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NASA Confirms DART Mission Impact Changed Asteroid’s Motion in Space


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Analysis of data obtained over the past two weeks by NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) investigation team shows the spacecraft's kinetic impact with its target asteroid, Dimorphos, successfully altered the asteroid’s orbit. This marks humanity’s first time purposely changing the motion of a celestial object and the first full-scale dem

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      On Feb. 22, 2024, Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lunar lander captures a wide field of view image of Schomberger crater on the Moon approximately 125 miles (200 km) uprange from the intended landing site, at approximately about 6 miles (10 km) altitude. Credit: Intuitive Machines For the first time in more than 50 years, new NASA science instruments and technology demonstrations are operating on the Moon following the first successful delivery of the agency’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative.
      Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander, called Odysseus, completed a seven-day journey to lunar orbit and executed procedures to softly land near Malapert A in the South Pole region of the Moon at 5:24 p.m. CST on Feb. 22. The lander is healthy, collecting solar power, and transmitting data back to the company’s mission control in Houston. The mission marks the first commercial uncrewed landing on the Moon.
      Carrying six NASA science research and technology demonstrations, among other customer payloads, all NASA science instruments completed transit checkouts en route to the Moon. A NASA precision landing technology demonstration also provided critical last-minute assistance to ensure a soft landing. As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, the lunar delivery is in the region where NASA will send astronauts to search for water and other lunar resources later this decade.
      “For the first time in more than half a century, America returned to the Moon. Congratulations to Intuitive Machines for placing the lunar lander Odysseus carrying NASA scientific instruments to a place no person or machine has gone before, the lunar South Pole,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This feat from Intuitive Machines, SpaceX, and NASA demonstrates the promise of American leadership in space and the power of commercial partnerships under NASA’s CLPS initiative. Further, this success opens the door for new voyages under Artemis to send astronauts to the Moon, then onward to Mars.” 
      During the journey to the Moon, NASA instruments measured the quantity of cryogenic engine fuel as it has been used, and while descending toward the lunar surface, teams collected data on plume-surface interactions and tested precision landing technologies.
      Odysseus’ surface operations are underway and expected to take place through Thursday, Feb. 29.
      New lunar science, technology
      NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing (NDL) guidance system for descent and landing ultimately played a key role in aiding the successful landing. A few hours ahead of landing, Intuitive Machines encountered a sensor issue with their navigation system and leaned on NASA’s guidance system for an assist to precisely land. NASA’s instrument operates on the same principles of radar and uses pulses from a laser emitted through three optical telescopes. It measures speed, direction, and altitude with high precision during descent and touchdown.
      “We are thrilled to have NASA on the Moon again, and proud of the agency’s contribution to the successful landing with our NDL technology. Congratulations for completing this first lunar delivery for NASA, paving the way for a bright future for our CLPS initiative,” said Nicky Fox. “Some of the NASA science instruments on this mission will bring us insight on lunar plume interactions and conduct radio astronomy. The valiant efforts and innovation demonstrated by Intuitive Machines is exemplary and we are excited for the upcoming lunar deliveries that will follow this first mission.”  
      Now that they are on the lunar surface, NASA instruments will focus on investigating lunar surface interactions and radio astronomy. The Odysseus lander also carries a retroreflector array that will contribute to a network of location markers on the Moon for communication and navigation for future autonomous navigation technologies.
      Additional NASA hardware aboard the lander includes:
      Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator: A small, CubeSat-sized experiment that will demonstrate autonomous navigation that could be used by future landers, surface infrastructure, and astronauts, digitally confirming their positions on the Moon relative to other spacecraft, ground stations, or rovers on the move. Laser Retroreflector Array: A collection of eight retroreflectors that enable precision laser ranging, which is a measurement of the distance between the orbiting or landing spacecraft to the reflector on the lander. The array is a passive optical instrument and will function as a permanent location marker on the Moon for decades to come.    Radio Frequency Mass Gauge: A technology demonstration that measures the amount of propellant in spacecraft tanks in a low-gravity space environment. Using sensor technology, the gauge will measure the amount of cryogenic propellant in Nova-C’s fuel and oxidizer tanks, providing data that could help predict fuel usage on future missions.    Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath: The instrument will observe the Moon’s surface environment in radio frequencies, to determine how natural and human-generated activity near the surface interacts with and could interfere with science conducted there. Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies: A suite of four tiny cameras to capture imagery showing how the Moon’s surface changes from interactions with the spacecraft’s engine plume during and after descent. NASA is committed to supporting its U.S. commercial vendors as they navigate the challenges of sending science and technology to the surface of the Moon.
      “In daring to confront one of humanity’s greatest challenges, Intuitive Machines created an entire lunar program that has ventured farther than any American mission to land on the Moon in over 50 years,” said Altemus. “This humbling moment reminds us that pursuing the extraordinary requires both boldness and resilience.”
      For more information about CLPS, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/clps
      -end-
      Faith McKie / Karen Fox
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      faith.d.mckie@nasa.gov / karen.c.fox@nasa.gov
      Nilufar Ramji / Laura Sorto
      Johnson Space Center, Houston 
      281-483-5111 
      nilufar.ramji@nasa.gov / laura.g.sorto@nasa.gov
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      Details
      Last Updated Feb 23, 2024 EditorJennifer M. DoorenLocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Missions Artemis Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) View the full article
    • By NASA
      (Left to right) Roscosmos Cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin and NASA Astronauts Michael Barratt, Matthew Dominick, and Jeanette Epps pose for a photo during their Crew Equipment Interface Test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The goal of the training is to rehearse launch day activities and get a close look at the spacecraft that will take them to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station.
      The launch is targeted for 12:04 a.m. EST, Friday, March 1, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The targeted docking time is about 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 2.
      Crew arrival will be available on Kennedy’s streaming channels including YouTube and X. Coverage of launch, the postlaunch news conference, and docking will be available on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. NASA also will host an audio-only post-Flight Readiness Review news teleconference. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

      The Crew-8 launch will carry NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps, as well as Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin.

      As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, the mission marks the eighth crew rotation mission and the ninth human spaceflight mission for NASA to the space station supported by a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft since 2020. Endeavour is the name of this Dragon spacecraft.

      The deadline for media accreditation for in-person coverage of this launch has passed. The agency’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):

      Sunday, Feb. 25:
      2 p.m. – Crew arrival media event at Kennedy streaming on the center’s social accounts with the following participants:
      Jennifer Kunz, associate director, technical, NASA Kennedy Dana Hutcherson, deputy program manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick NASA astronaut Michael Barratt NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin The event is limited to in-person media only. Follow Commercial Crew and Kennedy Space Center for the latest arrival updates.
      6 p.m. (approximately) – Flight Readiness Review media teleconference (no earlier than one hour after completion of the Flight Readiness Review) with the following participants:
      Ken Bowersox, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX Eric van der Wal, Houston office team leader, ESA (European Space Agency) Takayoshi Nishikawa, director, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Houston Office Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.
      Wednesday, Feb. 28:
      9:15 a.m. – NASA Social panel live stream event at Kennedy with the following participants:
      NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free Carla Koch, mission manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy Jennifer Buchli, chief scientist, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson Kristin Fabre, deputy chief scientist, Human Research Program, NASA Johnson Members of the public may ask questions online by posting questions to the YouTube, Facebook, and X livestreams using #AskNASA.
      10:30 a.m. – NASA Administrator briefing from Kennedy with the following participants:
      NASA Administrator Bill Nelson NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program 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 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.
      12:30 p.m. – One-on-one media interviews at Kennedy with various mission subject matter experts. Sign-up information will be emailed to media accredited to attend this launch in person.
      Thursday, Feb. 29:
      8 p.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins
      Friday, March 1:
      12:04 a.m. – Launch
      Following conclusion of launch and ascent coverage, NASA coverage will continue with audio only, with full coverage resuming at the start of the rendezvous and docking broadcast. The audio link and details will be available nearer to the mission.
      NASA Television will resume continuous mission coverage prior to docking and continue through hatch open and the welcome ceremony. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules, and links to streaming video, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv/
      2 a.m. (approximately) – Postlaunch news conference on NASA TV
      Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program Sarah Walker, director, Dragon Mission Management, SpaceX 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, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 12 a.m. Friday, March 1, at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.
      Saturday, March 2:
      5 a.m. – NASA TV arrival coverage begins (or about two hours prior to docking)
      7 a.m. – Targeted docking to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module
      Hatch opening will be approximately one-hour-and-forty-five minutes after docking followed by welcome remarks aboard station. All times are estimates and could be adjusted based on operations after launch. Follow the space station blog for the most up-to-date operations information.
      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 TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135.
      Launch audio also will be available on Launch Information Service and Amateur Television System’s VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz and KSC Amateur Radio Club’s UHF radio frequency 444.925 MHz, FM mode, heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.
      Live Video Coverage Prior to Launch
      NASA will provide a live video feed of Launch Complex 39A approximately 48 hours prior to the planned liftoff of the Crew-8 mission. Pending unlikely technical issues, the feed will be uninterrupted until the prelaunch broadcast begins on NASA TV, approximately four hours prior to launch. Once the feed is live, find it here: 
      http://youtube.com/kscnewsroom.
      NASA Website Launch Coverage
      Launch day coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission will be available on the agency’s website. Coverage will include live streaming and blog updates beginning no earlier than 8 p.m. Feb. 29, 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 commercial crew or Crew-8 blog.
      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 a successful launch.
      Watch and Engage on Social Media
      Let people know you’re following the mission on X, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtags #Crew8 and #NASASocial. You can also stay connected by following and tagging these accounts:
      X: @NASA, @NASAKennedy, @NASASocial, @Space_Station, @ISS_Research, @ISS National Lab, @SpaceX, @Commercial_Crew
      Facebook: NASA, NASAKennedy, ISS, ISS National Lab
      Instagram: @NASA, @NASAKennedy, @ISS, @ISSNationalLab, @SpaceX
      Coverage en Espanol
      Did you know NASA has a Spanish section called NASA en Espanol? Make sure to check out NASA en Espanol on X, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for more coverage on Crew-8.
      Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo: 321-501-8425;antonia.jaramillobotero@nasa.gov; o Messod Bendayan: 256-930-1371; messod.c.bendayan@nasa.gov.
      NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has delivered on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry. This partnership is changing the arc of human spaceflight history by opening access to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars.
      For NASA’s launch blog and more information about the mission, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew
      -end-
      Joshua Finch / Claire O’Shea
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / claire.a.o’shea@nasa.gov
      Steven Siceloff / Danielle Sempsrott
      Kennedy Space Center, Florida
      321-867-2468
      steven.p.siceloff@nasa.gov / danielle.c.sempsrott@nasa.gov
      Leah Cheshier
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      leah.d.cheshier@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Feb 23, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Humans in Space Astronauts Commercial Space International Space Station (ISS) ISS Research Jeanette J. Epps Matthew Dominick NASA Headquarters View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA and Intuitive Machines will host a televised news conference at 5 p.m. EST Friday, Feb. 23, to detail the Odysseus lander’s historic soft Moon landing.
      With the last-minute assistance of a NASA precision landing technology, the first CLPS, or Commercial Lunar Payload Services, mission carrying the agency’s science and technology demonstrations successfully landed on the Moon at 6:23 p.m. on Feb. 22.
      This mission is the first U.S. soft landing on the Moon in more than 50 years. Flight controllers are communicating and commanding the lander, which is solar charging and has good telemetry.
      The news conference will air on NASA+, NASA Television, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV on a variety of platforms including social media.
      Participants in the news conference include:
      Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for Exploration, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington Prasun Desai, deputy associate administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters Steve Altemus, chief executive officer and co-founder, Intuitive Machines Tim Crain, chief technology officer and co-founder, Intuitive Machines This event is virtual only. To ask questions during the news conference, media must RSVP to the NASA newsroom no later than two hours before the start of the call to: hq-media@mail.nasa.gov.
      For more information about the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, visit: 
      https://www.nasa.gov/clps
      -end-
      Cheryl Warner / Karen Fox
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov / karen.c.fox@nasa.gov
      Nilufar Ramji / Laura Sorto
      Johnson Space Center, Houston 
      281-483-5111 
      nilufar.ramji@nasa.gov / laura.g.sorto@nasa.gov
      Josh Marshall
      Intuitive Machines, Houston
      jmarshall@intuitivemachines.com
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Feb 23, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Missions Artemis Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) View the full article
    • By NASA
      Engineering is a huge field with endless applications. From aerospace to ergonomics, engineers play an important role in designing, building, and testing technologies all around us.
      We asked three engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley to share their experiences, from early challenges they faced in their careers to the day-to-day of being a working engineer.
      Give us a look behind the curtain – what is it like being an engineer at NASA?
      In her early days at NASA, Diana Acosta visited her aeronautics research and development team during her maternity leave and her daughter got her first introduction to flight simulation technology. NASA/Diana Acosta Diana Acosta: I remember working on my first simulations. We were developing new aircraft with higher efficiency that could operate in new places, such as shorter runways. My team was putting together control techniques and introducing new algorithms to help pilots fly these new aircraft in a safer way. We were creating models and testing, then changing things and testing again. 
      We had a simulator that worked on my laptop, and we had a lab with a pilot seat and controls. Every week, I made it my goal to finish my modeling or controls work and put that into the lab environment so that I could fly the aircraft. Every Friday afternoon, I would fly the aircraft in simulation and try out the changes I’d made to see if we were going in a good direction. We’d later integrate that into the Vertical Motion Simulator at Ames (which was used to train all the original space shuttle pilots) so that we could do a full motion test with a collection of pilots to get feedback. 
      When simulation time came around, it was during my maternity leave and my team had to take the project to simulation without me. It’s hard to get out of the house with a newborn, but sometimes I’d come by with my daughter and bring brownies to the team. I have two daughters now, and they’ve both been in simulators since a young age.
      Diana Acosta is Chief of the Aerospace Simulation and Development Branch at NASA’s Ames Research Center. She has worked at NASA for 17 years.
      What’s a challenge you’ve overcome to become an engineer?
      Savvy Verma (standing) reviews simulation activity with Gus Guerra in the Terminal Tactical Separation Assured Flight Environment at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. NASA/Dominic Hart Savvy Verma: One of the biggest challenges when I started working was that I was sometimes the only woman in a group of men, and I was also much younger. It was sometimes a challenge to get my voice through, or to be heard. I had mentors who taught me to speak up and say things the way I saw them, and that’s what helped me. A good mentor will back you up and support you when you’re in big meetings or giving presentations. They’ll stand up and corroborate you when you’re right, and that goes a long way toward establishing your credibility. It also helped build my confidence, it made me feel like I was on the right track and not out of line. I had both male and female mentors. The female mentor I had always encouraged me to speak my mind. She said the integrity of the experimental result is more important than trying to change things because someone doesn’t like it or doesn’t want to express it a certain way. 
      I have a lot more women coworkers now, things have changed a lot. In my group there are four women and three men. 
      When you want to become an engineer, you must remain adaptable, hardworking, and always willing to learn something new. We’re constantly learning, critically thinking, and problem solving. Most of the time we apply mathematical concepts to the engineering problems we’re solving and not every problem is the same. If you struggle with math, my advice is to maintain the passion for learning, especially learning from your mistakes. It comes down to practicing and challenging yourself to think beyond the immediate struggle. There are so many types of math problems and if you’re not good at one, maybe you’re good at another. Maybe it’s just a hiccup. Also, seek help when you need it, there are instructors and peers out there willing to support you.
      Savvy Verma is an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Ames Research Center. She has worked at NASA for 22 years.
      Can you become an engineer if you struggle with math in school?
      Dorcas Kaweesa: When I introduce myself as an engineer, people always say, “You must be good at math,” and I say, “Oh, I work at it.”
      When you want to become an engineer, you must remain adaptable, hardworking, and always willing to learn something new. We’re constantly learning, critically thinking, and problem solving. Most of the time we apply mathematical concepts to the engineering problems we’re solving and not every problem is the same. If you struggle with math, my advice is to maintain the passion for learning, especially learning from your mistakes. It comes down to practicing and challenging yourself to think beyond the immediate struggle. There are so many types of math problems and if you’re not good at one, maybe you’re good at another. Maybe it’s just a hiccup. Also, seek help when you need it, there are instructors and peers out there willing to support you.
      Personally, I sought help from my instructors, peers, and mentors, in the math and engineering classes that I found challenging. I also practiced a great deal to improve my problem solving and critical thinking skills. In my current role, I am constantly learning new things based on the task at hand. Learning never ends! If you’re struggling with a math concept, don’t give up. Keep trying, keep accepting the challenge, and keep practicing, you’ll steadily make progress. 
      Dorcas Kaweesa is mechanical engineer and structures analyst at NASA’s Ames Research Center. She has worked at NASA for over 2 years.
      View the full article
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