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NASA to Provide Live Coverage of Space Station Cargo Launch, Docking

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The Roscosmos Progress 81 cargo resupply ship is pictured after undocking from the International Space Station’s Zvezda service module. It would later reenter the Earth’s atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean for a safe demise, completing an eight-month space station resupply mission.
Credits: NASA

NASA will provide live launch and docking coverage of the Roscosmos Progress 84 cargo spacecraft carrying about three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 69 crew aboard the International Space Station.

The unpiloted spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 8:56 a.m. EDT (5:56 p.m. Baikonur time) on Wednesday, May 24, on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA coverage will begin at 8:30 a.m. on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

The Progress spacecraft will be placed into a two-orbit journey to the station, leading to an automatic docking to the Poisk module at 12:20 p.m. NASA coverage will resume at 11:30 a.m. for rendezvous and docking.

The spacecraft will remain at the orbiting laboratory for approximately six months, then undock for a destructive but safe re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere to dispose of trash loaded by the crew.

The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology, and human innovation that enables research not possible on Earth. For more than 22 years, NASA has supported a continuous U.S. human presence aboard the orbiting laboratory, through which humans have learned to live and work in space for extended periods of time. The space station is a springboard for the development of a low Earth orbit economy and NASA’s next great leaps in exploration, including missions to the Moon under Artemis and ultimately, human exploration of Mars.

Get breaking news, images, and features from the space station on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Learn more about the space station, its research, and crew, at:

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https://www.nasa.gov/station

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NASA Names Winners of 2023 Student Rocket Launch Competition

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Official NASA MSFC photos of the 2023 Student Rocket Launch week

Recently, NASA announced the University of Alabama in Huntsville as the winner of the agency’s 2023 Student Launch challenge. This challenge involved designing, building, and launching a rocket and scientific payload to an altitude of between 4,000 and 6,000 feet. More than 800 students across the U.S. and Puerto Rico participated in this event, which was conducted on April 15th, near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The participating students were from various academic levels, including middle school, high school, college, and university. The winning teams were awarded in various categories, including Altitude Award, Payload Design Award, Vehicle Design Award, and many more.

“Students are required to meet complex requirements and high expectations, literally,” said Fred Kepner, an education program specialist and activity lead for Student Launch at Marshall. “Student Launch is an authentic learning experience – one offering students experience working through the same processes NASA and our partners use for safety and quality control of space missions.”

This challenge is a great opportunity for students to develop skills required for space exploration while applying theoretical knowledge practically. NASA is proud to contribute to the development of the next generation of skilled engineers and explorers, who can support NASA’s Artemis missions. The agency aims to inspire and encourage students to become the future of space exploration.

The complete list of award winners are as follows:

2023 Overall Winners

  • First place: University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Second place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Third place: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

3D Printing Award:

College Level:

  • First place: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
     

Middle/High School Level:

  • First place: East Aurora High School, East Aurora, New York


Altitude Award

College Level: 

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  • First place: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Second place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Third place: University of Alabama in Huntsville


Middle/High School Level:  

  • First place: Spring Grove Area High School, Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
  • Second place: Camas High School, Camas, Washington
  • Third place: MATHmania Robotics, Mission Viejo, California

Best-Looking Rocket Award

College Level:

  • First place: North Carolina State University, Raleigh
  • Second place: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg
  • Third place: Auburn University, Alabama
     

Middle/High School Level:

  • First place: Cedar Falls High School, Iowa
  • Second place: Yamhill Carlton High School, Yamhill, Oregon
  • Third place: Boy Scouts Troop 17, Charlottesville, Virginia

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Reusable Launch Vehicle Innovative Payload Award:

College Level:

  • First place: University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Second place: Washington University in St. Louis
  • Third place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Judges’ Choice Award:

Middle/High School Level:

  • First place: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa 
  • Second place: Seabrook Intermediate School, Seabrook, Texas
  • Third place: MATHmania Robotics, Mission Viejo, California 

Project Review Award

College Level: 

  • First place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Second place: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee  
  • Third place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana

AIAA Reusable Launch Vehicle Award

College Level: 

  • First place: New York University, New York
  • Second place: Washington University in St. Louis
  • Third place: University of Alabama in Huntsville

AIAA Rookie Award:

College Level:

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  • First place: United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
  • Second place: Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas
  • Third place: University of Central Florida, Orlando

Safety Award:

College Level:

  • First place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Second place: University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Third place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Social Media Award

College Level: 

  • First place: University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus
  • Second place: North Carolina State University, Raleigh
  • Third place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
     

Middle/High School Level:

  • First place: Morris County 4-H Rocketry Club, Morris County, New Jersey
  • Second place: East Aurora High School, East Aurora, New York
  • Third place: Boy Scouts Troop 17, Charlottesville, Virginia

STEM Engagement Award:

College Level:

  • First place: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Second place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Third place: University of Alabama in Huntsville
     

Middle/High School Level:

  • First place: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa
  • Second place: MATHmania Robotics, Mission Viejo, California
  • Third place: Camas High School, Camas, Washington

Service Academy Award:

  • First place: The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York

Vehicle Design Award:

Middle/High School Level:

  • First place: Yamhill Carlton Rocketry, Yamhill, Oregon
  • Second place: Spring Grove Area High School, Spring Grove, Pennsylvania
  • Third place: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Payload Design Award

Middle/High School Level:

  • First place: Portland Rocketry, Portland, Oregon
  • Second place: Yamhill Carlton Rocketry, Yamhill, Oregon
  • Third place: Seabrook Intermediate School, Seabrook, Texas

Student Launch is one of NASA’s nine Artemis Student Challenges, activities which connect student ingenuity with NASA’s work returning to the Moon under Artemis in preparation for human exploration of Mars.

“Students are required to meet complex requirements and high expectations, literally,” said Fred Kepner, an education program specialist and activity lead for Student Launch at Marshall. “Student Launch is an authentic learning experience – one offering students experience working through the same processes NASA and our partners use for safety and quality control of space missions.”

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Marshall hosts Student Launch with management support provided by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement – Southeast Region. Funding is provided, in part, by NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate and NASA’s Next Gen STEM project. Additional support is provided by Northrup Grumman, National Space Club Huntsville, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Association of Rocketry, Relativity Space, Bastion Technologies, and Siemens Digital Industries Software.

Replays of this launch event and award ceremony are available on NASA’s Marshall YouTube and the Student Launch Facebook page.

For more information about the Student Launch challenge, visit:

https://go.nasa.gov/2HWL80t

Source: NASA

Check out the STM Science section for more news: https://stmdailynews.com/category/science/

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https://prnmedia.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nasa-names-winners-of-2023-student-rocket-launch-competition-301844159.html

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Review Board: NASA-JPL Psyche Progress Outstanding, Launch on Track

Steps taken by NASA, the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, and Caltech, to put the Psyche mission on track for an October 2023 launch have been outstanding

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A team prepares NASA’s Psyche spacecraft for launch inside the Astrotech Space Operations Facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Psyche will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy.
Credits: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Steps taken by NASA, the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, and Caltech, to put the Psyche mission on track for an October 2023 launch have been outstanding, according to an independently appointed review board. NASA and JPL convened the board last summer after the Psyche mission team requested to delay the spacecraft’s August 2022 launch to a metal-rich asteroid of the same name.

In its November 2022 report, the independent review board made extensive recommendations to address both project and JPL institutional issues that contributed to the launch delay. After thorough follow-up reviews with the Psyche project, JPL, and Caltech, the board’s May 30 report finds the actions taken since November exceeded expectations. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

“I am pleased with the independent review board’s resoundingly positive assessment of JPL’s hard work in correcting the issues outlined in the board’s original report,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “We know the work is not over. As we move forward, we will work with JPL to ensure these implemented changes continue to be prioritized to position Psyche and the other missions in JPL’s portfolio for success.”

Led by retired aerospace executive A. Thomas Young, the Psyche independent review board concluded in its initial report that while JPL workforce issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the launch delay, additional factors, ranging from staffing to communication to management oversight, contributed as well.

In response to the review board’s recommendations, JPL moved to directly address the concerns regarding the Psyche project as well as the laboratory as an institution. The Psyche mission added experienced team members, reorganized a large part of its workforce, and adopted comprehensive metrics to monitor progress toward launch and operational readiness. The report also noted improvements to senior management’s oversight of the mission.

“The independent review board is extraordinarily impressed by the accomplishments of the total JPL organization and Caltech,” the report authors noted. “Engagement in and leadership of the overall response process by the JPL director and senior leadership is deemed ‘world class.’”

Institutionally, JPL moved rapidly to update its hybrid work policy to increase the number of days team members spend together onsite each week to improve collaboration and communication. The laboratory, according to the report, was also “exceptional” in its efforts to attract and retain experienced engineering staff, with the Psyche mission being among the beneficiaries.

In addition, JPL leadership focused on clarifying roles, responsibilities, and technical skillsets within its engineering organization while ensuring flight project team members were aware of pathways to raise concerns. Lessons learned from the Psyche mission also are applicable to other flight projects, including Europa Clipper and Mars Sample Return. JPL also revamped monthly project status reviews to ensure risks are well understood at all levels of the organization.

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“We convened this board weeks after I stepped in as director and addressing the issues it raised has been a central focus in my first year as director of JPL. The results are gratifying,” said JPL Director Laurie Leshin. “Our goals went beyond getting Psyche to the launch pad to improving JPL across the board as we work on missions that will help us better understand Earth, explore the solar system and the universe, and search for signs of life. Our strong response to the board’s findings reinforces the notion that JPL can solve any problem with the right focus and attention.”

The board also determined in its report NASA and its management centers need to more clearly define the responsibilities of its standing review boards, which help ensure appropriate program and project management oversight to increase the likelihood of mission success.

The spacecraft will reach asteroid Psyche in August 2029, orbiting it for 26 months to gain insights into planetary formation, better understand the interior of terrestrial planets like Earth, and examine a world that is made largely of metal.

Read the report, as well as NASA’s response, on the agency’s website:

https://go.nasa.gov/3Nesipu

https://stmdailynews.com/category/science/

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NASA Names New Agency General Counsel

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Iris Lan serves as NASA’s chief legal officer and oversees its team of attorneys responsible for all aspects of NASA’s legal affairs.
Credits: NASA

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Monday the selection of Iris Lan as the agency’s new general counsel, effective immediately. She succeeds Sumara Thompson-King, who retired from NASA last December.

“The Office of the General Counsel’s work often goes unseen,” said Nelson. “I want to thank Scott Barber and Charles “Pete” Polen, both of whom served as acting general counsel. Our team of attorneys, paralegals, and professionals are critical to NASA fulfilling our mission to explore the unknown in air and space, innovate for the benefit of humanity, and inspire the world through discovery. With Iris at the helm, I am confident they will continue to help NASA maintain our standing as the world’s premier space agency.”

Before joining NASA, Lan was an associate deputy attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, with responsibilities over the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys and the Department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. As a senior career official for more than a decade, she advised the deputy attorney general and the attorney general on some of the most significant legal and enforcement issues across the country. 

She began her career with the Justice Department as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, where Lan prosecuted many of the nation’s most complex counterterrorism, counterintelligence, export control, cyber intrusion, and corporate fraud cases. Later, she also was deputy chief of the appellate section, supervising attorneys in briefing and arguing cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Lan graduated from Harvard University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and physics and a master’s degree in history of science and graduated from Harvard Law School. Before joining the department, Lan clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and served as a commercial litigator in private practice.

Lan is an elected member of the American Law Institute, serving as an adviser for the organization’s project on the law of compliance and enforcement for organizations.

For more information about Lan, visit:

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https://www.nasa.gov/feature/iris-lan-nasa-general-counsel

Source: NASA

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