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As Station Crew Readies to Return to Earth, NASA Sets TV Coverage


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      NASA/Kevin O’Brien NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket in the Block 1B cargo configuration will launch for the first time beginning with Artemis IV. This upgraded and more powerful SLS rocket will enable SLS to send over 38 metric tons (83,700 lbs.) to the Moon, including NASA’s Orion spacecraft and its crew, along with heavy payloads for more ambitious missions to deep space. While every SLS rocket retains the core stage, booster, and RS-25 engine designs, the Block 1B features a more powerful exploration upper stage with four RL10 engines for in-space propulsion and a new universal stage adapter for greater cargo capability and volume. 
      As NASA and its Artemis partners aim to explore the Moon for scientific discovery and in preparation for future missions to Mars, the evolved Block 1B design of the SLS rocket will be key in launching Artemis astronauts, modules or other exploration spacecraft for long-term exploration, and key components of  Gateway lunar space station.
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    • 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.NASA NASA is readying for the launch of several small satellites to space, built with the help of students, educators, and researchers from across the country, as part of the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.
      The ELaNa 43 (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites 43) mission includes eight CubeSats flying on Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket for its “Noise of Summer” launch from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. The 30-minute launch window will open at 9 p.m. PDT Wednesday, June 26 (12 a.m. EDT Thursday, June 27).
      NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) is an ongoing partnership between the agency, educational institutions, and nonprofits, providing a path to space for educational small satellite missions. For the ELaNa 43 mission, each satellite is stored in a CubeSat dispenser on the Firefly rocket and deployed once it reaches sun-synchronous or nearly polar orbit around Earth.
      CubeSats are built using standardized units, with one unit, or 1U, measuring about 10 centimeters in length, width, and height. This standardization in size and form allows universities and other researchers to develop cost-effective science investigations and technology demonstrations.
      Read more about the small satellites launching on ELaNa 43:
      CatSat – University of Arizona, Tucson
      CatSat, a 6U CubeSat with a deployable antenna inside a Mylar balloon, will test high-speed communications. Once the CatSat reaches orbit, it will inflate to transmit high-definition Earth photos to ground stations at 50 megabits per second, more than five times faster than typical home internet speeds.
      The CatSat design inspiration came to Chris Walker after covering a pot of pudding with plastic wrap. The CatSat principal investigator and professor of Astronomy at University of Arizona noticed the image of an overhanging light bulb created by reflections off the concave plastic wrap on the pot.
      “This observation eventually led to the Large Balloon Reflector, an inflatable technology that creates large collecting apertures that weigh a fraction of today’s deployable antennas,” said Walker. The Large Balloon Reflector was an early-stage study developed through NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program.
      KUbeSat-1 – University of Kansas, Lawrence
      The KUbeSat-1, a 3U CubeSat, will use a new method to measure the energy and type of primary cosmic rays hitting the Earth, which is traditionally done on Earth. The second payload, the High-Altitude Calibration will measure very high frequency signals generated by cosmic interactions with the atmosphere. KUbeSat-1 is Kansas’ first small satellite to launch under NASA’s CSLI.
      MESAT-1 – University of Maine, Orono
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      R5-S4, R5-S2-2.0 ­­­­­- NASA’s Johnson Space Center
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      Serenity – Teachers in Space
      Serenity, a 3U CubeSat equipped with data sensors and a camera, will communicate with students on Earth through amateur radio signals and send back images. Teachers in Space launches satellites as educational experiments to stimulate interest in space science, technology, engineering, and math among students in North America.
      SOC-i – University of Washington, Seattle
      Satellite for Optimal Control and Imaging (SOC-i), a 2U CubeSat, is a technology demonstration mission of attitude control technology used to maintain its orientation in relation to the Earth, Sun, or other body. This mission will test an algorithm to support autonomous operations with constrained attitude guidance maneuvers computed in real-time aboard the spacecraft. SOC-i will autonomously rotate its camera to capture images.
      TechEdSat-11 (TES-11) – NASA’s Ames Research Center, California’s Silicon Valley
      TES-11, a 6U CubeSat, is a collaborative effort between NASA researchers and students to evaluate technologies for use in small satellites. It’s part of ongoing experiments to evaluate new technologies in communications, a radiation sensor suite, and experimental solar panels, as well as to find ways to reduce the time to de-orbit.
      NASA awarded Firefly Aerospace a fixed-price contract to fly small satellites to space under a Venture-Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 contract in 2020. NASA certified Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket as a Category 1 in May, which authorized its use during missions with high risk tolerance.
      NASA’s Launch Services Program is responsible for launching rockets delivering spacecraft that observe Earth, visit other planets, and explore the universe.
      Follow NASA’s small satellite missions blog for launch updates.
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    • 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. NASA/Ben Smegelsky NASA invites the public to participate in virtual activities and events leading up to the launch of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) GOES-U (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-U) mission. 
      NASA is targeting a two-hour window opening at 5:16 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 25, for the launch of the weather satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 
      Live launch coverage will begin at 4:15 p.m. and will air on NASA+, the agency’s website, and other digital channels. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms. 
      As the fourth and final satellite in NOAA’s GOES-R Series, GOES-U will enhance meteorologists’ ability to provide advanced weather forecasting and warning capabilities. GOES-U also will improve the detection and monitoring of space weather hazards using a new compact coronagraph instrument. 
      Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. As a virtual guest, you will have access to curated resources, schedule changes, and mission-specific information delivered straight to your inbox. Following each activity, virtual guests will receive a commemorative stamp for their virtual guest passport. 
      Stay updated on the mission by following NASA’s GOES blog: 
      https://blogs.nasa.gov/goes/
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    • By NASA
      ASIA-AQ DC-8 aircraft flies over Bangkok, Thailand to monitor seasonal haze from fire smoke and urban pollution. Photo credit: Rafael Luis Méndez Peña. Tracking the spread of harmful air pollutants across large regions requires aircraft, satellites, and diverse team of scientists. NASA’s global interest in the threat of air pollution extends into Asia, where it works with partners on the Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality (ASIA-AQ).  This international mission integrates satellite data and aircraft measurements with local air quality ground monitoring and modeling efforts across Asia.
      Orchestrating a mission of this scale requires complicated agreements between countries, the coordination of aircraft and scientific instrumentation, and the mobilization of scientists from across the globe. To make this possible, ARC’s Earth Science Project Office (ESPO) facilitated each phase of the campaign, from site preparation and aircraft deployment to sensitive data management and public outreach.
      “Successfully meeting the ASIA-AQ mission logistics requirements was an incredible effort in an uncertainty-filled environment and a very constrained schedule to execute and meet those requirements,” explains ASIA-AQ Project Manager Jhony Zavaleta. “Such effort drew on the years long experience on international shipping expertise, heavy equipment operations, networking and close coordination with international service providers and all of the U.S. embassies at each of our basing locations.”
      Map of planned ASIA-AQ operational regions. Yellow circles indicate the original areas of interest for flight sampling. The overlaid colormap shows annual average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations observed by the TROPOMI satellite with red colors indicating the most polluted locations. Understanding Air Quality Globally
      ASIA-AQ benefits our understanding of air quality and the factors controlling its daily variability by investigating the ways that air quality can be observed and quantified. The airborne measurements collected during the campaign are directly integrated with existing satellite observations of air quality, local air quality monitoring networks, other available ground assets, and models to provide a level of detail otherwise unavailable to advance understanding of regional air quality and improve future integration of satellite and ground monitoring information.
      ESPO’s Mission-Critical Contributions
      Facilitating collaboration between governmental agencies and the academic community by executing project plans, navigating bureaucratic hurdles, and consensus building. Mission planning for two NASA aircraft. AFRC DC-8 completed 16 science flights, totaling 125 flight hours. The LaRC GIII completed 35 science flights, totaling 157.7 flight hours. Enabling international fieldwork and workforce mobilization by coordinating travel, securing authorizations and documentation, and maintaining relationships with local research partners. Managing outreach to local governments and schools. ASIA-AQ team members showcased tools used for air quality science to elementary/middle/high school students. Recent news feature here. View of ASIA-AQ aircraft in Bangkok, Thailand. ESPO staff from left to right: Dan Chirica, Marilyn Vasques, Sam Kim, Jhony Zavaleta, and Andrian Liem. Aircraft from left to right: Korean Meteorological Agency/National Institute of Meteorological Sciences, NASA LaRC GIII, NSASA DC-8, (2) Hanseo University, Sunny Air (private aircraft contracted by Korean Meteorological Agency). Photo: Rafael Mendez Peña. The flying laboratory of NASA’s DC-8
      NASA flew its DC-8 aircraft, picture above, equipped with instrumentation to monitor the quality, source, and movement of harmful air pollutants. Scientists onboard used the space as a laboratory to analyze data in real-time and share it with a network of researchers who aim to tackle this global issue.
      “Bringing the DC-8 flying laboratory and US researchers to Asian countries not only advances atmospheric research but also fosters international scientific collaboration and education,” said ESPO Project Specialist Vidal Salazar. “Running a campaign like ASIA AQ also opens doors for shared knowledge and exposes local communities to cutting-edge research.”
      Fostering Partnerships Through Expertise and Goodwill
      International collaboration fostered through this campaign contributes to an ongoing dialogue about air pollution between Asian countries.
      “NASA’s continued scientific and educational activities around the world are fundamental to building relationships with partnering countries,” said ESPO Director Marilyn Vasques. “NASA’s willingness to share data and provide educational opportunities to locals creates goodwill worldwide.”
      The role of ESPO in identifying, strategizing, and executing on project plans across the globe created a path for multi-sectoral community engagement on air quality. These global efforts to improve air quality science directly inform efforts to save lives from this hazard that affects all.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      (April 8, 2024) NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps uses a camera in the International Space Station’s cupola to take photographs of the Moon’s shadow umbra as a total solar eclipse moves across Earth’s surface during Expedition 71.Credits: NASA/Matthew Dominick Students from Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas will have an opportunity to hear from a NASA astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
      The 20-minute Earth-to-space call will stream live at 9:10 a.m. EDT, Wednesday, June 26, on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.
      NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps will answer prerecorded questions from students of the South Central Region of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. In preparation for the event, the students participated in an interactive learning experience about aviation and aerospace.
      Media interested in covering the event must RSVP no later than 5 p.m., Monday, June 24, by contacting Brittany Francis at rtcscrbrittany@gmail.com or 713-757-2586.
      For more than 23 years, astronauts have continuously lived and worked aboard the space station, testing technologies, performing science, and developing skills needed to explore farther from Earth. Astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the SCaN (Space Communications and Navigation) Near Space Network.
      Important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the International Space Station benefit people on Earth and lays the groundwork for other agency missions. As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, the agency will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future human exploration of Mars; inspiring Artemis Generation explorers and ensuring the United States will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.
      See videos and lesson plans highlighting space station research at:
      https://www.nasa.gov/stemonstation
      -end-
      Gerelle Dodson
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      gerelle.q.dodson@nasa.gov
      Sandra Jones 
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      sandra.p.jones@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jun 21, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      International Space Station (ISS) Humans in Space In-flight Education Downlinks ISS Research STEM Engagement at NASA View the full article
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