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The Marshall Star for October 25, 2023


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The Marshall Star for October 25, 2023

A man with an open-mouthed smile wears a balloon hat made at the Fall Family Fest alongside children who are also enjoying their balloon toys during a Bingo round.
A man with an open-mouthed smile wears a balloon hat made at the Fall Family Fest alongside children who are also enjoying their balloon toys during a Bingo round.
Credits: NASA/Charles Beason

Marshall Team Members Enjoy Beginning of Autumn at Fall Family Fest

By Celine Smith

Team members at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and their family members participated in the festivities of Fall Family Fest Oct. 19 at the walking trail behind Building 4315.

“Once the rain threat was gone, it was the perfect fall afternoon to welcome back over a thousand NASA family members for the first time since COVID-19,” said Jose Matienzo, who is the operations manager of the Marshall Exchange, which hosted the event.

A man with an open-mouthed smile wears a balloon hat made at the Fall Family Fest alongside children who are also enjoying their balloon toys during a Bingo round.
A man with an open-mouthed smile wears a balloon hat made at the Fall Family Fest alongside children who are also enjoying their balloon toys during a Bingo round.
NASA/Charles Beason

The Exchange provided free barbecue and beverages for attendees. A food truck also provided ice cream treats.

Several rocket inflatables and a balloon artist were present for children to enjoy. Falcon Punch, a band comprised of Marshall engineers, performed rocking classics for attendees. Additionally, the Exchange hosted several rounds of Bingo for guests as well.

Fall Family Fest also featured activities for participants to share their interests with others. Artisans displayed their handcrafted goods, paintings, and photographs. Bakers brought deserts for attendees to sample and judge who made the best one. Car enthusiasts entered their prized vehicles into a competition with the crowd choosing their favorites.

“I had a great time meeting some of our new employees and reconnecting with longtime friends at the Fall Festival,” said Joseph Pelfrey, acting center director. “It’s fun to see the Marshall family not just working together but having fun together. This is how we build the cultural fabric of Marshall for the future.”

The event was a space for team members and families to unwind, reconnect and enjoy the turn of the season.

“It felt so good to see so many old friends, new faces, their families, and retirees on a beautiful fall afternoon having a good time,” Matienzo said.

Smith, a Media Fusion employee, supports the Marshall Office of Communications.

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Priorities, Leadership Stressed at Mission Success is in Our Hands Forum; Jennifer Robinson Receives Golden Eagle Award

By Wayne Smith

Garrett Harencak, a retired Air Force major general and Jacobs vice president and president of Mission Support and Test Services LLC, said determining priorities and practice are crucial steps toward establishing a culture focused on mission success and safety during his keynote address for the Mission Success is in Our Hands Shared Experiences Forum.

The Oct. 19 event was in Building 4203 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Mission Success is in Our Hands is a safety initiative collaboration between Marshall and Jacobs.

Garrett Harencak, Jacobs vice president and president of Mission Support and Test Services LLC, makes a point during his presentation at the Mission Success is in Our Hands hybrid Shared Experiences Forum on Oct. 19.
Garrett Harencak, Jacobs vice president and president of Mission Support and Test Services LLC, makes a point during his presentation at the Mission Success is in Our Hands hybrid Shared Experiences Forum on Oct. 19.
NASA/Danielle Burleson

Harencak also shared his experiences in working and leading nuclear safety, high hazard projects, and conducting operations in the nuclear and national security industries. Using the analogy of a lion chasing chipmunks or zebras, he said leaders must focus on the most important tasks in a mission as opposed to spending time on lesser objectives. Harencak said that while a lion is quick and nimble enough to chase chipmunks, the rodent does not provide as much nutritional value to a lion’s pride when compared to a zebra.

“Are you chasing chipmunks or zebras?” Harencak asked during his presentation. “You have to focus on what matters most. And when you tell your team members to chase chipmunks, they know it’s not the most important thing they should be doing that day.”

He also stressed the importance of practicing a routine to be prepared for an unplanned event to happen. “The value of practice and repetition is that it allows you to overcome when things go wrong, and things will go wrong,” Harencak said. “Practice reduces fear. Without practice, what follows fear is panic, and what follows panic are bad decisions.”

Golden Eagle Award winner Jennifer Robinson, center, receives a plaque commemorating her award during the Oct. 19 Mission Success is in Our Hands event. Joining Robinson are Bill Hill, left, director of the Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate at Marshall, and Jeff Haars, Jacobs vice president and program manager for Jacobs Space Exploration Group.
Golden Eagle Award winner Jennifer Robinson, center, receives a plaque commemorating her award during the Oct. 19 Mission Success is in Our Hands event. Joining Robinson are Bill Hill, left, director of the Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate at Marshall, and Jeff Haars, Jacobs vice president and program manager for Jacobs Space Exploration Group.
NASA/Danielle Burleson

In talking about leadership, Harencak said it’s everyone’s responsibility to “be the boss you always wanted to work for” in building a culture of mission success, particularly in a high-hazard business.

“It’s a constant struggle as leaders to build an atmosphere that allows everyone to do what’s necessary to make sure we do it safely and securely,” Harencak said.

Jennifer Robinson was awarded the Golden Eagle Award during the event. Robinson, a Jacobs Space Exploration Group employee, is the SLS (Space Launch System) debris analysis team lead. The team is responsible for analyzing the launch debris environment and identifying the debris risk to SLS. Bill Hill, director of the Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate at Marshall, said Robinson’s team developed a process for evaluating potential debris issues during countdown in the months leading up to the Artemis I launch.

Eight new testimonial banners are displayed as part of the Mission Success is in Our Hands Shared Experiences Forum
Eight new testimonial banners are displayed as part of the Mission Success is in Our Hands Shared Experiences Forum
NASA/Danielle Burleson

“This process subsequently was adopted as the standing operating procedure that allows for imagery and debris teams to work together to disposition debris findings during critical hours leading to launch,” Hill said.

Since 2015, the Golden Eagle Award has been presented by Mission Success is in Our Hands. The award promotes awareness and appreciation for flight safety, as demonstrated through the connections between employees’ everyday work, the success of NASA and Marshall’s missions, and the safety of NASA astronauts. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to flight safety and mission assurance above and beyond their normal work requirements. Management or peers can nominate any team member for the award. Honorees are typically recognized at quarterly Shared Experiences forums.

As part of the final Shared Experiences Forum of the year, the Mission Success committee displayed eight new testimonial banners featuring Marshall team members as part of its rebranding. The banners will be placed across the center.

Smith, a Media Fusion employee and the Marshall Star editor, supports the Marshall Office of Communications.

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Marshall Kicks Off Participation in 2023 Combined Federal Campaign

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center kicked off its participation in the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) Oct. 17 after raising more funds than any other large federal agency in the Greater Tennessee Valley Zone last year.

The CFC Kickoff Charities Fair was held in Marshall’s Activities Building 4316. Ten charities from the Tennessee Valley participated in the event to talk about their needs and how Marshall team members could help or get involved through volunteering. This year’s theme is “Give Happy.”

Marshall Associate Director, Technical, Larry Leopard, welcomes team members to the CFC Kickoff Charities Fair.
Marshall Associate Director, Technical, Larry Leopard, welcomes team members to the CFC Kickoff Charities Fair.
NASA/Alex Russell

Every year, federal workers come together to raise money and volunteer for their favorite charities. The CFC, in its 62nd year, is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign for federal employees and retirees. Since its inception, the campaign has raised nearly $8.7 billion for charities and people in need.

During the 2022 campaign year, Marshall team members pledged $295,454. The 2023 CFC solicitation period started Oct. 2 and runs through Jan. 15, 2024. Marshall’s goal this year is to increase participation by 15%. Last year, 343 people at Marshall contributed.

Donors can contribute financially via credit or debit card payment or PayPal, with some team members able to donate a portion of their paycheck during the campaign period. Donors can also contribute their time at a participating charity, with each volunteer hour counted toward the overall fundraising goal. Team members can visit Inside Marshall for more information about this year’s campaign.

Marshall team members visit some of the different charities represented at the CFC kickoff event.
Marshall team members visit some of the different charities represented at the CFC kickoff event.
NASA/Alex Russell

In the Greater Tennessee Valley Zone, there are 69 charities currently listed as active CFC participants, from community health clinics and animal rescues to veteran and social justice groups.

“We can create change by supporting our favorite causes and promoting a greater good,” Marshall Associate Director, Technical, Larry Leopard said at the event kickoff. “For this year’s campaign, I want to challenge everyone at Marshall to donate or volunteer at a local charity. Take the time to discover a cause that you and your family can connect with. Make a small donation, or volunteer as a family or with friends. These actions matter so much to our local nonprofits and our community.”

Learn more about CFC and see the list of participating charities in your community by visiting https://cfcgiving.opm.gov.

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Take 5 with Keith Savoy

By Matt Higgins

Keith Savoy credits his father for teaching him how to do a number of things. His father also inspired him to pursue a career in engineering.

“My dad, a U.S. Marine, sugar cane farmer, and shipping and loading supervisor for CF Industries, inspired me to do lots of things,” said Savoy, chief operating officer at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility. “Although he did not have a college degree, he was a jack of all trades and could rebuild vehicle engines, weld, perform carpentry, and do many other tasks that are essential to our daily lives.”

Keith Savoy is the chief operating officer at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility.
Keith Savoy is the chief operating officer at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility.
NASA/Michael DeMocker

In his role, Savoy oversees the day-to-day administrative and operational functions at Michoud, helping sustain NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) and Orion spacecraft production efforts, and coordinating requirements and logistics with the facility’s tenant leadership for approximately 3,500 employees. Michoud is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

In addition to learning from his father, Savoy credits an internship with Lockheed Martin for spurring his interest in working with NASA.

“During my junior year in college, I was selected to an intern program with Lockheed Martin, working for Mr. George Hasting during the summer,” Savoy said. “As a mentor, he provided insight and leadership, as well as piquing my interest in the space program. This is what led me to ultimately accepting a position with Lockheed Martin at Michoud after I graduated.”

Question: What excites you most about the future of human space exploration and your team’s role it?

Savoy: What excites me most about the future of human space exploration is the continued involvement of the Michoud Assembly Facility in the manufacturing of several components for Artemis, including the SLS core stage, future SLS Exploration Upper Stage, and the Orion pressure vessel. Michoud has been involved in the manufacturing and assembly of space flight hardware since the 1960s. I have been fortunate to be involved in the External Tank Program for shuttle and Artemis. I am very proud of the Michoud team’s accomplishment of successfully executing all facility and program modifications to support these two major NASA programs.  

Question: What has been the proudest moment of your career and why?

Savoy: I believe the proudest moments of my career have been every time I have watched a shuttle launch and most recently the Artemis I launch, knowing Michoud and everyone working there contributed to the successful launch. I usually get nervous right before the powerful RS-25 engines ignite and the vehicle slowly pulls away from the launch pad.

Question: Who or what drives/motivates you?

Savoy: I have always been a self-motivated individual, whether it was sports, education, or my career. I am very passionate about a lot of things, as most people who work around me know.

Question: What advice do you have for employees early in their NASA career or those in new leadership roles?

Savoy: Take every opportunity to cross train in multiple jobs if available. I started my career as an engineer in the Operations and Maintenance organization with Lockheed Martin during the External Tank Program. I held numerous jobs with Lockheed with increasing areas of responsibility to include new business planner, environmental engineer, electrical engineering supervisor, critical systems associate manager, Enhancement Team manager and Operational Planning and Layout manager. After my 20 years with Lockheed Martin, I transitioned to NASA as a logistics engineer for the site and later to the facilities operations manager. Finally, in 2023 I accepted the responsibility of NASA chief operating officer. Each one of these learning opportunities/challenges has provided me with necessary technical and leadership attributes to effectively manage a complex site like Michoud with multiple program and site tenants.

Question: What do you enjoy doing with your time while away from work?

Savoy: I enjoy working out/exercising, relaxing at my camp in Pierre Part, Louisiana, watching or going to LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints football games, and traveling with my family. We typically have a family vacation once a year; the next one is Yellowstone National Park.

Higgins, a Manufacturing Technical Solutions Inc. employee, works in communications at Michoud Assembly Facility.

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NASA’s Innovative Rocket Nozzle Paves Way for Deep Space Missions

By Ray Osorio

NASA recently built and tested an additively-manufactured – or 3D printed – rocket engine nozzle made of aluminum, making it lighter than conventional nozzles and setting the course for deep space flights that can carry more payloads.

Under the agency’s Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity, engineers from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center partnered with Elementum 3D, in Erie, Colorado, to create a weldable type of aluminum that is heat resistant enough for use on rocket engines. Compared to other metals, aluminum is lower density and allows for high-strength, lightweight components.

A hot fire test of a 3D printed nozzle is shown with an orange fire being expelled at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The RAMFIRE nozzle performs a hot fire test at Marshall’s East test area stand 115. The nozzle, made of the novel aluminum alloy 6061-RAM2, experiences huge temperature gradients. As hot gasses approach 6000 degrees Fahrenheit and undergo combustion, icicles are forming on the outside of the engine nozzle.

However, due to its low tolerance to extreme heat and its tendency to crack during welding, aluminum is not typically used for additive manufacturing of rocket engine parts – until now. 

Meet NASA’s latest development under the Reactive Additive Manufacturing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or RAMFIRE, project. Funded under NASA’s STMD (Space Technology Mission Directorate), RAMFIRE focuses on advancing lightweight, additively manufactured aluminum rocket nozzles. The nozzles are designed with small internal channels that keep the nozzle cool enough to prevent melting.

With conventional manufacturing methods, a nozzle may require as many as thousand individually joined parts. The RAMFIRE nozzle is built as a single piece, requiring far fewer bonds and significantly reduced manufacturing time. 

A nozzle is being created by a 3D printer layer by layer. The photo has a golden hue from the light and laser.
At the RPM Innovation facility in Rapid City, South Dakota, manufacturing for a large-scale aerospike demonstration nozzle with integral channels is underway. The laser powder directed energy deposition process creates a melt pool using a laser and blows powder into the melt pool to deposit material layer by layer. NASA engineers will use the nozzle as a proof of concept to inform future component designs.
RPM Innovation

NASA and Elementum 3D first developed the novel aluminum variant known as A6061-RAM2 to build the nozzle and modify the powder used with LP-DED (laser powder directed energy deposition) technology. Another commercial partner, RPM Innovations in Rapid City, South Dakota, used the newly invented aluminum and specialized powder to build the RAMFIRE nozzles using their LP-DED process.

“Industry partnerships with specialty manufacturing vendors aid in advancing the supply base and help make additive manufacturing more accessible for NASA missions and the broader commercial and aerospace industry,” said Paul Gradl, RAMFIRE principal investigator at Marshall.

NASA’s Moon to Mars objectives require the capability to send more cargo to deep space destinations. The novel alloy could play an instrumental role in this by enabling the manufacturing of lightweight rocket components capable of withstanding high structural loads.

A 3D printed circular demonstrator tank is shown on a table in a blue light
Seen here at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and developed with the same 6061-RAM2 aluminum material used under the RAMFIRE project, is a vacuum jacket manufacturing demonstrator tank. The component, made for cryogenic fluid application, is designed with a series of integral cooling channels that have a wall thickness of about 0.06 inches.

“Mass is critical for NASA’s future deep space missions,” said John Vickers, principal technologist for STMD advanced manufacturing. “Projects like this mature additive manufacturing along with advanced materials, and will help evolve new propulsion systems, in-space manufacturing, and infrastructure needed for NASA’s ambitious missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”

Earlier this summer at Marshall’s East Test Area, two RAMFIRE nozzles completed multiple hot-fire tests using liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen, as well as liquid oxygen and liquid methane fuel configurations. With pressure chambers in excess of 825 pounds per square inch – more than anticipated testing pressures – the nozzles successfully accumulated 22 starts and 579 seconds, or nearly 10 minutes, of run time. This event demonstrates the nozzles can operate in the most demanding deep-space environments.

“This test series marks a significant milestone for the nozzle,” Gradl said. “After putting the nozzle through the paces of a demanding hot-fire test series, we’ve demonstrated the nozzle can survive the thermal, structural, and pressure loads for a lunar lander scale engine.”

A female engineer with brown curly hair and a male engineer with short brown hair look at a nozzle on a table that has been through hot fire testing.
NASA engineers Tessa Fedotowsky and Ben Williams, from Marshall, inspect the RAMFIRE nozzle following successful hot-fire testing.

In addition to successfully building and testing the rocket engine nozzles, the RAMFIRE project has used the RAMFIRE aluminum material and additive manufacturing process to construct other advanced large components for demonstration purposes. These include a 36-inch diameter aerospike nozzle with complex integral coolant channels and a vacuum-jacketed tank for cryogenic fluid applications.

NASA and industry partners are working to share the data and process with commercial stakeholders and academia. Various aerospace companies are evaluating the novel alloy and the LP-DED additive manufacturing process and looking for ways it can be used to make components for satellites and other applications.

Osorio is a public affairs officer with the Marshall Office of Communications.

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Vicky Garcia Speaker for Oct. 30 Marshall Association Event

Vicky Garcia, a launch vehicle systems engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, will be the guest speaker for the Marshall Association Speaker Series on Oct. 30.

Vicky Garcia, a launch vehicle systems engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, will be the guest speaker for the Marshall Association Speaker Series on Oct. 30.
Vicky Garcia, a launch vehicle systems engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, will be the guest speaker for the Marshall Association Speaker Series on Oct. 30.

The event will be 11 a.m.-12 p.m. The event is free to attend and open to everyone via Teams. Marshall team members can attend in Building 4221, Conference Room 1103. The meeting topic follows this year’s theme of Breaking Boundaries.

In recognition of National Disability Month, Garcia will discuss AstroAccess, a project dedicated to promoting inclusion in human space exploration by paving the way for disabled astronauts.

Since its founding in 2021, AstroAccess has conducted five microgravity missions in which disabled scientists, engineers, veterans, students, athletes, and artists perform demonstrations onboard parabolic flights with the Zero Gravity Corporation, as the first step in a progression toward flying a diverse range of people to space. This project is part of SciAccess, an international non-profit dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in STEM. Read more about AstroAccess.

Email the Marshall Association for questions about the event. For more information on the Marshall Association and how to join, team members can visit their page on Inside Marshall.

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Achieves Sample Mass Milestone

The curation team processing NASA’s asteroid Bennu sample has removed and collected 2.48 ounces (70.3 grams) of rocks and dust from the sampler hardware – surpassing the agency’s goal of bringing at least 60 grams to Earth.

And the good news is, there’s still more of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer) sample to collect.

The curation team processing NASA’s asteroid Bennu sample from the OSIRIS-REx mission has surpassed the agency’s goal of bringing at least 60 grams to Earth, removing and collecting 2.48 ounces (70.3 grams) of rocks and dust from the sampler hardware.

The sample processed so far includes the rocks and dust found on the outside of the sampler head, as well as a portion of the bulk sample from inside the head, which was accessed through the head’s mylar flap. Additional material remaining inside the sampler head, called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or TAGSAM, is set for removal later, adding to the mass total.

In the last week, the team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center changed its approach to opening the TAGSAM head, which contained the bulk of the rocks and dust collected by the spacecraft in 2020. After multiple attempts at removal, the team discovered two of the 35 fasteners on the TAGSAM head could not be removed with the current tools approved for use in the OSIRIS-REx glovebox. The team has been working to develop and implement new approaches to extract the material inside the head, while continuing to keep the sample safe and pristine.

As a first step, the team successfully accessed some of the material by holding down the head’s mylar flap and removing the sample inside with tweezers or a scoop, depending on material size. The collection and containment of material through this method, combined with the earlier collection of material located outside the head, yielded a total mass exceeding the 60 grams required.

The team will spend the next few weeks developing and practicing a new procedure to remove the remaining asteroid sample from the TAGSAM sampler head while simultaneously processing the material that was collected last week. The OSIRIS-REx science team will also proceed with its plan to characterize the extracted material and begin analysis of the bulk sample obtained so far.

All curation work on the sample – and the TAGSAM head – is performed in a specialized glovebox under a flow of nitrogen to keep it from being exposed to Earth’s atmosphere, preserving the sample’s pristine state for subsequent scientific analysis. The tools for any proposed solution to extract the remaining material from the head must be able to fit inside the glovebox and not compromise the scientific integrity of the collection, and any procedures must be consistent with the clean room’s standards.

While the procedure to access the final portion of the material is being developed, the team has removed the TAGSAM head from the active flow of nitrogen in the glovebox and stored it in its transfer container, sealed with an O-ring and surrounded by a sealed Teflon bag to make sure the sample is kept safe in a stable, nitrogen-rich, environment.

OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Read more about Marshall’s role in OSIRIS-REx.

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      Holly Ellis, communication specialist, and Tim Smith, senior mission manager, both of the Technology Demonstration Missions Program, speak with students during Space Days at the University of Alabama on Nov. 15. NASA/Christopher Blair The annual Space Days event concluded with NASA astronaut Bob Hines delivering a special presentation entitled, “An Astronaut’s Journey” to nearly 100 students, staff and industry partners. Hines completed his first spaceflight as a mission specialist for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, serving as flight engineer of Expedition 67/68 aboard the International Space Station. 
      Space Days is hosted by the UA College of Engineering and their staff shared how crucial it is to have support from aerospace industry partners willing to visit campus and meet students. Key partners exhibiting and presenting included Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, Alabama Space Grant Consortium, and others.
      “By the time our students attend a career fair, apply for an internship, or pursue cooperative education, they will have learned about these companies in a smaller setting and begin to consider the many pathways to success,” said Tru Livaudais, director of external affairs for UA College of Engineering. “This event offers all UA students – regardless of majors and specialties – a chance to explore future career possibilities and how to be a part of the cutting-edge research and opportunities in the space industry.”
      Smith, a Media Fusion employee, supports the Marshall Office of Communications.
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      NASA Telescope Data Becomes Music You Can Play
      For millennia, musicians have looked to the heavens for inspiration. Now a new collaboration is enabling actual data from NASA telescopes to be used as the basis for original music that can be played by humans.
      Since 2020, the “sonification” project at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Center has translated the digital data taken by telescopes into notes and sounds. This process allows the listener to experience the data through the sense of hearing instead of seeing it as images, a more common way to present astronomical data.
      The Galactic Center sonification, using data from NASA’s Chandra, Hubble, and Spitzer space telescopes, has been translated into a new composition with sheet music and score. Working with a composer, this soundscape can be played by musicians. The full score and sheet music for individual instruments is available at: https://chandra.si.edu/sound/symphony.htmlComposition: NASA/CXC/SAO/Sophie Kastner A new phase of the sonification project takes the data into different territory. Working with composer Sophie Kastner, the team has developed versions of the data that can be played by musicians.
      “It’s like a writing a fictional story that is largely based on real facts,” said Kastner. “We are taking the data from space that has been translated into sound and putting a new and human twist on it.”
      This pilot program focuses on data from a small region at the center of our Milky Way galaxy where a supermassive black hole resides. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and retired Spitzer Space Telescope have all studied this area, which spans about 400 light-years across.
      “We’ve been working with these data, taken in X-ray, visible, and infrared light, for years,” said Kimberly Arcand, Chandra visualization and emerging technology scientist. “Translating these data into sound was a big step, and now with Sophie we are again trying something completely new for us.”
      In the data sonification process, computers use algorithms to mathematically map the digital data from these telescopes to sounds that humans can perceive. Human musicians, however, have different capabilities than computers.
      Kastner chose to focus on small sections of the image in order to make the data more playable for people. This also allowed her to create spotlights on certain parts of the image that are easily overlooked when the full sonification is played.
      “I like to think of it as creating short vignettes of the data, and approaching it almost as if I was writing a film score for the image,” said Kastner. “I wanted to draw listener’s attention to smaller events in the greater data set.”
      A musical ensemble performs soundscape that composer Sophie Katsner created using data sonifications from NASA’s Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. Based in Montreal, Ensemble Éclat is dedicated to the performance of contemporary classical music and promoting the works of emerging composers. (NASA/CXC/A. Jubett & Priam David) The result of this trial project is a new composition based upon and influenced by real data from NASA telescopes, but with a human take.
      “In some ways, this is just another way for humans to interact with the night sky just as they have throughout recorded history,” says Arcand. “We are using different tools but the concept of being inspired by the heavens to make art remains the same.”
      Kastner hopes to expand this pilot composition project to other objects in Chandra’s data sonification collection. She is also looking to bring in other musical collaborators who are interested in using the data in their pieces.
      Sophie Kastner’s Galactic Center piece is entitled “Where Parallel Lines Converge.” If you are a musician who wants to try playing this sonification at home, check out the sheet music at: https://chandra.si.edu/sound/symphony.html.
      The piece was recorded by Montreal based Ensemble Éclat conducted by Charles-Eric LaFontaine on July 19, 2023, at McGill University.
      NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.
      Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.
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      Dietitian Rachel Brown Speaker for Nov. 28 Marshall Association Event
      Rachel Brown, registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist, will be the guest speaker for the Marshall Association Speaker Series on Nov. 28.
      The event will be 12-1 p.m. The event is free to attend and open to everyone via Teams. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center team members can attend in Building 4221, Conference Room 1103. The meeting topic follows this year’s theme of Breaking Boundaries.
      Rachel Brown, registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist, will be the guest speaker for the Marshall Association Speaker Series on Nov. 28. NASA A mom of two and a Huntsville resident since 2016, Brown is the owner of Rocket City Dietitian social media channels, where she focuses on promoting local food, fun, and fitness available in the Rocket City. She has a monthly TV segment on TN Valley Living promoting the local food scene and is a regular contributor to Huntsville Magazine, We Are Huntsville, and VisitHuntsville.org.
      Email the Marshall Association for questions about the event. For more information on the Marshall Association and how to join, team members can visit their page on Inside Marshall.
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      Cube Quest Concludes: Wins, Lessons Learned from Centennial Challenge
      By Savannah Bullard
      Artemis I launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Nov. 16, 2022, penning a new era of space exploration and inching the agency closer to sending the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface.
      Aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket were 10 small satellites, no bigger than shoeboxes, whose goal was to detach and capably perform operations near and beyond the Moon. One of those satellites was a product of the Cube Quest Challenge, a NASA-led prize competition that asked citizen innovators to design, build, and deliver flight-qualified satellites called CubeSats that could perform its mission independently of the Artemis I mission.
      Small satellites, called CubeSats, are shown secured inside NASA’s Orion stage adapter at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Aug. 5, 2021. One of these CubeSats belonged to Team Miles, one of the three finalists in the Cube Quest Centennial Challenge. The ring-shaped stage adapter was connected to the Space Launch System’s Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, with the Orion spacecraft secured on top. The CubeSats’ mission was to detach from the stage adapter, then fly near and beyond the Moon to conduct a variety of science experiments and technology demonstrations to expand our knowledge of the lunar surface during the Artemis I mission.NASA/Cory Huston Cube Quest is the agency’s first in-space public prize competition. Opened in 2015, the challenge began with four ground-based tournaments, which awarded almost $500,000 in prizes. Three finalists emerged from the ground competition with a ticket to hitch a ride aboard the SLS as a secondary payload – and win the rest of the competition’s $5 million prize purse, NASA’s largest-ever prize offering to date – in 2022.
      Of the three finalists, Team Miles was the sole team to make the trip on Artemis I successfully. Shortly after a successful deployment in space, controllers detected downlink signals and processed them to confirm whether the CubeSat was operational. This remains the latest update for the Team Miles CubeSat.
      “We’re still celebrating the many wins that were borne out of Cube Quest,” said Centennial Challenges Program Manager Denise Morris. “The intent of the challenge was to reward citizen inventors who successfully advance the CubeSat technologies needed for operations on the Moon and beyond, and I believe we accomplished this.”
      Innovation rarely comes without error, but according to Challenge Manager Naveen Vetcha, who supports Centennial Challenges through Jacobs Space Exploration Group, even after everything goes as expected, there is no guarantee that scientists will reach their desired outcomes.
      “Given the magnitude of what we can and do accomplish every day at NASA, it comes with the territory that not every test, proposal, or idea will come out with 100 percent success,” Vetcha said. “We have set ambitious goals, and challenging ourselves to change what’s possible will inevitably end with examples of not meeting our stretch goals. But, with each failure comes more opportunities and lessons to carry forward. In the end, our competitors created technologies that will enable affordable deep space CubeSats, which, to me, is a big win.”
      Although Team Miles may have made it furthest in the Cube Quest Challenge, having launched its CubeSat as a secondary payload aboard Artemis I, the team continues to participate in the challenge long after launch.
      “From Team Miles, Miles Space LLC was created and is still in business,” said Jan McKenna, Team Miles’ project manager and safety lead. “Miles Space is developing and selling the propulsion system designed for our craft to commercial aerospace companies, and we’ve expanded to be able to create hardware for communications along with our CubeSat developments.”
      The next steps for Miles Space LLC include seeing through their active patent applications, establishing relationships with potential clients, and continuing to hunt for a connection with their flying CubeSat. Another finalist team, Cislunar Explorers, is currently focused on using their lessons learned to benefit the global small satellite community.
      “I utilized the contacts I made through Cube Quest and the other Artemis Secondary Payloads for my thesis research,” said Aaron Zucherman, Cislunar Explorers’ project manager. “This has enabled me to find partnerships and consulting work with other universities and companies where I have shared my experiences learning the best ways to build interplanetary CubeSats.”
      This challenge featured teams from diverse educational and commercial backgrounds. Several team members credited the challenge as a catalyst in their graduate thesis or Ph.D. research, but one young innovator says Cube Quest completely redirected his entire career trajectory.
      Project Selene team lead, Braden Oh, competed with his peers at La Cañada High School in La Cañada, California. Oh’s team eventually caught the attention of Kerri Cahoy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the designs were similar enough that Cahoy invited the two teams to merge. The exposure gained through this partnership was a powerful inspiration for Oh and his peers.
      “I originally intended to apply to college as a computer science major, but my experiences in Cube Quest inspired me to study engineering instead,” Oh said. “I saw similar stories unfold for a number of my teammates; one eventually graduated from MIT and another now works for NASA.”
      Cube Quest is managed out of NASA’s Ames Research Center. The competition is a part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges, which is housed at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Centennial Challenges is a part of NASA’s Prizes, Challenges, and Crowdsourcing program in the Space Technology Mission Directorate.
      Bullard, a Manufacturing Technical Solutions Inc. employee, supports the Marshall Office of Communications.
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      The Heat is On! NASA’s ‘Flawless’ Heat Shield Demo Passes the Test
      A little more than a year ago, a NASA flight test article came screaming back from space at more than 18,000 mph, reaching temperatures of nearly 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit before gently splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. At that moment, it became the largest blunt body – a type of reentry vehicle that creates a heat-deflecting shockwave – ever to reenter Earth’s atmosphere.
      The Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator, or LOFTID, launched Nov. 10, 2022, aboard a ULA (United Launch Alliance) Atlas V rocket and successfully demonstrated an inflatable heat shield. Also known as a Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, or HIAD, aeroshell, this technology could allow larger spacecraft to safely descend through the atmospheres of celestial bodies like Mars, Venus, and even Saturn’s moon, Titan.
      The Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator, or LOFTID, spacecraft is pictured after its atmospheric re-entry test in November 2022.NASA/Greg Swanson “Large-diameter aeroshells allow us to deliver critical support hardware, and potentially even crew, to the surface of planets with atmospheres,” said Trudy Kortes, director of Technology Demonstrations at NASA Headquarters. “This capability is crucial for the nation’s ambition of expanding human and robotic exploration across our solar system.”
      NASA has been developing HIAD technologies for over a decade, including two smaller scale suborbital flight tests before LOFTID. In addition to this successful tech demo, NASA is investigating future applications, including partnering with commercial companies to develop technologies for small satellite reentry, aerocapture, and cislunar payloads.
      “This was a keystone event for us, and the short answer is: It was highly successful,” said LOFTID Project Manager Joe Del Corso. “Our assessment of LOFTID concluded with the promise of what this technology may do to empower the exploration of deep space.”
      Due to the success of the LOFTID tech demo, NASA announced under its Tipping Point program that it would partner with ULA to develop and deliver the “next size up,” a larger 12-meter HIAD aeroshell for recovering the company’s Vulcan engines from low Earth orbit for reuse.
      The LOFTID team recently held a post-flight analysis assessment of the flight test at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Their verdict?
      Upon recovery, the team discovered LOFTID appeared pristine, with minimal damage, meaning its performance was, as Del Corso puts it, “Just flawless.”
      View some interesting visual highlights from LOFTID’s flight test.
      LOFTID splashed down in the Pacific Ocean several hundred miles off the east coast of Hawaii and only about eight miles from the recovery ship’s bow – almost exactly as modeled. A crew got on a small boat and retrieved and hoisted LOFTID onto the recovery ship.
      “The LOFTID mission was important because it proved the cutting-edge HIAD design functioned successfully at an appropriate scale and in a relevant environment,” said Tawnya Laughinghouse, manager of the TDM (Technology Demonstrations Missions) program office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
      Marshall supported the Langley-led LOFTID project, providing avionics flight hardware, including the data acquisition system, the inertial measurement unit, and six camera pods. Marshall engineers also performed thermal and fluids analyses and modeling in support of the LOFTID re-entry vehicle inflation system and aeroshell designs.
      The LOFTID demonstration was a public private-partnership with ULA funded by STMD and managed by the Technology Demonstration Mission Program, executed by NASA Langley with contributions from across NASA centers. Multiple U.S. small businesses contributed to the hardware. NASA’s Launch Services Program was responsible for NASA’s oversight of launch operations.
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      View the full article
    • By NASA
      7 min read
      Science on Station: November 2023
      Inspiring Students with Ham Radio, Other Educational Programs
      As an orbiting microgravity laboratory, the International Space Station hosts experiments from almost every scientific field. It also is home to educational programs to encourage young people worldwide to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These programs aim to inspire the next generation of space scientists and explorers and experts who can solve problems facing people on Earth.
      The first and longest running educational outreach program on the space station is ISS Ham Radio. An organization known as Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, helps run the program. ARISS is a partnership between NASA, the American Radio Relay League, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, amateur radio organizations, and multiple international space agencies. Students use amateur or ham radio to talk with astronauts, asking them questions about life in space, career opportunities, and other space-related topics. Three contacts with schools in Australia and Canada were scheduled during the month of November 2023.
      JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata during a ham radio session.NASA Before a contact, students help set up a ground radio station and study radio waves, space technology, the space station, geography, and the space environment. Contact events have been held with schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, universities, scout groups, museums, libraries, and after school programs, and at national and international events. Approximately 15,000 to 100,000 students are involved directly each year and thousands more people in their communities witness these contacts directly or through the news media.
      Rita Wright, a teacher at Burbank School in Burbank, IL, one of the first to have a contact with the space station, reported on the extensive study and preparation by the students there.1 She noted that their contact was “an interdisciplinary learning experience for all grades across a variety of academic concentrations that included math, science, reading, writing and art…. The transformation that took place was quite revolutionary. We came closer together as a school.” Students talked extensively about the experiment and parents pitched in and helped because they sensed how special the event was and wanted to be a part of it.
      Wright adds that ripple effects continued long after the December 2000 contact with astronaut William Shepherd. Staff members were inspired to look for other interdisciplinary projects and many students talked about pursuing careers associated with the space industry.
      After a contact at Sonoran Sky Elementary School in Scottsdale, AZ, teacher Carrie Cunningham reported that the students started an after-school Amateur Radio Club and that, “sparked by the excitement of the ARISS contact, many students have shown an interested in pursuing their own Amateur Radio experience.”2
      “There is a sense of accomplishment that results from the school and the students setting up and conducting the ISS ham contact themselves,” Cunningham reported. “The students better understand how NASA and the other international space agencies conduct science in space. The unique, hands-on nature of the amateur radio contact provides the incentive to learn about orbital mechanics, space flight, and radio operations.”
      In a 2018 conference presentation, members of the ARISS staff noted that the program and its predecessors have jump-started countless careers, touched millions of people from all walks of life, and even become local and international phenomena. Participants have ranged from disadvantaged students to heads of states, and the program has been mentioned in IMAX films, numerous television shows, and commercials.3
      A group of educators from Australia recently looked at how ham radio affected student interest in STEM subjects. They found that the program has a significant and positive impact on students and that interest in all STEM areas increases as a direct result of contacts.4
      That research also reported a strong belief among teachers that astronauts provide outstanding examples of role models for their students. While the greatest changes in student interests occurs with primary school age students, the program also creates strong change in the interests of high school students.
      NASA astronaut Edward M. (Mike) Fincke uses the station’s ham radio set during Expedition 9. NASA Patricia Palazzolo was the coordinator for gifted education in the Upper St. Clair School District in Pennsylvania during a 2004 contact with NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. She wrote a report about the event, noting that the positive impact of the program goes far beyond the numbers. “All of my students who have participated … have gone on to phenomenal accomplishments and careers that contribute much to society. Almost all have opted for careers in science, technology, or science-related fields.”
      Ham radio experiences help students make real-world connections among disciplines, teach problem-solving under the pressure of deadlines, hone communication skills, and illustrate the importance of technology.5 For the adults involved, contacts highlight the significance of sharing skills with others and provide an opportunity to model the power of passion, partnership, and persistence.
      AstroPi is an educational program from ESA (European Space Agency) where primary and secondary school students design experiments and write computer code for one of two Raspberry Pi computers on the space station. The computers are equipped with sensors to measure the environment inside the spacecraft, detect how the station moves through space, and pick up the Earth’s magnetic field. One of them has an infrared camera and the other a standard visible-spectrum camera. 
      One student project used the visible camera to observe small-scale gravity waves in different regions in the northern hemisphere.6 Atmospheric gravity waves transport energy and momentum to the upper layers of the atmosphere. These phenomena can be detected by visual patterns such as meteor trails, airglow, and clouds.
      ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti poses with the AstroPi equipped with a visual camera.NASA YouTube Space Lab was a world-wide contest for students ages 14 to 18 to design an experiment about physics or biology using video. Two proposals were selected from 2,000 entries received from around the world. One of those documented the ability of the Phidippus jumping spider to walk on surfaces and make short, direct jumps to capture small flies in microgravity.7
      Other space station facilities that host student-designed projects include CubeSat small satellites, TangoLab, the Nanoracks platform, and Space Studio Kibo, a JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) broadcasting studio.
      NASA is committed to engaging, inspiring, and attracting future explorers and building a diverse future STEM workforce through a broad set of programs and opportunities. The space station is an important part of that commitment.
      John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist
      Expedition 70

      Search this database of scientific experiments to learn more about those mentioned above. Space Station Research Explorer.

      Wright RL. Remember, We’re Pioneers! The First School Contact with the International Space Station. AMSAT-NA Space Symposium. Arlington, VA. 2004 9pp. Cunningham C. NA1SS, NA1SS, This is KA7SKY Calling…… AMSAT-NA Space Symposium, Arlington, VA. 2004 Bauer F, Taylor D, White R. Educational Outreach and International Collaboration Through ARISS: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station. 2018 SpaceOps Conference, Marseille, France. 2018 28 May – 1 June; 14 pp. DOI: 10.2514/6.2018-2437. Diggens, M., Williams, J., Benedix, G. (2023). No Roadblocks in Low Earth Orbit: The Motivational Role of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) School Program in STEM Education. Space Education & Strategic Applications. https://doi.org/10.18278/001c.89715 Palazzolo P. Launching Dreams: The Long-term Impact of SAREX and ARISS on Student Achievement. AMSAT-NA Space Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA. 2007 18pp. Magalhaes TE, Silva DE, Silva CE, Dinis AA, Magalhaes JP, Ribeiro TM. Observation of atmospheric gravity waves using a Raspberry Pi camera module on board the International Space Station. Acta Astronautica. 2021 May 1; 182416-423. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.02.022 Hill DE. Jumping spiders in outer space (Araneae: Salticidae). PECKHAMIA. 2016 September 17; 146(1): 7 pp. Facebook logo @ISS @Space_Station@ISS_Research Instagram logo @ISS Linkedin logo @NASA Keep Exploring Discover Related Topics
      Latest News from Space Station Research
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    • By NASA
      Connect your sci-fi fandom and learn about how NASA explores the unknown in space for all humanity! Join experts and engagement team members from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley at FAN EXPO San Francisco 2023. Visit the exhibit, panels, and more to hear about NASA’s plans for human exploration at the Moon and missions to Mars from NASA roboticists, engineers, and educators. 
      The FAN EXPO San Francisco convention will be held Nov. 24-26, 2023, at Moscone Center West in San Francisco. 
      NASA Booth 
      The NASA booth can be found by the main entrance of the convention show floor, at booth #607. Stop by to talk to our experts, learn about upcoming missions, and much more! Event attendees will also have a chance to take a photo with a full-size model of VIPER, NASA’s first robotic Moon rover. Shared posts on X, Facebook, and Instagram using the tag #MoonRoverAndMe may appear on NASA social media accounts during or after the event! 
      NASA Panel Schedule 

      Bots Before Boots: VIPER – NASA’s First Robotic Moon Rover Mission 
      1:45 p.m. PST Saturday, Nov. 24 
      Theater #5 (Room 2006)   
      Launching in late 2024, VIPER will explore ancient craters at the lunar South Pole to unravel the mysteries of the Moon’s water and inform future human exploration of the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis missions.  
      Loretta Falcone, Lead Mission Planner  Terry Fong, Director of the Intelligence Robotics Group  Ryan Vaughan, Systems Engineer  Moderator: Cara Dodge, Public Engagement Lead 

      Boots on the Moon! NASA’s Next Step in Human Exploration 
      2:45 p.m. PST Saturday, Nov. 24 
      Theater #5 (Room 2006)   
      With the Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon for scientific discovery, economic benefits, and inspiration for a new generation of explorers.  
      Parul Agrawal, Ames Lead for Orion Spacecraft Operations     Lara Lash, Aerospace Engineer     Seth Schisler, Technology Manager   Moderator: Arezu Sarvestani, Public Affairs Specialist 
      For News Media 
      Members of the news media interested in covering this topic should reach out to the NASA Ames newsroom. 
      View the full article
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