NASA News: NASA Announces International Space Apps Competition

WASHINGTON -- NASA is announcing the International Space Apps
Competition to support the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which
President Barack Obama announced Tuesday. The challenge will
culminate with a two-day event next year that will provide an
opportunity for government to use the expertise and entrepreneurial
spirit of citizen explorers to help address global challenges.

During the event, NASA representatives and officials from
international space agencies will gather with scientists and citizens
to use publicly-released scientific data to create solutions for
issues, such as weather impact on the global economy and depletion of
ocean resources.

"The competition embraces the concept of 'open innovation' to improve
performance, inform decision-making, encourage entrepreneurship, and
solve problems more effectively," said Nick Skytland of NASA's Open
Government Initiative.

The OGP is a new, multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete
commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower
citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies. NASA's
participation in the United States Domestic Plan will promote
innovation through international collaboration.

NASA is a leader in the U.S. Open Government Initiative. The
president's FY 2012 budget request focuses NASA's efforts on a
vigorous path of innovation and technological development. The path
leads to an array of challenging and inspiring missions to
destinations with an incredible potential for discovery, increasing
knowledge about our solar system, developing technologies to improve
life on Earth, expanding our presence in space, increasing space
commerce, and engaging the public.

To learn more about the International Space Apps Competition, visit:


To learn more about the Open Government Partnership, visit:



Update With Additional Speaker: Media Opportunity With NASA'S SOFIA During Washington Stopover

WASHINGTON -- NASA is inviting journalists to tour and learn more
about the world's largest airborne astronomical observatory on
Thursday, Sept. 22, from 12 to 2 p.m. EDT at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a
highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft fitted with a 100 inch (2.5
meter) diameter telescope, is making a rare appearance on the East
Coast after a deployment to Germany. From 12 to 12:30 p.m., prior to
touring the aircraft, media will hear from:

-- Lori Garver, NASA deputy administrator
-- Leland Melvin, former astronaut and NASA associate administrator
for Education
-- Paul Hertz, NASA SOFIA program scientist
-- Mary Blessing, an educator from Herndon High School in Herndon,
Va., who flew aboard SOFIA as a participant in the Airborne Astronomy
Ambassadors program

Hundreds of children from military families also will be on-site to
tour the aircraft, visit NASA exhibits, and speak with scientists.
SOFIA's Washington-area stopover is part of the White House's
"Joining Forces" initiative to give service members and their
families opportunities they have earned. NASA works to inspire
interest in science, technology, engineering and math education and
careers among youth.

To attend, journalists must contact Trent Perrotto at
trent.j.perrotto@nasa.gov or 202-358-0321 by 4 p.m. EDT on Wednesday,
Sept. 21, for logistics. To allow time for check-in and
transportation to the aircraft hangar, news media representatives
will need to arrive at the base at 11 a.m.

SOFIA analyzes infrared light to study the formation of stars and
planets; chemistry of interstellar gases; composition of comets,
asteroids and planets; and supermassive black holes at the center of
galaxies. Infrared observations are optimal for studying
low-temperature objects in space such as the raw materials for star
and planet formation and for seeing through interstellar dust clouds
that block light at visible wavelengths.

SOFIA is a joint program between NASA and DLR in Bonn, Germany. The
SOFIA program is managed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in
Edwards, Calif. The aircraft is based at the Dryden Aircraft
Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. NASA's Ames Research Center
in Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission
operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research
Association in Columbia, Md., and Deutsches SOFIA Institut in
Stuttgart, Germany.

For more information about SOFIA, visit:



NASA and Cafe Hosting Green Flight Challenge

WASHINGTON -- NASA and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency
(CAFE) Foundation of Santa Rosa, Calif., will hold the 2011 Green
Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, at the Charles M. Schulz
Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1. The
competition's goal is to advance technologies in fuel efficiency and
reduced emissions with cleaner renewable fuels and electric aircraft.

NASA's Centennial Challenges Program is providing $1.65 million in
prize money to the winners of the competition. The purse is the
largest aviation prize ever offered and attracted 13 teams, led by
American innovators. Five of those teams successfully completed their
aircraft and flight qualification requirements and will compete for
the prize purse. The teams will fly their electric, biofueled and
hybrid powered aircraft, to prove they have the most fuel efficient,
small aircraft in the world.

To win the competition, an aircraft must fly 200 miles in less than
two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the
equivalent in electricity. If more than one aircraft meets the
criteria, first place will go to the team with the best combination
of speed and efficiency. The fuel efficiency competition is on
Tuesday, Sept. 27, and a speed competition on Sept. 29. To attend
airport challenge events, reporters must contact CAFE's Jo Dempsey at

Aircraft will be on public display at the airport following the
competition on Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT. An awards ceremony
and the Green Flight Challenge Exposition hosted by NASA will be held
from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 3, at the agency's Ames Research Center
at Moffett Field, Calif. To attend the exposition, reporters should
contact Janet Anderson at janet.l.anderson@nasa.gov or David Steitz
at david.steitz@nasa.gov to arrange for media credentials. Members of
the public can reserve free tickets for the exposition at:


The CAFE Foundation advances the understanding of personal aircraft
through technology research, flight testing, analysis and education.
CAFE has developed award-winning flight test equipment and software
recognized across the aviation industry. For more information about
the CAFE Foundation and the Green Flight Challenge, visit:


NASA's Centennial Challenges promote technical innovation through a
novel program of prize competitions. The challenges are designed to
tap the nation's ingenuity to make revolutionary advances in
technology of value to NASA and the nation. For more information, visit:


NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) in Washington and NASA's
Marshal Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manage the prize
program. For more information about OCT, visit:



NASA'S WISE Mission Captures Black Hole's Wildly Flaring Jet

WASHINGTON -- Astronomers using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey
Explorer (WISE) have captured rare data of a flaring black hole,
revealing new details about these powerful objects and their blazing jets.

Scientists study jets to learn more about the extreme environments
around black holes. Much has been learned about the material feeding
black holes, called accretion disks, and the jets themselves through
studies using X-rays, gamma rays and radio waves. But key
measurements of the brightest part of the jets, located at their
bases, have been difficult despite decades of work. WISE is offering
a new window into this missing link through its infrared observations.

"Imagine what it would be like if our sun were to undergo sudden,
random bursts, becoming three times brighter in a matter of hours,
and then fading back again. That's the kind of fury we observed in
this jet," said Poshak Gandhi, a scientist with the Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency (JAXA). He is lead author of a new study on the
results appearing in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. "With WISE's
infrared vision, we were able to zoom in on the inner regions near
the base of the stellar-mass black hole's jet for the first time and
the physics of jets in action."

The black hole, called GX 339-4, had been observed previously. It lies
more than 20,000 light-years away from Earth near the center of our
galaxy. It has a mass at least six times greater than the sun. Like
other black holes, it is an ultra-dense collection of matter, with
gravity that is so great even light cannot escape. In this case, the
black hole is orbited by a companion star that feeds it. Most of the
material from the companion star is pulled into the black hole, but
some of it is blasted away as a jet flowing at nearly the speed of light.

"To see bright flaring activity from a black hole you need to be
looking at the right place at the right time," said Peter Eisenhardt,
the project scientist for WISE at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "WISE snapped sensitive infrared pictures
every 11 seconds for a year, covering the whole sky, allowing it to
catch this rare event."

Observing the jet's variability was possible because of images taken
of the same patch of sky over time, a feature of NEOWISE, the
asteroid-hunting portion of the WISE mission. WISE data enabled the
team to zoom in on the very compact region around the base of the jet
streaming from the black hole. The size of the region is equivalent
to the width of a dime seen at the distance of our sun.

The results surprised the team, showing huge and erratic fluctuations
in the jet activity on timescales ranging from 11 seconds to a few
hours. The observations are like a dance of infrared colors and show
the size of the jet's base varies. Its radius is approximately 15,000
miles (24,140 kilometers) with dramatic changes by as large as a
factor of 10 or more.

"If you think of the black hole's jet as a firehose, then it's as if
we've discovered the flow is intermittent and the hose itself is
varying wildly in size," Poshak said.

The new data also allowed astronomers to make the best measurements
yet of the black hole's magnetic field, which is 30,000 times more
powerful than the one generated by Earth at its surface. Such a
strong field is required for accelerating and channeling the flow of
matter into a narrow jet. The WISE data are bringing astronomers
closer than ever to understanding how this exotic phenomenon works.

JPL manages and operated WISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate
in Washington. The spacecraft was put into hibernation mode after it
scanned the sky twice, completing its main objectives. The mission
was selected under NASA's Explorers Program, which is managed by the
agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory in
Logan, Utah; and the spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace and
Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data
processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more WISE information, visit:



NASA Picks Boeing For Composite Cryogenic Propellant Tank Tests

WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected The Boeing Company of Huntington
Beach, Calif., for the Composite Cryotank Technologies Demonstration
effort. Under the contract, Boeing will design, manufacture and test
two lightweight composite cryogenic propellant tanks.

The demonstration effort will use advanced composite materials to
develop new technologies that could be applied to multiple future
NASA missions, including human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit.

Boeing will receive approximately $24 million over the project
lifecycle from NASA's Space Technology Program for the work which
starts this month. The tanks will be manufactured at a Boeing
facility in Seattle. Testing will start in late 2013 at NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

"The goal of this particular technology demonstration effort is to
achieve a 30 percent weight savings and a 25 percent cost savings
from traditional metallic tanks," said the Director of NASA's Space
Technology Program, Michael Gazarik at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. "Weight savings alone would allow us to increase our
upmass capability, which is important when considering payload size
and cost. This state-of-the-art technology has applications for
multiple stakeholders in the rocket propulsion community."

By investing in high payoff, disruptive technology that industry does
not have today, NASA matures the technologies required for future
missions, while proving the capabilities and lowering the cost of
government and commercial space activities.

Continuing the advancement of technologies required for NASA's
missions in deep space exploration, science and space operations, the
composite cryotank demonstration effort will advance the areas of
materials, manufacturing and structures.

The tanks incorporate design features and new manufacturing processes
applicable to designs up to 10 meters in diameter. Tanks could be
used on future heavy-lift vehicles, in-space propellant depots and
other Earth-departure exploration architectures.

"This technology demonstration effort is different in the fact that
we're focused on affordability concurrently with performance," said
John Vickers, NASA project manager for the Composite Cryotank
Technologies Demonstration effort at Marshall. "This technology has
excellent transition potential for NASA and commercial product lines.
Critical technology advances such as out-of autoclave composites are
being matured, and when demonstrated in an operational environment
will let us go well beyond the state-of-the-art."

Marshall will lead the project with support from NASA's Glenn Research
Center in Cleveland; NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.;
and NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The composite cryogenic
tank effort is part of the Space Technology Game Changing Development
Program, managed by the Office of the Chief Technologist.

For more information about NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, visit:


For information about NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist and
Space Technology Program, visit:



NASA Administrator To Kick Off Aviation Forum

WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is scheduled to open
the "New Horizons in Aviation Forum" at 12:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday,
Sept. 22, at the Virginia Beach, Va., Convention Center.

The two-day conference about the future of aviation is sponsored by
the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the
largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

Bolden will discuss NASA's new launch system that will take astronauts
far into deep space and create good-paying American jobs. The
administrator also will highlight NASA's aeronautics research efforts
to develop technologies to support the Next Generation Air
Transportation System and make aircraft faster safer, quieter, more
efficient and environmentally friendly. His address will be broadcast
on AIAA's Livestream Channel at:


To attend the forum, news media representatives must contact Duane
Hyland at 703-264-7558 or duaneh@aiaa.org no later than noon,
Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Other NASA presenters at the forum include Lesa Roe, director of
NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and Vicki Crisp, head
of Langley's Aeronautics Research Directorate.

During the forum, government and industry leaders will tackle
aviation's challenges and opportunities, including those faced by
commercial companies, air traffic managers and the military. Among
those issues are the growth of unmanned systems, aviation traffic and
new aircraft technologies.

The forum also will feature representatives from the multi-agency
federal Joint Planning and Development Office, which oversees the
development of next generation air transportation systems.

A fact sheet about NASA's green aviation initiatives is available at:


For more information about the New Horizons in Aviation Forum, visit:



NASA Invites Twitter And Facebook Fans To A Tweetup At Wallops Flight Facility

WASHINGTON -- Do you follow NASA on Twitter or "like" the space agency
on Facebook? If so, NASA invites you to register for a Tweetup and
behind-the-scenes tour of its Wallops Flight Facility. NASA will host
50 social media guests from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT on Oct. 21 at the
facility in Wallops Island, Va.

It is the first NASA Tweetup with registration open to the agency's
Twitter followers, Facebook fans and their guests.

The Wallops Flight Facility is home to NASA's suborbital and special
orbital missions; the agency's only owned and operated launch range;
and a research airport. Orbital Sciences Corp. will launch its Taurus
II vehicle from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops next
year as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services
agreement with the company.

Tweetup participants will interact with NASA experts, tour the
sounding rocket manufacturing facility, range control center, balloon
research laboratory, aircraft hangar and launch facilities.

Registration opens at 9 a.m., on Friday, Sept. 23, and closes at noon
on Monday, Sept. 26. NASA will randomly select 50 participants.

Because Wallops is a government facility with restricted access, the
event is open only to U.S. citizens.

For more information about the Tweetup and to register, visit:


For information about connecting and collaborating with NASA, visit:


For information about Wallops Fight Facility, visit:



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