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From left, NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Barry “Butch” Wilmore, Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) pilot and commander, respectively, exit the Astronaut Crew Quarters at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a crew validation test on Oct. 18, 2022. The astronauts, with assistance from the Boeing team, successfully completed the validation test during which they suited up and tested out the pressurized crew module to ensure seat fit, suit functionality, cabin temperature, audio system, and day of launch operations.NASA/Kim Shiflett Digital content creators are invited to register to attend the launch of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the International Space Station. The mission will be the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Starliner will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, carrying NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Suni Williams to the orbiting laboratory for a stay of about one to two weeks. Liftoff is targeted for mid-April 2024 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41 in Florida.
If your passion is to communicate and engage the world online, then this is the event for you! Seize the opportunity to see and share the #Starliner mission launch.
A maximum of 50 social media users will be selected to attend this two-day event and will be given access similar to news media.
NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:
View a crewed launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft. Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center. Meet and interact with CFT subject matter experts. Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media. NASA Social registration for the CFT launch opens on Wednesday, Feb. 21, and the deadline to apply is at 3 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 27. All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Do I need to have a social media account to register?
Yes. This event is designed for people who:
Actively use multiple social networking platforms and tools to disseminate information to a unique audience. Regularly produce new content that features multimedia elements. Have the potential to reach a large number of people using digital platforms, or reach a unique audience, separate and distinctive from traditional news media and/or NASA audiences. Must have an established history of posting content on social media platforms. Have previous postings that are highly visible, respected and widely recognized. Users on all social networks are encouraged to use the hashtag #NASASocial and #Starliner. Updates and information about the event will be shared on X via @NASASocial and @NASAKennedy, and via posts to Facebook and Instagram.
How do I register?
Registration for this event opens Wednesday, Feb. 21, and closes at 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Registration is for one person only (you) and is non-transferable. Each individual wishing to attend must register separately. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Can I register if I am not a U.S. citizen?
Because of the security deadlines, registration is limited to U.S. citizens. If you have a valid permanent resident card, you will be processed as a U.S. citizen.
When will I know if I am selected?
After registrations have been received and processed, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected. We expect to send the acceptance notifications by March 1.
What are NASA Social credentials?
All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Those chosen must prove through the registration process they meet specific engagement criteria.
If you do not make the registration list for this NASA Social, you still can attend the launch offsite and participate in the conversation online. Find out about ways to experience a launch here.
What are the registration requirements?
Registration indicates your intent to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and attend the two-day event in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, accommodations, food, and other amenities.
Some events and participants scheduled to appear at the event are subject to change without notice. NASA is not responsible for loss or damage incurred as a result of attending. NASA, moreover, is not responsible for loss or damage incurred if the event is cancelled with limited or no notice. Please plan accordingly.
Kennedy is a government facility. Those who are selected will need to complete an additional registration step to receive clearance to enter the secure areas.
IMPORTANT: To be admitted, you will need to provide two forms of unexpired government-issued identification; one must be a photo ID and match the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted.
For a complete list of acceptable forms of ID, please visit: NASA Credentialing Identification Requirements.
All registrants must be at least 18 years old.
What if the launch date changes?
Many different factors can cause a scheduled launch date to change multiple times. If the launch date changes, NASA may adjust the date of the NASA Social accordingly to coincide with the new target launch date. NASA will notify registrants of any changes by email.
If the launch is postponed, attendees will be invited to attend a later launch date. NASA cannot accommodate attendees for delays beyond 72 hours.
NASA Social attendees are responsible for any additional costs they incur related to any launch delay. We strongly encourage participants to make travel arrangements that are refundable and/or flexible.
What if I cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center?
If you cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center and attend in person, you should not register for the NASA Social. You can follow the conversation online using #NASASocial.
You can watch the launch on NASA Television or www.nasa.gov/nasatv/. NASA will provide regular launch and mission updates on @NASA, @NASAKennedy, and @Commercial_Crew.
If you cannot make this NASA Social, don’t worry; NASA is planning many other Socials in the near future at various locations! Check back here for updates.
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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander lifts off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:05 a.m. EST on Feb. 15, 2024. As part of NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative and Artemis campaign, Intuitive Machines’ first lunar mission will carry NASA science and commercial payloads to the Moon to study plume-surface interactions, space weather/lunar surface interactions, radio astronomy, precision landing technologies, and a communication and navigation node for future autonomous navigation technologies. A suite of NASA science instruments and technology demonstrations is on the way to our nearest celestial neighbor for the benefit of humanity. Through this flight to the Moon, they will provide insights into the lunar surface environment and test technologies for future landers and Artemis astronauts.
At 1:05 a.m. EST on Thursday, Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At approximately 1:53 a.m., the lander deployed from the Falcon 9 second stage. Teams confirmed it made communications contact with the company’s mission operations center in Houston. The spacecraft is stable and receiving solar power.
These deliveries are part of NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative and Artemis campaign, which includes new solar system science to better understand planetary processes and evolution, search for evidence of water and other resources, and support long-term human exploration.
“NASA scientific instruments are on their way to the Moon – a giant leap for humanity as we prepare to return to the lunar surface for the first time in more than half a century,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “These daring Moon deliveries will not only conduct new science at the Moon, but they are supporting a growing commercial space economy while showing the strength of American technology and innovation. We have so much to learn through CLPS flights that will help us shape the future of human exploration for the Artemis Generation.”
While enroute to the Moon, NASA instruments will measure the quantity of cryogenic engine fuel as it is used, and during descent toward the lunar surface, they will collect data on plume-surface interactions and test precision landing technologies.
Once on the Moon, NASA instruments will focus on investigating space weather/lunar surface interactions and radio astronomy. The Nova-C lander also will carry retroreflectors contributing to a network of location markers on the Moon for communication and navigation for future autonomous navigation technologies.
NASA science 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. Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing: A Lidar-based (Light Detection and Ranging) guidance system for descent and landing. This instrument operates on the same principles of radar but uses pulses from a laser emitted through three optical telescopes. It will measure speed, direction, and altitude with high precision during descent and touchdown. 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. Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C-class lunar lander, named Odysseus, is scheduled to land on the Moon’s South Pole region near the lunar feature known as Malapert A on Thursday, Feb. 22. This relatively flat and safe region is within the otherwise heavily cratered southern highlands on the side of the Moon visible from Earth. Landing near Malapert A will also help mission planners understand how to communicate and send data back to Earth from a location where Earth is low on the lunar horizon.
The NASA science aboard will spend approximately seven days gathering valuable scientific data about Earth’s nearest neighbor, helping pave the way for the first woman and first person of color to explore the Moon under Artemis.
Learn more about NASA’s CLPS initiative at:
Karen Fox / Alise Fisher
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Johnson Space Center, Houston
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Last Updated Feb 15, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
Missions Artemis Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) View the full article
By European Space Agency
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The Axiom Mission 3 crew aboard the International Space Station, pictured from left to right: Marcus Wandt, Michael López-Alegría, Alper Gezeravci, and Walter Villadei. Credits: Axiom Space The third private astronaut mission to the International Space Station successfully completed its journey as part of NASA efforts to create commercial opportunities in space. Axiom Mission 3 (Ax-3) and its four crew members safely returned to Earth Friday, splashing down off the coast of Daytona, Florida.
Axiom Space astronauts, Michael López-Alegría, Walter Villadei, Marcus Wandt, and Alper Gezeravci returned to Earth aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft at 8:30 a.m. EST, completing their nearly 22-day mission that included 18 days aboard the space station. Teams aboard SpaceX recovery vessels retrieved the spacecraft and astronauts.
“Low Earth orbit is now within humanity’s economic sphere of influence. It presents the best opportunities for the U.S. commercial space sector to capture new global and domestic markets and to provide critical capabilities to the nation’s space objectives,” said Phil McAlister, director of NASA’s commercial space division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This ground-breaking Ax-3 mission is part of a larger effort, enabled by NASA, to open space to more people, more research, and more opportunities as the agency prepares for the transition to future private space stations at the end of this decade.”
The Ax-3 mission launched at 4:49 p.m. Jan. 18 on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Approximately 37 hours later, Dragon docked to the Harmony module’s forward port. The astronauts undocked from the same port at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, to begin the trip home.
The crew spent over two weeks conducting microgravity research, educational outreach, and commercial activities. The spacecraft returns to Florida for inspection and processing at SpaceX’s refurbishing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, where teams will examine the spacecraft’s data and performance throughout the flight. Throughout their mission, the astronauts conducted over 30 science experiments, and returned science, including NASA cargo, back to Earth.
Supporting private astronaut missions is part of NASA’s strategy to create a vibrant commercial economy in orbit where the agency will become just one of many customers.
The Ax-3 mission embodies the culmination of NASA’s efforts to foster a commercial market in low Earth orbit and continue a new era of space exploration that enables more people and organizations to fly multiple mission objectives. This partnership expands the arc of human spaceflight history and opens access to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, science, and commercial opportunities.
Learn more about how NASA is supporting a space economy in low-Earth orbit:
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By European Space Agency
Image: The SpaceX Crew Dragon ”Freedom” with the Axiom-3 crew inside as they undocked from the International Space Station on 7 February at 14:20 GM/15:20 CET. ESA project astronaut Marcus Wandt together with Walter Villadei, Alper Gezeravcı and Michael López-Alegría spent 20 days in space, conducting science and technology demonstrations in a mission that can be described as a sprint.
Marcus’s mission to the Space Station is called “Muninn” after one of the ravens of the Norse god Odin, complementing the Huginn mission of Andreas Mogensen, fellow Scandinavian, and ESA astronaut. Marcus was part of the first commercial spaceflight for an ESA astronaut, marking a new era where ESA project astronauts can gain valuable flight experience on short-duration missions.
Despite the short time, Marcus conducted more than 20 European experiments during his Muninn mission, including operating robots on Earth from the Space Station and investigating how living in extreme and confined environments affect people’s physical and mental well-being.
After a 47-hour trip back to Earth, Marcus and crew splashed down off the coast of Florida, USA, on 9 February at 13:30 GMT/14:30 CET.
The picture was taken by ESA astronaut and current commander of the International Space Station, Andreas Mogensen, from inside the Crew Dragon “Endurance”.
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