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    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      High school and collegiate student teams gathered just north of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to participate in the agency’s annual Student Launch competition April 13. Credits: NASA/Charles Beason Over 1,000 students from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico launched high-powered, amateur rockets on April 13, just north of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as part of the agency’s annual Student Launch competition.
      Teams of middle school, high school, college, and university students were tasked to design, build, and launch a rocket and scientific payload to an altitude between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, while making a successful landing and executing a scientific or engineering payload mission.
      “These bright students rise to a nine-month challenge that tests their skills in engineering, design, and teamwork,” said Kevin McGhaw, director of NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement Southeast Region. “They are the Artemis Generation, the future scientists, engineers, and innovators who will lead us into the future of space exploration.”
      NASA announced the University of Notre Dame is the overall winner of the agency’s 2024 Student Launch challenge, followed by Iowa State University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A complete list challenge winners can be found on the agency’s student launch web page.
      Each year NASA implements a new payload challenge to reflect relevant missions. This year’s payload challenge is inspired by the Artemis missions, which seek to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.
      The complete list of award winners are as follows:
      2024 Overall Winners
      First place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana Second place: Iowa State University, Ames Third place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte 3D Printing Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Tennessee Chattanooga Middle/High School Level:
      First place: First Baptist Church of Manchester, Manchester, Connecticut Altitude Award
      College Level:
      First place: Iowa State University, Ames Middle/High School Level:
      First place: Morris County 4-H, Califon, New Jersey Best-Looking Rocket Award:
      College Level:
      First place: New York University, Brooklyn, New York Middle/High School Level:
      First place: Notre Dame Academy High School, Los Angeles American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Reusable Launch Vehicle Innovative Payload Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Colorado Boulder Second place: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee Third place: Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Judge’s Choice Award:
      Middle/High School Level:
      First place: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa Second place: Young Engineers in Action, LaPalma, California Third place: First Baptist Church of Manchester, Manchester, Connecticut Project Review Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Florida, Gainesville AIAA Reusable Launch Vehicle Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Florida, Gainesville Second place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte Third place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana AIAA Rookie Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Colorado Boulder Safety Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana Second place: University of Florida, Gainesville Third place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte Social Media Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Colorado Boulder Middle/High School Level:
      First place: Newark Memorial High School, Newark, California STEM Engagement Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana Second place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte Third place: New York University, Brooklyn, New York Middle/High School Level:
      First place: Notre Dame Academy High School, Los Angeles, California Second place: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa Third place: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Virginia Service Academy Award:
      First place: United States Air Force Academy, USAF Academy, Colorado
      Vehicle Design Award:
      Middle/High School Level:
      First place: First Baptist Church of Manchester, Manchester, Connecticut Second place: Explorer Post 1010, Rockville, Maryland Third place: Plantation High School, Plantation, Florida Payload Design Award:
      Middle/High School Level:
      First place: Young Engineers in Action, LaPalma, California Second place: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa Third place: Spring Grove Area High School, Spring Grove, Pennsylvania Student Launch is one of NASA’s nine Artemis Student Challenges, activities which connect student ingenuity with NASA’s work returning to the Moon under Artemis in preparation for human exploration of Mars.
      The competition is managed by Marshall’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM). Additional funding and support are provided by NASA’s OSTEM via the Next Gen STEM project, NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, Northrup Grumman, National Space Club Huntsville, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Association of Rocketry, Relativity Space, and Bastion Technologies.
      To watch the full virtual awards ceremony, please visit NASA Marshall’s YouTube channel.
      For more information about Student Launch, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/stem/studentlaunch/home/index.html
      For more information about other NASA challenges, please visit:
      https://stem.nasa.gov/artemis/
      Taylor Goodwin
      Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
      256.544.0034 
      taylor.goodwin@nasa.gov
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Jun 14, 2024 Related Terms
      Marshall Space Flight Center Explore More
      4 min read NASA Announces New System to Aid Disaster Response
      In early May, widespread flooding and landslides occurred in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande…
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    • By NASA
      2 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      NASA astronaut and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Victor Glover reviews procedures on a computer for the Monoclonal Antibodies Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiment inside the Harmony module. Each year, Black Space Week celebrates the achievements of Black Americans in space-related fields.
      To kick-off Black Space Week 2024, NASA is collaborating with the National Space Council for the Beyond the Color Lines: From Science Fiction to Science Fact forum on Monday, June 17, at 11:30 a.m. EDT at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.
      Participants include Mr. Chirag Parikh, Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Director, National Space Council; Dr. Quincy Brown, Director of Space STEM and Workforce Policy, White House National Space Council; and other private-sector and government agency leadership. 
      Current and former NASA astronauts will join the Standing on the Shoulders of Giants panel to discuss the past, present, and future of space exploration. The panel will be moderated by the Honorable Charles F. Bolden Jr.\, former administrator of NASA and a former astronaut who flew on four Space Shuttle missions. Participants include:
      Victor J. Glover, Jr., NASA Astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Jessica Watkins, NASA Astronaut Yvonne Cagle, NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin, former NASA Astronaut Joan Higginbotham, former NASA Astronaut Additional panels include HERStory, sharing the untold stories of Black women leaders in space, STEM, arts, diplomacy, and business, and a discussion with young leaders, educators, and scientists about education and career paths for the future of space.
      Additional event details, including registration and streaming information, can be found at nmaahc.si.edu.
      View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      Image: The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over a section of Italy’s heel in the southern part of the boot-shaped peninsula. View the full article
    • By NASA
      In early May, widespread flooding and landslides occurred in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, leaving thousands of people without food, water, or electricity. In the following days, NASA teams provided data and imagery to help on-the-ground responders understand the disaster’s impacts and deploy aid.
      Building on this response and similar successes, on June 13, NASA announced a new system to support disaster response organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
      Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue team in Adiyaman, Turkey (Türkiye), conducting rescue efforts in the wake of powerful earthquakes that struck the region in February 2023. NASA provided maps and data to support USAID and other regional partners during these earthquakes. USAID “When disasters strike, NASA is here to help — at home and around the world,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As challenges from extreme weather grow, so too does the value of NASA’s efforts to provide critical Earth observing data to disaster-response teams on the frontlines. We’ve done so for years. Now, through this system, we expand our capability to help power our U.S. government partners, international partners, and relief organizations across the globe as they take on disasters — and save lives.”
      The team behind NASA’s Disaster Response Coordination System gathers science, technology, data, and expertise from across the agency and provides it to emergency managers. The new system will be able to provide up-to-date information on fires, earthquakes, landslides, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme events.
      NASA Administrator Bill Nelson delivers remarks during an event launching a new Disaster Response Coordination System that will provide communities and organizations around the world with access to science and data to aid disaster response, Thursday, June 13, 2024, at the NASA Headquarters Mary W. Jackson Building in Washington. NASA/Bill Ingalls “The risk from climate-related hazards is increasing, making more people vulnerable to extreme events,” said Karen St. Germain, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “This is particularly true for the 10% of the global population living in low-lying coastal regions who are vulnerable to storm surges, waves and tsunamis, and rapid erosion. NASA’s disaster system is designed to deliver trusted, actionable Earth science in ways and means that can be used immediately, to enable effective response to disasters and ultimately help save lives.”
      Agencies working with NASA include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Agency for International Development — as well as international organizations such as World Central Kitchen.
      “With this deliberate and structured approach, we can be even more effective in putting Earth science into action,” said Josh Barnes, at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Barnes manages the Disaster Response Coordination System.
      NASA Disasters Team Aiding Brazil
      When the floods and landslides ravaged parts of Brazil in May, officials from the U.S. Southern Command — working with the U.S. Space Force and Air Force, and regional partners — reached out to NASA for Earth-observing data.
      Image Before/After NASA’s response included maps of potential power outages from the Black Marble project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Disaster response coordinators at NASA Goddard also reviewed high-resolution optical data — from the Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition Program — to map more than 4,000 landslides.
      Response coordinators from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, both in Southern California, produced flood extent maps using data from the NASA and U.S. Geological Survey Landsat mission and from ESA’s (the European Space Agency) Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite. Response coordinators at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston also provided photographs of the flooding taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
      Building on Previous Work
      The Brazil event is just one of hundreds of responses NASA has supported over the past decade. The team aids decision-making for a wide range of natural hazards and disasters, from hurricanes and earthquakes to tsunamis and oil spills. 
      “NASA’s Disasters Program advances science for disaster resilience and develops accessible resources to help communities around the world make informed decisions for disaster planning,” said Shanna McClain, manager of NASA’s Disasters Program. “The new Disaster Response Coordination System significantly expands our efforts to bring the power of Earth science when responding to disasters.”
      For more information visit:
      https://disasters.nasa.gov/response
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      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
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      Details
      Last Updated Jun 13, 2024 Editor Rob Garner Related Terms
      Ames Research Center Earth Extreme Weather Events Goddard Space Flight Center Jet Propulsion Laboratory Johnson Space Center Langley Research Center Marshall Space Flight Center Natural Disasters View the full article
    • By NASA
      Lakita Lowe is at the forefront of space commercialization, seamlessly merging scientific expertise with visionary leadership to propel NASA’s commercial ambitions and ignite a passion for STEM in future generations. As a project integrator for NASA’s Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development Program (CLDP), Lowe leverages her extensive background in scientific research and biomedical studies to bridge the gap between science and commercial innovation. 

      Lowe recently supported both planning and real-time operations contributing to the successful completion of the Axiom-3 private astronaut mission which launched in January 2024 and is gearing up to serve as CLDP’s Axiom-4 private astronaut mission lead. Her responsibilities include managing commercial activity requests to ensure they align with NASA’s policies, supporting real-time mission operations from CLDP’s console station, and working with various stakeholders to ensure commercial policy documentation is updated to align with the agency’s current guidelines. 

      “The commercially owned and operated low Earth orbit destinations will offer services that NASA, along with other customers, can purchase, thereby stimulating the growth of commercial activities,” said Lowe.  
      Official portrait of Lakita Lowe. Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford Initially set to attend pharmacy school, a chance encounter at a career fair led her to NASA. Seventeen years later, Lowe now supports the enablement of NASA’s goal to transition human presence in low Earth orbit from a government-run destination to a sustainable economy.  

      Lowe’s work has spanned various NASA programs, including the Human Health and Performance Directorate in the Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences (BRES) Division. Lowe’s role in BRES supported NASA research involving the understanding of human adaptation to spaceflight and planetary environments, the development of effective countermeasures, and the development and dissemination of scientific and technological knowledge.  

      “The efforts that go into preparing crew members for spaceflight and ensuring they maintain good health upon their return to Earth is amazing,” she said, highlighting their rigorous pre-flight and post-flight testing.
      Lakita Lowe prepares samples for analysis in a microbiology laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Lowe’s passion for science was ignited in high school by her biology teacher, whose teaching style captivated her curiosity. She received a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in chemistry from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With five publications completed during her tenure at NASA (two of which were NASA-related), Lowe has contributed to our understanding of the agency’s vision for human spaceflight and commercial research and development on the orbiting laboratory. 

      Lowe is in the process of completing her Ph.D. in Education (Learning, Design, and Technology) from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with a dissertation involving the establishment of telesurgery training programs at medical institutions. She is exploring a field that holds significant promise for space exploration and remote medical care. This technology will enable surgical procedures to be performed remotely, a vital capability for astronauts on long-duration missions. 
      Lakita Lowe at the 2022 International Space Station Research & Development Conference (ISSRDC) in Washington D.C. Lowe dedicated 14 years of her career to integrating science payloads for the International Space Station Program. Early in her career, she worked as a payloads flight controller as a lead increment scientist representative, a dual position between NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. After two years supporting real-time console operations, Lowe served as a research scientist with NASA’s Program Scientist’s Office, where she assessed individual science priorities for the agency’s sponsoring organizations’ portfolio to be implemented on the space station.  

      Later in her career, she worked as a research portfolio manager in the International Space Station Program’s Research Integration Office where she managed the feasibility and strategic planning for investigations involving remote sensing, technology development, STEM, and commercial utilization. She worked closely with researchers sending their experiments to the orbiting laboratory, tracking their progress from start to finish.  

      Now, in the commercial sector, her focus has shifted toward policy and compliance, ensuring commercial activities align with NASA’s regulations and guidance. 
      Lakita Lowe (second to left) at a NSBE SCP (National Society of Black Engineers – Space City Professionals) Chapter membership drive on May 23, 2023. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz For Lowe, one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is the ability to inspire young minds. Her advice to young Black women interested in STEM is to not limit themselves and to explore the vast opportunities NASA offers beyond engineering and science roles. She emphasizes the importance of NASA engaging with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and minority-serving institutions to spread awareness about the opportunities within the agency.  

      “Considering my busy schedule, I try to make myself available for speaking engagements and mentoring early-career individuals when possible,” she said. 

      Lowe actively participates in organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers and serves as a mentor to interns at Johnson. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and Johnson’s African American Employee Resource Group. 
      Lowe poses for a selfie at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Lowe’s relentless pursuit of knowledge and her unwavering dedication to STEM education continue to inspire generations and pave the way for a more dynamic future in human spaceflight.  

      “As an African American woman at NASA, I am excited about the future of space exploration, where diversity and inclusion will drive innovative solutions and inspire the next generation to reach for the stars.” 
      View the full article
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