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    • By NASA
      Assistant Administrator for NASA’s Office of Small Business Programs, Dwight Deneal, poses for portrait, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, at the NASA Headquarters Mary W. Jackson Building in Washington. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Monday Dwight Deneal will serve as the new assistant administrator for the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, effective immediately.
      In this role, Deneal provides executive leadership, policy direction, and management for programs that help ensure all small businesses are given a fair chance to work with NASA. He succeeds Glenn Delgado, who retired from the agency in December 2023.
      “Dwight brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to NASA’s Office of Small Business Programs,” said Nelson. “Small businesses play a critical role in propelling our country forward with new technologies and scientific discoveries to maintain American leadership in space and benefit all humanity. I am confident his leadership will help NASA continue to promote and integrate America’s small businesses into every aspect of our missions.”
      Prior to his NASA appointment, Deneal served as the director for the Defense Logistics Agency’s Office of Small Business Programs, supervising all small business programs and contracting activities that equated to more than $45 billion of annual contract spending and $18 billion in small business spending. He also was responsible for maintaining strategic partnerships that attract small businesses into the defense supply chain, helping grow the national defense industrial base.
      Deneal also previously served as the director for the Small Business and Industry Liaison Programs at the U.S. Coast Guard, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In this capacity, he led all small business and socio-economic related guidelines, policies, regulations and was the authority for planning and carrying out acquisition activities in support of small business programs. From 2013 to 2017, Deneal served as a team lead small business specialist at the Department of Health and Human Services. His experience also includes supporting the Department of Education and U.S Department of Navy as a contract specialist.
      In addition to his NASA role, Deneal also serves as the vice chairman of the Federal Interagency Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Directors Council. This organization of federal small business program officials that meets regularly to exchange and discuss information on small business methods, issues, and strategies.
      A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Deneal graduated from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, where he earned a bachelor’s in Business Management. He also is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Education program. Deneal was the recipient of the 2018 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chief Procurement Officer Excellence in Industry Engagement Award. He is married and has two children.
      Learn more about NASA’s Office of Small Business Programs at:
      https://www.nasa.gov/osbp
      -end-
      Faith McKie / Abbey Donaldson
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      faith.d.mckie@nasa.gov / abbey.a.donaldson@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Feb 12, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Organizations Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) View the full article
    • By NASA
      2 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      NASA completed a full-duration, 500-second hot fire of an RS-25 certification engine Jan. 27, marking the halfway point in a critical test series to support future SLS (Space Launch System) missions to the Moon and beyond as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. NASA/Danny Nowlin NASA completed the sixth of 12 scheduled RS-25 engine certification tests in a critical series for future flights of the agency’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket as engineers conducted a full-duration hot fire Jan. 27 at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
      The current series builds on previous hot fire testing conducted at NASA Stennis to help certify production of new RS-25 engines by lead contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3 Harris Technologies company. The new engines will help power NASA’s SLS rocket on future Artemis missions to the Moon and beyond, beginning with Artemis V.
      Having reached the halfway point in a 12-test RS-25 certification series, teams at NASA’s Stennis Space Center will install a second production nozzle (shown) on the engine to gather additional performance data during the remaining scheduled hot fires. Aerojet Rocketdyne NASA completed a full-duration, 500-second hot fire of an RS-25 certification engine Jan. 27, marking the halfway point in a critical test series to support future SLS (Space Launch System) missions to the Moon and beyond as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. NASA/Danny Nowlin NASA completed a full-duration, 500-second hot fire of an RS-25 certification engine Jan. 27, marking the halfway point in a critical test series to support future SLS (Space Launch System) missions to the Moon and beyond as NASA explores the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all. NASA/Danny Nowlin Operators fired the RS-25 engine on the Fred Haise Test Stand for almost eight-and-a-half minutes (500 seconds) – the same amount of time needed to help launch SLS – and at power levels ranging between 80% to 113%. New RS-25 engines will power up to the 111% level to provide additional thrust for launch of SLS. Testing up to the 113% power level provides a margin of operational safety.
      Now at the halfway point in the series, teams will install a new certification nozzle on the engine. Installation of the new nozzle will allow engineers to gather additional performance data from a second production unit. Following installation next month, testing will resume at Stennis with six additional hot fires scheduled through March.
      For each Artemis mission, four RS-25 engines, along with a pair of solid rocket boosters, power the SLS, producing more than 8.8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. Under NASA’s Artemis campaign, the agency will establish the foundation for long-term scientific exploration at the Moon, land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the lunar surface, and prepare for human expeditions to Mars for the benefit of all.
      For information about NASA’s Stennis Space Center, visit:
      Stennis Space Center – NASA
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      Last Updated Jan 29, 2024 EditorNASA Stennis CommunicationsContactC. Lacy Thompsoncalvin.l.thompson@nasa.gov / (228) 688-3333LocationStennis Space Center Related Terms
      Stennis Space Center Marshall Space Flight Center Space Launch System (SLS) Explore More
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    • By NASA
      5 min read
      NASA’s Hubble Finds Water Vapor in Small Exoplanet’s Atmosphere
      This is an artist’s concept of the exoplanet GJ 9827d, the smallest exoplanet where water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere. The planet could be an example of potential planets with water-rich atmospheres elsewhere in our galaxy. With only about twice Earth’s diameter, the planet orbits the red dwarf star GJ 9827. Two inner planets in the system are on the left. The background stars are plotted as they would be seen to the unaided eye looking back toward our Sun. The Sun is too faint to be seen. The blue star at upper right is Regulus; the yellow star at center bottom is Denebola; and the blue star at bottom right is Spica. The constellation Leo is on the left, and Virgo is on the right. Both constellations are distorted from our Earth-bound view from 97 light-years away. NASA/ESA/Leah Hustak (STScI)/Ralf Crawford (STScI) Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed the smallest exoplanet where water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere. At only approximately twice Earth’s diameter, the planet GJ 9827d could be an example of potential planets with water-rich atmospheres elsewhere in our galaxy.
      “This would be the first time that we can directly show through an atmospheric detection, that these planets with water-rich atmospheres can actually exist around other stars,” said team member Björn Benneke of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at Université de Montréal. “This is an important step toward determining the prevalence and diversity of atmospheres on rocky planets.”
      “Water on a planet this small is a landmark discovery,” added co-principal investigator Laura Kreidberg of Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany. “It pushes closer than ever to characterizing truly Earth-like worlds.”
      However, it remains too early to tell whether Hubble spectroscopically measured a small amount of water vapor in a puffy hydrogen-rich atmosphere, or if the planet’s atmosphere is mostly made of water, left behind after a primeval hydrogen/helium atmosphere evaporated under stellar radiation.
      “Our observing program, led by principal investigator Ian Crossfield of Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas, was designed specifically with the goal to not only detect the molecules in the planet’s atmosphere, but to actually look specifically for water vapor. Either result would be exciting, whether water vapor is dominant or just a tiny species in a hydrogen-dominant atmosphere,” said the science paper’s lead author, Pierre-Alexis Roy of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at Université de Montréal.
      “Until now, we had not been able to directly detect the atmosphere of such a small planet. And we’re slowly getting in this regime now,” added Benneke. “At some point, as we study smaller planets, there must be a transition where there’s no more hydrogen on these small worlds, and they have atmospheres more like Venus (which is dominated by carbon dioxide).”
      Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have observed water vapor in the atmosphere of the smallest exoplanet ever detected. Located 97 light-years away, planet GJ 9827d is approximately twice the size of Earth. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Lead Producer: Paul Morris Because the planet is as hot as Venus, at 800 degrees Fahrenheit, it definitely would be an inhospitable, steamy world if the atmosphere were predominantly water vapor.
      At present the team is left with two possibilities. One scenario is that the planet is still clinging to a hydrogen-rich atmosphere laced with water, making it a mini-Neptune. Alternatively, it could be a warmer version of Jupiter’s moon Europa, which has twice as much water as Earth beneath its crust.” The planet GJ 9827d could be half water, half rock. And there would be a lot of water vapor on top of some smaller rocky body,” said Benneke.
      If the planet has a residual water-rich atmosphere, then it must have formed farther away from its host star, where the temperature is cold and water is available in the form of ice, than its present location. In this scenario, the planet would have then migrated closer to the star and received more radiation. The hydrogen was heated and escaped, or is still in the process of escaping the planet’s weak gravity. The alternative theory is that the planet formed close to the hot star, with a trace of water in its atmosphere.
      The Hubble program observed the planet during 11 transits – events in which the planet crossed in front of its star – that were spaced out over three years. During transits, starlight is filtered through the planet’s atmosphere and has the spectral fingerprint of water molecules. If there are clouds on the planet, they are low enough in the atmosphere so that they don’t completely hide Hubble’s view of the atmosphere, and Hubble is able to probe water vapor above the clouds.
      “Observing water is a gateway to finding other things,” said Thomas Greene, astrophysicist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “This Hubble discovery opens the door to future study of these types of planets by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. JWST can see much more with additional infrared observations, including carbon-bearing molecules like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. Once we get a total inventory of a planet’s elements, we can compare those to the star it orbits and understand how it was formed.”
      GJ 9827d was discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope in 2017. It completes an orbit around a red dwarf star every 6.2 days. The star, GJ 9827, lies 97 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pisces.
      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 and Webb science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.
      Media Contacts:
      Claire Andreoli
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
      claire.andreoli@nasa.gov
      Ray Villard
      Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD
      Science Contacts:
      Pierre-Alexis Roy
      Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at Université de Montréal
      Björn Benneke
      Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at Université de Montréal
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      Last Updated Jan 25, 2024 Editor Andrea Gianopoulos Location Goddard Space Flight Center Related Terms
      Exoplanets Goddard Space Flight Center Hubble Space Telescope Missions Studying Exoplanets The Universe Keep Exploring Discover More Topics From NASA
      Hubble Space Telescope


      Since its 1990 launch, the Hubble Space Telescope has changed our fundamental understanding of the universe.


      Exoplanets



      Science Missions



      James Webb Space Telescope


      Webb is the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It studies every phase in the…

      View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope observed the smallest exoplanet where water vapour has been detected in its atmosphere. At only approximately twice Earth’s diameter, the planet GJ 9827d could be an example of potential planets with water-rich atmospheres elsewhere in our galaxy.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      This map shows the location where the small asteroid 2024 BX1 harmlessly impacted Earth’s atmosphere over Germany, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of Berlin, on Jan. 21. A NASA system called Scout predicted the impact time and site within 1 second and about 330 feet (100 meters).NASA/JPL-Caltech The Scout impact assessment system calculated where and when the asteroid 2024 BX1 would impact Earth’s atmosphere, providing a useful demonstration of planetary defense capability.
      A small asteroid about 3 feet (1 meter) in size disintegrated harmlessly over Germany on Sunday, Jan. 21, at 1:32 a.m. local time (CET). At 95 minutes before it impacted Earth’s atmosphere, NASA’s Scout impact hazard assessment system, which monitors data on potential asteroid discoveries, gave advance warning as to where and when the asteroid would impact. This is the eighth time in history that a small Earth-bound asteroid has been detected while still in space, before entering and disintegrating in our atmosphere.
      The asteroid’s impact produced a bright fireball, or bolide, which was seen from as far away as the Czech Republic and may have scattered small meteorites on the ground at the impact site about 37 miles (60 kilometers) west of Berlin. The asteroid was later designated 2024 BX1.
      Explore the 3D of asteroids, comets, and near-Earth objects While NASA reports on near-Earth objects (NEOs) of all sizes, the agency has been tasked by Congress with detecting and tracking NEOs 140 meters in size and larger that could cause significant damage on the ground if they should impact our planet. Those objects can be spotted much further in advance than small ones like 2024 BX1.
      Tiny asteroids like this one impact our planet from time to time. They pose no hazard to life on Earth but can provide a useful demonstration of NASA’s planetary defense capabilities such as Scout’s rapid-response trajectory computation and impact alerts.
      How It Was Predicted
      The asteroid 2024 BX1 was first observed less than three hours before its impact by Krisztián Sárneczky at Piszkéstető Mountain Station of the Konkoly Observatory near Budapest, Hungary. These early observations were reported to the Minor Planet Center – the internationally recognized clearinghouse for the position measurements of small solar system bodies – and automatically posted on the center’s Near-Earth Object Confirmation Page so that other astronomers could make additional observations.
      Scout, which was developed and is operated by the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, automatically fetched the new data from that page, deducing the object’s possible trajectory and chances of impacting Earth. CNEOS calculates the orbit of every known NEO to provide assessments of potential impact hazards for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
      With three observations posted to the confirmation page over 27 minutes, Scout initially identified that an impact was possible and that additional observations were urgently needed. As astronomers across Europe reported new data to the Minor Planet Center, the asteroid’s trajectory became better known and the probability of its impacting Earth significantly increased.
      Seventy minutes after 2024 BX1 was first spotted, Scout reported a 100% probability of Earth impact and began to narrow down the location and time. As tracking continued and more data became available over the next hour, Scout improved estimates of the time and location. Since the asteroid disintegrated over a relatively populated part of the world, many photos and videos of the fireball were posted online minutes after the event.
      Tracking NEOs
      The first asteroid to be discovered and tracked well before impacting our planet was 2008 TC3, which entered our atmosphere and broke up over Sudan in October 2008. That 13-foot-wide (4-meter-wide) asteroid scattered hundreds of small meteorites over the Nubian Desert.
      In early 2023, another tiny asteroid, designated 2023 CX1, was detected seven hours before it entered Earth’s atmosphere over northwestern France. As with 2024 BX1, Scout accurately predicted the location and time of impact.
      With NEO surveys becoming more sophisticated and sensitive, more of these harmless objects are being detected before entering our atmosphere, providing real exercises for NASA’s planetary defense program. The detals gathered from such events are helping to inform the agency’s mitigation strategies should a large and hazardous object on a collision course with our planet be detected in the future.
      More information about asteroids, near-Earth objects, and planetary defense at NASA can be found at:
      https://science.nasa.gov/planetary-defense
      News Media Contacts
      Ian J. O’Neill
      Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
      818-354-2649
      ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov
      Karen Fox / Charles Blue
      NASA Headquarters
      karen.c.fox@nasa.gov / charles.e.blue@nasa.gov
      2024-006             
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      Last Updated Jan 24, 2024 Related Terms
      Asteroids Meteors & Meteorites Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) Planetary Defense Coordination Office Explore More
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