NASA News - Updated Coverage for NASA/SpaceX Launch and Mission to Station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The second SpaceX demonstration launch for
NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) has been
rescheduled for a liftoff on Monday, May 7. Liftoff of the Falcon 9
rocket carrying a Dragon capsule will occur from Space Launch Complex
40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. There is a
single instantaneous launch opportunity at 9:38 a.m. EDT.
NASA Television launch commentary from Cape Canaveral begins at 8 a.m.

During the flight, SpaceX's Dragon capsule will conduct a series of
check-out procedures to test and prove its systems, including the
capability to rendezvous and berth with the International Space
Station. The primary objectives for the flight include a flyby of the
space station at a distance of approximately 1.5 miles to validate
the operation of sensors and flight systems necessary for a safe
rendezvous and approach.

The spacecraft also will demonstrate the ability to abort the
rendezvous. Once these capabilities are successfully proven, the
Dragon will be cleared to berth with the space station.


Saturday, May 5 (L-2 days): A photo opportunity of the Falcon 9 rocket
and Dragon capsule on the launch pad will be available for the news
media. Spokespeople from SpaceX will be available to answer questions.

Media will depart from NASA's Kennedy Space Center Press Site by
government bus at 9:15 a.m. for Space Launch Complex 40. Media will
be returned at approximately 11 a.m. SpaceX security regulations
require that media attending this event be U.S. citizens.


Sunday, May 6 (L-1 day): Media will be able to establish
sound-activated remote cameras at the launch pad. The location is
within Space Launch Complex-40 on the east side of the pad outside
the perimeter fence. Media who want to participate in remote camera
setup will depart from Kennedy's Press Site by government bus at
10:30 a.m. Only photographers establishing remote cameras can
participate in this activity. SpaceX security regulations require
that media participating in this activity be U.S. citizens.


Sunday, May 6 (L-1 day): The prelaunch news conference for the
NASA/SpaceX launch will be held at the Kennedy Press Site at 1 p.m.
NASA Television will provide live and streaming Internet coverage.

Monday, May 7, (Launch Day): A postlaunch news conference will be held
at Kennedy at approximately noon.

Media representative can participate in the news conference in- person
at Kennedy or via a phone bridge by calling NASA's Johnson Space
Center newsroom at 11:45 a.m. at 281-483-5111.

Audio of the prelaunch and postlaunch news conferences also will be
carried on the NASA "V" circuits, directly accessible by dialing
321-867-1220, 1240, 1260 or 7135. The briefings will be streamed live
on the agency's website.


Monday, April 30 (L-0 day): NASA TV live coverage begins at 8 a.m. and
concludes at approximately 10:30 a.m.

On launch day, "mission audio," the launch conductor's countdown
activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on
321-867-7135 starting at 8 a.m. Launch information also will be
available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz, heard
within Brevard County.


Tuesday, May 8 (Flight Day 2): An update on the Dragon's flight during
the daily "ISS Update" program from NASA's Johnson Space Center airs
at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, May 9 (Flight Day 3): Live coverage from NASA's Johnson
Space Center mission control in Houston as the Dragon spacecraft
performs its fly-under of ISS to test its systems begins at 2:30 a.m.
and will continue until the Dragon passes out of the vicinity of the station.

A news briefing will be held following the activities.

Thursday, May 10 (Flight Day 4): Live coverage of the rendezvous and
berthing of the Dragon spacecraft to the station begins at 2 a.m. and
will continue through the capture and berthing of the Dragon to the
station's Harmony node. A news briefing will be held once Dragon is
secured to the ISS.

Friday, May 11: Live coverage of the hatch opening and entry of the
Dragon spacecraft includes a ceremony during which the ISS crew will
mark the occasion.

Thursday, May 24: A news briefing at Johnson will preview the
following day's unberthing and splashdown of the Dragon spacecraft.

Friday, May 25: Live coverage of the unberthing, re-entry and
splashdown of the Dragon spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean. Specific
times of coverage will be provided at a later date.


Monday, May 7 (Launch day): News media may view the launch from the
Kennedy Press Site. A sign-up sheet will be available in the newsroom
for those media representatives wanting to cover the launch from the
NASA Causeway or from the roof of the Complex 39 Launch Control
Center. These are primarily photo locations as there are no
facilities available. Buses will depart from the Press Site parking
lot at 8:15 a.m.


Media who want to attend the prelaunch events, including the prelaunch
news conference and launch, may request accreditation online at:


The deadline for U.S. media to apply for launch accreditation is May
4. The deadline for international media to apply has passed.
Journalists who have already been approved for accreditation do not
need to reapply.

The Gate 2 Pass and Identification Building on State Road 3, Merritt
Island, will be open to pick up press credentials on the following schedule:

Friday, May 4: noon - 4 p.m.
Saturday, May 5: 7:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 6: 9 a.m. - noon
Monday, May 7: 3:30 - 8:30 a.m.

News media credentials will be valid for mission activities from
launch through splashdown at both the Kennedy Space Center and
Johnson Space Center.


Friday, May 4: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 5: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 6: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Monday, May 7: 4 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Media badges will be valid for access to the Kennedy Press Site
through Gate 2 on State Road 3, Merritt Island; Gate 3 on State Road
405, located east of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; and
Gate 4 on State Road 3, south of County Road 402 near the entrance to
the Canaveral National Seashore.

For further information about media accreditation, contact Jennifer
Horner at 321-867-6598.

For more information about the NASA/SpaceX launch, contact the Kennedy
Press Site at 321-867-2468 or visit:



Media who are credentialed with badges at Kennedy for launch
activities will have their badges honored at Johnson for the duration
of the SpaceX mission. Please contact the Johnson newsroom for work
space information.

International media wanting access only to Johnson must submit the
required documentation for badging by Monday, April 30. U.S. media
wanting access only to Johnson must submit a request for badging by
Friday, May 4. Media who have already been approved for accreditation
do not need to reapply.

For mission information, contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111
or visit:


For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming
video, visit:


For up-to-date SpaceX mission information and a schedule of NASA TV
coverage, visit:


For further information on NASA's COTS program, go to:



NASA Selects 10 Small Business Technology Transfer Projects

WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected ten proposals from small business and
research institution teams to continue work on innovative
technologies that could advance future missions. The Phase II winners
in the agency's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program now
can enter negotiations for possible contract awards, with a total for
all projects of approximately $7.49 million.

High-technology firms in seven states submitted proposals in
partnership with research institutions in nine states. The STTR
Program uses a highly competitive, three-phase award system that
provides collaborative opportunities between qualified small
businesses, including women-owned and disadvantaged firms, and
research institutions to address specific technology gaps in NASA's
programs. STTR projects provide a foundation for future technology
developments and are complementary to other NASA research investments.

Firms and research institutions that participated in Phase I of the
STTR submitted 44 Phase II proposals. Selection criteria included
technical merit and innovation, Phase I results, value to NASA,
commercial potential and company capabilities. Phase I is a
feasibility study to evaluate the scientific and technical merit of
an idea and Phase II will expand on the results of last year's
projects, with up to $750,000 to support research for up to two more
years. Phase III is for the commercialization of the results of Phase
II and requires private sector or non-STTR federal funding.

STTR is part of NASA's Space Technology Program and is managed at the
agency's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., with
executive oversight by the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. Individual projects are managed by NASA's
field installations.

For a list of selected companies, visit:



NASA Statement on John Glenn Selection for Medal of Freedom

WASHINGTON -- NASA has released the following statement by
Administrator Charles Bolden about President Obama's announcement
that astronaut John Glenn has been selected as a recipient of the
2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom:

"NASA sends its warmest congratulations to Sen. John Glenn on being
named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Both of
John's historic missions to space personified America's dreams and
what we believed we could be. Just as President Obama has set us on a
course to explore farther destinations in the solar system, John
Glenn helped this nation forge a path to a brighter future with
greater capabilities. We will build on his achievements to remain the
world's space leader for generations to come."


Space Station Trio Lands Safely In Kazakhstan

HOUSTON -- Three members of the Expedition 30 crew undocked from the
International Space Station and safely returned to Earth on Friday,
wrapping up a five-and-a-half-month mission in space.

Commander Dan Burbank of NASA and Russian Flight Engineers Anatoly
Ivanishin and Anton Shkaplerov landed their Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft
in Kazakhstan at 6:45 a.m. CDT after undocking from the space
station's Poisk module at 3:18 a.m. The trio, which arrived at the
station on Nov. 16, 2011, spent a total of 165 days in space, 163 of
them conducting research on the station.

Before leaving the station, Burbank handed over command of Expedition
31 to the Russian Federal Space Agency's Oleg Kononenko, who remains
aboard the station with NASA astronaut Don Pettit and European Space
Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers. They will be joined by NASA astronaut
Joseph Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin.
Acaba, Padalka and Revin are scheduled to launch May 14 from the
Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and dock with the station on May 16.

To follow Twitter updates from NASA's Expedition 30 and 31 astronauts, visit:




For more information about Expedition 31 and the space station, visit:



NASA's Cassini Finds Saturn's Moon Phoebe Has Planet-Like Qualities

WASHINGTON -- Data from NASA's Cassini mission reveal Saturn's moon
Phoebe has more planet-like qualities than previously thought.

Scientists had their first close-up look at Phoebe when Cassini began
exploring the Saturn system in 2004. Using data from multiple
spacecraft instruments and a computer model of the moon's chemistry,
geophysics and geology, scientists found Phoebe was a so-called
planetesimal, or remnant planetary building block. The findings
appear in the April issue of the Journal Icarus.

"Unlike primitive bodies such as comets, Phoebe appears to have
actively evolved for a time before it stalled out," said Julie
Castillo-Rogez, a planetary scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "Objects like Phoebe are thought
to have condensed very quickly. Hence, they represent building blocks
of planets. They give scientists clues about what conditions were
like around the time of the birth of giant planets and their moons"

Cassini images suggest Phoebe originated in the far-off Kuiper Belt,
the region of ancient, icy, rocky bodies beyond Neptune's orbit. Data
show Phoebe was spherical and hot early in its history, and has
denser rock-rich material concentrated near its center. Its average
density is about the same as Pluto, another object in the Kuiper
Belt. Phoebe likely was captured by Saturn's gravity when it somehow
got close to the giant planet.

Saturn is surrounded by a cloud of irregular moons that circle the
planet in orbits tilted from Saturn's orbit around the sun, the
so-called equatorial plane. Phoebe is the largest of these irregular
moons and also has the distinction of orbiting backward in relation
to the other moons. By comparison, Saturn's large moons appear to
have formed from gas and dust around the planet's equatorial plane
and orbit in that same plane.

"By combining Cassini data with modeling techniques previously applied
to other solar system bodies, we've been able to go back in time and
clarify why Phoebe is so different from the rest of the Saturn
system," said Jonathan Lunine, a co-author on the study and a Cassini
team member at Cornell University.

Analyses suggest that Phoebe was born within the first 3 million years
of the birth of the solar system, which occurred 4.5 billion years
ago. The moon originally may have been porous but appears to have
collapsed in on itself as it warmed up. Phoebe developed a density 40
percent higher than the average inner Saturnian moon.

Objects of Phoebe's size have long been thought to form as
potato-shaped bodies and remain that way over their lifetimes. If
such an object formed early enough in the solar system's history, it
could have harbored the kinds of radioactive material that would
produce substantial heat over a short timescale. This would warm the
interior and reshape the moon.

"From Cassini images and models, we were able to see that Phoebe
started with a nearly spherical shape, rather than an irregular shape
later smoothed into a sphere by impacts," said co-author Peter
Thomas, a Cassini team member at Cornell.

Phoebe likely stayed warm for tens of millions of years before
freezing up. The study suggests the heat also would have enabled the
moon to host liquid water at one time. This could explain the
signature of water-rich material on Phoebe's surface previously
detected by Cassini.

The new study also is consistent with the idea that several hundred
million years after Phoebe cooled, the moon drifted toward the inner
solar system in a solar-system-wide rearrangement. Phoebe was large
enough to survive this turbulence.

More than 60 moons are known to orbit Saturn, varying drastically in
shape, size, surface age and origin. Scientists using both
ground-based observatories and Cassini's cameras continue to search
for others.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the
European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the
mission for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information, visit:



NASA Seeks Game Changing Solar Array Systems Proposals

WASHINGTON -- NASA's Space Technology Program is seeking proposals to
develop solar array systems to enable space electric propulsion
systems of the future.

"NASA's Game Changing Development Program focuses on maturing advanced
space technologies that may lead to entirely new approaches for the
agency's future space missions," said Michael Gazarik, director of
NASA's Space Technology Program at the agency's Headquarters in
Washington. "This call for proposals will result in the development
of revolutionary space solar array systems that can be scaled for
future human exploration missions to destinations well beyond low
Earth orbit."

NASA's Space Technology program is seeking proposals for solar array
system structures from all potential U.S. organizations, including
NASA centers and other government agencies, federally funded research
and development centers, educational institutions, industry and
nonprofit organizations.

"This call for proposals is a great opportunity to mature advanced and
innovative solar array systems in preparation for a space
demonstration and eventual use on all future space spacecraft
requiring high power," said Stephen Gaddis, Game Changing Development
program manager at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

The NASA solicitation will cover two acquisition phases and involve a
competitive selection process. During Phase I, proposers will design,
analyze and test a scalable solar array system capable of generating
more than 30kW of power. The Phase I teams also will identify the
most critical technological risks of extending their concept to 250
kW or greater power levels. The intent of Phase II is to prove flight
readiness through an in-space demonstration of an advanced, modular
and extendable solar array system. After Phase II, follow-on
applications will range from high power communications satellites to
solar electric propulsion systems.

NASA expects to make up to three awards for Phase I proposals, with
total combined costs of approximately $15 to $20 million, based on
availability of funds.

This solicitation is an appendix to NASA's Game Changing Opportunities
in Technology Development research announcement and can be found
through the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and
Evaluation System website by going to "Solicitations" and then "Open
Solicitations" at:


NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the Game
Changing Development Program and will oversee the technical aspects
of this technology development effort under Phase I. NASA's Glenn
Research Center in Cleveland will manage the awarded contracts for
the agency's Space Technology Program under both phases.

For more information on the Game Changing Development Program's
activities, visit:


For more information about NASA's Technology Demonstration Missions
Program, which will manage Phase II of this solicitation, visit:



NASA's WISE Catches Aging Star Erupting With Dust

WASHINGTON -- Images from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
(WISE) reveal an old star in the throes of a fiery outburst and
spraying the cosmos with dust. The findings offer a rare, real-time
look at the process by which stars like our sun seed the universe
with building blocks for other stars, planets and even life.

The star, catalogued as WISE J180956.27-330500.2, was discovered in
images taken during the WISE survey in 2010, the most detailed
infrared survey to date of the entire celestial sky. It stood out
from other objects because it glowed brightly with infrared light.
When compared to images taken more than 20 years ago, astronomers
found the star was 100 times brighter.

"We were not searching specifically for this phenomenon, but because
WISE scanned the whole sky, we can find such unique objects," said
Poshak Gandhi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), lead
author of a new paper to be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Results indicate the star recently exploded with copious amounts of
fresh dust, equivalent in mass to our planet Earth. The star is
heating the dust and causing it to glow with infrared light.

"Observing this period of explosive change while it is actually
ongoing is very rare," said co-author Issei Yamamura of JAXA. "These
dust eruptions probably occur only once every 10,000 years in the
lives of old stars, and they are thought to last less than a few
hundred years each time. It's the blink of an eye in cosmological terms."

The aging star is in the "red giant" phase of its life. Our own sun
will expand into a red giant in about 5 billion years. When a star
begins to run out of fuel, it cools and expands. As the star puffs
up, it sheds layers of gas that cool and congeal into tiny dust
particles. This is one of the main ways dust is recycled in our
universe, making its way from older stars to newborn solar systems.
The other way, in which the heaviest of elements are made, is through
the deathly explosions, or supernovae, of the most massive stars.

"It's an intriguing glimpse into the cosmic recycling program," said
Bill Danchi, WISE program scientist at NASA Headquarters in
Washington. "Evolved stars, which this one appears to be, contribute
about 50 percent of the particles that make up humans."

Astronomers know of one other star currently pumping out massive
amounts of dust. Called Sakurai's Object, this star is farther along
in the aging process than the one discovered recently by WISE.

After Poshak and his team discovered the unusual, dusty star with
WISE, they went back to look for it in previous infrared all-sky
surveys. The object was not seen at all by the Infrared Astronomical
Satellite (IRAS), which flew in 1983, but shows up brightly in images
taken as part of the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) in 1998.

Poshak and his colleagues calculated the star appears to have
brightened dramatically since 1983. The WISE data show the dust has
continued to evolve over time, with the star now hidden behind a very
thick veil. The team plans to follow up with space and ground-based
telescopes to confirm its nature and to better understand how older
stars recycle dust back into the cosmos.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., manages and
operates WISE for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
The spacecraft was put into hibernation mode after it scanned the
entire sky twice, completing its main objectives. The principal
investigator for WISE, Edward Wright, is at the University of
California, Los Angeles. The mission was selected competitively under
NASA's Explorers Program 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. The spacecraft was built by
Ball Aerospace & 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
(Caltech) in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

The IRAS mission was a collaborative effort between NASA (JPL), the
Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The 2MASS mission was a joint
effort between Caltech, the University of Massachusetts and NASA
(JPL). Data are archived at the Infrared Processing and Analysis
Center at Caltech.

For more information about WISE, visit:



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