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    • By NASA
      The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule atop is raised to the vertical position on June 2, 2021, at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, in preparation for the company’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA to the International Space Station. In view is the access arm. Dragon will deliver more than 7,300 pounds of cargo to the space station. Liftoff is scheduled for 1:29 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 3.SpaceX Media accreditation is open for SpaceX’s 29th commercial resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station.
      Liftoff of the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket is targeted no earlier than Wednesday, Nov. 1, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
      Media prelaunch and launch activities will take place at NASA Kennedy. Attendance for this launch is open to U.S. citizens. The application deadline for U.S. media is 11:59 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 18.
      All accreditation requests should be submitted online at:
      Credentialed media will receive a confirmation email upon approval. NASA’s media accreditation policy is available here. For questions about accreditation, or to request special logistical needs, please email ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov. For other questions, please contact Kennedy’s newsroom at: 321-867-2468.
      Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo at: antonia.jaramillobotero@nasa.gov or 321-501-8425.
      SpaceX’s Dragon will deliver new science investigations, food, supplies, and equipment to the international crew. The research includes work to understand interactions between weather on Earth and space, and laser communications. NASA’s Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE) will study atmospheric gravity waves –powerful waves formed by weather disturbances on Earth such as strong thunderstorms or brewing hurricanes – to understand the flow of energy through Earth’s upper atmosphere and space. Another experiment – Integrated Laser Communications Relay Demonstration Low-Earth-Orbit User Modem and Amplifier Terminal – (ILLUMA-T) aims to test high data rate laser communications from the space station to Earth. This will complete NASA’s first two-way, end-to-end laser relay system by sending high-resolution data to the agency’s Laser Communications Relay Demonstration, which launched in December 2021.
      Other investigations that will launch with the resupply mission include ESA’s (European Space Agency) Aquamembrane-3, which will test water filtration using proteins found in nature for water recycling and recovery, and Plant Habitat-06, which will evaluate the effects of spaceflight on plant defense responses using multiple genotypes of tomato.
      Commercial resupply by U.S. companies significantly increases NASA’s ability to conduct more investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory. These investigations lead to new technologies, medical treatments, and products that improve life on Earth. Other U.S. government agencies, private industry, and academic and research institutions can also conduct microgravity research through the agency’s partnership with the International Space Station National Laboratory.
      Humans have occupied the space station continuously since November 2000. In that time, 273 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft have visited the orbital outpost. It remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in exploration, including future missions to the Moon under Artemis, and ultimately, human exploration of Mars.
      For more information about commercial resupply missions, visit:
      Lora Bleacher / Julian Coltre
      Headquarters, Washington
      lora.v.bleacher@nasa.gov / julian.n.coltre@nasa.gov
      Stephanie Plucinsky / Steven Siceloff
      Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
      stephanie.n.plucinsky@nasa.gov / steven.p.siceloff@nasa.gov
      Sandra Jones
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      Last Updated Sep 29, 2023 Related Terms
      Commercial Resupply Commercial Space Humans in Space International Space Station (ISS) View the full article
    • By NASA
      3 min read
      NASA’s New Horizons to Continue Exploring Outer Solar System
      NASA has announced an updated plan to continue New Horizons’ mission of exploration of the outer solar system. 
      Beginning in fiscal year 2025, New Horizons will focus on gathering unique heliophysics data, which can be readily obtained during an extended, low-activity mode of operations. 
      While the science community is not currently aware of any reachable Kuiper Belt object, this new path allows for the possibility of using the spacecraft for a future close flyby of such an object, should one be identified. It also will enable the spacecraft to preserve fuel and reduce operational complexity while a search is conducted for a compelling flyby candidate. 
      “The New Horizons mission has a unique position in our solar system to answer important questions about our heliosphere and provide extraordinary opportunities for multidisciplinary science for NASA and the scientific community,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The agency decided that it was best to extend operations for New Horizons until the spacecraft exits the Kuiper Belt, which is expected in 2028 through 2029.” 
      This new, extended mission will be primarily funded by NASA’s Planetary Science Division and jointly managed by NASA’s Heliophysics and Planetary Science Divisions.
      NASA will assess the budget impact of continuing the New Horizons mission so far beyond its original plan of exploration. As a starting point, funding within the New Frontiers program (including science research and data analysis) will be rebalanced to accommodate extended New Horizons operations, and future projects may be impacted.
      Launched on January 18, 2006, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has helped scientists understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by visiting the dwarf planet Pluto (its primary mission) and then venturing farther out for a flyby of the Kuiper belt object Arrokoth, a double-lobed relic of the formation of our solar system, and other more remote observations of similar bodies.  
      The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Marshall Space Flight Center Planetary Management Office provides the NASA oversight for the New Horizons. Southwest Research Institute, based in San Antonio, directs the mission via Principal Investigator Stern, and leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
      Facebook logo @NASA@New Horizons @NASA@NASANewHorizons Instagram logo @NASA Linkedin logo @NASA Explore More
      4 min read 45 Years Ago: Astronomers Discover Pluto’s Moon Charon
      Article 3 months ago 2 min read New Horizons Team Discusses Discoveries from the Kuiper Belt
      New Horizons continues to shed light on the mysterious planets and smaller bodies of the…
      Article 7 months ago 4 min read New Horizons Team Adds AI Smarts to Its Kuiper Belt Object Search
      Article 7 months ago Keep Exploring Discover More Topics From NASA
      Our Solar System
      Overview Our planetary system is located in an outer spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. We call it the…
      Kuiper Belt
      Overview Both Pluto and Arrokoth are in the Kuiper Belt, the doughnut-shaped region of icy bodies extending far beyond the…

      Solar System Exploration
      Overview Since 1998, NASA’s Solar System Exploration hub has served as a real-time, living encyclopedia of the scientific exploration of…
      Last Updated Sep 29, 2023 Editor Tricia Talbert Related Terms
      New Horizons Pluto The Kuiper Belt View the full article
    • By NASA
      Screenshot of Copernicus with the Artemis I trajectoryNASA/JSC Copernicus, a generalized spacecraft trajectory design and optimization system, is capable of solving a wide range of trajectory problems such as planet or moon centered trajectories, libration point trajectories, planet-moon transfers and tours, and all types of interplanetary and asteroid/comet missions.
      Latest News
      January 21, 2022: Copernicus Version 5.2 is now available. This update includes many bug fixes and various new features and refinements. June 17, 2021: Copernicus was selected as winner of the 2021 NASA Software of the Year Award. March 4, 2021: Copernicus Version 5.1 is now available. This updates includes many bug fixes and various new features and refinements. June 26, 2020: Copernicus Version 5.0 is now available. This is a significant update to Copernicus and includes: A new modern Python-based GUI that is now cross-platform and fully functional on Windows, Linux, and macOS, 3D graphics upgrades including antialiasing and celestial body shadowing, a new Python scripting interface, many other new features and options, and bug fixes. May 1, 2018: Copernicus Version 4.6 is now available. The release includes the following changes: a new cross-platform JSON kernel file format, various new reference frame features, including new capabilities for user-defined reference frame plugins, and numerous bug fixes and other minor enhancements. January 24, 2018: Copernicus Version 4.5 is now available. The new version includes a new experimental Mac version, faster exporting of segment data output files (including the addition of a new binary HDF5 format), some new GUI tools, new plugin capabilities, and numerous other new features and bug fixes. October 1, 2016: Copernicus Version 4.4 is now available. The new version includes 3D graphics improvements and various other new features and bug fixes. February 8, 2016: Copernicus Version 4.3 is now available. The new version includes updates to the plugin interface, a new differential corrector solution method, updated SPICE SPK files, updates to the Python interface, new training videos, as well as numerous other refinements and bug fixes. July 21, 2015: Copernicus Version 4.2 is now available.  The update includes further refinements to the new plugin feature, as well as various other new features and some bug fixes. April 13, 2015: Copernicus Version 4.1 is now available.  This update includes a new plugin architecture to enable extending Copernicus with user-created algorithms.  It also includes a new Python interface, as well as various other new features and bug fixes. August 13, 2014: Copernicus Version 4.0 is now available.  This is an update to version 3.1, which was released in June 2012.  The new release includes many new features, bug fixes, performance and stability improvements, as well as a redesigned GUI, a new user guide, and full compatibility with Windows 7.  The update is recommended for all Copernicus users. Development
      The Copernicus Project started at the University of Texas at Austin in August 2001. In June 2002, a grant from the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) was used to develop the first prototype which was completed in August 2004. In the interim, support was also received from NASA’s In Space Propulsion Program and from the Flight Dynamics Vehicle Branch of Goddard Spaceflight Center. The first operational version was completed in March 2006 (v1.0). The initial development team consisted of Dr. Cesar Ocampo and graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. Since March 2007, primary development of Copernicus has been at the Flight Mechanics and Trajectory Design Branch of JSC.
      Request Copernicus
      The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 and a series of subsequent legislation recognized transfer of federally owned or originated technology to be a national priority and the mission of each Federal agency. The legislation specifically mandates that each Federal agency have a formal technology transfer program, and take an active role in transferring technology to the private sector and state and local governments for the purposes of commercial and other application of the technology for the national benefit. In accordance with NASA’s obligations under mandating legislation, JSC makes Copernicus available free of charge to other NASA centers, government contractors, and universities, under the terms of a US government purpose license.  Organizations interested in obtaining Copernicus should click here.
      For Copernicus-based analysis requests or specific Copernicus modifications that would support your project, please contact Gerald L. Condon (gerald.l.condon@nasa.gov) at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
      Current Version
      The current version of Copernicus is 5.2 (released January 21, 2022).
      Publications about Copernicus
      C. A. Ocampo, “An Architecture for a Generalized Trajectory Design and Optimization System”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Libration Points and Missions, June, 2002. C. A. Ocampo, “Finite Burn Maneuver Modeling for a Generalized Spacecraft Trajectory Design and Optimization System”, Annals of the New York Academy of Science, May 2004. C. A. Ocampo, J. Senent, “The Design and Development of Copernicus: A Comprehensive Trajectory Design and Optimization System”, Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, 2006. IAC-06-C1.4.04. R. Mathur, C. A. Ocampo, “An Architecture for Incorporating Interactive Visualizations into Scientific Simulations”, Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, Feb. 2007. C. A. Ocampo, J. S. Senent, J. Williams, “Theoretical Foundation of Copernicus: A Unified System for Trajectory Design and Optimization”, 4th International Conference on Astrodynamics Tools and Techniques, May 2010. J. Williams, J. S. Senent, C. A. Ocampo, R. Mathur, “Overview and Software Architecture of the Copernicus Trajectory Design and Optimization System”, 4th International Conference on Astrodynamics Tools and Techniques, May 2010. J. Williams, J. S. Senent, D. E. Lee, “Recent Improvements to the Copernicus Trajectory Design and Optimization System”, Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, 2012. J. Williams, “A New Architecture for Extending the Capabilities of the Copernicus Trajectory Optimization Program”, Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, 2015, volume 156. J. Williams, R. D. Falck, and I. B. Beekman. “Application of Modern Fortran to Spacecraft Trajectory Design and Optimization“, 2018 Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, AIAA SciTech Forum, (AIAA 2018-1451) J. Williams, A. H. Kamath, R. A. Eckman, G. L. Condon, R. Mathur, and D. Davis, “Copernicus 5.0: Latest Advances in JSC’s Spacecraft Trajectory Optimization and Design System”, 2019 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Portland, ME, August 11-15, 2019, AAS 19-719 Some studies that have used Copernicus
      C. L. Ranieri, C. A. Ocampo, “Optimization of Roundtrip, Time-Constrained, Finite Burn Trajectories via an Indirect Method”, Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 28, No. 2, March-April 2005. T. Polsgrove, L. Kos, R. Hopkins, T. Crane, “Comparison of Performance Predictions for New Low-Thrust Trajectory Tools”, AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, August, 2006. L. D. Kos, T. P. Polsgrove, R. C. Hopkins, D. Thomas and J. A. Sims, “Overview of the Development for a Suite of Low-Thrust Trajectory Analysis Tools”, AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, August, 2006. M. Garn, M. Qu, J. Chrone, P. Su, C. Karlgaard, “NASA’s Planned Return to the Moon: Global Access and Anytime Return Requirement Implications on the Lunar Orbit Insertion Burns”, AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference and Exhibit, August, 2008. R. B. Adams, “Near Earth Object (NEO) Mitigation Options Using Exploration Technologies”, Asteroid Deflection Research Symposium, Oct. 2008. J. Gaebler, R. Lugo, E. Axdahl, P. Chai, M. Grimes, M. Long, R. Rowland, A. Wilhite, “Reusable Lunar Transportation Architecture Utilizing Orbital Propellant Depots”, AIAA SPACE 2009 Conference and Exposition, September 2009. J. Williams, E. C. Davis, D. E. Lee, G. L. Condon, T. F. Dawn, “Global Performance Characterization of the Three Burn Trans-Earth Injection Maneuver Sequence over the Lunar Nodal Cycle”, Advances in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 135, 2010. AAS 09-380 J. Williams, S. M. Stewart, D. E. Lee, E. C. Davis, G. L. Condon, T. F. Dawn, J. Senent, “The Mission Assessment Post Processor (MAPP): A New Tool for Performance Evaluation of Human Lunar Missions”, 20th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Feb. 2010. J. W. Dankanich, L. M. Burke, J. A. Hemminger, “Mars sample return Orbiter/Earth Return Vehicle technology needs and mission risk assessment”, 2010 IEEE Aerospace Conference, March 2010. A. V. Ilin, L. D. Cassady, T. W. Glover, M. D. Carter, F. R. Chang Diaz, “A Survey of Missions using VASIMR for Flexible Space Exploration”, Ad Astra Rocket Company, Document Number JSC-65825, April 2010. J. W. Dankanich, B. Vondra, A. V. Ilin, “Fast Transits to Mars Using Electric Propulsion”, 46th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, July 2010. S. R. Oleson, M. L. McGuire, L. Burke, J. Fincannon, T. Colozza, J. Fittje, M. Martini, T. Packard, J. Hemminger, J. Gyekenyesi, “Mars Earth Return Vehicle (MERV) Propulsion Options”, 46th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, July 2010, AIAA 2010-6795. J. S. Senent, “Fast Calculation of Abort Return Trajectories for Manned Missions to the Moon”, AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, August 2010. D. S. Cooley, K. F. Galal, K. Berry, L. Janes, G. Marr. J. Carrico. C. Ocampo, “Mission Design for the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS)”, AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, August, 2010. A. V. Ilin, L. D. Cassady, T. W. Glover, F. R. Chang Diaz, “VASIMR Human Mission to Mars”, Space, Propulsion & Energy Sciences International Forum, March 15-17, 2011. J. Brophy, F. Culick, L. Friedman, et al., “Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study,” Technical Report, Keck Institute for Space Studies, California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, April 2012. A. V. Ilin, “Low Thrust Trajectory Analysis (A Survey of Missions using VASIMR for Flexible Space Exploration – Part 2), Ad Astra Rocket Company, Document Number JSC-66428, June 2012. P. R. Chai, A. W. Wilhite, “Station Keeping for Earth-Moon Lagrangian Point Exploration Architectural Assets”, AIAA SPACE 2012 Conference & Exposition, September, 2012, AIAA 2012-5112. F. R. Chang Diaz, M. D. Carter, T. W. Glover, A. V. Ilin, C. S. Olsen, J. P. Squire, R. J. Litchford, N. Harada, S. L. Koontz, “Fast and Robust Human Missions to Mars with Advanced Nuclear Electric Power and VASIMR Propulsion”, Proceedings of Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space, Feb. 2013. Paper 6777. J. Williams, “Trajectory Design for the Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission”, JSC Engineering, Technology and Science (JETS) Contract Technical Brief JETS-JE23-13-AFGNC-DOC-0014, July, 2013. J.P. Gutkowski, T.F. Dawn, R.M. Jedrey, “Trajectory Design Analysis over the Lunar Nodal Cycle for the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Exploration Mission 2 (EM-2)”, Advances in the Astronautical Sciences Guidance, Navigation and Control, Vol. 151, 2014. AAS 14-096. R. G. Merrill, M. Qu, M. A. Vavrina, C. A. Jones, J. Englander, “Interplanetary Trajectory Design for the Asteroid Robotic Redirect Mission Alternate Approach Trade Study”, AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, 2014. AIAA 2014-4457. J. Williams, G. L. Condon. “Contingency Trajectory Planning for the Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission”, SpaceOps 2014 Conference (AIAA 2014-1697). J. Williams, D. E. Lee, R. J. Whitley, K. A. Bokelmann, D. C. Davis, and C. F. Berry. “Targeting cislunar near rectilinear halo orbits for human space exploration“, AAS 17-267 T. F. Dawn, J. Gutkowski, A. Batcha, J. Williams, and S. Pedrotty. “Trajectory Design Considerations for Exploration Mission 1“, 2018 Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, AIAA SciTech Forum, (AIAA 2018-0968) A. L. Batcha, J. Williams, T. F. Dawn, J. P. Gutkowski, M. V. Widner, S. L. Smallwood, B. J. Killeen, E. C. Williams, and R. E. Harpold, “Artemis I Trajectory Design and Optimization”, AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, August 9-12, 2020, AAS 20-649 View the full article
    • By NASA
      Our SpaceX Crew-6 Mission Safely Returns to Earth on This Week @NASA – September 8, 2023
    • By NASA
      The crew of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission will discuss their six-month science mission aboard the International Space Station during a news conference at 2:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.View the full article
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