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Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall made it clear that the Air Force and Space Force are fully committed — and pushing hard — to develop and deploy artificial intelligence as a key element in meeting security challenges posed by China and other adversaries Dec. 2.
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This June 2021 aerial photograph shows the coastal launch range at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The Atlantic Ocean is at the right side of this image, and nearby Chincoteague and Assateague islands are at upper left and right, respectively. A subset of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops is the agency’s only owned-and-operated launch range. Shore replenishment and elevated infrastructure at the range are incorporated into Goddard’s recently approved master plan.courtesy Patrick J. Hendrickson; used with permission Two sounding rockets are scheduled to launch for the Department of Defense from NASA’s launch range at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch window is Nov. 15-17, 2023. No launch times will be provided.
No real-time launch status updates will be available. The launches will not be livestreamed.
The rocket launches are expected to be visible from the Chesapeake Bay region.
Last Updated Nov 13, 2023 Editor Amy L. Barra Contact Amy L. Barraamy.firstname.lastname@example.org Location Wallops Flight Facility Related Terms
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From the Philippines to the U.S. Air Force and Space Force: How one service members unique upbringing forged a path dedicated to military serviceBy Space Force
For Enterprise Talent Management Office Senior Enlisted Leader Chief Master Sgt. Swani Caraballo, military service runs in the family. However, her legacy is not forged from the traditional “military brat” paradigm. In fact, her father served in the German army, and her maternal grandfather wore the uniform for his home nation of the Philippines. While both of these influences indeed shaped her military destiny, it was actually a poignant experience as a young girl that solidified her desire to join the Air Force.
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NASA Glenn Helps Military Service Members Transition to Civilian Life
NASA Glenn Research Center’s Sydney Khamphoune (left) and Sam Yousef pose in front of U.S. and NASA flags.Credit: NASA/Sara Lowthian-Hanna John Glenn. Neil Armstrong. Buzz Aldrin. Jim Lovell. Guion Bluford. These iconic astronauts shared a commonality before they began their careers at NASA: They all served in the United States military.
NASA values veterans and their commitment to serving America, and the agency seeks to hire veterans and military spouses, offer career development opportunities, and provide meaningful resources. Each NASA center has a resource group that connects veteran employees and their families with allies, creating a support network to help them through the unique challenges they face.
“It’s a complete culture shock coming home from the military and having to relearn how to be a part of a civilian society,” said Samantha Yousef, Veterans Employee Resource Group chair at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
Yousef organizes veteran observance events, introduces various programs focused on veteran resources to the center, and meets with group members to discuss how to improve inclusivity and potential outreach activities.
One initiative new to NASA Glenn is the Department of Defense SkillBridge program. SkillBridge gives transitioning service members an opportunity to gain civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during their last 180 days of service.
“Many soldiers, sailors, and airmen enter the military directly out of high school or college with little to no workforce experience,” Yousef said. “They learn the importance of teamwork, leadership, and dedication to the mission at a young age. However, when it’s time to separate from the military, they’re sometimes lost in transition.”
Sydney Khamphoune is Glenn’s most recent SkillBridge fellow. Khamphoune joined the Navy after high school, and because she wanted to learn more about each job on her ship, she was classified as “undesignated.”
“Undesignated means you’re subject to the needs of the Navy, and you go wherever they need you,” Khamphoune said. “They put me into the Deck Department, so I was the person painting the side of the ship or pulling the ship in with the lines when we came into port.”
Stationed on the USS Oak Hill in Norfolk, Virginia, Khamphoune spent much of her time sweeping water off the deck of the ship and finishing work late into the night, even after her crewmates went to bed. After a year in the Deck Department, she had the opportunity to choose a new role and became a personnel specialist.
Like a human resources specialist in the civilian world, Khamphoune provided counseling related to Navy jobs and assisted with personnel transfers, separations, and retirements. She served in Virginia for five years before coming to Ohio to serve at the Department of Defense’s Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
She served in the Navy for nine years before deciding it was time to separate. In her Transition Assistance Program — a program that offers support for service members separating from the military — she learned about the SkillBridge program.
Sydney Khamphoune is NASA Glenn Research Center’s most recent SkillBridge fellow.Credit: NASA/Sara Lowthian-Hanna. “I saw NASA on the list and immediately applied,” Khamphoune said. “I wasn’t going to apply anywhere else. It was NASA or bust.”
Khamphoune was thrilled to receive a phone call — on her birthday, no less — from NASA assigning her to Glenn’s Procurement Office. In this role, she assists contracting officers, including those that work on contracts for construction or janitorial services, with their daily tasks.
“I’m learning so much. I came in with no knowledge, and now I can help the contracting officers,” Khamphoune said. “One contracting officer had a massive list of obligations to complete, and I offered to help. He trained me for two days, and then I knocked out the whole list.”
Khamphoune still thinks back to when she first enlisted in the Navy and appreciates where that journey has taken her.
“I never imagined being at NASA right now, and since I’ve been here, I’ve gained a lot more confidence,” Khamphoune said. “The environment they’re creating here is great. It doesn’t matter if you’re new or have been here for a while — your opinion has value, and you can bring something new to the table. I feel like this experience is precious and personal because I’m finding out who I am in a different way.”
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Scientists using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope just made a breakthrough discovery in revealing how planets are made. By observing water vapor in protoplanetary disks, Webb confirmed a physical process involving the drifting of ice-coated solids from the outer regions of the disk into the rocky-planet zone.
Theories have long proposed that icy pebbles forming in the cold, outer regions of protoplanetary disks — the same area where comets originate in our solar system — should be the fundamental seeds of planet formation. The main requirement of these theories is that pebbles should drift inward toward the star due to friction in the gaseous disk, delivering both solids and water to planets.
A fundamental prediction of this theory is that as icy pebbles enter into the warmer region within the “snowline” — where ice transitions to vapor — they should release large amounts of cold water vapor. This is exactly what Webb observed.
“Webb finally revealed the connection between water vapor in the inner disk and the drift of icy pebbles from the outer disk,” said principal investigator Andrea Banzatti of Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas. “This finding opens up exciting prospects for studying rocky planet formation with Webb!”
“In the past, we had this very static picture of planet formation, almost like there were these isolated zones that planets formed out of,” explained team member Colette Salyk of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. “Now we actually have evidence that these zones can interact with each other. It’s also something that is proposed to have happened in our solar system.”
Image: Planet-forming Disks
Artist’s Concept: This artist’s concept compares two types of typical, planet-forming disks around newborn, Sun-like stars. On the left is a compact disk, and on the right is an extended disk with gaps. Scientists using Webb recently studied four protoplanetary disks—two compact and two extended. The researchers designed their observations to test whether compact planet-forming disks have more water in their inner regions than extended planet-forming disks with gaps. This would happen if ice-covered pebbles in the compact disks drift more efficiently into the close-in regions nearer to the star and deliver large amounts of solids and water to the just-forming, rocky, inner planets. Current research proposes that large planets may cause rings of increased pressure, where pebbles tend to collect. As the pebbles drift, any time they encounter an increase in pressure, they tend to collect there. These pressure traps don’t necessarily shut down pebble drift, but they do impede it. This is what appears to be happening in the large disks with rings and gaps. This also could have been a role of Jupiter in our solar system — inhibiting pebbles and water delivery to our small, inner, and relatively water-poor rocky planets. NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI) Harnessing the Power of Webb
The researchers used Webb’s MIRI (the Mid-Infrared Instrument) to study four disks — two compact and two extended — around Sun-like stars. All four of these stars are estimated to be between 2 and 3 million years old, just newborns in cosmic time.
The two compact disks are expected to experience efficient pebble drift, delivering pebbles to well within a distance equivalent to Neptune’s orbit. In contrast, the extended disks are expected to have their pebbles retained in multiple rings as far out as six times the orbit of Neptune.
The Webb observations were designed to determine whether compact disks have a higher water abundance in their inner, rocky planet region, as expected if pebble drift is more efficient and is delivering lots of solid mass and water to inner planets. The team chose to use MIRI’s MRS (the Medium-Resolution Spectrometer) because it is sensitive to water vapor in disks.
The results confirmed expectations by revealing excess cool water in the compact disks, compared with the large disks.
Image: Water Abundance
Emission Spectrum – Water Abundance: This graphic compares the spectral data for warm and cool water in the GK Tau disk, which is a compact disk without rings, and extended CI Tau disk, which has at least three rings on different orbits. The science team employed the unprecedented resolving power of MIRI’s MRS (the Medium-Resolution Spectrometer) to separate the spectra into individual lines that probe water at different temperatures. These spectra, seen in the top graph, clearly reveal excess cool water in the compact GK Tau disk, compared with the large CI Tau disk. The bottom graph shows the excess cool water data in the compact GK Tau disk minus the cool water data in the extended CI Tau disk. The actual data, in purple, are overlaid on a model spectrum of cool water. Note how closely they align. NASA, ESA, CSA, Leah Hustak (STScI) As the pebbles drift, any time they encounter a pressure bump — an increase in pressure — they tend to collect there. These pressure traps don’t necessarily shut down pebble drift, but they do impede it. This is what appears to be happening in the large disks with rings and gaps.
Current research proposes that large planets may cause rings of increased pressure, where pebbles tend to collect. This also could have been a role of Jupiter in our solar system — inhibiting pebbles and water delivery to our small, inner, and relatively water-poor rocky planets.
Solving the Riddle
When the data first came in, the results were puzzling to the research team. “For two months, we were stuck on these preliminary results that were telling us that the compact disks had colder water, and the large disks had hotter water overall,” remembered Banzatti. “This made no sense, because we had selected a sample of stars with very similar temperatures.”
Only when Banzatti overlaid the data from the compact disks onto the data from the large disks did the answer clearly emerge: the compact disks have extra cool water just inside the snowline, at about ten times closer than the orbit of Neptune.
“Now we finally see unambiguously that it is the colder water that has an excess,” said Banzatti. “This is unprecedented and entirely due to Webb’s higher resolving power!”
Image: Icy Pebble Drift
This graphic is an interpretation of data from Webb’s MIRI, the Mid-Infrared Instrument, which is sensitive to water vapor in disks. It shows the difference between pebble drift and water content in a compact disk versus an extended disk with rings and gaps. In the compact disk on the left, as the ice-covered pebbles drift inward toward the warmer region closer to the star, they are unimpeded. As they cross the snow line, their ice turns to vapor and provides a large amount of water to enrich the just-forming, rocky, inner planets. On the right is an extended disk with rings and gaps. As the ice-covered pebbles begin their journey inward, many become stopped by the gaps and trapped in the rings. Fewer icy pebbles are able to make it across the snow line to deliver water to the inner region of the disk.NASA, ESA, CSA, Joseph Olmsted (STScI) The team’s results appear in the Nov. 8 edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.
Laura Betz – email@example.com
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Hannah Braun – firstname.lastname@example.org , Christine Pulliam – email@example.com
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
Download full resolution images for this article from the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Research results in the Nov. 8 edition of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
More about protoplanetary disks on NASA’s Universe website.
More Webb News – https://science.nasa.gov/mission/webb/latestnews/
More Webb Images – https://science.nasa.gov/mission/webb/multimedia/images/
Webb Mission Page – https://science.nasa.gov/mission/webb/
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