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    • By NASA
      Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U (GOES-U) Launch
    • By NASA
      A Satellite for Optimal Control and Imaging (SOC-i) CubeSat awaits integration at Firefly’s Payload Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California on Thursday, June 6, 2024. SOC-i, along with several other CubeSats, will launch to space on an Alpha rocket during NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) 43 mission as part of the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative and Firefly’s Venture-Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 contract.Photo credit: NASA Eight CubeSats that are part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative have been integrated into Firefly Aerospace’s deployment hardware and are ready to be encapsulated into the payload fairing of Firefly’s Alpha rocket. The launch, named “Noise of Summer,” will lift off early this summer from Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 
      University students from several schools, along with some technicians from NASA, brought their small satellites to Firefly for integration with the rocket. The satellites are designed to perform a range of scientific experiments and technical demonstrations including high-speed communications, cosmic ray detection, climate monitoring, and new de-orbiting techniques. 
      The CubeSats on the ELaNa 43 (Educational Launch of a Nanosatellite) manifest are: 
      CatSat – University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona  KUbe-Sat-1 – University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas  MESAT1 – University of Maine, Orono, Maine  R5-S4 – NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas  R5-S2-2.0 – NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston  SOC-i – University of Washington, Seattle, Washington  TechEdSat-11 – NASA’s Ames Research Center, California’s Silicon Valley  Serenity – Teachers in Space   Students are heavily involved in all aspects of their mission from developing, assembling, and testing payloads to working with NASA and the launch vehicle integration teams. The CubeSats are held to rigorous standards like that of the primary spacecraft.  
      Firefly Aerospace is one of three companies selected under NASA’s Launch Services Program Venture-Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract awarded in December 2020. These VCLS Demo 2 missions can tolerate a higher level of risk and help create opportunities for new launch vehicles, helping grow the launch vehicle market while increasing access to space for small spacecraft and science missions. 
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Crews transport NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-U) from the Astrotech Space Operations facility to the SpaceX hangar at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida beginning on Friday, June 14, 2024, with the operation finishing early Saturday, June 15, 2024. The fourth and final weather-observing and environmental monitoring satellite in NOAA’s GOES-R Series will assist meteorologists in providing advanced weather forecasting and warning capabilities. The two-hour window for liftoff opens 5:16 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 25, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA/Ben Smegelsky) NASA will provide live coverage of prelaunch and launch activities for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-U (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite U) mission. The two-hour launch window opens at 5:16 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 25, for the satellite’s launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 
      The GOES-U satellite, the final addition to GOES-R series, will help to prepare for two kinds of weather — Earth and space weather. The GOES satellites serve a critical role in providing continuous coverage of the Western Hemisphere, including monitoring tropical systems in the eastern Pacific and Atlantic oceans. This continuous monitoring aids scientists and forecasters in issuing timely warnings and forecasts to help protect the one billion people who live and work in the Americas. Additionally, GOES-U carries a new compact coronagraph that will image the outer layer of the Sun’s atmosphere to detect and characterize coronal mass ejections. 
      The deadline for media accreditation for in-person coverage of this launch has passed. NASA’s media credentialing policy is available online. For questions about media accreditation, please email: ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov. 
      NASA’s mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern and subject to change based on real-time operations): 
      Monday, June 24 
      9:30 a.m. – NASA EDGE GOES-U prelaunch show on NASA+, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. 
      11 a.m. – GOES-U science briefing with the following participants: 
      Charles Webb, deputy director, Joint Agency Satellite Division, NASA  Ken Graham, director, NOAA’s National Weather Service  Dan Lindsey, chief scientist, GOES-R Program, NOAA  Elsayed Talaat, director, NOAA’s Office of Space Weather Observations  Chris Wood, NOAA Hurricane Hunter pilot  Coverage of the science news conference will stream live on NASA+, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. 
      Media may ask questions in person and via phone. Limited auditorium space will be available for in-person participation. For the dial-in number and passcode, media should contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than one hour before the start of the event at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov. 
      3:15 p.m. – NASA Social panel at Kennedy with the following participants: 
      Jade Zsiros, telemetry engineer, NASA’s Launch Services Program  Ellen Ramirez, deputy division chief, Mission Operations Division, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service Office of Satellite and Product Operations, NOAA  Dakota Smith, satellite analyst and communicator, NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere  Allana Nepomuceno, senior manager, GOES-U Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations, Lockheed Martin  Chris Reith, program manager, Advanced Baseline Imager, L3Harris Technologies  The panel will stream live on NASA Kennedy’s YouTube, X and Facebook accounts. Members of the public may ask questions online by posting to the YouTube, X, and Facebook live streams or using #AskNASA. 
      5 p.m. – Prelaunch news conference at Kennedy (following completion of the Launch Readiness Review), with the following participants: 
      Denton Gibson, launch director, Launch Services Program, NASA  Steve Volz, assistant administrator, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service  Pam Sullivan, director, GOES-R Program, NOAA  John Gagosian, director, Joint Agency Satellite Division  Julianna Scheiman, director, NASA Science Missions, SpaceX  Brian Cizek, launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, U.S. Space Force  Coverage of the prelaunch news conference will stream live on NASA+, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. 
      Media may ask questions in person and via phone. Limited auditorium space will be available for in-person participation. For the dial-in number and passcode, media should contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than one hour before the start of the event at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov. 
      Tuesday, June 25 
      1 p.m. – Media one-on-one interviews with the following: 
      Michael Morgan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, NOAA  Michael Brennan, director, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center  James Spann, senior scientist, Office of Space Weather Observations, NOAA  John Gagosian, director, Joint Agency Satellite Division  Krizia Negron, language program lead, National Weather Service Office of Science and Technology Integration, NOAA (bilingual, available for Spanish interviews)  Dan Lindsey, chief scientist, GOES-R Program, NOAA  Jagdeep Shergill, program director, GEO Weather, Lockheed Martin  Chris Reith, program manager, Advanced Baseline Imager, L3Harris Technologies  4:15 p.m. – NASA launch coverage begins on NASA+, the agency’s website, and other digital channels.  
      5:16 p.m. – Two-hour launch window opens 
      Audio Only Coverage 
      Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240 or -7135. On launch day, “mission audio,” countdown activities without NASA Television media launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135. 
      Live Video Coverage Prior to Launch 
      NASA will provide a live video feed of Launch Complex 39A approximately 24 hours prior to the planned liftoff of the mission on NASA Kennedy’s YouTube: https://youtube.com/kscnewsroom. The feed will be uninterrupted until the prelaunch broadcast begins on NASA Television media channel. 
      NASA Website Launch Coverage 
      Launch day coverage of the mission will be available on the agency’s website. Coverage will include live streaming and blog updates beginning no earlier than 3 p.m., June 25, as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff. 
      For questions about countdown coverage, contact the Kennedy newsroom at 321-867-2468. Follow countdown coverage on the GOES blog. 
      Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo: antonia.jaramillobotero@nasa.gov o Messod Bendayan: messod.c.bendayan@nasa.gov 
      Attend the Launch Virtually 
      Members of the public can register to attend this launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for this mission also includes curated launch resources, notifications about related opportunities or changes, and a stamp for the NASA virtual guest passport following launch. 
      Watch, Engage on Social Media 
      Let people know you’re following the mission on X, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtags #ReadyToGOES and #NASASocial. You can also stay connected by following and tagging these accounts: 
      X: @NASA, @NASA_LSP, @NASAKennedy, @NOAASatellites, @NASAGoddard 
      Facebook: NASA, NASA LSP, NASA Kennedy, NOAA Satellites, NASA Goddard 
      Instagram: NASA, NASA Kennedy, NOAA Satellites 
      For more information about the mission, visit: 
      https://www.nasa.gov/goes-u
      -end- 
      Liz Vlock 
      Headquarters, Washington 
      202-358-1600 
      elizabeth.a.vlock@nasa.gov 
      Peter Jacobs 
      Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland 
      301-286-0535 
      peter.jacobs@nasa.gov 
      Leejay Lockhart 
      Kennedy Space Center, Florida 
      321-747-8310 
      leejay.lockhart@nasa.gov 


      View the full article
    • By NASA
      The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) launched together from Cape Canaveral Air Force, now Space Force, Station on June 18, 2009, atop an Atlas V launch vehicle. The primary mission of the LRO, managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, involved imaging the entire Moon’s surface to create a 3-D map with ~50-centimeter resolution to aid in the planning of future robotic and crewed missions. In addition, LRO would map the polar regions and search for the presence of water ice. Although its primary mission intended to last only one year, it continues to operate after 15 years in lunar orbit. The LCROSS, managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, planned to further investigate the presence of water ice in permanently shaded areas of the Moon’s polar regions. The two components of LCROSS, the Centaur upper stage of the launch vehicle and the Shepherding Satellite, planned to deliberately crash into the Moon. Instruments on Earth and aboard LRO and the LCROSS Shepherding Satellite would observe the resulting plumes and analyze them for the presence of water.

      Left: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), top, silver, and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), bottom, gold, spacecraft during placement inside the launch shroud. Right: Launch of LRO and LCROSS on an Atlas V rocket.
      The LRO spacecraft carries seven scientific instruments:
      the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) to characterize the lunar radiation environment; the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment (DLRE) to identify areas cold enough to trap ice; the Lyman-Alpha Mapping Project (LMAP) to search for ice in the lunar polar regions; the Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) to create a map of hydrogen distribution and to determine the neutron component of the lunar radiation environment; the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) to measure slopes and roughness of potential landing sites; the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) consisting of two-narrow angle and one wide-angle camera to take high-resolution images of the lunar surface; and the Mini Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) experiment, an advanced radar system to image the polar regions and search for water ice.
      Left: Illustration of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and its scientific instruments. Right: Illustration of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite and its scientific instruments on panel at left.
      The LCROSS Shepherding Satellite carried nine instruments – five cameras (one visible, two near-infrared, and two mid-infrared); three spectrometers (one visible and two near-infrared); and a photometer. They monitored the plume sent up by the impact of the Centaur upper stage.

      Left: Illustration of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in lunar orbit. Right: Illustration of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite’s Shepherding Satellite at left and Centaur upper stage at right prior to lunar impact.
      On June 23, 2009, after a four-and-a-half-day journey from Earth, LRO entered an elliptical polar orbit around the Moon. Over the next four days, four engine burns refined the spacecraft’s orbit and engineers on the ground began commissioning its instruments. The LROC returned its first image of the Moon on June 30 of an area near the Mare Nubium. On Sept. 15, 2009, LRO began its primary one-year mission to map the lunar surface from its science orbit 31 miles above the Moon.  
      On Oct. 9, 2009, first the Centaur upper stage followed five minutes later by the LCROSS Shepherding Satellite crashed into the Moon’s Cabeus Crater near the lunar south pole. Although the impacts created smaller plumes than anticipated, instruments detected signs of water in the ejected debris.
      In September 2010, LRO completed its primary mapping mission and began an extended science mission around the Moon. On Dec. 17, NASA released the most detailed topographic map covering more than 98 percent of the Moon’s surface based on data from LRO’s LOLA instrument. The map continues to be updated as new data are received from the spacecraft. On March 15, 2011, LRO had made available more than 192 terabytes of data from its primary mission to the NASA Planetary Data System, or PDS, to make the information available to researchers, students, media, and the general public. LRO  continues to deliver data to the PDS, having generated the largest volume of data from a NASA planetary science mission ever.

      Left: First high-resolution image of the Moon taken by Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Middle: Mosaic of LRO images of the Moon’s near side. Right: Mosaic of LRO images of the Moon’s far side.

      Left: Mosaic of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) images of the lunar north pole. Right: Mosaic of LRO images of the lunar south pole.
      The LCROSS data showed that the lunar soil within shadowy craters is rich in useful materials, such as hydrogen gas, ammonia, and methane, which could be used to produce fuel for space missions. Large amounts of light metals, such as sodium, mercury, and silver, were discovered. The data revealed that there is perhaps as much as hundreds of millions of tons of frozen water on the Moon, enough to make it an effective oasis for future explorers.
      Thanks to its unique vantage point in a low altitude lunar orbit, LRO’s camera has taken remarkably detailed images of all six Apollo landing sites. The detail is such that not only can the Lunar Module (LM) descent stages be clearly identified, but disturbances of the lunar soil by the astronauts’ boots, the shadows of the American flag are visible at five of the landing sites, and the Lunar Rovers from the last three missions are even visible. The scientific instruments, and in at least three of the landing sites, the U.S. flag left by the astronauts can be discerned. The flag at the Apollo 11 site cannot be seen because it most likely was blown over by the exhaust of the LM’s ascent stage engine when the astronauts lifted off. In addition to the Apollo landing sites, LRO has also imaged crash and soft-landing sites of other American, Soviet, Chinese, Indian, and Israeli spacecraft, including craters left by the deliberate impacts of Apollo S-IVB upper stages. It also imaged a Korean satellite in lunar orbit as the two flew within a few miles of each other at high speed. LRO also turned its camera Earthward to catch stunning Earthrise views, one image with Mars in the background, and the Moon’s shadow on the Earth during the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

      Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of the Apollo 11, left, 12, and 14 landing sites.

      Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images of the Apollo 15, left, 16, and 17 landing sites.

      Left: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) image of Luna 17 that landed on the Moon on Nov. 17, 1970, and the tracks of the Lunokhod 1 rover that it deployed. Middle: LRO image of the Chang’e 4 lander and Yutu 2 rover that landed on the Moon’s far side on Jan. 3, 2019. Right: LRO image of the Chandrayaan 3 lander taken four days after it landed on the Moon on Aug. 23, 2023.

      Left: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) image of Odysseus that landed on the Moon on Feb. 22, 2024. Middle: LRO image taken on March 5, 2024, of the Danuri lunar orbiting satellite as the two passed within 3 miles of each other at a relative velocity of 7,200 miles per hour. Right: LRO image of the Chang’e 6 lander on the Moon’s farside, taken on June 7, 2024.

      Left: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) image of Earthrise over Compton Crater taken Oct. 12, 2015. Middle: LRO image of Earth and Mars taken Oct. 2, 2014. Right: LRO image of the total solar eclipse taken on April 8, 2024.
      The LRO mission continues with the spacecraft returning images and data from its instruments. LRO has enough fuel on board to operate until 2027. The spacecraft can support new robotic lunar activities and the knowledge from the mission will help aid in the return of humans to the lunar surface. 
      View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      Image: Moving the Ariane 6 upper part to the launch pad for first flight View the full article
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