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In Search of Cleaner Fuel for Aviation on Earth on This Week @NASA – December 1, 2023
NASA During a ceremony in Washington Nov. 30, Angola became the 33rd country to sign the Artemis Accords.
The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations, including those participating in NASA’s Artemis program.
NASA, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, established the Artemis Accords in 2020 together with seven other original signatories. Since then, the Accords signatories have held focused discussions on how best to implement the Artemis Accords principles.
The Artemis Accords reinforce and implement key obligations in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. They also strengthen the commitment by the United States and signatory nations to the Registration Convention, the Rescue and Return Agreement, as well as best practices and norms of responsible behavior NASA and its partners have supported, including the public release of scientific data.
More countries are expected to sign the Artemis Accords in the months and years ahead, as NASA continues to work with its international partners to establish a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space. Working with both new and existing partners adds new energy and capabilities to ensure the entire world can benefit from our journey of exploration and discovery.
Learn more about the Artemis Accords at:
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Former NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk delivering remarks during NASA’s 60th anniversary.NASA/Joel Kowsky Former NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk passed away Nov. 23, at the age of 61, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
During his career, which spanned more than three decades with the agency, Jurczyk rose in ranks to associate administrator, the highest-ranking civil servant, a position he held from May 2018 until January 2021. He ultimately went on to serve as acting administrator between administration changes, serving in that position from January 2021 until his retirement in May 2021.
“Steve dedicated his life to solving some of the most daring spaceflight challenges and propelling humanity’s reach throughout the solar system. The world lost Steve too soon, but his legacy of kindness and exceptional leadership lives on. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Preceding his roles as acting administrator and associate administrator, Jurczyk served as the associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, a position he had held since June 2015. He was responsible for formulating and executing the agency’s space technology portfolio, focusing on the development and demonstration of new technologies supporting human and robotic exploration within the agency, public/private partnerships, and academia.
Jurczyk joined the leadership team at headquarters after serving as director of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. He was named to that position in May 2014. He previously served as deputy center director from August 2006 until his appointment as director.
His NASA career began in 1988, serving as a design, integration, and test engineer in the Electronic Systems Branch at NASA Langley. There he worked on developing several space-based Earth remote sensing systems. He served in a variety of other roles at Langley including director of engineering, and director of research and technology.
At the time of his retirement, Jurczyk shared the following:
“It has been an honor to lead NASA and see the agency’s incredible growth and transformation throughout my time here. The NASA workforce is what makes this agency so special, and I’m incredibly grateful for their amazing work, especially throughout the coronavirus pandemic. At NASA, we turn dreams into reality, and make the seemingly impossible possible. I am so fortunate to have been a member of the NASA family.”
Among his awards, Jurczyk received a Distinguished Service Medal, Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive, Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executive, Silver Achievement Medal, Outstanding Leadership Medal, and numerous Group
Achievement Awards. He also was a finalist for Sammie management excellence award for his leadership in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jurczyk is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in electrical engineering in 1984 and 1986. He also was an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
An obituary for Steve Jurczyk is online. For more information about his NASA career, visit:
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The CubeSats from NASA’s ELaNa 38 mission were deployed from the International Space Station on Jan. 26, 2022. Seen here is the deployment of The Aerospace Corporation’s Daily Atmospheric and Ionospheric Limb Imager (DAILI).NASA Despite their small size, the satellites launching through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) missions have a big impact, creating access to space for many who might not otherwise have the opportunity. One recent mission tells the story of four teams of researchers and engineers who conceived, built, launched, and collected data from these shoebox-sized satellites, helping them answer a host of questions about our planet and the universe.
The teams’ CubeSats launched as part of the ELaNa 38 (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites) mission, selected by CSLI and assigned to the mission by NASA’s Launch Services Program. A little more than a month after launching aboard SpaceX’s 24th commercial resupply services mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the CubeSats were deployed from the International Space Station on Jan. 26, 2022.
Being selected by CSLI was an inspirational once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for more than 100 undergraduate students who worked on ELaNA 38’s Get Away Special Passive Attitude Control Satellite (GASPACS) CubeSat.
“None of us had ever worked on a project like this, much less built a satellite on our own,” said Jack Danos, team coordinator of Utah State University’s Get Away Special, or GAS Team. “When we first heard the audio beacon from our satellite in orbit, we all cheered.”
It took the GAS Team nearly a decade to develop and build GASPACS – the team’s first CubeSat – with many team members graduating in the process. But the team’s focus remained the same – to deploy and photograph a meter-long inflatable boom, known as the AeroBoom, from its CubeSat in Low Earth orbit.
A photograph taken by the GASPACS CubeSat shows the AeroBoom fully deployed. Utah State University “When we saw that first photo come through, we were blown away, speechless,” Danos said. “This had been a decade of work and learning everything required for a real satellite mission – a lot of us got skills that we never could have gotten in a normal school environment.”
The team of college students who built Georgia Tech’s Tethering and Ranging mission (TARGIT) developed it to test an imaging LiDAR system capable of detailed topographic mapping from orbit. TARGIT’s students machined the CubeSat components themselves and integrated several new technologies into the final flight system.
“CSLI was a great window into how NASA works and the formal processes to ensure the hardware that gets launched meets requirements,” said Dr. Brian Gunter, principal investigator on the Georgia Institute of Technology TARGIT CubeSat. “Our spacecraft would not have made it to orbit without this program.”
Georgia Tech’s Tethering and Ranging CubeSat engaged over 100 students at the university and overcame obstacles presented by the global pandemic to get to launch.Georgia Institute of Technology Prior to launch, the Georgia Tech team worked closely with NASA’s CSLI team, gained considerable industry experience, and delivered a flight-ready spacecraft, even after COVID forced a full shutdown of activity for an extended period, during which many key team members graduated.
“Just getting the spacecraft ready and delivered was the greatest achievement for the group and was a nice example of teamwork and resiliency from the students,” Gunter said.
Not all ELaNa 38’s CubeSats were student-built. With the goal of studying processes affecting Earth’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere, The Aerospace Corporation’s Daily Atmospheric and Ionospheric Limb Imager (DAILI) CubeSat employed an ambitious forward sunshade that was key to DAILI’s ability to examine atmospheric variations during daytime. As perhaps the most sophisticated sunshade ever flown on a CubeSat, it reduced intense scattered light from the Sun, the Earth’s surface, and low-altitude clouds by a factor of almost a trillion.
The Aerospace Corporation’s DAILI featured an ambitious sunshade that helped the CubeSat examine minute variations in the atmosphere. The Aerospace Corporation “Not only did we have a shade that occupied over half of the space we had on the CubeSat – we also needed room for the optics, the detector, and for the CubeSat bus,” said Dr. James Hecht, senior scientist at Ionospheric and Atmospheric Sciences at Aerospace and DAILI principal investigator. “The effectiveness of the shade depended greatly on the length of the shade to the angular field of view of DAILI. It was a challenge, but it worked.”
Rounding out the ELaNa 38 flight was the Passive Thermal Coating Observatory Operating in Low Earth Orbit (PATCOOL) satellite, sponsored by NASA’s Launch Services Program and developed by the Advanced Autonomous Multiple Spacecraft Laboratory at the University of Florida. PATCOOL tested a highly reflective surface coating called “solar white” to measure its efficiency as way to passively cool components in space.
PATCOOL during its development at the Advanced Autonomous Multiple Spacecraft Laboratory at the University of FloridaUniversity of Florida Through ELaNa 38’s four small satellites, hundreds of individuals – many developing and launching spacecraft for the first time – achieved access to space. For NASA, increasing access to space and making data and innovations accessible to all also serves to reinforce the future of the country’s space industry.
“This is an opportunity that you just can’t get anywhere else – the ability to send something into space, get the ride paid for, and form relationships within the industry,” Danos said. “There are so many members of the team that went into the space industry after the mission – a mission we literally couldn’t have done without NASA’s CSLI.”
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Google’s ‘A Passage of Water’ Brings NASA’s Water Data to Life
As part of the long-standing partnership between NASA and Google, NASA worked with Google Arts & Culture and artist Yiyun Kang to create an interactive digital experience around global freshwater resources titled “A Passage of Water.” This immersive experience leverages data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites and new high-resolution data from the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission to illustrate how climate change is impacting Earth’s water cycle.
A digital version of “A Passage of Water” will be released online on Thursday, Nov. 30, ahead of the beginning of the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Google also will host a physical installation of the visualization project in the Blue Zone at COP 28.
“NASA is the U.S. space agency that provides end-to-end research about our home planet, and it is our job to inform the world about what we learn,” said Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor in Washington. “Highlighting our Earth science data in the installation of ‘A Passage of Water’ is a unique way to share information, in a digestible way, around the important connection between climate change and the Earth’s water cycle.”
The international Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, as shown in this illustration, is the first global mission surveying Earth’s surface water. SWOT’s high-resolution data helps scientists measure how Earth’s bodies of water change overtime. Credit: CNES. For six decades, NASA has been collecting data on Earth’s land, water, air, and climate. This data is used to inform decision-makers on ways to mitigate, adapt and respond to climate change. All of NASA’s Earth science data is available for scientists and the public to access in a variety of ways.
“NASA studies our home planet and its interconnected systems more than any other planet in our universe,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “’A Passage of Water’ provides an opportunity to highlight the public availability of SWOT data and other NASA Earth science data to tell meaningful stories, improve awareness, and help everyday people who have to make real decisions in their homes, businesses, and communities.”
A collaboration between NASA and the French space agency CNES (Centre National d’Études Spatiales), SWOT is measuring the height of nearly all water on Earth’s surface, providing one of the most detailed, comprehensive views yet of the planet’s freshwater bodies. SWOT provides insights into how the ocean influences climate change and how a warming world affects lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.
NASA studies our home planet and its interconnected systems more than any other planet in our universe.
Karen St. Germain
Director, NASA’s Earth Science Division
“The detail that SWOT is providing on the world’s oceans and fresh water is game-changing. We’re only just getting started with respect to data from this satellite and I’m looking forward to seeing where the information takes us,” said Ben Hamlington, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
The Google project also uses data from the GRACE and GRACE Follow-On missions –the former is a joint effort between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), while the latter is a collaboration between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). GRACE tracked localized changes to Earth’s mass distribution, caused by phenomena including the movement of water across the planet from 2002 to 2017. GRACE-FO came online in 2018 and is currently in operation.
As with GRACE before it, the GRACE-FO mission monitors changes in ice sheets and glaciers, near-surface and underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, as well as changes in sea level and ocean currents, providing an integrated view of how Earth’s water cycle and energy balance are evolving.
“A Passage of Water” is the most recent digital experience created under NASA’s Space Act Agreement with Google, with resulting content to be made widely available to the public free of charge on Google’s web platforms. This collaboration is part of a six-project agreement series that aims to share NASA’s content with audiences in new and engaging ways.
Learn more about SWOT, GRACE, GRACE-FO, and NASA’s Earth Science missions at:
To learn more about NASA Partnerships, visit:
Last Updated Nov 30, 2023 Editor Contact Related Terms
Earth GRACE (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment) GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on) SWOT (Surface Water and Ocean Topography) Water on Earth Keep Exploring Discover More Topics From NASA
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