NASA News: NASA Proposes Orion Spacecraft Test Flight In 2014

WASHINGTON -- NASA plans to add an unmanned flight test of the Orion
spacecraft in early 2014 to its contract with Lockheed Martin Space
Systems for the multi-purpose crew vehicle's design, development,
test and evaluation. This test supports the new Space Launch System
(SLS) that will take astronauts farther into space than ever before,
create U.S. jobs, and provide the cornerstone for America's future
human spaceflight efforts.

"President Obama and Congress have laid out an ambitious space
exploration plan, and NASA is moving out quickly to implement it,"
NASA Associate Administrator for Communications David Weaver said.
"This flight test will provide invaluable data to support the deep
space exploration missions this nation is embarking upon."

This Exploration Flight Test, or EFT-1, will fly two orbits to a
high-apogee, with a high-energy re-entry through Earth's atmosphere.
Orion will make a water landing and be recovered using operations
planned for future human exploration missions. The test mission will
be launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., to acquire critical re-entry
flight performance data and demonstrate early integration
capabilities that benefit the Orion, SLS, and 21st Century Ground
Systems programs. The agency has posted a synopsis explaining its
intention on NASA's procurement website.

"The entry part of the test will produce data needed to develop a
spacecraft capable of surviving speeds greater than 20,000 mph and
safely return astronauts from beyond Earth orbit," Associate
Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations William
Gerstenmaier said. "This test is very important to the detailed
design process in terms of the data we expect to receive."

NASA also intends to release several competitive solicitations to
industry in the near future. One solicitation will request proposals
for the design, development, test and evaluation of a new advanced
liquid or solid booster capability for the SLS. Another future
contract NASA intends to compete will be for the development of
spacecraft, and payload adaptors and fairings for crew and cargo
missions. The competition and award dates for these will be
determined as missions are identified.

NASA is developing the Orion spacecraft to launch astronauts to
asteroids, the moon, Mars and other destinations atop SLS, the
agency's new heavy launch vehicle. An early orbital flight test such
as EFT-1 will provide data needed to influence design decisions and
serve as a pathfinder to validate innovative new approaches to space
systems development. The goal is to reduce the cost and schedule
risks of exploration missions.

For more information about NASA's exploration programs, visit:

The synopsis of contract action is available at:


NASA Administrator Names Peck Agency's Chief Technologist

WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Cornell
University Professor Mason Peck to be the agency's chief
technologist, effective in January. Peck will serve as the agency's
principal advisor and advocate on matters concerning technology
policy and programs.

As the chief advocate, Peck will help communicate how NASA
technologies benefit space missions and the day-to-day lives of
Americans. The office coordinates, tracks and integrates technology
investments across the agency and works to infuse innovative
discoveries into future missions. The office also documents,
demonstrates and communicates the societal impact of NASA's
technology investments.

In addition, the chief technologist leads NASA technology transfer and
technology commercialization efforts, facilitating internal
creativity and innovation, and works directly with other government
agencies, the commercial aerospace community and academia.

"Mason's lifelong commitment to learning and expertise in aerospace
engineering makes him ideally suited to advise and help guide the
agency toward the technologies and innovations that will enable our
future missions," Bolden said. "His passion for education and his
accomplishments in spacecraft design and robotics, along with his
experience in the private sector, bring the skills I've come to
depend on from my chief technologist."

Peck will serve as NASA's chief technologist through an
intergovernmental personnel agreement with Cornell University, where
he is on the faculty as an associate professor in the School of
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He also teaches in Cornell's
Systems Engineering Program. Peck succeeds Robert Braun, who returned
to his teaching and research positions at the Georgia Institute of
Technology in Atlanta.

Peck has a broad background in aerospace technology, which comes from
nearly 20 years in industry and academia. He has worked with NASA as
an engineer on a variety of technology programs, including the
Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System and Geostationary
Operational Environmental Satellites. The NASA Institute for Advanced
Concepts sponsored his academic research in modular spacecraft
architectures and propellant-less propulsion, and the International
Space Station currently hosts his research group's flight experiment
in microchip-size spacecraft.

As an engineer and consultant in the aerospace industry, he has worked
with organizations including Boeing, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman,
Goodrich and Lockheed Martin. He has authored 82 academic articles
and holds 17 patents in the U.S. and European Union.
Peck spent some of his early career at Bell Helicopter, where he
worked on the V-22 Osprey and a smaller tilt-rotor aircraft that
later would become the BA609. He also has experience with commercial
communications satellites and military spacecraft as a guidance and
control engineer and in mission operations at Boeing Defense, Space
and Security. He was a principal fellow at Honeywell Defense and
Space Electronic Systems, where he led advanced-technology programs,
helped direct patent and intellectual-property investments, and
worked in business development.

At Cornell, Peck's work focuses on spacecraft dynamics, control and
mission architectures. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency,
the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and aerospace
contractors have funded his academic research. Some of this research
includes microscale flight dynamics, gyroscopic robotics, and
magnetically controlled spacecraft, most of which have been
demonstrated on NASA microgravity flights.

He currently is the principal investigator on the CUSat in-orbit
inspection technology demonstration, which is a pair of satellites
built at Cornell. They are scheduled to launch in 2013 on a Falcon 9
rocket through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's University
Nanosatellite Program. CUSat technology represents a capability that
will help enable commercial, government and human space missions
envisioned for the coming decades.

Peck also is the principal investigator for the Violet experiment,
another satellite built at Cornell. Violet will provide an orbiting
test bed for investigations in technology that will enable more
capable commercial earth-imaging satellites. Violet carries an
ultraviolet spectrometer that will be used as a precursor to
understanding exoplanet atmospheres.

Peck earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University
of California, Los Angeles as a Howard Hughes Fellow and a master's
degree in English literature from the University of Chicago. For more
information about NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:



NASA Captures New Images of Large Asteroid Passing Earth

PASADENA -- NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif. has
captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing close to Earth.

The asteroid safely will fly past our planet slightly closer than the
moon's orbit on Nov. 8. The last time a space rock this large came as
close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about
the flyby at the time. The next known approach of an asteroid this
size will be in 2028.

The image was taken on Nov. 7 at 11:45 a.m. PST, when the asteroid was
approximately 860,000 miles (1.38 million kilometers) away from
Earth. Tracking of the aircraft carrier-sized asteroid began at
Goldstone at 9:30 a.m. PDT on Nov. 4 with the 230-foot-wide
(70-meter) antenna and lasted about two hours, with an additional
four hours of tracking planned each day from Nov. 6 - 10.

Radar observations from the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto
Rico will begin Nov. 8, the same day the asteroid will make its
closest approach to Earth at 3:28 p.m. PST.

The trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood. At the point
of closest approach, it will be no closer than 201,700 miles (324,600
kilometers) as measured from the center of Earth, or about 0.85 times
the distance from the moon to Earth. The gravitational influence of
the asteroid will have no detectable effect on Earth, including tides
and tectonic plates. Although the asteroid is in an orbit that
regularly brings it to the vicinity of Earth, Venus and Mars, the
2011 encounter with Earth is the closest it has come for at least the
last 200 years.

NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing
close to Earth using both ground- and space-based telescopes. The
Near-Earth Object Observations Program at the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., commonly called "Spaceguard,"
discovers these objects, characterizes some of them, and plots their
orbits to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our
planet. JPL manages the Near-Earth Object Program Office for NASA's
Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

The new radar images are online at:


For more information about asteroids and near-Earth objects, visit:


More information about asteroid radar research is available online at:


For more information about NASA's Deep Space Network, visit:



NASA Selects Contractor For Engineering And Scientific Services

CLEVELAND -- NASA has selected Vantage Partners LLC of Lanham, Md., to
provide engineering and scientific services to the Glenn Research
Center in Cleveland.

Under this contract, Vantage Partners LLC will perform a wide range of
engineering, research and technology development, operations and
project management services at Glenn. These services will support the
aeronautics and space exploration work assigned to the center by the
agency, and will include delivering engineering products ranging from
initial concepts through complete flight systems.

This contract provides for a cost-plus-fixed-fee base effort and a
cost-plus-award-fee indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity effort.
The maximum value of the contract, including both work elements, is
$240 million during a possible five-year performance period.

Vantage Partners LLC is a Small Business Administration 8(a) joint
venture formed by Vantage Systems Inc., of Lanham Md., and Stinger
Ghaffarian Technologies Inc. of Greenbelt, Md.

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


NASA Hosts Teleconference On Expedition To Antarctic Hot Spot

GREENBELT, Md. -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EST
on Wednesday, Nov. 9, to discuss a new field campaign season on one
of Antarctica's "hottest" spots: the rapidly-melting Pine Island Glacier.

The Pine Island Glacier ice shelf expedition, an international effort
led by seven institutions, aims to peek beneath the ice and determine
how the ocean is melting the glacier's underbelly. During the news
conference, panelists will discuss this season's scientific goals,
state-of-the-art data collection, and the methods used to deploy
staff and equipment on this crevasse-ridden, isolated edge of Antarctica.

Teleconference participants are:
- Robert Bindschadler, glaciologist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, Md.
- Sridhar Anandakrishnan, geophysicist, Penn State University,
University Park, Pa.
- Timothy Stanton, oceanographer, Naval Postgraduate School, San Diego

- Scott Borg, director of Antarctic sciences, National Science
Foundation, Arlington, Va.

To participate, media representatives must e-mail their name, media
affiliation and telephone number to Steve Cole at
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov by 9 a.m. on Nov. 9 for call-in number and
pass code. Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live at:


Related images and video will be posted at the time of the
teleconference at:



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