NASA News: NASA To Seek Applicants For Next Astronaut Candidate Class

HOUSTON -- In early November, NASA will seek applicants for its next
class of astronaut candidates who will support long-duration missions
to the International Space Station and future deep space exploration activities.

"For scientists, engineers and other professionals who have always
dreamed of experiencing spaceflight, this is an exciting time to join
the astronaut corps," said Janet Kavandi, director of flight crew
operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "This next class
will support missions to the station and will arrive via
transportation systems now in development. They also will have the
opportunity to participate in NASA's continuing exploration programs
that will include missions beyond low Earth orbit."

For more information, visit:


A bachelor's degree in engineering, science or math and three years of
relevant professional experience are required in order to be
considered. Typically, successful applicants have significant
qualifications in engineering or science, or extensive experience
flying high-performance jet-aircraft.

After applicant interviews and evaluations, NASA expects to announce
the final selections in 2013, and training to begin that August.

Additional information about the Astronaut Candidate Program is
available by calling the Astronaut Selection Office at 281-483-5907.


NASA Invites Students To Name Moon-Bound Spacecraft

WASHINGTON -- NASA has a class assignment for U.S. students: help the
agency give the twin spacecraft headed to orbit around the moon new names.

The naming contest is open to students in kindergarten through 12th
grade at schools in the United States. Entries must be submitted by
teachers using an online entry form. Length of submissions can range
from a short paragraph to a 500-word essay. The entry deadline is Nov. 11.

NASA's solar-powered Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory
(GRAIL)-A and GRAIL-B spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Fla. on Sept. 10 to begin a three-and-a-half-month
journey to the moon. GRAIL will create a gravity map of the moon
using two spacecraft that orbit at very precise distances. The
mission will enable scientists to learn about the moon's internal
structure and composition, and give scientists a better understanding
of its origin. Accurate knowledge of the moon's gravity also could be
used to help choose future landing sites.

"A NASA mission to the moon is one of the reasons why I am a scientist
today," said GRAIL Principal Investigator Maria Zuber from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge. "My hope is
that GRAIL motivates young people today towards careers in science,
math and technology. Getting involved with naming our two GRAIL
spacecraft could inspire their interest not only in space exploration
but in the sciences, and that's a good thing."

Zuber and former astronaut Sally Ride of Sally Ride Science in San
Diego will chair the final round of judging. Sally Ride Science is
the lead for GRAIL's MoonKAM program, which enables students to task
cameras aboard the two GRAIL spacecraft to take close-up views of the
lunar surface.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the
GRAIL mission. GRAIL is part of the Discovery Program managed at
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed
Martin Space Systems in Denver built the spacecraft.

For contest rules and more information, visit:


The public can email questions to:


For more information about GRAIL, visit:


For more information about MoonKAM, visit:



NASA Awards Historic Green Aviation Prize

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA has awarded the largest prize in
aviation history, created to inspire the development of more
fuel-efficient aircraft and spark the start of a new electric
airplane industry. The technologies demonstrated by the CAFE Green
Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, competitors may end up in
general aviation aircraft, spawning new jobs and new industries for
the 21st century.

The first place prize of $1.35 million was awarded to team
Pipistrel-USA.com of State College, Pa. The second place prize of
$120,000 went to team eGenius, of Ramona, Calif.

Fourteen teams originally registered for the competition. Three teams
successfully met all requirements and competed in the skies over the
Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif. The
competition was managed by the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency
(CAFE) Foundation under an agreement with NASA.

"NASA congratulates Pipistrel-USA.com for proving that ultra-efficient
aviation is within our grasp," said Joe Parrish, NASA's acting chief
technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Today we've shown
that electric aircraft have moved beyond science fiction and are now
in the realm of practice."

The winning aircraft had to fly 200 miles in less than two hours and
use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in
electricity. The first and second place teams, which were both
electric-powered, achieved twice the fuel efficiency requirement of
the competition, meaning they flew 200 miles using just over a
half-gallon of fuel equivalent per passenger.

"Two years ago the thought of flying 200 miles at 100 mph in an
electric aircraft was pure science fiction," said Jack W. Langelaan,
team leader of Team Pipistrel-USA.com. "Now, we are all looking
forward to the future of electric aviation."

This week's competition marks the culmination of more than two years
of aircraft design, development and testing for the teams. It
represents the dawn of a new era in efficient flight and is the first
time that full-scale electric aircraft have performed in competition.
Collectively, the competing teams invested more than $4 million in
pursuit of the challenge prize purse.

"I'm proud that Pipistrel won, they've been a leader in getting these
things into production, and the team really deserves it, and worked
hard to win this prize," said Eric Raymond, team leader of eGenius.

NASA uses prize competitions to increase the number and diversity of
the individuals, organizations and teams that are addressing a
particular problem or challenge. Prize competitions stimulate private
sector investment that is many times greater than the cash value of
the prize and further NASA's mission by attracting interest and
attention to a defined technical objective. This prize competition is
part of the NASA Centennial Challenges program, part of the Space
Technology Program, managed by the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist.

For more information about the CAFE Foundation's Green Flight
Challenge, sponsored by Google, visit:


For high resolution photos of the challenge, visit:


For more information about NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist and
the Centennial Challenges program, visit:



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