Monday, January 30, 2012

Goddard Director Leaving for Ball Aerospace

Robert Strain will leave as director of  NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to turn out to be chief operating officer of Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Strain’s last day at Goddard will be March 4, NASA spokesman Mark Hess said. damage, who has detained the top post at Goddard for more than three years, announced his acceptance Jan. 30.

 NASA has not yet selected a substitute for Strain, Hess said.

 At Boulder, Colo.-based Ball, Strain will be accountable for day-to-day operation of the company’s Civil and Operational Space, Tactical Solutions, National Defense, and system Engineering Solutions units. He will report in a straight line to David Taylor, president and chief executive of Ball Aerospace.

 Before taking the wheel of Goddard in 2008, Strain was the head of the Space Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Md. Prior to joining Hopkins in 2004, Strain exhausted 10 years at Dulles, Va.-based satellite and rocket maker Orbital Sciences Corp., where he was decision-making vice president of space systems.

Ball is working on more than a few big projects being managed by Goddard. Among these is the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), the next-generation of U.S. civil polar-orbiting weather satellites.

Ball is the prime contractor for the JPSS-1 spacecraft, which NASA is procuring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric management. Ball has a $248 million fixed-price contract to build JPSS-1, and a separate $82.4 million contract to construct a clone of the Ozone map and Profile Suite instrument.

The 2012 budget for JPSS is $924 million.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NASA'S J-2X locomotive kick Off 2012 With Power pack test

A innovative sequence of tests on the locomotive that will help take humans to bottomless space will begin next week at NASA's Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi. The test on the J-2X engine bring NASA one pace closer to the first human-rated liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen rocket train to be urbanized in 40 years.

Tests will center on the power pack for the J-2X. This extremely well-organized and versatile higher rocket engine is being intended to power the upper stage of NASA's Space Launch System, a new heavy-lift launch vehicle capable of missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The power pack comprise components on the top portion of the engine, including the gas generator, oxygen and fuel turbo pumps, and related ducts and valves that bring the propellants jointly to make burning and make thrust.

"The J-2X upper stage engine is vital to achieve the full open ability of the heavy-lift Space Launch System," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate manager for the Human examination and Operations Mission Directorate. "The testing today will help ensure that a key force element is ready to support exploration across the solar system."

About a dozen power pack tests of unreliable length are slated now from side to side summer at Stennis' A-1 Test Stand. By unraveling the engine mechanism the thrust chamber assembly, counting the main combustion chamber, main injector and needle engineers can more with no trouble push the various components to function over a wide variety of conditions to ensure the parts' integrity, show the safety margin and better appreciate how the turbopumps operate.

"By anecdotal the pressures, temperatures and flow rates, the power pack test series will evaluate the full range of operating circumstances of the engine components," said Tom Byrd, J-2X engine lead in the SLS Liquid Engines Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "This will enable us to verify the components' design and validate our analytical models against performance data, as well as ensure structural stability and verify the combustion stability of the gas generator."

This is the second power pack test series for J-2X. The powerpack 1A was tested in 2008 with J-2S engine turbo machinery originally developed for the Apollo Program. Engineers tested these heritage components to obtain data to help them modify the design of the turbomachinery to meet the higher performance requirements of the J-2X engine.

"The test engineers on the A-1 test team are excited and ready to begin another phase of testing which will provide critical data in support of the Space Launch System," said Gary Benton, J-2X engine testing project manager at Stennis.J-2X is being developed for Marshall by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Innovative journey 30 team Members open to Station

The Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft transport three new Expedition 30 journey engineers’ launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

Expedition 30 Flight Engineers Don Pettit, Oleg Kononenko and Andre Kuipers launched at 8:16 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Dec. 21 (7:16 p.m. local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The three new global Space Station crew members launch in their Soyuz TMA-03M spacecraft start a two-day trip to the orbiting settlement.

They are put to dock to the station's Rassvet mini-research module about 10:22 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 23. Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin will welcome their original crewmates on board the station a little while later at what time they open the hatches about 1 p.m.

Pettit, Kononenko and Kuipers are planned to live and work aboard the orbit laboratory until May. They will become member of the Expedition 31 crew under the authority of Kononenko when Burbank, Shkaplerov and Ivanishin undock in their Soyuz TMA-22 spaceship in March.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

NASA To Host Media Teleconference On Probes' Moon Orbit Insertion

NASA will hold a media teleconference at 11 a.m. PST on Wednesday, Dec. 28, to preview twin spacecraft being placed in orbit around the moon on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
NASA's twin lunar Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) probes were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sept. 10, 2011. GRAIL-A is scheduled to arrive in lunar orbit beginning at 1:21 p.m. PST on Saturday, Dec. 31, and GRAIL-B on Sunday, Jan. 1, beginning at 2:05 p.m. PST. After confirmation they are in orbit and operating nominally, the two solar-powered spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits to answer longstanding questions about the moon and give scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

Participants are:
- Maria Zuber, principal investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge
- David Lehman, project manager, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.

To participate, reporters must contact the JPL Media Relations Office at 818-354-5011 by 10:30 a.m. PST on Dec. 28 for the call-in number and passcode.

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