal budget, and with effective strategic planning and fiscal management continues to expand humanity’s knowledge of science, technology, and the universe. This includes significant achievements in research aboard the International Space Station, Earth science research, technology development, aeronautics research and deep space exploration. These achievements unlock new opportunities, new technologies and new sources of prosperity for the nation’s economy, creating thousands of jobs for Americans across the country in multiple sectors, and inspiring the next generation to pursue education in science, technology, engineering, and math.

For more information on NASA’s budget, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/budget

For more information about NASA and agency activities, visit: 

https://www.nasa.gov

First Detection of Sugars in Meteorites Gives Clues to Origin of Life

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018, by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). (Credits: NASA/University of Arizona)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — An international team has found sugars essential to life in meteorites. The new discovery adds to the growing list of biologically important compounds that have been found in meteorites, supporting the hypothesis that chemical reactions in asteroids – the parent bodies of many meteorites – can make some of life’s ingredients. If correct, meteorite bombardment on ancient Earth may have assisted the origin of life with a supply of life’s building blocks.

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NASA Selects Early Stage Innovations from US Universities for Multi-Year Research, Development

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — Universities help propel NASA technology forward, researching everything from unique rocket engine designs to how landers interact with surfaces on other worlds. NASA has selected 14 university-led research proposals to study early-stage technologies relevant to these topics and more. The grants will fund ambitious projects to mature technologies for future NASA missions.

“There are talented researchers outside of NASA, working at universities across the country, who are poised to help us look at challenging aspects of space exploration in new ways,” said Walt Engelund, deputy associate administrator of programs within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “With the help of these institutions and principal investigators, NASA will accelerate innovation for critical space technologies.”

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NASA to Outline Science on Next Dragon Cargo Flight to ISS

After the Candadarm2 grappled the Dragon spacecraft and berthed it on the space station’s Harmony module, OCO-3 was extracted and installed on the exterior of the Japanese Experiment Module-Exposed Facility. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, Nov. 20, to discuss select science investigations launching on the next SpaceX commercial resupply flight to the International Space Station.

Audio of the teleconference will stream live online at: 

https://www.nasa.gov/live

SpaceX is targeting 12:51 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, for the launch of its Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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SNC’s “Shooting Star” Arrives at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Dream Chaser cargo module. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., November 19, 2019 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, delivered a test version of its Shooting Star cargo module to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for testing ahead of its planned launch with SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft in 2021.

Shooting Star is a 15-foot attachment to Dream Chaser that will be used on NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contract to provide extra storage for payloads and to facilitate cargo disposal upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. 

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Tyvak Selected for NASA’s CLPS Lunar Program

Lunar lander (Credit: Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems)

IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 18, 2019 (Tyvak PR) — Tyvak is honored to be selected by NASA to participate in the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. Tyvak’s offering provides NASA with a lander option to host payloads and perform science investigations on the lunar surface, paving the way to return to the Moon.

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NASA Scientists Confirm Water Vapor on Europa

On the left is a view of Europa taken from 2.9 million kilometers (1.8 million miles) away on March 2, 1979 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. Next is a color image of Europa taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft during its close encounter on July 9, 1979. On the right is a view of Europa made from images taken by the Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s. (Credits: NASA/JPL)

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — Forty years ago, a Voyager spacecraft snapped the first closeup images of Europa, one of Jupiter’s 79 moons. These revealed brownish cracks slicing the moon’s icy surface, which give Europa the look of a veiny eyeball. Missions to the outer solar system in the decades since have amassed enough additional information about Europa to make it a high-priority target of investigation in NASA’s search for life.

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Ozmens’ SNC Awarded NASA Contract to Support Artemis

Lunar Lander (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., November 18, 2019 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), the global aerospace and national security leader owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, has been awarded a NASA contract under the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) on-ramp procurement.  The contract positions SNC to support NASA’s Artemis lunar program.

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Boeing Fires Back at Critical NASA IG Report on Starliner

A look at the Starliner that will soon fly the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test soon after the dome mate activities at the Boeing Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center. (Credits: Boeing)

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 18, 2019 (Boeing PR) – In response to the Nov. 14 Office of the Inspector General report titled “NASA’s Management of Crew Transportation to the International Space Station,” Boeing today issued the following statement:

“We strongly disagree with the report’s conclusions about CST-100 Starliner pricing and readiness, and we owe it to the space community and the American public to share the facts the Inspector General [IG] missed,” said Jim Chilton, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Launch. “Each member of the Boeing team has a personal stake in the safety, quality and integrity of what we offer our customers, and since Day One, the Starliner team has approached this program with a commitment to design, develop and launch a vehicle that we and NASA can be proud of.”

Specifically, Boeing offers the following responses to the main assertions:

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NASA Small Business, Tipping Point Contracts Advance Small Moon Rover

CubeRover on the lunar surface. (Credit: CubeRover)

By Jim Cawey
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

A partnership involving NASA and a Pittsburgh-based space robotics company and university will let us explore the lunar surface in new ways. The project to develop a shoebox-sized rover is part of a multifaceted approach to mature commercial space capabilities that benefit future NASA missions under the Artemis program. 

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Will Hunt for Microscopic Fossils

Lighter colors represent higher elevation in this image of Jezero Crater on Mars, the landing site for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The oval indicates the landing ellipse, where the rover will be touching down on Mars. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/JHU-APL/ESA)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Scientists with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover have discovered what may be one of the best places to look for signs of ancient life in Jezero Crater, where the rover will land on Feb. 18, 2021.

A paper published today in the journal Icarus identifies distinct deposits of minerals called carbonates along the inner rim of Jezero, the site of a lake more than 3.5 billion years ago. On Earth, carbonates help form structures that are hardy enough to survive in fossil form for billions of years, including seashells, coral and some stromatolites — rocks formed on this planet by ancient microbial life along ancient shorelines, where sunlight and water were plentiful.

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NASA’s Small Investments in Small Businesses Pay Big Dividends

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Sustainable Bioproducts, a previous recipient and NASA STTR funding, uses extremophile organisms from volcanic springs to create edible proteins. (Credits: Jim Peaco/National Park Service)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — In 2013, a startup company had an idea for using extremophile organisms from volcanic springs to create edible proteins that would serve as an environmentally conscious alternative to meat-based proteins.

Following a handful of small investments from government agencies, including a $124,000 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract from NASA, Sustainable Bioproducts announced in early 2019 it received $33 million in venture capital financing, including backing from two of the world’s biggest food and agriculture companies.

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