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NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took this majestic image of the Earth at night highlighting the green and red hues of an Aurora. NASA NASA is asking American companies to provide input on the agency’s requirements for end-to-end services as part of the Commercial Low-Earth Orbit Development Program.
In the future, the agency plans to transition its operations in low Earth orbit to commercially owned and operated destinations to ensure continued access and presence in space for research, technology development, and international collaboration after the planned retirement of the International Space Station.
Through a request for information (RFI), NASA is seeking feedback from industry as the agency refines its anticipated requirements for new commercial space destinations. The requirements will help industry understand NASA’s human-rating standards that will be used by the agency to certify that the new systems meet NASA expectations for low Earth orbit operations and transportation. An industry briefing day is scheduled to take place Tuesday Oct. 12, with responses to the RFI due Wednesday, Nov. 17.
“This RFI is a significant next step in transitioning low Earth orbit operations to the private sector, allowing NASA to be one of many customers for services” says Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “These requirements will be the foundation upon which the companies can design safe systems. But the requirements have to work for companies as well. Thus, we are seeking industry feedback on these draft requirements to ensure that the Commercial LEO destinations will be safe, reliable, and cost effective.”
The agency is currently supporting the development of several new stations and destination concepts through both funded and unfunded agreements. However, a company does not need to have a current agreement with NASA in order to provide feedback via the RFI or to bid on future procurements to provide low Earth orbit services to the agency.
“We’ve seen a tremendous amount of innovation and effort from industry thus far in developing their station designs,” says Angela Hart, manager of the Commercial Low Earth Orbit Development program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We are working in lockstep with multiple companies to help guide them in a way that sets them up for success to meet our requirements. However, it’s crucial that we open feedback to as wide of an audience as possible. The more commercial stations that are successfully operating in low Earth orbit, the greater likelihood that we can continue to drive down costs and encourage innovation in this new commercial space industry.”
NASA previously sought industry input in 2022 and early 2023, and has hosted two industry days on the agency’s assumptions and expectations for crew and technical requirements to guide companies’ technical and business plans. The feedback from industry will continue to inform the agency’s future commercial services strategy for low Earth orbit destinations.
NASA’s goal is to enable a strong commercial marketplace in low Earth orbit where NASA is one of many customers for private industry. This strategy will provide services the government needs safely, at a lower cost, and enables the agency to focus on its Artemis missions to the Moon in preparation for Mars, while continuing to use low Earth orbit as a training and proving ground for those deep space missions.
Information about how to attend the industry briefing day is contained in the RFI on SAM.gov. The dates for industry day and responses due are subject to change pending a government shutdown resolution and will be updated on SAM.gov when available. For more information about NASA’s commercial space strategy, visit:
By Rebecca Turkington
Johnson Space Center, Houston
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Even with the latest official announcements of supposed UFO/USO encounters such as the USS Nimitz UFO Incident (2004) USS Theodore Roosevelt UFO Incident (2014-2015) USS Kidd UFO Incident (2019) USS Russell UFO Incident (2019) USS Omaha UFO Incident (2021) You can imagine that the US Navy has experienced many more UFO / USO encounters over the years but these events are kept secret.
Here are five UFO / USO incidents in which the US Navy has been involved during the 60's, 70's and 80's.
1. Azores Islands, Early fall 1965, USS Albany GC10 -Late at night, lights out, watch shift. Technician and air traffic controllers observed 3 unidentified objects on radar following the fleet at a distance of about 40-50 miles for over an hour. -Three jets deployed to investigate. The pilots flying at speeds of around 1350 nots, but failed to make visual contact with the unknown objects. The technician, however, could spot the bogies on the height-finding radar, SP530. -As the jets attempted to approach the UFOs, the objects moved away rapidly, maintaining their triangular formation.-Then, within seven radar sweeps, the UFOs had completely disappeared from the radar, while the jets remained visible.
2. Azores Islands, May 23, 1968, USS Monrovia APA-31-Witness was on board the USS Monrovia APA-31 and observed a large submerged object on the starboard side of the ship, just behind the stern. -This USO had an elongated oval shape and emitted a luminescent orange glow. It appeared to have a translucent quality. -The USO seemed to mimic several changes in the ship's compass, radar, and radio equipment to malfunction, rendering them inoperable.-As suddenly as it had appeared, the USO vanished. -The sighting lasted for about 90 minutes and was witnessed by around 1,100 members of the ship's crew, including a contingent of US Marines.
3. Mediterranean Sea, Summer 1974, USS Forrestal CV-59 -Signalman on duty during a regular night-watch spots an unusual reflection appearing as an underwater light, approximately 8 miles away and reports the sighting to the control tower. -Despite sonar failing to confirm the contact, the visual sighting was strong enough to bring the captain, executive officer, flight boss, and several intelligence officers to the deck. Over the next 20 minutes, they watch the object moving at high speed across the ship's bow. -The object zigzagged from 60 to over 100 miles per hour until it halted directly in the ship's path at one point within 4 miles of the Forrestal, before disappearing into the depths of the sea. -In the aftermath, the witness was ordered by the executive officer to remain silent.
4. Bermuda Triangle, June 15, 1977, USS Glover AGFF-1 -Early morning of June 15, 1977 witness's watch duty above the bridge interrupted by a bright red-orange circular object that dropped from the sky and neared the ship and almost simultaneously, another watch also spotted the object. -Within moments, two more similar objects appeared, compelling them to report 3 unidentified contacts to the bridge and the Combat Information Center (CIC). -Suddenly, the ship lost all power, including radar and sonar, and came to a standstill in the water while the 3 objects conducted astonishing maneuvers across the sky before forming a triangle directly above the ship. -The 3 objects then converged to form a single bright orange light circle about 200 yards directly above the ship. Then vanish and the ship regains full power, and all systems reboot. -Later that night, ship encounters a surface contact that moved at an estimated speed of 70 mph and dove underwater without any slowdown, eventually, it plunged into depths of the Atlantic, disappearing both from the sonar and radar screens. -The following morning, the crew was assembled and ordered to forget everything they had witnessed and told they had seen 'an experimental Russian helicopter.'
5. Caribbean Sea, Summer 1980 or 1981, USS W.S. Sims FF-1059 -An urgent dispatch was relayed to the USS W.S. Sims to head to Puerto Rico where there were reports of a Russian submarine exhibiting suspicious maneuvers in the area. -Onboard were divers, scientists and other experts, all brought together to investigate the unusual underwater activity. -The crew spent several intense weeks working to determine what exactly they were dealing with.-Witness heard "whispers" from the divers who were part of the investigation. They referred to the incident as another "Shag Harbor." -The final outcome of the mission remained elusive and the crew were told they had been studying a natural phenomenon of undetermined origin. -The phenomenon had the uncanny ability to elude detection at will, only to reappear again, this pattern continued for about six weeks.
The Shag Harbor UFO incident was the reported impact of an unknown large object into waters near Shag Harbor, Nova Scotia, a fishing village on the Atlantic coast, on 4 October 1967.
At least eleven people saw a low-flying lit object head towards the harbor. Multiple witnesses reported hearing a whistling sound "like a bomb," then a "whoosh," and finally a loud bang.
Two days after the incident had been observed, a detachment of navy divers from Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic was assembled and for the next three days, they combed the seafloor of the Gulf of Maine off Shag Harbor looking for an object.
The final report said no trace of an object was found but it is suggested that they kept this UFO incident secret.
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NASA’s New Horizons to Continue Exploring Outer Solar System
NASA has announced an updated plan to continue New Horizons’ mission of exploration of the outer solar system.
Beginning in fiscal year 2025, New Horizons will focus on gathering unique heliophysics data, which can be readily obtained during an extended, low-activity mode of operations.
While the science community is not currently aware of any reachable Kuiper Belt object, this new path allows for the possibility of using the spacecraft for a future close flyby of such an object, should one be identified. It also will enable the spacecraft to preserve fuel and reduce operational complexity while a search is conducted for a compelling flyby candidate.
“The New Horizons mission has a unique position in our solar system to answer important questions about our heliosphere and provide extraordinary opportunities for multidisciplinary science for NASA and the scientific community,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The agency decided that it was best to extend operations for New Horizons until the spacecraft exits the Kuiper Belt, which is expected in 2028 through 2029.”
This new, extended mission will be primarily funded by NASA’s Planetary Science Division and jointly managed by NASA’s Heliophysics and Planetary Science Divisions.
NASA will assess the budget impact of continuing the New Horizons mission so far beyond its original plan of exploration. As a starting point, funding within the New Frontiers program (including science research and data analysis) will be rebalanced to accommodate extended New Horizons operations, and future projects may be impacted.
Launched on January 18, 2006, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has helped scientists understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by visiting the dwarf planet Pluto (its primary mission) and then venturing farther out for a flyby of the Kuiper belt object Arrokoth, a double-lobed relic of the formation of our solar system, and other more remote observations of similar bodies.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, designed, built and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The Marshall Space Flight Center Planetary Management Office provides the NASA oversight for the New Horizons. Southwest Research Institute, based in San Antonio, directs the mission via Principal Investigator Stern, and leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
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Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a memo directing urgent actions to address suicide in the military community.
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Living on the Edge: Supernova Bubble Expands in New Hubble Time-Lapse Movie
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, ESA, Ravi Sankrit (STScI) Though a doomed star exploded some 20,000 years ago, its tattered remnants continue racing into space at breakneck speeds – and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has caught the action.
The nebula, called the Cygnus Loop, forms a bubble-like shape that is about 120 light-years in diameter. The distance to its center is approximately 2,600 light-years. The entire nebula has a width of six full Moons as seen on the sky.
Astronomers used Hubble to zoom into a very small slice of the leading edge of this expanding supernova bubble, where the supernova blast wave plows into surrounding material in space. Hubble images taken from 2001 to 2020 clearly demonstrate how the remnant’s shock front has expanded over time, and they used the crisp images to clock its speed.
By analyzing the shock’s location, astronomers found that the shock hasn’t slowed down at all in the last 20 years, and is speeding into interstellar space at over half a million miles per hour – fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in less than half an hour. While this seems incredibly fast, it’s actually on the slow end for the speed of a supernova shock wave. Researchers were able to assemble a “movie” from Hubble images for a close-up look at how the tattered star is slamming into interstellar space.
“Hubble is the only way that we can actually watch what’s happening at the edge of the bubble with such clarity,” said Ravi Sankrit, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “The Hubble images are spectacular when you look at them in detail. They’re telling us about the density differences encountered by the supernova shocks as they propagate through space, and the turbulence in the regions behind these shocks.”
A very close-up look at a nearly two-light-year-long section of the filaments of glowing hydrogen and ionized oxygen shows that they look like a wrinkled sheet seen from the side. “You’re seeing ripples in the sheet that is being seen edge-on, so it looks like twisted ribbons of light,” said William Blair of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland. “Those wiggles arise as the shock wave encounters more or less dense material in the interstellar medium.” The time-lapse movie over nearly two decades shows the filaments moving against the background stars but keeping their shape.
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Video Credit: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, ESA, STScI; Acknowledgment:
NSF's NOIRLab, Akira Fujii , Jeff Hester , Davide De Martin , Travis A. Rector , Ravi Sankrit (STScI), DSS “When we pointed Hubble at the Cygnus Loop we knew that this was the leading edge of a shock front, which we wanted to study. When we got the initial picture and saw this incredible, delicate ribbon of light, well, that was a bonus. We didn’t know it was going to resolve that kind of structure,” said Blair.
Blair explained that the shock is moving outward from the explosion site and then it starts to encounter the interstellar medium, the tenuous regions of gas and dust in interstellar space. This is a very transitory phase in the expansion of the supernova bubble where invisible neutral hydrogen is heated to one million degrees Fahrenheit or more by the shock wave’s passage. The gas then begins to glow as electrons are excited to higher energy states and emit photons as they cascade back to low energy states. Further behind the shock front, ionized oxygen atoms begin to cool, emitting a characteristic glow shown in blue.
The Cygnus Loop was discovered in 1784 by William Herschel, using a simple 18-inch reflecting telescope. He could have never imagined that a little over two centuries later we’d have a telescope powerful enough to zoom in on a very tiny slice of the nebula for this spectacular view.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.
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Video Credits: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, ESA, STScI; Acknowledgment:
NSF's NOIRLab, Akira Fujii , Jeff Hester , Davide De Martin , Travis A. Rector , Ravi Sankrit (STScI), DSS Share
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