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NASA Scientists Available for 2022 Hurricane Season Interviews


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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
      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
    • By NASA
      Artist’s concept of the Earth drawn from data from multiple satellite missions and created by a team of NASA scientists and graphic artists. Credit: NASA Images By Reto Stöckli, Based On Data From NASA And NOAA NASA joined more than 20 federal agencies in releasing its updated Climate Adaptation Plan Thursday, helping expand the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to make federal operations increasingly resilient to the impacts of climate change for the benefit of all.
      The updated plans advance the administration’s National Climate Resilience Framework, which helps align climate resilience investments across the public and private sectors through common principles and opportunities.
      “Thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, we are strengthening climate resilience to ensure humanity is well-prepared for the effects of climate change,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “NASA’s decades of Earth observation are key to building climate resiliency and sustainability across the country and the world.”
      NASA serves as a global leader in Earth science, providing researchers with crucial data from its satellites and other assets, as well as other observations and research on the climate system. The agency also works to apply that knowledge and inform the public about climate change. NASA will continue to prioritize these efforts and maintain an open information policy that makes its science data, software, and research freely available to all.
      Climate variability and change also have potential impacts on NASA’s ability to fulfill its mission, requiring proactive planning and action from the agency. To ensure coastal flooding, extreme weather events, and other climate change impacts do not stop the agency’s work, NASA is improving its climate hazard analyses and developing plans to protect key resources and facilities.  
      “As communities face extreme heat, natural disasters and severe weather from the impacts of climate change, President Biden is delivering record resources to build climate resilience across the country,” said Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Through his Investing in America agenda and an all-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis, the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering more than $50 billion to help communities increase their resilience and bolster protections for those who need it most. By updating our own adaptation strategies, the federal government is leading by example to build a more resilient future for all.”
      At the beginning of his administration, President Biden tasked federal agencies with leading whole-of-government efforts to address climate change through Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Following the magnitude of challenges posed by the climate crisis underscored last year when the nation endured a record 28 individual billion-dollar extreme weather and climate disasters that caused more than $90 billion in aggregate damage, NASA continues to be a leader and partner in adaptation and resilience.
      NASA released its initial Climate Adaptation Plan in 2021 and progress reports outlining advancements toward achieving their adaptation goals in 2022. In coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget, agencies updated their Climate Adaptation Plans for 2024 to 2027 to better integrate climate risk across their mission, operations, and asset management, including:
      Combining historical data and projections to assess exposure of assets to climate-related hazards including extreme heat and precipitation, sea level rise, flooding, and wildfire. Expanding the operational focus on managing climate risk to facilities and supply chains to include federal employees and federal lands and waters. Broadening the mission focus to describe mainstreaming adaptation into agency policies, programs, planning, budget formulation, and external funding. Linking climate adaptation actions with other Biden-Harris Administration priorities, including advancing environmental justice and the President’s Justice40 Initiative, strengthening engagement with Tribal Nations, supporting the America the Beautiful initiative, scaling up nature-based solutions, and addressing the causes of climate change through climate mitigation. Adopting common progress indicators across agencies to assess the progress of agency climate adaptation efforts. All plans from each of the more than 20 agencies and more information are available online.
      To learn more about Earth science research at NASA, visit:
      https://science.nasa.gov/earth-science//
      -end-
      Rob Margetta
      Headquarters, Washington 
      202-358-0918
      robert.j.margetta@nasa.gov
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Representatives from NASA, FEMA, and the planetary defense community participate in the 5th Planetary Defense Interagency Tabletop Exercise to inform and assess our ability as a nation to respond effectively to the threat of a potentially hazardous asteroid or comet.Credits: NASA/JHU-APL/Ed Whitman For the benefit of all, NASA released a summary Thursday of the fifth biennial Planetary Defense Interagency Tabletop Exercise. NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, in partnership with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and with the assistance of the U.S. Department of State Office of Space Affairs, convened the tabletop exercise to inform and assess our ability as a nation to respond effectively to the threat of a potentially hazardous asteroid or comet.
      Although there are no known significant asteroid impact threats for the foreseeable future, hypothetical exercises provide valuable insights by exploring the risks, response options, and opportunities for collaboration posed by varying scenarios, from minor regional damage with little warning to potential global catastrophes predicted years or even decades in the future.
      “The uncertainties in these initial conditions for the exercise allowed participants to consider a particularly challenging set of circumstances,” said Lindley Johnson, planetary defense officer emeritus NASA Headquarters in Washington. “A large asteroid impact is potentially the only natural disaster humanity has the technology to predict years in advance and take action to prevent.”
      During the exercise, participants considered potential national and global responses to a hypothetical scenario in which a never-before-detected asteroid was identified that had, according to initial calculations, a 72% chance of hitting Earth in approximately 14 years. The preliminary observations described in the exercise, however, were not sufficient to precisely determine the asteroid’s size, composition, and long-term trajectory. To complicate this year’s hypothetical scenario, essential follow-up observations would have to be delayed for at least seven months – a critical loss of time – as the asteroid passed behind the Sun as seen from Earth’s vantage point in space.
      Conducting exercises enable government stakeholders to identify and resolve potential issues as part of preparation for any real-world situation. It was held in April at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, and brought together nearly 100 representatives from across U.S. government agencies and, for the first time, international collaborators on planetary defense.
      “Our mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters,” said Leviticus “L.A.” Lewis, FEMA detailee to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. “We work across the country every day before disasters happen to help people and communities understand and prepare for possible risks. In the event of a potential asteroid impact, FEMA would be a leading player in interagency coordination.” 
      This exercise was the first to use data from NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission, the first in-space demonstration of a technology for defending Earth against potential asteroid impacts. The DART spacecraft, which impacted the asteroid moonlet Dimorphos on Sept. 26, 2022, confirmed a kinetic impactor could change the trajectory of an asteroid. Applying this or any type of technology to an actual impact threat would require many years of advance planning.
      To help ensure humanity will have the time needed to evaluate and respond to a potentially hazardous asteroid or comet, NASA continues the development of its NEO Surveyor (Near-Earth Object Surveyor), an infrared space telescope designed specifically to expedite our ability to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous near-Earth objects many years before they could become an impact threat. The agency’s NEO Surveyor’s proposed launch date is set for June 2028.
      NASA will publish a complete after-action report for the tabletop exercise later, which will include strengths and gaps identified from analysis of the response, other discussions during the exercise, and recommendations for improvement.
      “These outcomes will help to shape future exercises and studies to ensure NASA and other government agencies continue improving planetary defense preparedness,” said Johnson.
      NASA established the Planetary Defense Coordination Office in 2016 to manage the agency’s ongoing planetary-defense efforts. Johns Hopkins APL managed the DART mission for NASA as a project of the agency’s Planetary Missions Program Office.
      To learn more about planetary defense at NASA, visit:
      https://science.nasa.gov/planetary-defense/
      -end-
      Charles Blue / Karen Fox
      Headquarters, Washington 
      202-802-5345 / 202-358-1600
      charles.e.blue@nasa.gov / karen.fox@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jun 20, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Planetary Defense Coordination Office DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) NEO Surveyor (Near-Earth Object Surveyor Space Telescope) Planetary Science Division Science & Research Science Mission Directorate View the full article
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