Monday, December 21, 2009

Before we go on vacation....

Is everyone ready for this holiday season?

Here at KSC we are! The holiday vacation starts on Thursday and goes through January 3rd. During this time no work will be performed on the orbiters as we’ll all be on vacation (woo hoo!). For half of this week,

Starting with Endeavour….the vehicle is in the VAB and is just awaiting transfer to launch pad 39A which will occur on January 6th, 2010. A new launch date of February 7th, 2010 was approved last week.

Tranquility is a pressurized module that will provide room for many of the space station's life support systems. The cool thing I LOVE about Tranquility is that attached to one end of the node is a cupola, a unique work area with six windows on its sides and one on top. The cupola resembles a circular bay window and will provide a vastly improved view of the station's exterior. The multi-directional view will allow the crew to monitor spacewalks and docking operations, as well as provide a spectacular view of Earth and other celestial objects. The module was built in Turin, Italy, by Thales Alenia Space for the European Space Agency. Here’s the cupola (covered for protection) attached to Tranquility and a picture of it before it was attached to the node.

Discovery and Atlantis are undergoing normal processing, but are also preparing for powering down during this holiday season.

As for me, last week I took my final in the combustion class I've been taking so now I can enjoy my time off of work. I also have about 3 talks to give to schools in January that I am looking forward to!

Friday, December 04, 2009

NASA 2009-2010 Moon Work Design Contest

Listen up college students!!!

NASA has a student design challenge to design tools and instrumentation for human and robotic exploration that will help astronauts perform tasks on the Moon. Students are free to select a task from the following list or propose one of their own:

  • Navigation in the darkness around the Moon's south pole
  • Power supplies for rovers in the dark
  • Sample retrieval and on-site analysis
  • Radiation detection and avoidance
  • Communication with lunar outpost, with orbiters, and with Earth
  • Video capture of sorties for transmission back to Earth
  • Astronaut recovery and transport back to outpost
  • Lunar regolith mitigation strategies for rover and space suits
  • Detect and retrieve water ice for use on the rover

    Interested students should submit a letter of intent to enter the contest by Dec. 15. Final entries for the Moon Work challenge are due May 15, 2010. All entries must be from students at U.S. colleges or universities. Although non-citizens may be part of a team, only U.S. citizens may win NASA internships or travel awards.

    Check out the website for all the guidelines at:
  • Wednesday, December 02, 2009

    This week at KSC

    Supporting Atlantis out in Houston went very smoothly and it was a successful 11-day mission with a beautiful landing at Kennedy Space Center. Now Atlantis is back in the Orbiter Processing Facility preparing for its next mission, STS-132.

    Next in line for flight is Endeavour with a roll over to the Vehicle Assembly Building scheduled for December 12. Roll out to the launch pad is scheduled for January 6th, 2010 with a targeted launch date of February 6th, 2010. continues on the construction of the new Mobile Launch Platform that will serve as the base to launch the Ares I rockets for the Constellation Program. When completed, the tower will be approximately 345 feet tall and have multiple platforms for personnel access.