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Spaceport news
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Kennedy Space Center
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UAV contest challenges engineers C ompetition was in high gear at Kennedy Space Center recently as three teams pi loted unique remote-controlled and autono mous aircraft through a demanding series of search-and-rescue tasks, capping off months of work that pushed NASA engineers out side their usual specialties. Using helicopters, rotorcraft and a builtfrom-scratch, radio-controlled airplane, the teams scanned a mock airplane crash site with sensors and software they developed place at the north end of the Shuttle Landing Facility at a time when the airspace around it was closed so the craft wouldnt interfere with runway operations. Although human operators were at the had to identify the aircraft, a replica black box and several crash dummies. Later, the aircraft were sent on endurance runs. Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center took part in the competition while engineers from Ames Research Center, Dryden Flight Research Center and Langley Research Center judged the results. There was a plaque, but other than brag ging rights, that was about it, said Mark Ross, a NASA test director who coordinated the competition. The technology could be implemented in a number of different ways, including locat ing a crew returning from space or rescuing stranded hikers, pilots or boaters. The real point of the competition, though, was to add new skills to established engineers portfo lios and to give young engineers a taste of the process that goes into developing a full project. There was a lot of realization that this was a rare opportunity to see things from cradle to grave, to see something from also learned a good bit about the systems engineering process, which was the whole intent behind this and how to apply it in a practical way. Kennedys Rocket University developed in the competition. The group built the airframe from scratch, along with designing the software to operate it. The whole purpose is to use low-cost, high-capability equipment to get hands-on experience, said Steve Sullivan, chief en gineer for the Kennedy team. If you go to with you. I think it keeps your brain sharp. The principle of diversifying engineers skills also is in keeping with Kennedys push to operate as a multi-user spaceport with expertise in many different areas, Sul livan said. Working outside their areas of expertise excited the engineers from all the centers and made them work together intently, said nedy aircraft. I think the team camaraderie and ex change of information was really impor tant, Lomness said. Peter Ma, an engineer with the Mar shall team, said the hardest part about the software design was getting the machine to recognize people. The Marshall group went on to win the competition. People can be in a lot of different posi tions, make a lot of shapes, he said. The aircraft went through a full safety and air worthiness review before being al small and not carrying a crew, said Tom Friers, the chief of Flight Operations. By Steven Siceloff Spaceport News A remote-controlled helicopter with a unique competition Sept. 11 at Kennedy Space Center. NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis


Page 2 Innovation Expo unites spaceports efforts K ennedy Space Centers annual Innovation Expo is designed to spark creativity and new ideas to aid in transitioning the spaceport from a histori cally government-only launch facility to a multi-user space port. On Sept. 10, as part of the four-day event, Kennedys Center Planning and Develop ment Directorate (CPD) hosted displays by partners, bringing together center employees with many of the organizations that are helping build the centers future. the introduction of something new or a fresh idea, method or device. Kennedys Innovation Expo highlights just that -groundbreaking efforts facili tated by both civil service and contractor employees, as well as partner organizations. The exhibits and presentations allow those who are developing new approaches to share how they plan to implement their ideas. We hope this will lead to some out-of-the-box think ing about Kennedy becoming a multi-user spaceport, said Scott Colloredo, director of CPD. We also hope this will be a forum to encourage inter action between partners, result ing in developing relationships that will lead to collaborative efforts. Center Planning and Devel opment is the front door for partnerships with Kennedy. With a partnership, the agency can allow industry to operate a facility or provide services NASA wants to maintain. Through partnerships with industry and academia, KSC is truly becoming a multi-user spaceport, Colloredo said. partner displays at Kennedys Innovation Expo. Kennedy employees had an opportunity to meet many of NASAs partners. Additionally, representatives from partner or ganizations had an opportunity to interact with each other and learn how each adds value to developing the Kennedy Space Center of the future. The invitation to Kennedys Innovation Expo provided us an opportunity to meet and col laborate with other companies and space center employees, which was very positive for our company. said Martin Belson, president and chief executive C&IS Inc. Booths representing CPD focused on Spaceport Plan ning, Partnership Development, Research and Technology, Technology Evaluation for Environmental Risk Mitiga tion and Flight Opportunities Programs. According to Robert Ash ley, Kennedys manager of the Flight Opportunities Program in NASAs Research and Technol program gives engineers and principal investigators multiple their new space technologies. One of the agencys biggest challenges is space testing and ing new technologies that are needed to extend our presence farther out into the solar system and beyond, he said. During the Innovation Expo, Howard Biegler, Human Launch Services lead for Unit ed Launch Alliance, showed off a Dual Satellite System-5 model that provides the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets with the capability of launching two payloads to different orbits on a single launch vehicle. By utilizing dual-launch cient use of excess performance margins on launches, which in turn provides lower mission to our customers, Biegler said. Other organizations repre sented in the partner exhibits were: The Boeing Company, Micro Aerospace Solutions, PaR Systems Inc., Quantum Innovative Technologies, Space Coast Energy Consortium, United Paradyne Corp. and the University of Central Florida. The 2013 Kennedy Space Center Innovation Expo came to a close Sept. 13. Nearly 1,000 Kennedy employees attended the four-day event, which included a showcase, kick-start, guest speaker engagement, tours of the center and a nale. The Innovation Expo was created to kindle a creative and collaborative culture within the Kennedy workforce, said Der rick Bailey, expo chair and NASA mission safety engineer. The Innovation Expo Team wants the Kennedy workforce to know opportunities exist for them to By Bob Granath Spaceport News NASA/Charisse Nahser reach outside their day-to-day routine and make substantial improvements to how we operate and to the products we create. The expo was designed to provide a forum for individuals to learn about ongoing activities at Kennedy, to break down organi zational silos that hinder collaboration and to establish relationships where expertise can be shared cross-organizationally. Center Director Bob Cabana believes innovation is the key to success for future missions, endeavors and business at Kennedy. Ive received a lot of positive feedback about the 2013 Innovation Expo and I couldnt agree more, said Cabana. Not only did the expo highlight new tech nologies, showcase technology initiatives being worked across the center through the different lectures and tours, and provide the opportunity for innovators to kick off projects through our KSC KickStart program, but it also brought together 17 of our center partners for an unprecedented display of the different collaborations being worked centerwide. I am proud of what we accomplished this year. Nearly 1,000 attend event


Page 3 Boeing completes MCC interface test F Space Center in Houston has tested commu nications with a commercial made, crewcapable spacecraft, as The Boeing Company conducted an interface test between the MCC and software planned for the com panys CST-100 spacecraft. Boeing has partnered with NASA to develop a fully integrated crew transporta tion system, with its CST-100 spacecraft and United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, in partnership with NASAs Commercial Crew Program (CCP). New commercial NASA partners through commercial crew initiatives could eventually provide services to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, launching from U.S. soil. could send and receive data from its Avion ics Software Integration Facility to the MCC. The companys software facility and CST-100 spacecraft simulator are serving training. Every day, our connection to the humans living and working in space comes through the historic and hallowed MCC in Houston, said Ed Mango, NASAs CCP manager. As low-Earth orbit opens to a growing commercial space industry, the ability of new spacecraft to communicate with exist ing space infrastructure is critical. Through a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASAs Mission Op erations Directorate, which began during CCPs second phase of development, Boe ing is collaborating with the agency on mis for its CST-100. Our continued partnership with the NASA Mission Operations Directorate brings valued experience to our Commer vice president of Boeing Commercial Crew Programs. This fully integrated team will ensure that we can safely and affordably conduct missions. Additional interconnectivity assessments conducted by Boeing will include software and demonstrations that will put a human at the controls of the spacecraft simulator. A pilot will run through the critical phases of adjusting the spacecraft attitude. Atlas V rocket. More online For more information about NASAs Commercial Crew Program, visit: By Rebecca Regan Spaceport News NASAs Commercial Crew Program (CCP) is four years old and continues to build mo mentum toward space. After beginning with artist concepts and designs, spacecraft developers now are testing full-size models and taking steps to qualify subsystems. The agencys astronauts are practicing launches and landings in simulators to iron out the details in critical software. CCPs progress so far is the result of diligent and relentless efforts to reshape Americas human spaceight program. Spacecraft developed by CCP partners will be the safest, most reliable and costeffective transportation systems to and from low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station. NASA and CCP stand on a path leading to launch from American soil in 2017. To see the progress to date, watch this video: CCP rocking steady Courtesy of United Launch Alliance Courtesy of Boeing


Page 4 Self-healing metal SMASHes fatigue A future spacecraft landing on a distant planet may have an improved margin of safety due to innovative metal alloys being developed at Ken nedy Space Center. Called SMASH, Shape Memory Al loy Self-Healing is a technology that creates metals that, when damaged, can repair themselves. Aircraft and spacecraft can be subject to material fatigue, the progressive and localized structural damage that occurs when a material is subjected to repetitive stress. This technology could be used on deep-space missions to destinations such as Mars or for high-performance aircraft, said Clara Wright, a materials engineer in NASAs Engineer ing and Technology Directorate and the principal investigator for the project. NARI is part of the agencys Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) and was established to invest in innova tive, early-stage and potentially revolutionary aviation concepts and technologies. Kennedy-led team has been selected for both the Phase I and Phase II seedling award in this type of project. The NARI Seedling Fund provides NASA civil servants the opportunity to perform research, analysis and proof-of-concept development of ideas that have the potential to meet national aeronautics needs. Wright works in Kennedys Materials and Process Engi neering Branch and within the Failure Analysis Laboratory where experts determine why structures break down and how to avoid future malfunctions. During Phase I, and leverag ing a NASA Early Career Fac ulty Award, the SMASH team developed structural alloys that could self-repair fatigue cracks. The Phase II SMASH team researchers include Catherine Brinson, Ph. D., professor and chair of Mechanical Engineer ing at Northwestern University in Illinois, and Terryl Wallace, Ph. D., of Structural Materials Engineering at NASAs Langley Research Center in Virginia. For Phase II, Northwestern modeling to determine the best alloy reinforcement, while Langley will be supporting fabrication and potential ap plications for both aeronautical vehicles and spacecraft. The alloys being devel oped are to be used in critical locations where fatigue crack propagation fractures would likely occur, Wright said. Wed use them in areas where we can predict stress localiza tion that might cause fatigue on aircraft structural parts, such as where the wings attach to the fuselage or areas that involve repetitive motion such as the landing gear. Wright points out that for spacecraft traveling far from Earth, a repair shop would not be an option. ways to mitigate potential dam age from stress and coming up with a good answer to that problem, she said. Once a spacecraft is well beyond Earth, anything we can do to stop crack propagation and prevent a failure will improve our safety margins. The SMASH technology begins by adding to metal alloys shape-memory wire, similar to that used in dental braces. Once shaped, memory wire will want to return to its original form, said Wright, so if stress bends a metal component out of its designed shape, it will want to return to its proper form. The key to shape-memory wire returning to its designed shape is heat. In the case of dental braces, the heat in the persons mouth keeps the braces in the correct shape, pulling the teeth in the desired position, she said. For the SMASH aerospace alloys, if a fatigue crack begins, the shape-memory alloys reinforce ments will stretch across the crack. Wright explains that putting the technology to work in actual aircraft or spacecraft is still about eight to 10 years away. In the Failure Analysis Lab, out why something failed, she said. The SMASH Project is giving us an opportunity to de termine how to prevent failures By Bob Granath Spaceport News For the complete story, go to NASA/Bob Granath NASA/Bob Granath


Page 5 Scenes Around Kennedy Space Center NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis NASA/Jim Grossmann NASA in the nation. NASA/Jim Grossmann commercial uses. NASA/Glenn Benson


Page 6 Engineers test MAVEN communications I ts not easy to simulate millions of miles electroni cally, but thats what engineers did recently as they tested the all-important communications system the MAVEN spacecraft will use to relay its study results from Mars orbit to Earth-bound researchers. Working from their consoles at Kennedy, a team of test sion Laboratory in California, more than a week of evaluations on the antennas and circuitry aboard the spacecraft. They beamed signals to the low-gain and high-gain anten nas on MAVEN and basically treated the machine as though it journey from Earth to Mars and then studying the upper atmo sphere of the Red Planet. Such work is critical, mission managers said, because there communications system once it leaves Earth. It doesnt matter what we do out there if we cant get the data Lockheed Martins Assembly Test and Launch Operations manager for the project. MAVEN is short for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolu tioN. It is scheduled to launch in November aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V. I say this is one of the most important things, because if we cant talk to it . , said Sheryl nedy. The testing was standard stuff for the engineers, but nonethe less mind-bending considering that the spacecraft will operate millions of miles from Earth and rely on commands from opera tors at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. To mimic the distances between the spacecraft and Earth, the electronic signals sent between the two during testing are run through a cabling system that quickly ramps down the power by going through various wiring networks. Well try to squeeze the sig nal down to its lowest possible point, said Chris Green, an engineer with Exelis who super vised the testing. Its a machine performance -every scenario be in is what we go through in testing. NASA has an intricate system of antennas in California, Spain and Australia to pick up and spacecraft that now reaches out beyond the solar system in the form of Voyager 1. Called the Deep Space Network and referred to by its acronym, DSN, the system uses antennas almost as big as a foot the spacecraft that are using their own much smaller anten nas and more limited power sources. Its the system NASA uses to communicate with all of its interplanetary probes and some of the spacecraft studying Earth, as well. In addition to Voy ager 1, whose signal is incred ibly weak because of the vast distance it is from Earth, the network is picking up signals from newer spacecraft such as New Horizons, which is speed ing toward Pluto. Cassini in ity rover operating on Mars all relay their data to Earth on the DSN and get their commands from ground operators through the same network. Kennedys portion of the DSN structure is a testing facil ity called MIL-71, a reference to the time when the space center was known as the Merritt Island Launch Annex. Every time a spacecraft comes to Kennedy for launch preparations, a team of engineers sets up racks of equipment and computer servers before beginning several days of 12-hour shifts to make sure the missions communications sys tem and interface with the Deep Space Network will work. With the spacecraft checked out, the team takes its gear back to California and gets ready for launch day, knowing that it wont hear anything from the spacecraft until well after liftoff. In the case of MAVEN, the engineers and scientists wont successful until 54 minutes after launch from Cape Canaveral when MAVEN makes its initial contact with the DSN. When the signal is ac quired, said Bergstrom, a veteran of long wait-times for good missions and bad, thats when we get to breathe. By Steven Siceloff Spaceport News


Page 7 At 36, Voyager 1 enters interstellar space N into interstellar space. The 36-year-old probe is about 12 billion miles from our sun. New and unexpected data indicate Voy ager 1 has been traveling for about one year through plasma, or ionized gas, present in the space between stars. Voyager is in a transi tional region immediately outside the solar bubble, where some effects from our sun are still evident. A report on the analysis of this new data, an effort led by Don Gurnett and the plasma wave science team at the Univer sity of Iowa, Iowa City, was published in a recent edition of the journal Science. Now that we have new, key data, we believe this is mankinds historic leap into interstellar space, said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Insti tute of Technology, Pasadena. The Voyager team needed time to analyze those observa tions and make sense of them. But we can now answer the question weve all been ask ing -- Are we there yet? Yes, we are. Kennedy Space Center had the privilege of launching the now-historic vehicle into propulsion mechanical branch chief, recalls the excitement from launch. We were all smiles we all knew the [Voyager] missions would be around for a long time, he said. Though I expected a very successful mission, Im shocked and proud to know how far its actually gone. Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, were launched 16 days apart in 1977. Both space 2, launched before Voyager 1, is the longest continuously operated spacecraft. It is about 9.5 billion miles away from our sun. Steve Francois, former Launch Services Program manager, worked alongside Wom ack in the late 1970s. Ive been following the Voyager mis sions for 36 years and was thrilled to hear this latest news, said Francois. Though it didnt have the prestige of a manned launch, we knew Voyager 1 and 2 would do great things. Voyager mission controllers still talk to or receive data from both Voyagers every day, though the emitted signals are currently very dim, at about 23 watts -the power of a re frigerator light bulb. By the time the signals get to Earth, they are a fraction of a billionbillionth of a watt. Data from Voyager 1s NASA News Report instruments are transmitted to Earth typically at 160 bits per second, and captured by 34and 70-meter NASA Deep Space Network stations. Traveling at the speed of light, a sig nal from Voyager 1 takes about 17 hours to travel to Earth. After the data are transmitted Voyager data are made publicly available. Voyager has boldly gone where no probe has gone before, marking one of the most the annals of the history of science, and NASAs associate administrator for science in Washington. Perhaps some future deep space explorers will catch up with Voyager, this intrepid spacecraft helped enable their journey. NASA artist conception


Page 8 Cygnus en route for rendezvous with ISS W hile the newest commer cial cargo vehicle to join the International Space Sta Sept. 18 on its demonstration aboard the orbiting complex was hard at work with medical research, emergency simulation training and preparations for arrival Sept. 22 of the new space freighter. NASA commercial space partner Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., launched its Cygnus cargo spacecraft aboard its Antares rocket at 10:58 a.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASAs Wallops Flight Facil ity in Virginia. At the time of launch, the space station was the southern Indian Ocean. Cygnus will deliver 1,300 pounds of cargo, including food and clothing, to the space sta tions Expedition 37 crew. All three Expedition 37 crew members -Commander Fy odor Yurchikhin and Flight En gineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano -gathered around a laptop computer screen in the stations Destiny laboratory to watch a live video stream of Looking up and ahead . All times are Eastern 2013 Sept. 25 Mission: Expedition 37/38 Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 36 (TMA-10M) Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan Launch Time: TBD Description: Soyuz TMA-10M will carry three Expedition 37/38 crew members to the International Space Station. They are NASA Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins, Soyuz Commander Oleg Kotov and Russian Flight Engineer Sergey Ryzansky. Nov. 6 Mission: Expedition 38/39 Launch Vehicle: Soyuz 37 (TMA-11M) Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan Launch Time: TBD Description: Soyuz TMA-11M will carry three Expedition 38/39 crew members to the International Space Station. They are NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin. Nov. 18 Mission: Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) Launch Vehicle: Atlas V Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41 Launch Time: TBD Description: MAVEN is the rst mission devoted to understanding Mars upper atmosphere. The missions goal is to determine the role that loss of atmospheric gas to space played in changing the Martian climate through time. Nov. 20 Mission: ISS Resupply Launch Vehicle: ISS Progress 53 Launch Site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan Launch Time: TBD Description: Progress 53 will carry supplies, hardware, fuel and water to the International Space Station. Dec. 9 Mission: SpaceX-3 Commercial Resupply Services ight Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 40 Launch Time: TBD Description: SpaceX-3 will be the third commercial resupply mission to the ISS by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). 2014 Date: January Mission: Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-L (TDRS-L) Launch Vehicle: Atlas V Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Launch Time: TBD Launch Pad: Space Launch Complex 41 Description: TDRS-L is the second of three next-generation satellites designed to ensure vital operational continuity for the NASA Space Network. To watch a NASA launch online, go to NASA News Report the launch of Cygnus. Nyberg then sent her congratulations to Orbital Sciences via her Twitter account. Nyberg and Parmitano began their workday aboard the space station reviewing Cygnus cargo manifest and discussing with ground teams the plan to unload the cargo. During the month that Cygnus is berthed to the station, the crew will unload its 1,300 pounds of cargo and reload it with trash for disposal when Cygnus departs for a de structive re-entry in the Earths atmosphere. Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., launches its NASA