NASA News - NASA Deputy Administrator Garver Speaks About NASA's Future at Discovery Arrival

WASHINGTON -- "Following are excerpts from remarks given by NASA
Deputy Administrator Lori Garver at the arrival of the space shuttle
Discovery at Dulles International Airport on Tuesday, April 17:

"Discovery was the longest-serving veteran of NASA's space shuttle
fleet. Her maiden voyage was in 1984. She flew 39 missions, spent 365
days in space, orbited Earth 5,830 times and traveled 148,221,675 miles."

"The space shuttles' 30-year history literally changed the world.
Their greatest accomplishment and purpose, now complete, was the
launch and construction of the ISS -- our science laboratory in space
and our foothold to the rest of the solar system. Like all great
accomplishments, these achievements came at a cost. When we lost the
Challenger and Columbia flights and their brave crews, we
re-dedicated ourselves to an even more meaningful and exciting future."

"Today, NASA is following through on this commitment by building on
the successes of the past and learning from our failures. President
Obama has set us on a course that will tap into the innovative spirit
that has made this nation great. It will allow us to more fully
utilize the ISS and explore farther than ever before -- to an
asteroid and on to Mars. This shift will permit us to advance our
technology, open new markets and create more American jobs, making
our aerospace industry even more competitive and increasing our
economic and national security."

"To those who say our best exploration days are behind us, I must
disagree. While it is wonderful to reminisce about the past, NASA
continues to focus on the future. You need only admire the amazing
space shuttles and their accomplishments to realize the people,
organizations and nation that created them have only just begun.
Vehicles with names like Orion, Dragon and Dreamchaser are being
built all across the country today. They will continue and expand on
the space shuttle's many accomplishments."

"It is an honor to deliver Discovery to the Smithsonian today to share
this national treasure with the nation -- telling not only the
stories of the past, but ushering in the promise of the future."


NASA Continues Orion Parachute Testing for Future Test Flight

HOUSTON -- NASA today successfully conducted a drop test of the Orion
crew vehicle's entry, descent and landing parachutes high above the
Arizona desert in preparation for the vehicle's orbital flight test,
Exploration Flight Test -1, in 2014. Orion will carry astronauts
deeper into space than ever before, provide emergency abort
capability, sustain the crew during space travel and ensure a safe
re-entry and landing.

A C-130 plane dropped a dart-shaped test vehicle with a simulated
Orion parachute compartment from an altitude of 25,000 feet above the
U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Grounds. Orion's drogue chutes were deployed
at 20,000 feet, followed by the pilot parachutes, which then deployed
the main landing parachutes. The test vehicle landed on the desert
floor at a speed of almost 25 feet per second, well below the maximum
designed touchdown speed of the spacecraft.

This particular drop test had two primary objectives. The first
determined how the entire system would respond if one of the three
main parachutes inflated too quickly, which occurs if a reefing
stage, which helps the parachutes open gradually, is skipped. The
second objective was to validate the drogue parachute design by
testing at a high dynamic pressure that closely mimicked the
environments expected for Exploration Flight Test-1. This test
flight, scheduled for 2014, is designed to test a number of Orion's
systems, including the avionics, navigation and thermal protection
systems and will send Orion more than 3,000 miles into space.

Since 2007, the Orion program has conducted a vigorous parachute air
and ground test program and provided the chutes for NASA's successful
pad abort test in 2010. The tests improve understanding about the
chutes' technical performance for eventual human-rated certification.
The next parachute test will be conducted this summer.

For more about Orion, visit:



NASA Selects Science Instrument Upgrade for Flying Observatory

WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected a science instrument upgrade to the
Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne
observatory. The instrument, the High-resolution Airborne Wideband
Camera (HAWC), will provide a sensitive, versatile and reliable
imaging capability to the SOFIA user community. The upgrade involves
two proposals that will allow the observatory to measure the
structure and strength of magnetic fields in diverse objects
throughout the universe, such as star-forming clouds and galaxies.
This will help astronomers better understand how stars, planets and
galaxies form and evolve.

SOFIA is a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a
telescope with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) diameter reflecting mirror that
conducts astronomy research not possible with ground-based
telescopes. By operating in the stratosphere at altitudes up to
45,000 feet, SOFIA can make observations above the water vapor in
Earth's lower atmosphere.

"SOFIA has the ability to become a world-class airborne observatory
that complements the Hubble, Spitzer and Herschel space telescopes,"
said John Grunsfeld, NASA's Science Mission Directorate associate
administrator. "This upgrade will greatly broaden SOFIA's capabilities."

Last August, the agency released an Announcement of Opportunity for
SOFIA second-generation instrument investigations and received 11
proposals. The selected proposals were judged to have the best
science value and feasible development plans.

The selected proposals are:

-- The High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera Polarization
(HAWC-Pol), Charles Dowell, principal investigator, NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. This investigation upgrades
the HAWC instrument to include the capability to make polarimetric
observations at far-infrared wavelengths. The investigation's main
goals are to measure the magnetic field in the interstellar medium,
star forming regions and the center of the Milky Way.

-- HAWC++, Johannes Staguhn, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. This
investigation will provide a sensitive, large-format detector array
to the HAWC-Pol investigation, increasing its observing efficiency
and providing a broader range of targets.

SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center and
is based and managed at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in
Palmdale, Calif. NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field,
Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in
cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association,
headquartered in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute at the
University of Stuttgart.

For more information about the SOFIA program, visit:



NASA'S Social Media Team Receives Space Foundation Award

WASHINGTON -- NASA's social media team has received the Space
Foundation's Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award, which is
presented annually to an individual, team or organization that has
made significant contributions to public awareness and understanding
of space programs. The award was presented on Monday, April 16,
during the opening ceremony of the 28th National Space Symposium at
The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The NASA social media team was selected for creative and pioneering
use of social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter,
actively engaging millions of people around the world and inspiring
followers while in orbit.

"NASA's social media team works to tell our story using innovative
platforms to let as many people as possible learn about the work
we're doing in space exploration and aeronautics research," said
David Weaver, associate administrator for Communications at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. "The Space Foundation's recognition is
another testament to the team's success."

Former NASA astronaut Eileen Collins received the award in 2007, the
STS-95 space shuttle crew was honored in 1998 and NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was recognized in 1997.

NASA uses a host of social media sites to communicate its mission to
followers around the world. NASA Socials, formerly known as NASA
Tweetups, allow social media followers to attend functions and
interact with NASA engineers and scientists. The @NASA Twitter
account has surpassed 2 million followers, and NASA maintains a
presence on Facebook, Google+, Flickr and other popular platforms.

To view all of NASA's social media sites, visit:


For more about the Space Foundation and the National Space Symposium, visit:



Hubble's 22nd Anniversary Image Shows Turbulent Star-Making Region

WASHINGTON -- Several million young stars are vying for attention in a
new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of a raucous stellar breeding
ground in 30 Doradus, a star-forming complex located in the heart of
the Tarantula nebula.

The new image comprises one of the largest mosaics ever assembled from
Hubble photos and includes observations taken by Hubble's Wide Field
Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. NASA and the Space
Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore released the image
today in celebration of Hubble's 22nd anniversary.

"Hubble is the world's premiere science instrument for making
celestial observations, which allow us to unravel the mysteries of
the universe," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for
NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington and three-time
Hubble repair astronaut. "In recognition of Hubble's 22nd birthday,
the new image of the 30 Doradus region, the birth place for new
stars, is more than a fitting anniversary image."

30 Doradus is the brightest star-forming region in our galactic
neighborhood and home to the most massive stars ever seen. The nebula
is 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small
satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. No known star-forming region in
our galaxy is as large or as prolific as 30 Doradus.

Collectively, the stars in the image are millions of times more
massive than our sun. The image is roughly 650 light-years across and
contains some rambunctious stars, including one of the fastest
rotating stars and the highest velocity stars ever observed by astronomers.

The nebula is close enough to Earth that Hubble can resolve individual
stars, giving astronomers important information about the stars'
birth and evolution. Many small galaxies have more spectacular
starbursts, but the Large Magellanic Cloud's 30 Doradus is one of the
only star-forming regions that astronomers can study in detail. The
star-birthing frenzy in 30 Doradus may be fueled partly by its close
proximity to its companion galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud.

The image reveals the stages of star birth, from embryonic stars a few
thousand years old and still wrapped in cocoons of dark gas, to
behemoths that die young in supernova explosions. 30 Doradus churns
out stars at a furious pace over millions of years. Hubble shows star
clusters of various ages, from about 2 million to 25 million years old.

The region's sparkling centerpiece is a giant, young star cluster
named NGC 2070, only 2 million to 3 million years old. Its stellar
inhabitants number roughly 500,000. The cluster is a hotbed for
young, massive stars. Its dense core, known as R136, is packed with
some of the heftiest stars found in the nearby universe, weighing
more than 100 times the mass of our sun.

The massive stars are carving deep cavities in the surrounding
material by unleashing a torrent of ultraviolet light, which is
winnowing away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud in which the stars
were born. The image reveals a fantastic landscape of pillars, ridges
and valleys. Besides sculpting the gaseous terrain, the brilliant
stars may be triggering a successive generation of offspring. When
the ultraviolet radiation hits dense walls of gas, it creates shocks,
which may generate a new wave of star birth.

The image was made using 30 separate fields, 15 from each camera. Both
cameras made these observations simultaneously in October 2011. The
colors in the image represent the hot gas that dominates regions of
the image. Red signifies hydrogen gas and blue represents oxygen.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation
between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space
Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the telescope. STScI
conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated by the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For related images, video and more information about Hubble, visit:





◄ Share this news!

Bookmark and Share


The Manhattan Reporter

Recently Added

Recently Commented