NASA News: NASA Awards Contract For Icesat-2 Laser Systems

WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected Fibertek of Herndon, Va., to design,
develop, fabricate, test and deliver laser systems to be used for the
Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) mission
scheduled to launch in 2016. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Md., manages the ICESat-2 Project.

The total estimated value of the cost-plus-award-fee contract is
$26,083,242. The period of performance is from the date of award
through launch plus 38 months.

The contractor will provide four spaceflight lasers and one test laser
for the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System instrument on the
ICESat-2 Observatory. The spaceflight laser systems consist of the
optical, electrical, mechanical, material, wire harnessing, thermal
control, flight software, flight firmware and support equipment. Work
will be performed at the contractor's facility.

ICESat-2 is the second generation of the ICESat observatories.
ICESat-2 will use precision laser-ranging techniques to measure the
topography of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and the
thickness characteristics of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. ICESat-2
supports NASA's Earth Science program by helping scientists develop a
better scientific understanding of the Earth system and its response
to natural or human-induced changes.

For more information about the ICESat Program, visit:


For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:



NASA Calls for Commercial Suborbital Flight Services Proposals

WASHINGTON -- NASA is seeking proposals for services from commercial
suborbital flight providers and payload integrators to support the
agency's Flight Opportunities Program, which is part of NASA's Office
of the Chief Technologist.

NASA will award contracts to multiple vendors capable of providing
payload integration and flight services on commercial suborbital
reusable launch vehicles. The flights will carry a variety of
payloads to help meet the agency's technology and innovation goals
enabling future missions and benefiting America's commercial
aerospace industries.

"Partnering with U.S. suborbital reusable launch vehicle providers for
integration of technology payloads and launch services is an
effective way to use the innovations of American industry while
meeting the technology development needs of the nation's space
program," said NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun at the agency's
headquarters in Washington.

NASA's Office of Chief Technologist intends to mature crosscutting
technologies to flight readiness status for future space missions. As
part of this strategy, NASA will provide frequent flight
opportunities for payloads on suborbital reusable launch vehicles
capable of flying to various altitudes, including above 62 miles, but
not reaching low-Earth orbit.

Each successful vendor will receive an indefinite-delivery,
indefinite-quantity contract. This request for proposals is a
continuation of efforts aligned with the NASA Authorization Act of
2010, with funding provided by the fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution.

The Flight Opportunities Program is managed at NASA's Dryden Flight
Research Center in Edwards, Calif. It combines the Facilitated Access
to the Space environment for Technology and Commercial Reusable
Suborbital Research efforts.

For more information about the request for proposals, visit:



Media Events Set For Aquarius/Sac-D Satellite Launch Next Month

WASHINGTON -- The launch of the Aquarius/SAC-D observatory is
scheduled for June 9, from NASA's Space Launch Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force
Base, Calif. Liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket is
targeted to occur during a five-minute launch window that opens at
10:20 a.m. EDT (7:20 a.m. PDT).

Aquarius is the NASA-built primary instrument on the SAC-D spacecraft.
The observatory was built by Argentina's space agency, CONAE.
Aquarius will map global changes in salinity at the ocean surface.
The three-year mission will provide new insights into how variations
in ocean surface salinity relate to fundamental climate processes.

The Aquarius/SAC-D News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office
will be staffed beginning Wednesday, June 1. A NASA communications
specialist will be available to answer reporters' questions at
805-605-3051. A recorded launch status report will be available
starting June 6 at 805-734-2693.

To attend the prelaunch and launch activities on June 7-9, U.S.
journalists should fax their requests on news organization letterhead
to Jeremy Eggers, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs Office, Vandenberg
Air Force Base, Calif. on 805-606-4571 or e-mail
jeremy.eggers@vandenberg.af.mil. Requests must include full legal
name, date of birth and media affiliation. A legal photo
identification will be required upon arrival at Vandenberg.

A prelaunch news conference will be held Tuesday, June 7, at 4 p.m.
EDT (1 p.m. PDT) in the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office. The briefing
will be carried live on NASA Television will broadcast the briefing
live. Reporters at NASA field centers can participate after
contacting their local centers.

On launch day, June 9, NASA TV commentary coverage of the countdown
will begin at 8:30 a.m. EDT (5:30 a.m. PDT). Liftoff is targeted for
10:20:13 a.m. EDT (7:20:13 a.m. PDT). Spacecraft separation occurs 56
minutes, 42 seconds after launch.

Live countdown coverage also will be available online. Launch updates
begin on NASA's launch blog at 8:30 a.m. EDT (5:30 a.m. PDT).
Coverage features real-time updates of countdown milestones, as well
as streaming video clips highlighting launch preparations and
liftoff. To view the launch blog, visit:


The Aquarius/SAC-D mission is a collaboration between NASA and
Argentina's space agency with participation by Brazil, Canada, France
and Italy. The Aquarius science instruments were jointly built by
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and Goddard
Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. JPL will manage Aquarius
through the mission's commissioning phase and archive mission data.
Goddard will manage the mission's operations phase and process
Aquarius science data. NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's
Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management. United
Launch Alliance of Denver is NASA's launch service provider of the Delta II 7320.

For information on receiving NASA TV, go to:


The televised prelaunch media briefing and launch coverage will be
streamed live at:


For more information on the Aquarius/SAC-D mission, visit:



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