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Archive for July 3, 2012

NASA Extends Sympathy To Poindexter Family On Death Of Former Astronaut


Former NASA astronaut and space shuttle commander Alan “Dex” Poindexter died while on vacation with his family July 1 in Pensacola, Fla. A veteran of two spaceflights, Poindexter spent a total of 28 days in space.

Poindexter, a U.S. Navy captain, commanded the STS-131 space shuttle Discovery mission to the International Space Station in 2010, delivering more than 13,000 pounds of hardware and equipment. He was the pilot for shuttle Atlantis’ STS-122 mission that delivered and installed the European Space Agency’s Columbus laboratory on the station in 2008.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_12-228_Former_Astronaut_Poindexter_Dies.html

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The ‘Flame’ Burns Bright In New WISE Image


A new image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows the candle-like Flame nebula lighting up a cavern of dust. The Flame nebula is part of the Orion complex, a turbulent star-forming area located near the constellation’s star-studded belt.

The image is being released today along with a new batch of data from the mission. Last March, WISE released its all-sky catalog and atlas containing infrared images and data on more than a half billion objects, including everything from asteroids to stars and galaxies. Now, the mission is offering up additional data from its second scan of the sky.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-193

Fireworks Over Mars: The Spirit Of 76 Pyrotechnics


One month and a day after celebrating its independence with fireworks exhibitions throughout the country, America will carry its penchant for awe-inspiring aerial pyrotechnic displays to the skies of another world. Some pyrotechnics will be as small as the energy released by a box of matches. One packs the same oomph as a stick of TNT. Whether they be large or small, on the evening of August 5th (Pacific time), all 76 must work on cue as NASA’s next Mars rover, Curiosity, carried by the Mars Science Laboratory, streaks through the Red Planet’s atmosphere on its way to a landing at Gale Crater.

“We are definitely coming in with a bang – or a series of them,” said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “You only get one shot at a Mars landing, and the pyrotechnic charges we are using are great for reliably providing instantaneous, irreversible actions like deploying a parachute or opening a fuel valve.”

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-192

NASA Space Tech Program Selects Technologies For Development And Demonstration On Suborbital Flights


NASA’S Space Technology Program has selected 14 technologies for development and demonstration on commercial reusable suborbital launch vehicles.

The selected proposals offer innovative cutting-edge ideas and approaches for technology in areas including active thermal management, advanced avionics, pinpoint landing and advanced in-space propulsion. They also address many of the high-priority technology needs identified in the recent National Research Council’s Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities report. These payloads will help NASA advance technology development needed to enable NASA’s current and future missions in exploration, science and space operations.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_12-221_Suborbital_Payloads_Selected.html

Virginia Students To Speak Live With Space Station Resident


More than 200 students will meet at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Va., to speak with Expedition 32 flight engineer Joe Acaba aboard the International Space Station at 8:55 a.m. EDT, Thursday, July 5. Media representatives are invited to attend.

The question-and-answer discussion, coordinated by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and the museum, will be broadcast live on NASA Television and include video of Acaba. The students, most of whom are Hispanic, will ask questions about life, work and research on the space station. Several of the questions will be asked and answered in Spanish.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_M12-122_ISS_Educ_Downlink_VA.html

NASA’S Orion Arrives At Kennedy, Work Underway For First Launch


More than 450 guests at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida welcomed the arrival of the agency’s first space-bound Orion spacecraft Monday, marking a major milestone in the construction of the vehicle that will carry astronauts farther into space than ever before.

“Orion’s arrival at Kennedy is an important step in meeting the president’s goal to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s,” NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. “As NASA acquires services for delivery of cargo and crew to the International Space Station and other low-Earth destinations from private companies, NASA can concentrate its efforts on building America’s next generation space exploration system to reach destinations for discovery in deep space. Delivery of the first space-bound Orion, coupled with recent successes in commercial spaceflight, is proof this national strategy is working.”

Orion will be the most advanced spacecraft ever designed. It will provide emergency abort capability, sustain astronauts during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_12-225_Orion_Arrives_KSC.html

Trio From International Space Station Lands Safely In Kazakhstan


Three members of the Expedition 31 crew undocked from the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth Sunday, July 1, wrapping up a mission that lasted six-and-a-half months.

Russian Commander Oleg Kononenko, NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit and European Space Agency Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers landed their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft in Kazakhstan at 3:14 a.m. CDT (2:14 p.m. local time) after undocking from the space station’s Rassvet module at 11:47 p.m. June 30. The trio, which arrived at the station Dec. 23, 2011, spent a total of 193 days in space, 191 of which were aboard the station.

During their expedition, the crew supported more than 200 scientific investigations involving more than 400 researchers around the world. The studies ranged from integrated investigations of the human cardiovascular and immune systems to fluid, flame and robotic research.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/jul/HQ_12-222_Soyuz_Landing.html