NASA News: NASA Receives Second Highest Number Of Astronaut Applications

HOUSTON -- More than 6,300 individuals applied to become a NASA
astronaut between Nov. 15, 2011 and Jan. 27, the second highest
number of applications ever received by the agency. After a thorough
selection process, which includes interviews and medical
examinations, nine to 15 people will be selected to become part of
the 21st astronaut class.

"This is a great time to join the NASA family," NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden said. "Our newest astronauts could launch aboard the
first commercial rockets to the space station the next generation of
scientists and engineers who will help us reach higher and create an
American economy that is built to last."

The Astronaut Selection Office staff will review the applications to
identify those meeting the minimum requirements. Next, an expanded
team, comprised mostly of active astronauts, will review those
applications to determine which ones are highly qualified. Those
individuals will be invited to Johnson Space Center for in-person
interviews and medical evaluations.

"We will be looking for people who really stand out," said Peggy
Whitson, chief of the Astronaut Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center
and chair of the Astronaut Selection Board. "Our team not only will
be looking at their academic background and professional
accomplishments but also at other elements of their personality and
character traits -- what types of hobbies they have or unique life
experiences. We want and need a mix of individuals and skills for
this next phase of human exploration."

NASA expects to announce a final selection of astronaut candidates in
the spring of 2013.

The selected astronaut candidates will have two years of initial
training. Subjects will include space station systems, Russian
language and spacewalking skills training. Those who complete the
training will be assigned technical duties within the Astronaut
Office at Johnson and, ultimately, missions.

Typically, the agency receives between 2,500 and 3,500 applicants for
astronaut vacancy announcements. The highest response occurred in
1978 with 8,000 applicants.

For more information about NASA astronauts, visit:



NASA Seeks Proposals For Edison Small Satellite Demonstrations

WASHINGTON -- NASA is seeking proposals for flight demonstrations of
small satellite technologies with the goal of increasing the
technical capabilities and range of uses for this emerging category of spacecraft.

Small satellites typically weigh less than 400 pounds (180 kg) and are
generally launched as secondary payloads on rockets carrying larger
spacecraft. The small satellite category includes softball-sized
"CubeSats," which are standardized, small, cube-shaped spacecraft
that can carry small payloads, and even smaller experimental spacecraft.

"NASA's Edison SmallSat program helps to continue America's leadership
in space through the further development of this class of satellites
-- small, agile and relatively inexpensive spacecraft that could
perform many tasks in space enabling new missions and providing
unique educational opportunities," said Michael Gazarik, director of
NASA's Space Technology Program at the agency's headquarters in
Washington. "These spacecraft represent a new opportunity among the
many ways that NASA can approach its diverse goals in science,
exploration and education."

NASA's Edison Small Satellite Demonstration Program has released a
broad agency announcement seeking low-cost, flight demonstration
proposals for small satellite technology. The topic areas for this
solicitation will be limited to demonstrations of communications
systems for small satellites, proximity operations with small
satellites and propulsion systems for Cubesat-scale satellites. Other
technology and application demonstrations will be addressed
in future solicitations.

"Encouraging the growth of small-spacecraft technology also benefits
our economy," said Andrew Petro, Edison program executive at NASA
Headquarters. "Many of the technologies that enable small spacecraft
come from the world of small business, where commercial practices
provide innovative and cost-effective solutions. Those technologies
will continue to advance as demand and competition drive companies
to excel."

The advancement of small spacecraft technologies offers the potential
for small satellites to expand the types of science and exploration
at NASA. These spacecraft can accomplish new types of missions never
before possible, and they are expected to provide space access to
more technologists and scientists. Their small size means that they
are less expensive to build and launch, which allows NASA to engage
the expanding small-space community, including small businesses and
university researchers, in technology that helps enable larger goals.

Executive summaries of proposals must be submitted by March 4, 2012.
NASA expects to invite full proposals this spring, with selections
made this fall. A selected project must be completed within two to
three years at a total cost of no more than $15 million. The number
of awards will depend on the quality and cost of proposals and
availability of funding.

The Edison Small Satellite Demonstration Program is managed by NASA's
Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., for the Space
Technology Program, which works to provide the technologies and
capabilities that will enable NASA's future missions. To view the
announcement and instructions for submissions, visit:


For more information on NASA's Space Technology Program, visit:



Colbert Advocates NASA Space Station Research

HAMPTON, Va. -- Stephen Colbert, host of the nightly 'The Colbert
Report,' said in a new NASA public service announcement released
today that he's always been a huge fan of space.

The talk show host tells his Colbert Nation -- and the world -- that
he now likes space even more "because NASA is doing great things on
the International Space Station (ISS)."

The completion of the ISS ushered in new era of research and discovery
in a near gravity-free environment. Research on the orbital
laboratory is focused on four areas: human health and exploration;
basic life and physical sciences; earth and space science; and
technology development to enable future exploration.

Colbert specifically mentions the agency's work aboard the space
station to develop new vaccines to fight infectious and deadly
diseases, such as salmonella and pneumonia. As resistance toward
current antibiotics becomes more common, there is an increasing need
for alternative treatments.

The Comedy Central comedian has had a continuing interest in the ISS.
In 2009, when NASA asked the public to help name the station's Node
3, Colbert urged his followers to submit the name "Colbert." The name
received the most entries and astronauts continue to exercise on the
most famous treadmill in the world, the Combined Operational
Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill or COLBERT, in the
station's Tranquility module.

To view the Colbert video, go to:


To view other NASA public service announcement videos, visit


For more information on NASA and ISS research, visit



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