Spaceport news


Material Information

Spaceport news
Physical Description:
Kennedy Space Center
External Relations, NASA at KSC
Place of Publication:
Kennedy Space Center, FL
Publication Date:


serial   ( sobekcm )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- Florida -- Brevard -- Cape Canaveral -- John F. Kennedy Space Center
28.524058 x -80.650849 ( Place of Publication )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


January 20, 2006John F. Kennedy Space Center America’s gateway to the universe Spaceport News Vol. 45, No. 2 New Horizons to leave Earth at record speed(See GLOBALFLYER, Page 7)PILOT STEVE Fossett talks to the media after his landing of the Virgin Atlantic Airways GlobalFlyer aircraft. Standing at left are KSC Spaceport Development Manager Jim Ball, Center Director James Kennedy and Executive Director of Florida Space Authority Winston Scott. By Jeff Stuckey Editor T he Virgin Atlantic Airways GlobalFlyer aircraft, piloted by Steve Fossett, arrived at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Jan. 12 to begin preparations for an attempt to set a new world record for the longest flight made by any aircraft. An exact takeoff date for the flight has not been determined and is contingent on weather and jet-stream conditions, making it GlobalFlyer arrives for world record attemptBusiness program expands use of NASA facilities possible until the end of February. NASA agreed to let Virgin Atlantic Airways use the Shuttle Landing Facility as a takeoff site as part of a pilot program to expand runway access for nonNASA activities. After the 38-foot-long, 114foot-wide aircraft touched down at the landing strip, Jim Ball, KSC spaceport development manager for the Center Operations directorate, praised the non-NASA use of the runway. “We put an invitation out to the world, including the commerA t press time, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was scheduled to begin its journey to the planet Pluto aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 41. Excessive winds at the launch pad prevented the first launch attempt, followed by a power outage at the Applied Physics Laboratory during the second attempt, where mission management and spacecraft operations are conducted. New Horizons is the first mission in NASA’s New Frontiers program of medium-class planetary missions. The spacecraft will fly by Pluto and its moon, Charon, as early as summer 2015. New Horizons is the fastestMission to solar system’s last named planet to lift off from Capespacecraft ever launched, reaching lunar orbit distance in just nine hours and set to pass Jupiter in 13 months. Launch before Feb. 3 allows New Horizons to fly past Jupiter in early 2007 and use the planet’s gravity as a slingshot toward Pluto. The Jupiter flyby trims the trip to Pluto by five years and provides opportunities to test the spacecraft’s instruments and flyby capabilities. The launch management of New Horizons is the responsibility of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Launch Services Program. Carrying seven scientific instruments, the compact 1,060pound New Horizons probe will characterize the geology and environment of Pluto and Charon, map their surface compositions and temperature, and examine Pluto’s complex atmosphere. After the initial mission, flybys of Kuiper Belt objects from even farther in the solar system may be undertaken in an extended mission. A close-up look at these mysterious worlds will provide new information about the origin and evolution of our solar system. The National Academy of Sciences ranked the exploration of Pluto-Charon and the Kuiper Belt among the highest priorities for space exploration, citing the fundamental scientific importance of these bodies to advancing understanding of the solar system. Different than the inner, rocky planets (See PLUTO, Page 4)NASA’S NEW Horizons spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket awaits liftoff from Launch Complex 41. The spacecraft is scheduled to fly by Pluto as early as 2015. Visit for updates. jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 1


SPACEPORT NEWS January 20, 2006 Page 2 Awards The Kennedy Update Jim Kennedy Center Director G reetings to NASA Launch Operations Center employees! For examples stated below and many others, I remain. .“KSC and proud to be.” As this article went to press, the New Horizons mission to Pluto was still scheduled to launch. The precise day of launch isn’t nearly as important as the great investment in science this spacecraft is for our nation and, in fact, the world. When I was a child, Pluto was the last planet. While that is no longer the case, what we have learned since then is this fascinating celestial body holds great promise to learn more about the origins of our universe. This mission wouldn’t be a success without the tremendous work of our Launch Services Program team and all of its mission and scientific research partners. While space travel is never easy, this was an extremely complicated and delicate mission for the simple fact that the spacecraft carries 24 pounds of plutonium and the launch window was relatively small to accommodate New Horizons’ flight path. By launching now and receiving a gravitational assist from Jupiter in years to come, we are able to shave five years off the flight time. I’m not the guy who figures all this stuff out, but I sure am proud to be a team member with people who do. In November, when 6,000 sixth graders visited our visitor’s center, many of them said that space travel seems like magic. But unlike hocus pocus at a show, what you do every day is real and thus what we do at KSC is more “magical” than simple magic. The impact you make on the world is magical, as science books are constantly rewritten based on discoveries coming from NASA missions. I’m proud of the entire team! Jan. 14 marked the two-year anniversary of the nation’s Vision for Space Exploration. You will see the transition from concept to reality continue to take place as we begin transforming areas of the center to prepare for our first test flights at the end of the decade. I know Tip Talone and Scott Kerr’s directorates are working hard to lead the charge and it will be an exciting time to be at KSC during the next decade. Excitement is what Steve Fossett and his aircraft, the GlobalFlyer, are all about. It landed here Jan. 12 and soon Fossett will leave KSC and circle the globe, eventually landing at Kent International Airport in England. Steve will travel more than 26,000 miles in about 80 hours to set the longest distance flight record of all time. It’s an honor and privilege to have Steve pick KSC as the launch point for setting this incredible record. As I said, 2006 is off to an incredible start and I wish you all a tremendous year as we take on the challenges of exploring our universe together. See you around the center!“I wish you all a tremendous year as we take on the challenges of exploring our universe together.” T he American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) recently presented Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility with the Lifetime Pavement Achievement Award in the airport category. The ACPA’s distinguished service awards recognize the commitment and achievements of some of the most forwardthinking professionals in the transportation community. The Shuttle Landing Facility has been in service for more than three decades, serving primarily to provide a safe, smooth surface for shuttle orbiter landings, as Shuttle Landing Facility receives concrete award well as for other NASA operations. This airfield consists of a 15,000-foot by 300-foot runway, a small connector taxiway, apron areas, over-runs and paved shoulders. The runway, taxiway and apron are comprised of more than 9,860 slabs that range from 15 to 16 inches thick. “Every airfield has different and unique aspects, but the recipient of our award this year is an airfield like no other,” said Pat Nolan, ACPA’s vice chairman. The ACPA is the national trade association for the concrete pavement industry. THE SHUTTLE Landing Facility was recognized by the American Concrete Pavement Association. January NASA Employees of the Month T he January NASA Employees of the Month, standing from left, are: Taya Stokes, Engineering Development; Fernan Rodriguez, Human Resources; Kenneth Young, Independent Technical Authority and Systems Management; Lisa Singleton, Safety and Mission Assurance; and Lisa Huddleston, Shuttle Processing. Seated from left are: Ed Stanton, International Space Station and Payload Processing; Rose Austin, Information Technology and Communications Services; Jan Mayers, Center Operations; and Trent Smith, Applied Technology. jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 2


SPACEPORT NEWS Page 3 January 20, 2006 Orbiters to receive next-generation insulation tile By Linda Herridge Staff Writer A s workers at Kennedy Space Center continue processing NASA’s orbiters for future space shuttle missions, new orbiter tile has arrived for installation on the vehicles to further increase flight safety. The tile, called “Boeing replacement insulation” or “BRI18,” will gradually replace older tile around main landing gear doors, external tank doors and nose landing gear doors. Replacing older tile with the BRI-18 tile in strategic areas is one of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board’s recommendations to strengthen the orbiters. Currently, 10 tiles have been processed inside the Thermal Protection System Facility. The facility’s manager, Martin Wilson of United Space Alliance, said orbiter tile development has been an evolutionary process. “The original orbiter tiles were developed based on a concept at the beginning of the space shuttle program,” Wilson said. “They were lightweight and shock resistant. As the program progressed, several versions of tile were developed with increased strength and durability.” Tim Wright, Thermal Protection System Facility engineering manager with USA, said the BRI18 tile is more rigid than previous tile materials and won’t distort as much during the critical ceramic coating and firing process. “This property enhancement should increase tile manufacturing accuracy,” Wright said. “A second significant advantage is that the tiles are more impact resistant than previous designs, enhancing the crew’s safety.” Discovery will receive the first BRI-18 tile. Technicians inside the Orbiter Processing Facility are performing fit checks and will begin bonding the tile to the vehicle this month. The raw material is manufactured by The Boeing Company in Huntington Beach, Calif. Made of silica mixed with other proprietary elements, it underwent rigorous testing and certification prior to being shipped to KSC. The tile will undergo the same processes as the original tiles, such as machining, ceramic coating, baking at 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit (to cure the coating), densification, and pressure pad application. It will be transferred to the Orbiter Processing Facilities as needed. The BRI-18 tile or some version of it could be considered for use on the crew exploration vehicle, Wilson said.MICKEY O’BRIEN, a United Space Alliance technician, installs a BRI-18 tile on space shuttle Atlantis. The tiles are more impact resistant. My Story By Brad Berman NASA Safety and Mission Assurance I was 14 years old in 1968 when I decided to keep a journal of my life.With so much going on in the world, it should have been easy to fill a page daily. But with my boring This column provides Kennedy Space Center employees and retirees a chance to tell a story about their life. Readers are encouraged to submit a first-person article between 400 and 500 words. E-mail “My Story” submissions to routine, I nearly quit before I began. Things changed in 1969. My Dad invited my brothers Steve, 16, Terry, 12, and me to join him overseas in Thailand for the summer; he was working there for TWA and was able to get us discount tickets. The plan was for us to fly from Orlando to Bangkok. My brothers and I had other plans, however. Using our special tickets, we made some extra stops: Paris, Rome, Athens, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We had $100 between the three of us and managed to stretch that out for over a week before our Dad tracked us down. TWA reps in Israel made sure our next stop was Thailand; we hadn’t eaten much but we had our share of adventures. That and our summer in Thailand provided plenty of material for my journal entries. I was also bitten by the travel bug. In 1971, my sister Jeri and I were invited to join Kennedy Space Center’s first Summer Aid program. I was 17 and in the 11th grade, and started in configuration management. The next year, I was in logistics. Once in college, I became a co-op and continued at KSC until I was hired full time as a NASA safety specialist in 1979. I’ve been doing that ever since. In the meantime, my appetite for adventure never waned. In 1974, I took three months off from college to live on an island called Boca Grande in Colombia. I eventually visited every state in the U.S., including (See MY STORY, Page 7) jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 3


Page 4 SPACEPORT NEWS January 20, 2006 New Horizons to study geology and PLUTO . .(Continued from Page 1)(like Earth) or the outer gas giants, Pluto is a different type of planet known as an “ice dwarf,” commonly found in the Kuiper Belt region billions of miles from the sun. The New Horizons science payload, developed under direction of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, includes imaging infrared and ultraviolet spectrometers, a multi-color camera, a long-range telescopic camera, two particle spectrometers, a space-dust detector and a radio science experiment. The dust counter was designed and built by students at the University of Colorado. The spacecraft will “sleep” in electronic hibernation for much of the cruise to Pluto. Operators will turn off all but the most critical electronic systems and monitor the spacecraft once a year to check out critical systems, calibrate instruments and perform course corrections, if necessary. The spacecraft will send back a beacon signal each week to give operators an instant read on spacecraft health. The entire spacecraft, drawing electricity from a single radioisotope thermoelectric generator, operates on less power than a pair of 100-watt household light bulbs. For more information, visit: newhorizons .IN THE Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (above), the two fairing sections are ready to be moved in place around the New Horizons spacecraft (center) for encapsulation. Below, at their consoles in the Atlas V Spaceflight Operations Center on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, members of the New Horizons team take part in a dress rehearsal for the launch. From left are Lockheed Martin Program Manager John Crocker; Michael Kubiak with the U.S. Air Force, participating with Lockheed Martin on the Education with Industry program; and Lockheed Martin’s Carlos Prado. NASA ADMINIST R Michael Griffin (ce n desk) met with m e covering the New Horizons launch a t KSC Press Site o n 17, where he disc u the New Horizons mission and other N programs. TECHNICIANS LIFT New Horizons toward a transporter for its move to Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 4


Page 5 SPACEPORT NEWS January 20, 2006 and environment of Pluto, Charon n s are ready to be on. Below, at r al Air Force o r the launch. iak with the U.S. p rogram; and A FLORIDA quarter is prepared for installation on the New Horizons spacecraft. The new quarter, engraved with the “Gateway to Discovery” design, will accompany New Horizons on its 3-billion-mile journey. Although appropriate for the mission to carry the coin from the state that symbolizes space exploration, it will also serve a practical purpose: scientists are using the quarter as a spin-balance weight. THE FAIRING lifting fixture is lowered toward the nose of the fairing enclosing New Horizons upon its arrival at the Vertical Integration Facility at Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A Lockheed Martin Atlas V launch vehicle stands ready to receive it in the background. NASA ADMINISTRATOR Michael Griffin (center at desk) met with media covering the New Horizons launch at the KSC Press Site on Jan. 17, where he discussed the New Horizons mission and other NASA programs. ON COMPLEX 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, workers observe the Atlas V expendable launch vehicle with the New Horizons spacecraft poised for launch. WITH THE backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, the Atlas V expendable launch vehicle with the New Horizons spacecraft (center) is nearly ready for launch. Surrounding the rocket are lightning masts. jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 5


Page 6 SPACEPORT NEWS January 20, 2006 NASA Day of Remembrance to honor heroesKSC Web management tool to improve safety assessments Reflect on lives of fallen astronauts Jan. 26 T he NASA family will pause on Jan. 26, the final Thursday in January, for a Day of Remembrance honoring the fallen heroes of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia and all of those who have given their lives in the cause of exploration and discovery. As President George W. Bush said of the Columbia crew, “These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life.” Apollo 1 On Jan. 27, 1967, veteran astronaut Gus Grissom, first American space walker Ed White and rookie Roger Chaffee were sitting atop the launch pad for a prelaunch test when a fire broke out in their Apollo capsule. The investigation into the fatal accident led to two major design and engineering changes, making the Apollo spacecraft safer for the coming journeys to the moon. Challenger Just 73 seconds after launch on the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, a booster failure caused the space shuttle Challenger to break apart, taking the lives of all seven crew members, including Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe. President Ronald Reagan eulogized the crew, quoting from the poem “High Flight”: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’” Columbia The seven-member crew of the STS-107 mission was just 16 minutes from landing on the morning of Feb. 1, 2003, when Mission Control lost contact with the space shuttle Columbia. A piece of foam, falling from the external tank during launch, had opened a hole in one of the shuttle’s wings, leading to the breakup of the orbiter upon reentry. The crew included Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown and Laurel Clark. Addressing the nation, Bush said, “Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.”THE 20TH anniversary of the Challenger accident will be recognized Jan. 28 at the Space Mirror Memorial. Crew members included, top row from left, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith Resnik. The bottow row includes Michael Smith, Francis Scobee and Ronald McNair. O n Jan. 28 at 10 a.m., The Astronauts Memorial Foundation will conduct a public ceremony to honor the crew of Challenger STS-51L on the 20th anniversary of the Challenger accident at the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Speakers will include June Scobee Rogers, wife of the late Francis “Dick” Scobee, commander of the Challenger flight; their son, Col. Richard Scobee; Jim Kennedy, Kennedy SpaceRemembrance service marks 20th anniversary of Challenger accidentCenter director; Rick Hauck, commander of Discovery on the first post-Challenger mission; and Joseph Allen, astronaut and Challenger Center for Space Education chairman. The Astronauts Memorial Foundation’s president, Dr. Stephen Feldman, will lead the service. The Astronauts Memorial Foundation honors and memorializes all astronauts who have sacrificed their lives for the nation and the space program. By Linda Herridge Staff Writer S afety is a top priority at Kennedy Space Center, and takes on an even more important meaning during space shuttle or expendable launch vehicle launches. To improve safety and risk assessment, the Safety and Mission Assurance directorate is working on upgrades to the Self Service Management Tool (SSMT) Web site. The upgrades will allow all KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station employees to input their launch day locations and other data into the system that will be used for range safety analyses. NASA range safety manager Maria Collura said it’s important to determine how many people move from one building to another before and during a launch. “We need to gather more accurate data to reduce errors,” Collura said. “The focus is to protect everyone so we can support a launch.” According to Alan Dumont, KSC range safety manager, this process allows range safety to determine a person’s true location at the projected launch time and reduces the chances of counting individuals twice, keeping the information as accurate as possible. Collura said locator information for approximately 12,000 workers is currently in the SSMT system, but the goal is to include every employee’s launch day information in order to improve risk assessments. Upgrades to the system will include an “assignment” category and a “data input wizard” for users, allowing safety managers to know where employees are located at projected launch times. KSC’s Information Technology team created the SSMT to provide an easy and userfriendly way to update the locator information, said Tracy Bierman, KSC’s Information Technology knowledge products manager. The information is then provided to numerous business systems throughout the center. All KSC and CCAFS employees who have not updated their information in the system are encouraged to do so by visiting the Web site at launchactivitywizard/ launchactivitywizardstart. aspx?launchID=29 jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 6


SPACEPORT NEWS January 20, 2006 Page 7 Remembering Our Heritage: 40 Years Ago Alaska and Hawaii. I traveled to Europe on my own by train and car to see numerous countries. Some highlights during my travels were hitchhiking through Australia (twice), climbing Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro and camel-trekking across the Sahara in Algeria. Antarctica is the only continent I haven’t seen yet. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was selected to travel to exotic locales like Senegal, Morocco and Spain to be the NASA safety rep for the space shuttle’s Trans-Atlantic Landing sites. In the last five years, I’ve gone dog sledding and spent the night in a Snow Castle in Finland; glacier walked in Canada; visited former cannibal villages in New Guinea; explored Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands; went hot air ballooning over the Nile for my 50th birthday; and traveled the Route of the Maya through El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. My last trip was to the island of Madagascar in October. It’s been a wonderful and exciting life, both personally and at KSC. I’m fortunate to have continued with my journals. To date, I have 37 years of writing to look back on…but I’m not done yet. I’m still looking forward to my next adventure... and for many years to come.MY STORY . .(Continued from Page 3) Editor’s note: The Dec. 23 issue’s “My Story” featured Kelly Boos, not Kim Boos as published. Spaceport News apologizes for the error. cial sector and other potential users of this wonderful Shuttle Landing Facility, because we had an idea there would be this type of capacity available,” Ball said. “There was today, and we anticipate there being more uses in the future. We are very grateful that Steve Fossett and his team at Scale Composites, with Virgin Atlantic as his sponsor, took us up on this request for interest and decided to come here to do something that is right in line with the kind of business we do, which is the hosting of and demonstration of new technology.” Ball said designers at Scale Composites have been able to improve aviation in ways that advance the frontiers of technology, just as NASA continues to do. Following the marathon flight, Fossett will attempt to land the GlobalFlyer at Kent International Airport, near London. In doing so, he will cover 26,084 miles in approximately 80 hours. Fossett said he’s excited about flying from Kennedy because the center is where the great events in aviation and space begin. He wants to have that association, as well. “I really like our association with NASA and the Kennedy Space Center,” Fossett said. “I’m very flattered NASA has invited me for what is an adventurous airplane project, and I hope to live up to their expectations for a great flight.” GlobalFlyer must take off before the end of February because cooler temperatures are needed to get the airplane off the ground, even with the 15,000foot runway. “For me, it’s a challenge,” Fossett said. “I want to do something that hasn’t been done before, or at least to do it farther than anyone has done before.” KSC Director Jim Kennedy also welcomed Fossett to the center. “What an honor it is to be a part of the Kennedy Space Center family and to have you come be a part of it,” he said. “It’s a privilege and an honor to have you here. This is an exciting time at the Kennedy Space Center.” The use of the runway is part of NASA’s efforts to support the President’s Management Agenda and the U.S. Space Transportation Policy.GLOBALFLYER...(Continued from Page 1)By Anna Heiney Staff Writer N ASA’s workhorses are celebrating their 40th anniversary. The twin crawler transporters, built at Kennedy Space Center for the Apollo program, are still making tracks today. Originally designed to carry the towering Saturn V moon rocket from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the seaside launch site, the enormous transporters now carry the space shuttles to the launch pads for liftoff. “The reason we’ve been that successful isn’t because we’ve got a 50-year, 5,000-mile warranty” on the crawlers, NASA shuttle processing director Mike MIKE WETMORE, director of Space Shuttle Processing, addresses invited guests and the media during a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the crawler transporters. In January 1966, the crawler completed its first successful move with a 10.6-million-pound launch umbilical tower.Past, present crews honor crawler’s 40-year history Wetmore told an enthusiastic crowd during a Jan. 13 anniversary celebration. “It’s because of the efforts of the guys behind me who’ve kept these machines running.” Current and former employees joined the grown children of two of the main designers of the machines for a ceremony in front of a 5.5-million-pound crawler. After cutting into a cake decorated with a photo of the transporter, the group joined about 40 media on a tour of the giant contraption as it crept along at about one mile an hour, crushing rocks to dust in its wake. In January 1966, the crawler completed its first successful move by hauling a 10.6-millionpound launch umbilical tower three-quarters of a mile. At first glance, the crawler’s imposing size eclipses its hightech capabilities. It’s strong enough to lift space shuttles and moon rockets, precise enough to place them within a fraction of an inch of their destination, and delicate enough to keep its surface level so its towering cargo stays perfectly vertical throughout the roughly six-hour ride. “It’s good that people recognize a piece of technology that has endured through two programs — I guess really three, if you include Skylab,” said crawler systems engineer Bob Myers. During their four decades of service, these workhorses have transported seven different types of launch vehicles, including the gigantic Saturn V and all five space shuttles. Given their successful track record, the crawlers may not be ready for retirement anytime soon. jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 7


Page 8 SPACEPORT NEWS January 20, 2006 John F. Kennedy Space Center Managing editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bruce Buckingham Editor. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeff Stuckey Copy editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Corey Schubert Editorial support provided by InDyne, Inc. Writers Group. NASA at KSC is located on the Internet at USGPO: 733-049/60099 Spaceport News Spaceport News is an official publication of the Kennedy Space Center and is published on alternate Fridays by External Relations in the interest of KSC civil service and contractor employees. Contributions are welcome and should be submitted two weeks before publication to the Media Services Branch, IDI-011. E-mail submissions can be sent to Jeffery.Stuckey-1@ksc.nasa.govKennedy details NASA’s progress for National Space ClubBy Jeff Stuckey Editor K ennedy Space Center Director Jim Kennedy recently shared his excitement in NASA’s clear goals for the nation’s Vision for Space Exploration with a soldout crowd at the National Space Club Florida Committee’s January luncheon. “The speech the president gave two years ago (Jan. 14) about the new vision is not just about the future,” Kennedy said. “It includes flying the space shuttle safely; it’s about completing the assembly of the International Space Station so scientific exploration can be done in a zero-gravity environment. It’s also about NASA’s robotic missions.” The director said NASA is pleased with the progress toward the next space shuttle mission, including removing the foam ramp from the shuttle’s external tank. The new tank should arrive in February to be ready for the May launch window. “If not May, then it will be a July launch window, but it is clear we are close to flying the shuttle again,” he said. The Launch Services Program has also accomplished several key goals. “Voyager is in its 29thyear of service after lifting off from here on a Titan II, and is on a 10-million-mile mission that is about to exit the solar system,” Kennedy said. “It does not get much more exciting than that.” Another success is the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the first NASA use of an Atlas V. “MRO was launched last year and will be orbiting the surface of Mars,” Kennedy said. “It can even look down and see the two rovers, which almost two years to the day landed on the surface of Mars for its 90-day mission that is still going two years later. “The Launch Services Program will have a string of Earth-science missions in the coming year that will better help us understand our planet.” Kennedy detailed some of the agency’s current programs, including sharing the capabilities of the center for non-NASA activities. “The GlobalFlyer will be making its second mission around the globe after taking off from the shuttle landing strip,” he said. “This is a beautiful application of the Shuttle Landing Facility, because after 2010 there are questionable needs for the facility. Jim Ball, Lisa Malone and others at KSC were smart enough to market these capabilities to the outside world,” Kennedy said. “ZERO-G is another great story about using this facility, which will enable the average American to experience zero gravity in space flight.” The center will experience a transition as it becomes the launch operations center for NASA’s next-generation space vehicle. “We are not a research center and, although there has been some beautiful work done in the area of life sciences, Administrator Mike Griffin has made it clear we are not a research center,” Kennedy said. “That’s not to say we don’t have a need for applied technology, but we cannot compete with other NASA centers.” The director also mentioned his gratitude toward Tip Talone, manager of the KSC Constellation Projects office. “I am honored he accepted that challenging assignment,” Kennedy said. “He is working on the crew launch vehicle, which will be followed by work on the cargo launch vehicle.” Visit for details about future National Space Club luncheons.JIM KENNEDY (at podium), director of the Kennedy Space Center, recently told the the National Space Club the space shuttle is close to flying again.2005 NASA Employees of the Year T he NASA 2005 Employees of the Year include, from left, Joy Pickett, Information Technology and Communications Services; Michael Stirling, Shuttle Processing; Chuck Klein, Launch Services Program; Vicky Cox, Cape Canaveral Spaceport Management Office; Matt Carroll, International Space Station and Payload Processing; Margaret Miller, Chief Financial Officer; Shea Gaudart, Human Resources; George Diller, External Relations; Brian Graf, Center Operations; Michael Fuchs, Spaceport Engineering and Technology; and Richard Quinn, Procurement Office. Not pictured are Tonya Fuentes, Chief Counsel; Cathy Parker, Independent Technical Authority and Systems Management; and John Brand, Safety and Mission Assurance. Congratulations! jan20color.pmd 1/19/2006, 12:16 PM 8