NASA talks big science riding on NG-13 Cygnus cargo ship

NASA will hold a press conference to discuss the many science payloads set to launch to the International Space Station Sept. 29 on a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket and the NG-13 Cygnus spacecraft. 



a hand holding a black umbrella: Northrop Grumman's Cygnus NG-13 cargo resupply spacecraft, with its shiny, cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured in the grasp of the Canadarm2 robot arm on the International Space Station just before the vessel's departure on Monday (May 11). The NG-13 cargo ship, which delivered 7,500 lbs. (3,400 kilograms) of supplies for the station's three-person Expedition 62 crew in February, will spend the next few weeks flying solo in orbit, deploying tiny satellites and conducting a fire experiment. It will fall back to Earth on May 29 and safely burn up in our planet's atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.


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Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus NG-13 cargo resupply spacecraft, with its shiny, cymbal-shaped solar arrays, is pictured in the grasp of the Canadarm2 robot arm on the International Space Station just before the vessel’s departure on Monday (May 11). The NG-13 cargo ship, which delivered 7,500 lbs. (3,400 kilograms) of supplies for the station’s three-person Expedition 62 crew in February, will spend the next few weeks flying solo in orbit, deploying tiny satellites and conducting a fire experiment. It will fall back to Earth on May 29 and safely burn up in our planet’s atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean.

The press conference today, Sept. 24, will begin at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) and include a series of presentations on the new supplies and gear aboard Cygnus. It includes a new space toilet, plant habitat, cancer research and a photo session of Estee Lauder cosmetics in space.

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NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 24, to discuss science investigations, technology demonstrations, and commercial products launching on Northrop Grumman’s 14th commercial resupply mission for the agency to the International Space Station.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live online at: 

http://www.nasa.gov/live

Northrop Grumman is targeting Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 10:26 p.m., for the launch of its Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The Cygnus spacecraft will carry crew supplies, scientific research and hardware to the orbiting laboratory to support the Expedition 64 crew.

David Brady, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, will provide an overview of the research and technology aboard the Cygnus spacecraft.

Also participating in the briefing are:

  • Karl Hasenstein, professor of biology at the University of Lafayette, and David Reed, Techshot Florida operations director, who will discuss the Plant Habitat-02 investigation, which will study how radishes grow in space to prepare for feeding future crews on deep-space missions
  • Yusuf Erkul, co-founder and president of Kernal Biologics, who will discuss the Onco Selectors investigation, which leverages microgravity to identify targeted cancer therapies
  • Jim Fuller of Collins Aerospace and Melissa McKinley, NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Logistics Reduction project manager, who will discuss the Universal Waste Management System, a more compact and reliable space toilet that will be used on the space station and on the Artemis II mission
  • Carlos Cabrera, professor of chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras in San Juan, and Camila Morales-Navas, chemistry PhD student at the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras in San Juan, who will discuss the Ammonia Electro-Oxidation investigation, which studies a potential innovative water recovery system
  • Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, co-founders and creative directors of Felix & Paul Studios, and Jonathan Woods, executive producer, TIME Studios, who will discuss the ISS Experience EVA Camera, which will be used to film a spacewalk and Earth views in cinematic 360-degree virtual reality
  • Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA and Stéphane de La Faverie, group president, The Estée Lauder Companies and global brand president, Estée Lauder, who will discuss plans to photograph the company’s New Advanced Night Repair serum in the space station’s iconic cupola window as part of NASA’s efforts to enable business activities at the space station and develop a robust low-Earth orbit economy

Questions can also be submitted on social media using #AskNASA.

For launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/northropgrumman

Live at 3 pm ET: NASA talks asteroid Bennu sample-return with OSIRIS-REx

At 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) today, NASA will hold a press conference to update the public on the agency’s first asteroid sample-collection mission OSIRIS-REx. The teleconference will discuss the spacecraft’s upcoming Oct. 20 sampling event on the asteroid Bennu. 

From NASA:

NASA is hosting a media teleconference at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 24, to provide an update on the agency’s first attempt to contact the surface of asteroid Bennu and collect a sample next month. Teleconference audio and visuals will stream live on NASA’s website.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to the asteroid’s surface during its first sample collection attempt Oct. 20. Its sampling mechanism will touch Bennu’s surface for several seconds, fire a charge of pressurized nitrogen to disturb the surface, and collect a sample before the spacecraft backs away.

Participating in this mission update are:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
  • Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division
  • Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Mike Moreau, OSIRIS-REx deputy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Sandra Freund, OSIRIS-REx mission operations manager at Lockheed Martin Space

In response to rocky conditions discovered on the asteroid’s surface when OSIRIS-REx began orbiting Bennu in 2018, the mission team has reduced the sample area to one-tenth of the original plan. This means the spacecraft must target Bennu’s surface with even greater accuracy.

A building-size boulder also is situated on Nightingale crater’s eastern rim, which could pose a hazard to the spacecraft as it backs away from the asteroid after collecting the sample. The OSIRIS-Rex team performed two rehearsal operations to prepare for these challenges and is ready.

The spacecraft is scheduled to begin the journey back to Earth next year, arriving with the sample in 2023.

Studying Bennu helps researchers learn more about the origins of our solar system, sources of water and organic molecules on Earth, and hazards and resources in near-Earth space. For more information on OSIRIS-Rex, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/osiris-rex

and

https://www.asteroidmission.org

Delayed: SpaceX Starlink launch

UPDATE for 2:06 pm ET: SpaceX has called off today’s launch attempt of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink internet satellites due to bad weather at the rocket’s landing drone ship “Just Read The Instructions” in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX will launch 60 new Starlink internet satellites today (Sept. 17) in the company’s 13th mission dedicated to the space-based broadband megaconstellation and you can watch the launch live here. Liftoff is set for 2:19 p.m. EDT (1819 GMT). 

A veteran Falcon 9 rocket will launch the mission, referred to as Starlink 12, from the historic Pad 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch the launch live above beginning at 2:09 p.m. EDT (1809 GMT). SpaceX typically begins launch webcasts 10 minutes before liftoff. 

You can watch the launch directly from SpaceX here.

The Falcon 9 rocket for this mission has launched twice before. On May 30, it launched the Demo-2 astronaut mission for NASA and the South Korean military satellite ANASIS-II in July.

SpaceX is targeting Thursday, September 17 at 2:19 p.m. EDT, 18:19 UTC, for launch of its thirteenth Starlink mission, which will launch 60 Starlink satellites to orbit. Falcon 9 will lift off from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A backup opportunity is available on Friday, September 18 at 1:57 p.m. EDT, 17:57 UTC.

Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported launch of Crew Dragon’s first flight to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts onboard and the ANASIS-II mission. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. One of Falcon 9’s fairing halves supported two previous Starlink launches.

The Starlink satellites will deploy approximately 1 hour and 1 minute after liftoff.

You can watch the launch webcast here, starting about 10 minutes before liftoff. If you would like to receive updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area, please visit starlink.com.

DELAYED: Blue Origin NS-13 Launch 

Update for 12:18 am ET: Blue Origin has scrubbed Thursday’s launch attempt of  the NS-13 New Shepard launch due to a payload power supply issue. A new launch date will be announced once available.

A Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft will launch on a suborbital flight today (Sept. 24) and you can watch it live here. Liftoff is set for 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) from Blue Origin’s West Texas test site. 

This will be the 13th New Shepard flight for Blue Origin and the seventh flight for this specific space capsule and rocket. Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a reusable space capsule and booster designed to carry passengers on trips to suborbital space and back. Its booster returns to Earth to make a vertical landing while the capsule descends under parachutes for a land landing. 

On this mission, called NG-13, New Shepard will carry 12 commercial payloads. Among them is the Deorbit, Descent, and Landing Sensor Demonstration, a science payload mounted to the exterior of the booster to test technology for future NASA moon missions.

“The lunar landing sensor demo will test precision landing technologies for future missions to the Moon in support of the Artemis program,” Blue Origin wrote in an update. “The experiment will verify how these technologies (sensors, computers, and algorithms) work together to determine a spacecraft’s location and speed as it approaches the Moon, enabling a vehicle to land autonomously on the lunar surface within 100 meters of a designated point”

Blue Origin’s next New Shepard mission (NS-13) is currently targeting liftoff for Thursday, September 24, at 10:00 am CDT / 15:00 UTC. Current weather conditions are favorable. This will be the 13th New Shepard mission and the 7th consecutive flight for this particular vehicle (a record), demonstrating its operational reusability. 

New Shepard will fly 12 commercial payloads to space and back on this mission, including the Deorbit, Descent, and Landing Sensor Demonstration with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate under a Tipping Point partnership. This is the first payload to fly mounted on the exterior of a New Shepard booster rather than inside the capsule, opening the door to a wide range of future high-altitude sensing, sampling, and exposure payloads.  

The lunar landing sensor demo will test precision landing technologies for future missions to the Moon in support of the Artemis program. The experiment will verify how these technologies (sensors, computers, and algorithms) work together to determine a spacecraft’s location and speed as it approaches the Moon, enabling a vehicle to land autonomously on the lunar surface within 100 meters of a designated point. The technologies could allow future missions—both crewed and robotic—to target landing sites that weren’t possible during the Apollo missions, such as regions with varied terrain near craters. Achieving high accuracy landing will enable long-term lunar exploration and future Mars missions. 

This is the first of two flights to test these lunar landing technologies, increasing confidence for successful missions in the Artemis program. NS-13 is part of the risk reduction process to test these types of sensors for future missions. 

New Shepard booster undergoing integration and testing of the sensor experiment at Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site.

As a part of NASA’s Artemis Human Landing System program, Blue Origin is also leading the National Team, comprised of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper, to develop a Human Landing System to return Americans to the lunar surface. The technology for the Blue Origin Descent Element that takes astronauts to the lunar surface is derived from the autonomous landing capabilities developed for the New Shepard program.  

New Shepard has flown more than 100 payloads to space across 10 sequential flights. Payloads on board NS-13 include experiments from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute, NASA Flight Opportunities, Space Lab Technologies, University of Florida, Space Environment Technologies, and mu Space Corp. A selection of the manifested payloads can be found below. 

Also on board will be tens of thousands of postcards from Blue Origin’s nonprofit, Club for the Future, some of which will include a special NASA Artemis stamp.  

All mission crew supporting this launch are exercising strict social distancing and safety measures to mitigate COVID-19 risks to personnel, customers, and surrounding communities.  

You can watch the launch live at BlueOrigin.com. The pre-show begins at T-30 minutes and will provide mission details, including a special update from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. 

Follow @BlueOrigin on Twitter and Instagram for launch updates.  

 —Gradatim Ferociter 

NET Sept 26: ULA Delta IV Heavy launch of NROL-44

From ULA: 

Rocket: Delta IV Heavy Mission: NROL-44 Launch Date: Aug. 27, with a launch time of 2:12 a.m. EDT Launch Period: The launch period on Aug. 27 is from 1:50 to 6:25 a.m. EDT Launch Location: Space Launch Complex-37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

Mission Information: A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket will launch the NROL-44 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Liftoff will occur from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Launch Notes: This will be 141st mission for United Launch Alliance and our 29th for the NRO. It is the 385th Delta launch since 1960, the 12th Delta IV Heavy and the 8th Heavy for the NRO.

Launch Updates: To keep up to speed with updates to the launch countdown, dial the ULA launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321 or join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch; hashtags #DeltaIVHeavy #NROL44

 

Postponed: The Explorers Club SpaceX Talk

Update for 7 pm ET: The Explorers Club’s virtual lecture “SpaceX – Makig Life Multiplanetary” has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. It will be rescheduled for a later date.  

Original post: 

The Explorers Club will hold a virtual lecture on SpaceX and the future of multiplanetary exploration today (Sept. 14) at 7 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT). 

Hear from Paul Wooster, SpaceX’s principal moon & mars development engineer, and astronaut-turned-entrepreneur Richard Garriot de Cayeux. 

You can watch the free lecture live on Explorers.org and Facebook Live.

Related: Elon Musk is still thinking big with SpaceX’s Starship Mars-colonizing rocket. Really big.

From The Explorers Club:

The Explorers Club today announced the next installment of its virtual public lecture series will focus on the study and leading research by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and other governments across the world look to support space exploration with an ever-growing private space industry. 

Featuring leading scholars and researchers, the online discussion scheduled for Monday, September 14, titled “SpaceX — Making Life Multiplanetary,” will include Paul Wooster, Principal Moon and Mars Development Engineer at SpaceX, where he is a lead in the technical development of deep space architecture and vehicles, including precursor activities and human-scale systems. The discussion will be hosted by Richard Garriott de Cayeux – an inventor, adventurer and entrepreneur who has served as a leading pioneer in the private space industry. Garriot de Cayeux, son of legendary scientist-astronaut Owen Garriott, became the first 2nd generation American astronaut in 2008, when he embarked on a 10-day mission to the International Space Station.

The lecture – streamed live on Explorers.org and Facebook Live – will touch on the development of space travel and the push to making it more accessible for all through leading private institutions like SpaceX and other commercial space companies. 

WHEN:

7:00 pm, Monday, September 14

WHERE:

Viewable at Explorers.org and Facebook Live

WHO:

Paul Wooster, Principal Moon & Mars Development Engineer at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), where he is a lead in the technical development of deep space architecture and vehicles, including precursor activities and human-scale systems. He previously served as SpaceX’s Manager of Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control, overseeing the integrated system design, fault tolerance, and vehicle performance associated with Dragon missions to the International Space Station.

Richard Garriot de Cayeux, famed explorer, astronaut and entrepreneur who invented the massively multi-player online game (MMORPG) genre and term and coined the term “Avatar,” has also been integral in the private space industry. In 2008, he participated in flight to the International Space Station (ISS) via Russian rocket and spent 10 days via the International Space Station. 

About The Explorers Club:

Since its inception in 1904, members of the Club have traversed the earth, the seas, the skies, and even the moon, on expeditions of exploration. First to the North Pole, first to the South Pole, first to the summit of Mount Everest, first to the deepest point in the ocean and first to the surface of the moon – all accomplished by Explorers Club Members. Notable members include Teddy Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong, Jane Goodall, Edmund Hillary, John Glenn, Sally Ride and Bob Ballard.

‘ISS Live!’ Tune in to the space station

Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the “ISS Live” broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.

“Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During ‘loss of signal’ periods, viewers will see a blue screen.

“Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.” 

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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