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By Space Force
The new program is designed to provide 24/7, all-weather capabilities that will increase the ability to detect, track, identify and characterize objects in deep space.
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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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By European Space Agency
Video: 00:08:29 Focus on Euclid with Laurent Brouard: “I’m going to show you what a telescope that we send into space looks like.”
Laurent Brouard, Project Manager at Airbus Defence and Space, was responsible for building the Euclid payload module (PLM).
In this interview, which took place in a clean room at the Airbus premises in Toulouse, he describes with words, gestures, and the Euclid PLM structural and thermal model how Euclid works.
Did you know that Euclid sees the same part of the sky at the same time in both the infrared and visible wavelengths? Or that in space radiators keep the instruments cold? Have you ever wondered how light “travels” inside Euclid’s telescope?
Listen to Laurent to know more about the technology behind the mission that will map the dark matter and the dark energy of the Universe.
Space Team Europe is an ESA space community engagement initiative to gather European space actors under the same umbrella sharing values of leadership, autonomy, and responsibility.
© ESA - European Space Agency
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5 min read
Ham Radio in Space: Engaging with Students Worldwide for 40 Years
In May 2018, a student at Mill Springs Academy in Alpharetta, Georgia, Andrew Maichle, talked to NASA astronaut Scott Tingle on the International Space Station via amateur or ham radio. The experience profoundly affected Maichle, who went on to study electrical engineering at Clemson University in South Carolina.
“It was so cool to see in real time the utmost levels of what people in science are able to accomplish, and to talk to and interact with someone at that level,” Maichle recalls. “The space station is an incredible work of engineering and to interact with someone in space was just mind-boggling. I was extraordinarily honored and very lucky to have had the opportunity.”
40 Years of Contact
As of November 2023, students have been talking to astronauts in space for 40 years. Crew members on the space shuttle Columbia first used an amateur radio to communicate with people on Earth in 1983. That program, the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), ended in 1999.
In October 2000, amateur radio equipment launched to the space station along with its first crew members, who deployed it on Nov. 13, 2000. ISS Ham Radio, also known as Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), has operated continuously since then. Each year, the program hosts about a hundred contacts. It has now directly connected over 100 crew members with more than 250,000 participants from 49 U.S. states, 63 countries, and every continent. These experiences encourage interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and help inspire the next generation.
“The ham radio program represents an amazing opportunity to engage with kids all over the world,” said NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who participated on each of his missions. “It provides the opportunity for educators and ham operators to encourage and inspire their students with STEM topics culminating in a real-time conversation with astronauts living and working on the space station.”
Before a scheduled contact, students study related topics. They have about nine minutes to ask questions, often discussing career choices and scientific activities aboard the orbiting laboratory.
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren talks on the space station’s ham radio set. NASA Inspiration Beyond Education
These contacts go beyond inspiring students – sometimes they encourage entire communities. Students at Canterbury School in Fort Myers, Florida, spoke with crew members on Oct. 24, 2022. Just a few weeks earlier, Hurricane Ian displaced 30 percent of the school’s population.
“Before the hurricane, our had students spent months building their own satellite tracking antenna,” said Christiana Deeter, science department head at the school. “After the storm, so many people came forward to make sure that we had what we needed. It was a great opportunity for our kids to stop looking around and look up.”
The school spoke with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada. “He has kids of his own and was just as excited as our kids were,” said Deeter. “I asked him if he had a message for the families and he talked about coming together as a community and not giving up hope. Our school was on a high the rest of the year.”
Canterbury School student Isaac Deeter asks a question during the school’s ham radio contact while student Samantha Pezzi waits her turn. Canterbury School From an Astronaut’s Perspective
Ham radio also contributes to astronaut well-being. In addition to scheduled contacts, crew members often crank up the radio during free time to catch calls from around the world.
Lindgren spoke to amateur radio operators or “hams” on all seven continents. His favorite memory is connecting with eight-year-old Isabella Payne and her father Matthew Payne in the United Kingdom. “Hearing her young, accented voice cut through the static – I was very impressed to hear her calling the space station,” said Lindgren. “It made my day!”
Lindgren’s contact with Payne was on Aug. 2, 2022. On Aug.18, 2023, Payne’s school, St Peter-In-Thanet CE Primary, conducted a scheduled contact with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli.
UK student Isabella Payne, who contacted NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren via ham radio, is shown on Lindgren’s device floating in the space station.NASA The program also fosters international cooperation. Crew members are trained by multi-national teams. Italian teams designed and built antennas, while German teams built repeater stations that improve ham contacts. Amateur radio even serves as an emergency backup communications network for the space station.
How Schools Can Get Involved
ARISS is a partnership between NASA, amateur radio organizations, and international space agencies. While there is no cost to a host location for the contact, there may be some equipment-related costs. Scheduling is subject to mission operations and may change, so hosts need to be flexible.
The astronaut and the ham radio operator, who is the technical point of contact on the ground, must be licensed. While students do not have to be licensed, many choose to obtain their license after the experience.
Information about applying is available at www.ariss.org or can be requested from email@example.com.
The Next 40 Years
“I hope the program continues for a long time,” said Maichle. “It is so important for kids trying to figure out what you want to accomplish in life. It is cool to have that memory that sticks with you. It inspires so many people.”
And as those involved celebrate 40 years of ham radio in space, some are dreaming even bigger.
“I would love for there to be a continued amateur radio presence in human spaceflight,” said Lindgren. “I expect we’ll have a radio on the space station for as long as it operates. Then can we put a ham radio station on the Moon? Now that would be cool.”
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