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Boeing Starliner OFT-2 Launch (Official NASA Broadcast)


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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
      MESAT-1, a 3U CubeSat, will study local temperatures across city and rural areas to determine phytoplankton concentration in bodies of water to help predict algal blooms.  MESAT-1 is Maine’s first small satellite to launch under NASA’s CSLI.
      R5-S4, R5-S2-2.0 ­­­­­- NASA’s Johnson Space Center
      R5-S4 and R5-S2-2.0, both 6U CubeSats, will be the first R5 spacecraft launched to orbit to test a new, lean spacecraft build. The team will monitor how each part of the spacecraft performs, including the computer, software, radio, propulsion system, sensors, and cameras in low Earth orbit.
      NASA and Firefly Aerospace engineers review the integration plan for the agency’s CubeSat R5 Spacecraft 4 (R5-S4) at Firefly Aerospace’s Payload Processing Facility at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California on Wednesday, April 24, 2024.NASA/Jacob Nunez-Kearny “In the near term, R5 hopes to demonstrate new processes that allows for faster and cheaper development of high-performance CubeSats,” said Sam Pedrotty, R5 project manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “The cost and schedule improvements will allow R5 to provide higher-risk ride options to low-Technology Readiness Levels payloads so more can be demonstrated on-orbit.”
      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.
      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. 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/
      View the full article
    • 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
      From the left, NASA Kennedy Space Center’s, Maui Dalton, project manager, engineering; Katherine Zeringue, cultural resources manager; Janet Petro, NASA Kennedy Space Center director; and Ismael Otero, project manager, engineering, unveil a large bronze historical marker plaque at the location of NASA Kennedy’s original headquarters building on Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Approved in April 2023 as part of the State of Florida’s Historical Markers program in celebration of National Historic Preservation Month, the marker commemorates the early days of space exploration and is displayed permanently just west of the seven-story, 200,000 square foot Central Campus Headquarters Building, which replaced the old building in 2019.Photo credit:: NASA/Mike Chambers Current and former employees of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida gathered recently to celebrate the installation of a Florida Historical Marker cast in bronze at the location of the spaceport’s old headquarters building.
      The first of its kind inside the center’s secure area, the marker is the latest example of the center’s commitment to remembering its rich history as it continues to launch humanity’s future.
      At the forefront of NASA Kennedy’s commitment to preservation is Katherine Zeringue, who serves as cultural resources manager, overseeing the center’s historic resources from buildings to historic districts to archaeological sites.
      “Traditional approaches attempt to preserve things to a specific time period, including historic materials,” Zeringue said. “But that’s a challenge here because we still actively use our historic assets, which need to be modified to accommodate new missions and new spacecraft. Therefore, we rely on an adaptive reuse approach, in which the active use of a historic property helps to ensure its preservation.”
      Many iconic structures are still in service at NASA Kennedy, like the Beach House where Apollo astronauts congregated with their families, the Vehicle Assembly Building where NASA rockets are still stacked, the Launch Control Center, and Launch Complex 39A. All told, 83 buildings, seven historic districts, and one National Historic Landmark are either listed or are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
      To conserve these resources, the spaceport follows a variety of federal laws, regulations, and executive orders, including the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. This includes making a reasonable and good faith effort to identify any historic properties under its care and considering how its decisions affect historic properties.
      “The Cultural Resources Management Program aims to balance historic preservation considerations with the agency’s mission and mandate to ensure reliable access to space for government and commercial payloads,” Zeringue said. “Finding that proper balance is challenging in the dynamic environment of our spaceport.”
      Perhaps no other location embodies the center’s commitment to the past and the future more than Launch Complex 39A. Created in 1965, the launch complex was initially designed to support the Saturn V rocket, which powered the agency’s Apollo Program as it made numerous trips to the Moon. Outside of launching Skylab in 1973, the pad stood unused following Apollo’s end in 1972 until the agency’s Space Shuttle Program debuted in 1981. The transition from Apollo to space shuttle saw Launch Complex 39A transform from support of a single-use rocket to supporting the nation’s first reusable space launch and landing system.
      By the time the program ended in 2011, 135 space shuttle launches had taken place within Kennedy’s boundary, 82 of which were at Launch Complex 39A. Many of those were among the program’s most notable, including the flights of astronauts Sally Ride, NASA’s first woman in space, and Guion Bluford, NASA’s first Black astronaut in space, as well as the first flight to the newly created International Space Station in 1998.
      The launch complex began another transformation in 2014 when NASA signed a 20-year lease agreement with SpaceX as part of Kennedy’s transformation into a multi-user spaceport. SpaceX reconfigured Launch Complex 39A to support its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, which today launch robotic science missions and other government and commercial payloads, as well as crew and cargo to the space station. Apollo-era infrastructure is incorporated in the SpaceX Crew Launch Tower.
      “Launch Complex 39A exemplifies the balance between historic preservation and supporting the mission,” Zeringue noted. “Each chapter of the space program brings change, and those changes become additional chapters in the center’s historical legacy as we continue to build the future in space exploration.”
      View the full article
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