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NASA to Explore UAS Airspace Operations Through a new Robotic Challenge

December 19, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: NASA, Syndicated Industry News, United States 

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NASA Selects Six Partners for Aerospace Composites R&D

September 23, 2013 by · Comment
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Seeking Alpha: Orbital Poised for a Good Year?

This is an exclusive article I wrote at Seeking Alpha on Orbital Sciences. It may be found here.

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U.S.A.F. Contracts with Space Florida for Launch Support

The State of Florida charted an entity called Space Florida to help grow their support to the space and aerospace industry using it to manage existing facilities located at Cape Canaveral and other sites. Set up in 2006 it combined three previous organizations related to space development and research into one. Space Florida operates a facility to assemble rockets and support launches at the Kennedy Space Center. This is part of a readjustment to the reorganization of NASA priorities that will see the last flight of the Space Shuttle in the near future.

As part of their work the U.S. Air Force issued Space Florida an ID/IQ contract to support launches of Orbital Sciences (OSC) Minotaur launch vehicles. This contract has a value of up to $48 million if all options are exercised. As with all ID/IQ contracts there is no guarantee that any work may be issued or ordered.

The Minotaur is a combination of existing ICBM rocket motors and other hardware used by the Air Force to launch small-to-medium payloads into orbit. It also is used to support testing and may carry targets and other systems. So far there have been eighteen launches of the system with thirty-one payloads placed in orbit.

The U.S. is moving to try and generate more commercial programs to provide access to space. The focus is on small companies developing new technologies or providing support services like this rather then relying on the large Defense and NASA infrastructure. This is not happening without pain as there will be significant job losses as the Florida economy adjusts to the end of the Space Shuttle with no near term U.S. replacement for heavy lift launch capability.

NASA had been developing the Ares and Orion systems to replace the Space Shuttle and support the International Space Station (ISS) as well as plan for longer missions in space but the Obama Administration restructured the program severely. This included ending work on most of the program and shifting funds to commercial companies trying to develop launch vehicles such as SpaceX.

It is too early to tell how well this strategy will work but right now the U.S. will soon be dependent on Russian systems to carry crew and supplies to the ISS until it develops the replacement for the Space Shuttle.

Photo by Nick Davis of the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.

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NASA Hires Hewlett Packard for IT Support

The U.S. Government has tried different ways to provide necessary IT support to its employees. One of its major goals has been the ability to keep up with technology with refreshing desk and lap top computers while also providing the necessary mobile technology. Attempts have been made to do it completely in-house. Other times the purchase of hardware and software has been separated from the actual management and support. A third way is to pay contractors over several years to manage everything with the idea that they will update technology routinely.

All of these different ways have their pros and cons as well as cost implications. Sometimes it means that too much of the wrong hardware and software is bought or not updated quickly enough. Some Federal agencies are looking at web based applications such as Google (GOOG) Apps or other equivalent packages with the idea it might save money. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has decided to hire Hewlett Packard (HP) to manage its IT needs for up to ten years.

The contract awarded to HP’s Enterprise Services unit could be worth up to $2.5 billion if all options are exercised. Enterprise Services is what EDS became after HP acquired them in 2008. EDS has a history of providing this type of support contract to various government agencies over the last few decades.

The contract has a four year base and two three year options. One of the goals of this contract and a justification for its length is that it will allow HP to provide multiple updates to the NASA computing base. The longer contract will also allow HP to control costs by allowing better coordination and purchasing of new equipment to replace existing stocks.

While these types of contracts are not uncommon they do face the problem of schedule delays in implementing updates and controlling costs. Virginia issued a vast contract to Northrop Grumman (NOC) to take over management and integration of all of their state government systems that has seen cost growth and schedule issues as well as attempts at re-negotiations.

That contract was much more complicated then HP’s with NASA as the state was trying to unify its IT systems as well as update equipment. The more standard type such as this is much less complicated but it does illustrate the size of that market if Federal agencies want to use this approach.

Photo from njt1982′s flickr photostream.

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NASA Awards Contract for JPSS-1 Spacecraft — Press Release

September 24, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: Business Line, Companies, Events, NASA, Press Releases, Satellites, space 

NASA Awards Contract for JPSS-1 Spacecraft

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded a sole source contract for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) spacecraft to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo. This is a fixed price contract of $248 million with a performance period through Feb. 1, 2015.

Under this contract Ball will design, build and test the spacecraft; integrate government-furnished instruments; integrate the satellite with the launch vehicle; and support launch operations and on-orbit checkout. The spacecraft is a clone of the NPOESS Preparatory Project. JPSS-1 is expected to be ready for launch in 2014.

JPSS is the restructured civilian portion of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) that will make afternoon observations as it orbits Earth. The system includes the satellites and sensors supporting civil weather and climate measurements and a shared ground infrastructure with the Department of Defense weather satellite system.

NOAA is responsible for the JPSS program. NASA is the program’s procurement agent, and the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., is the lead for acquisition. Data and imagery obtained from JPSS will increase the timeliness, accuracy and cost-effectiveness of public warnings and forecasts of climate and weather events, reducing the potential loss of human life and property.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:



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NASA and NOAA’s Newest GOES Satellite Ready for Action — Press Release

NASA and NOAA’s Newest GOES Satellite Ready for Action

GREENBELT, Md., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA and NOAA’s latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-15, has successfully completed five months of on-orbit testing and has been accepted into service. The satellite has demonstrated operational readiness of its subsystems, spacecraft instruments and communications services. GOES-15 is the third and final spacecraft in the GOES N-P Series of geostationary environmental weather satellites.

The GOES fleet help NOAA forecasters track life-threatening weather and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. During the checkout period, GOES-15 delivered high-resolution images from space, including the first visible and infrared images of Earth taken by its imager instrument, and the first image of the sun taken by its solar X-ray imager instrument.

“NASA is ecstatic that we were able to deliver on our promise to provide NOAA and this Nation with three geosynchronous weather satellites,” said Andre Dress, GOES Deputy Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “From the very beginning, we set the bar high and we have attained all our goals. It is something that NASA and its contractors (Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems, Lockheed Martin, ITT and United Launch Alliance) can be very proud of.”

NOAA operates GOES-13 in the east and GOES-11 in the west — both provide weather observations covering more than 50 percent of the Earth’s surface. The GOES-15 spacecraft, designed and built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, will be placed in an on-orbit storage location at 105 degrees west longitude should one of the operational GOES satellites degrade or exhaust their fuel. It will share a parking space with GOES-14, currently in the same storage orbit. Both satellites can be made operational within 24 hours to replace an older satellite.

“With more than 35 million Americans living in hurricane-prone areas, we need the reliable, accurate data GOES provide,” said Gary Davis, director of the Office of Systems Development at NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service.

A six-minute view of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season as seen from space by GOES-12, formerly the East Coast GOES sentinel, is available online. The video highlights NASA technology and NOAA satellite data.

NOAA manages the GOES program, establishes requirements, provides all funding and distributes environmental satellite data for the United States. NASA Goddard procures and manages the design, development and launch of the satellites for NOAA on a cost reimbursable basis.

For more information about the GOES-15 mission and program on the Web, visit:


For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit:

Source: NASA

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Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Passes Key NASA Milestone

Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Passes Key NASA Milestone
July 6, 2010

Phase 1 Safety Review Meets Critical Human Space Flight Requirements

DENVER, - The Orion crew exploration vehicle has successfully completed the Phase 1 Safety Review of NASA's Human Rating Requirements for space exploration in low Earth orbit and beyond. The NASA/Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) Orion team earned the approval from NASA's Constellation Safety & Engineering Review Panel (CSERP) upon completion of the review, an essential requirement for the Orion program to move forward to the Critical Design Review and Phase 2 Safety Review.

The safety review process is a rigorous and exhaustive look at the design and operational concepts to assure that all requirements have been adequately met. System safety requirements address potentially catastrophic failures that could result in loss of crew or loss of mission during launch, ascent to orbit, approach and docking to the International Space Station, re-entry, landing, and recovery operations. Thoroughly reviewing spacecraft designs and operations for possible causes of such catastrophic failures, and designing appropriate mitigations for them, is a critical part of NASA's human rating program.

"Completing this significant safety review puts Orion well down the road in satisfying the requirements to minimize the nation's gap in human space flight," said Paul Benfield, Lockheed Martin Integrated Reliability & Safety Manager for the Orion Program. "NASA's current human rating standards include stringent requirements and thorough procedures developed from the best practices of NASA's past 50 years of human spaceflight."

Benfield noted that human rating a vehicle for beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) is particularly challenging given the greater autonomy of such a mission, the extended mission durations, and increased time to return to Earth. This Phase 1 Safety milestone covers the requirements for Orion missions in LEO as well as sortie missions to the moon. The design enables a six-month on-orbit duration which is vital to assure return capability of the space station crew, as well as support autonomous lunar orbit operations. This long duration design far exceeds the one- to two-week capabilities offered by other potential providers.

"Human rating a spacecraft is not a feature you can just simply add on once the vehicle is designed," explained Benfield. "It is a process that requires endurance and attention to detail to ensure that safety is driven into every aspect of the vehicle design and operations from the beginning. Optimal safety and reliability is strategically and systematically incorporated into the vehicle from day one, concurrent with critical trade decisions considering vehicle mass and cost."

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion crew exploration vehicle - the nation's next generation spacecraft for future exploration throughout our solar system. The Orion spacecraft is comprised of a crew module for crew and cargo transport; a service module for propulsion, electrical power and fluids storage; a spacecraft adapter for securing it to the launch vehicle, and a launch abort system that will significantly improve crew safety.

The Orion crew exploration vehicle is at the peak of its development phase, which has spurred several new technologies and innovations in composites, structures, avionics and thermal protection systems. The spacecraft is on schedule to complete the Critical Design Review in 2011 which will put Orion on the path for flight to low Earth orbit as early as 2013, provided appropriate funding is approved in the near future.

The Lockheed Martin Orion Project office leads the industry team that includes major subcontractors as well as a network of minor subcontractors and small businesses working at 88 facilities in 28 states. In addition, the program contracts with more than 500 small businesses across the United States through its expansive supply chain network.

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General Dynamics Awarded $642.2 Million to Modernize NASA Satellite System Ground Segment

General Dynamics Awarded $642.2 Million to Modernize NASA Satellite System Ground Segment
June 17, 2010

General Dynamics-led team to ensure continuous space-to-ground telecommunications of NASA's global space network for decades to come.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., -General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), has been awarded a seven-year contract by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center for the Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) project. The company will modernize the ground system and network for NASA's Tracking Data and Relay Satellite (TDRS) constellation. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract has a total potential value of approximately $642.2 million, including options. The period of performance is from June 21, 2010, through June 20, 2017.

As prime system integrator for the project, General Dynamics will implement a new ground-system architecture that ensures the space network will continue to provide global space-to-ground telecommunications and tracking coverage for low-Earth orbit and near-Earth space flight missions. Particular focus will be given to project integration, testing and operational transition so the new system is implemented without interruption to ongoing operations of the space network, which supports all NASA scientific and human space flight missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

Commenting on General Dynamics' 30-year commitment to supporting U.S. space programs, including ongoing involvement with the constellation and ground system, John Weidman, vice president of National Systems for General Dynamics C4 Systems, said, "As we modernize this critical national asset, the focus of our team's efforts is ensuring the NASA Space Network continues the highly-reliable service it has delivered for nearly three decades."

Operating out of the White Sands Complex in New Mexico and the TDRSS Terminal in Guam, the new flexible, extensible and scalable system will also expand the capabilities needed for future space missions by accommodating larger quantities of data with expanded coverage at greater distances.

General Dynamics will staff the SGSS project from its headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., and at its SpacePlex facility at New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Research Park in Las Cruces, N.M.

General Dynamics is collaborating on the contract with a team of small and large businesses which has rich NASA experience, including Harris Corporation of Melbourne, Fla.; GMV Space Systems of Rockville, Md.; Rincon Research Corporation of Tucson, Ariz.; a.i. Solutions of Lanham, Md.; RT Logic of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Qwaltec of Tempe, Ariz.

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Orion Spacecraft Takes Shape

Orion Spacecraft Takes Shape
June 15, 2010

Lockheed Martin Completes Final Friction Stir Weld on Orion Spacecraft

NEW ORLEANS, -The Orion crew exploration vehicle took shape as the two halves of the crew module were fused together at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La. The Lockheed Martin Orion team welded the forward cone assembly to the aft barrel assembly using the next generation friction stir weld process. The 445-inch long weld is the longest such weld of its kind and will ensure optimal structural integrity for the harsh environments of space flight.

The completion of the crew module welds marked another key milestone for the Orion crew exploration vehicle, completing the structural framework of the spacecraft. All welds have met stringent quality requirements without any rework required. Prior to flight testing, this crew module will be tested on the ground in flight-like environments, including static vibration, acoustic, and water landing tests. Results will be used to correlate sizing models for all subsystems on the vehicle.

Orion weld operations take place on a Universal Weld System II (UWS II) that includes a 22-foot diameter turntable, a self-reacting friction stir weld head and a modular t-grid floor. The system affords virtually unlimited five-axis welding on fixture-mounted hardware. The UWS II is part of the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, managed by the University of New Orleans Foundation in partnership with NASA and the State of Louisiana.

The friction stir welding process advances the state-of-the-art for circumferential welds, yielding higher strength and higher quality welds at a lower cost. The latest state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies, efficient processes and new materials, such as the ultra-light weight Aluminum-Lithium alloy, are all being employed on Orion to produce the lightest possible vehicle for space flight.

"The combination of material and manufacturing advancements in technology are key reasons why the spacecraft is more lightweight and damage resistant than many industry experts thought possible," said Larry Price, Lockheed Martin Orion deputy program manager. "The balance of manufacturing methods and varied materials such as composites and advanced alloys that have been applied to Orion resulted in vehicle optimizations across the board - lowest cost, lightest weight, and improved structural integrity, which is critical to crew safety."

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion crew exploration vehicle - the nation's next generation spacecraft for future exploration throughout our solar system. The Orion spacecraft is comprised of a crew module for crew and cargo transport; a service module for propulsion, electrical power and fluids storage; a spacecraft adapter for securing it to the launch vehicle, and a launch abort system that will significantly improve crew safety.

The Lockheed Martin Orion Project office is based in Houston, Texas, near NASA's Johnson Space Center and leads the industry team that includes major subcontractors as well as a network of minor subcontractors and small businesses working at 88 facilities in 28 states. In addition, the program contracts with more than 500 small businesses across the United States through its expansive supply chain network.

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NASA’s Unmanned Global Hawk Aircraft Conducts Ground Breaking Science Missions

NASA's Unmanned Global Hawk Aircraft Conducts Ground Breaking Science Missions
June 9, 2010

SAN DIEGO – NASA's unmanned Global Hawk aircraft, developed by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), completed four science flights over the Pacific Ocean during the month of April. The flights were part of the Global Hawk Pacific (GloPac) mission, a joint project between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with Northrop Grumman support.

The GloPac mission flights revolutionized the collection of data in the stratosphere. Fitted with 11 science instruments, Global Hawk acquired and transmitted data that has never before been accessible through either manned flights or satellites. Flights reached up to 65,000 feet where information was collected from the air as well as the water and polar ice below. Data from the science instruments were downloaded in real-time to NASA Dryden Flight Research Center where scientists were able to analyze the data, and if necessary, ask the Global Hawk pilot to adjust the flight path to optimize data collection.

Flights during the GloPac project ranged from north of the Arctic Circle, over polar ice, down to Hawaii near the equator. NASA Global Hawk completed 82.5 flight hours, with one particular flight lasting 28.6 hours, eight hours of which was spent north of Alaska over the polar ice. Additionally, this was the first time a Global Hawk unmanned air vehicle has flown as far as 85 degrees north latitude.

The flights were designed to address several science objectives, including validation and scientific collaboration with NASA earth observation satellite (EOS) missions, principally the Aura satellite, also built by Northrop Grumman. The GloPac payloads collected atmospheric data in the same location at the same time as Aura and other EOS missions to compare and combine results.

"Global Hawk is a revolutionary aircraft for science because of its enormous range and endurance," said Paul Newman, co-mission scientist for GloPac and an atmospheric scientist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "No other science platform provides the range and time to sample rapidly evolving atmospheric phenomena. This mission is our first opportunity to demonstrate the unique capabilities of this plane, while gathering atmospheric data in a region that is poorly sampled."

A Space Act Agreement between NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and Northrop Grumman established a partnership to re-fit and maintain two Global Hawk aircraft transferred from the U.S. Air Force. As part of the Northrop Grumman/NASA partnership, the company contributed to the GloPac missions by developing the GloPac mission plans; confirming aircraft performance through extensive analysis; providing pilots and training for NASA/NOAA pilots; sharing maintenance and operations support; and developing and building a new ground control station and software for aircraft operations. Additionally, under a contract from NASA, Northrop Grumman performed aircraft modification engineering and analysis for installation of the science payloads, which was funded by the science sponsors for each of the 11 sensors.

"We have partnered with NASA to provide this new capability for the atmospheric science community," said Carl Johnson, Northrop Grumman vice president of advanced concepts – air and land. "The Global Hawk system has been serving the United States Air Force and Navy and is now serving mankind with critical data from the NASA and NOAA science experiments. Global Hawk is truly global in its reach."

Later this year, NASA Global Hawk will examine hurricanes and their formation process. This experiment will explore the possibility of improving hurricane forecasts. The Global Hawk aircraft is proving to be the premier platform for use in high-altitude, long-duration Earth science missions.

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NASA, Lockheed Martin Team Launch Crew Safety to New Heights

NASA, Lockheed Martin Team Launch Crew Safety to New Heights
May 6, 2010 12:14 PM

Orion Launch Abort System Tests the Limits of New Technologies

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., --Within 97 seconds of an initial 500,000-pound blast of solid rocket motor thrust, Orion completed its first successful flight test of the launch abort system at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range near Las Cruces, New Mexico at 7 a.m. MT.

Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion crew exploration vehicle, led the industry team's development effort on this new system that will significantly improve crew safety for future human space flight. The LAS is designed to immediately pull the crew module away from the launch vehicle during an emergency on the pad or during the climb to orbit.

After receiving the planned abort command at 7 a.m., the LAS instantly activated and the abort motor fired, thrusting the 55.5-ft-tall launch abort vehicle and crew module mock-up off the pad, reaching a speed of about 445 mph in three seconds. More than 690 measurements were taken real-time during the test, providing data only gained through early test flights.

"It was an impressive launch," said Cleon Lacefield, Lockheed Martin vice president and Orion program manager. "This test validated the amazing performance capability of Orion's launch abort system. The entire industry team did an excellent job designing, building and integrating this extremely complex system."

With contributions from key subcontractors Aerojet, Alliant Techsystems, Honeywell and Orbital Sciences Corporation, the Lockheed Martin Orion team integrated technical expertise in solid rocket motors, separation mechanisms, avionics, spacecraft adapter structures, ordnance systems, electrical systems, harnesses and design integration to ensure the LAS provided optimal escape capability for a crew. The crew module boilerplate used for the flight test included Honeywell avionics and Lockheed Martin software for onboard control of abort sequencing and inertial navigation.

"This new system offers the highest thrust and acceleration escape system ever tested and is the only system of its kind in the world," said Roger McNamara, Lockheed Martin director, Launch Abort System. "Technology 'firsts' we incorporated into the LAS design include a reverse-flow, high-thrust human-rated rocket motor and the world's largest and only human-rated controllable solid rocket motor."

The abort motor with revolutionary reverse flow nozzles, pulls the Orion capsule away from the launch vehicle - something America has never built before and the first to be human-rated. The attitude control motor provides directional control for the vehicle, the first-time a solid rocket motor has been designed to vector, steer and control. The attitude control motor also provides directional control for the jettison motor, which separates the crew module from the LAS so that parachutes can deploy for a safe landing.

NASA selected Lockheed Martin in 2006 to develop the Orion crew exploration vehicle as the flagship for the nation's next generation spacecraft to send humans to low Earth orbit and beyond. Orion is currently on schedule for an early demonstration flight in 2013 to prove the vehicle in low Earth orbit before taking on more challenging deep space exploration missions. Risk reduction testing, such as the Pad Abort-1 flight test, has been an ongoing effort throughout Orion's development phase to maximize mission success and significantly improve crew safety.

An abort motor system has been used twice by the Russians, once during a rocket failure on the pad and the other during launch near the end of flight. The cosmonauts walked away in both instances, proving how critical these systems can be for safe human space flight.

"Although this system is designed for crew safety, we hope it is only used during flight tests like these," Lacefield commented. "The data we collect from this launch will be vital as we continue to meet milestones and work towards completing Orion's Critical Design Review next year."

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NASA’S Webb Telescope Passes Mission Design Review Milestone

NASA'S Webb Telescope Passes Mission Design Review Milestone
April 28, 2010

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. –- NASA's Northrop Grumman-built (NYSE:NOC) James Webb Space Telescope has passed its most significant mission milestone to date, the Mission Critical Design Review, or MCDR. This signifies the integrated observatory will meet all science and engineering requirements for its mission.

"I'm delighted by this news and proud of the Webb program's great technical achievements," said Eric Smith, Webb telescope program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The independent team conducting the review confirmed the designs, hardware and test plans for Webb will deliver the fantastic capabilities always envisioned for NASA's next major space observatory. The scientific successor to Hubble is making great progress."

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md., manages the mission. Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, Calif., is leading the design and development effort.

"This program landmark is the capstone of seven years of intense, focused effort on the part of NASA, Northrop Grumman and our program team members," said David DiCarlo, sector vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Space Systems. "We have always had high confidence that our observatory design would meet the goals of this pioneering science mission. This achievement testifies to that, as well as to our close working partnership with NASA."

The MCDR encompassed all previous design reviews including the Integrated Science Instrument Module review in March 2009; the Optical Telescope Element review completed in October 2009; and the Sunshield review completed in January 2010. The project schedule will undergo a review during the next few months. The spacecraft design, which passed a preliminary review in 2009, will continue toward final approval next year.

The review also brought together multiple modeling and analysis tools. Because the observatory is too large for validation by actual testing, complex models of how it will behave during launch and in space environments are being integrated. The models are compared with prior test and review results from the observatory's components.

Although the MCDR approved the telescope design and gave the official go-ahead for manufacturing, hardware development on the mirror segments has been in progress for several years. Eighteen primary mirror segments are in the process of cryo-polishing and testing at Ball Aerospace in Huntsville, Ala. Manufacturing on the backplane, the structure that supports the mirror segments, is well underway at Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, in Magna, Utah. This month ITT Corp. in Rochester, N.Y., demonstrated robotic mirror installation equipment designed to position segments on the backplane. The segments' position will be fine-tuned to tolerances of a fraction of the width of a human hair. The telescope's sunshield moved into its fabrication and testing phase earlier this year.

The three major elements of Webb - the Integrated Science Instrument Module, Optical Telescope Element and the spacecraft itself - will proceed through hardware production, assembly and testing prior to delivery for observatory integration and testing scheduled to begin in 2012.

The Webb is the premier next-generation space observatory for exploring deep space phenomena from distant galaxies to nearby planets and stars. The telescope will provide clues about the formation of the universe and the evolution of our own solar system, from the first light after the Big Bang to the formation of star systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth. The telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

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Boeing Statement on President’s Remarks and the Need for Immediate Development of a Heavy-lift Vehicle

April 16, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Boeing, NASA, Syndicated Industry News 
Boeing Statement on President's Remarks and the Need for Immediate Development of a Heavy-lift Vehicle
April 16, 2010

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., -- Speaking at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on April 15, U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled proposed changes to the administration's fiscal year 2011 budget submission for space exploration, including a crew rescue vehicle and a decision on a heavy-lift rocket in 2015. The Boeing Company responded today with the following statement:

"The president's enthusiasm for space exploration was encouraging. We are pleased that the president remains committed to human spaceflight. We remain convinced that America stands at an inflection point with regard to space: If we make the right decisions today, we have the opportunity to create a new Golden Age of Space. Our national leadership's focus on this bodes well for our country and its highly experienced space industrial base.

"Boeing has served as a major partner in humankind's exploration of space since the beginning. Our talented people bring a mature understanding of NASA's enduring needs; a practical, businesslike approach to innovation; and a commitment to mission assurance and the safety and success of our astronaut corps.

"We are encouraged by the extension of the International Space Station program and look forward to enhancing scientific research onboard, upgrading the space station, and using it as a U.S. national laboratory. Benefits to be gained from extension of the space station include international cooperation; medical and pharmaceutical advancements; its use as a test bed for demonstrating Earth-observation capabilities and future exploration technologies; and the availability of a waypoint for future exploration missions.

"Excellence in human spaceflight is an important part of the American identity and symbolizes global leadership on the highest of technological platforms. We are greatly concerned that by backing away from the challenges of human space exploration, the United States would relinquish its leadership of a mission that has inspired generations.

"A bold national space program also supports the United States' security and economy by fostering a domestic work force that is educated and skilled in science, technology, engineering and math. It encourages the growth of new technologies and emerging businesses, large and small.

"We support the president's call for increased investment in heavy-lift launch vehicle technology, but we believe the United States should be on a clear path to accelerate the development and production of this critical system, along with a deep-space capsule. Both of these vehicles are essential to any deep-space exploration mission. We have the technology and the people to commence development of these vehicles now. A plan that includes a heavy-lift vehicle would enable space exploration supported by humans, large-array telescopes and deep-space robotic missions. It could achieve maximum benefit from American tax dollars by drawing on the cutting-edge technology already being developed for the Constellation program.

"Remaining at the forefront of human spaceflight is the only choice worthy of this great nation and to the long line of explorers and visionaries who brought us to where we are today."

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NASA Selects Companies For Aerospace Vehicle R&D Contracts — Press Release

NASA Selects Companies For Aerospace Vehicle R&D Contracts

HAMPTON, Va., April 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., has selected five companies to provide the agency with support for analytical and experimental research and technology development, primarily for aerospace vehicles.

The companies are Analytical Services & Materials, Inc. of Hampton, Va.; ATK Space Systems of Beltsville, Md.; The Boeing Company of Huntington Beach, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company of Palmdale, Calif.; and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation of El Segundo, Calif.

The Structures, Materials, Aerodynamics, Aerothermodynamics, and Acoustics Research and Technology contract is valued at up to $400 million over five years.

The new multiple award contract will provide durability, damage tolerance and reliability; structural mechanics and concepts; structural dynamics, aeroelasticity; nondestructive evaluation; configuration aerodynamics; computational modeling and simulation; flow physics and control; aircraft and spacecraft noise prediction and control; aerothermodynamics; and multidisciplinary interactions, analysis, optimization and trade studies. The contract will support work at Langley and other NASA centers.

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:


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James Webb Space Telescope Partners Sponsor Presentation by Nobel Laureate at Da Vinci Charter School

James Webb Space Telescope Partners Sponsor Presentation by Nobel Laureate at Da Vinci Charter School
April 12, 2010

Community Invited to Attend Astronomy Event and Night Sky Viewing

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – NASA and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) are co-sponsoring a community event that will feature Nobel Prize-winning physicist Dr. John Mather, NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist. Dr. Mather will speak at Da Vinci Schools in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, April 15 at 6:45 p.m.

The event will also offer three science stations featuring an "Ask the Scientist Q&A" with a panel of Webb telescope scientists, a workshop on how a telescope works and a night sky viewing presented by the South Bay Astronomical Society. The three stations will run concurrently from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

The community is invited to attend Dr. Mather's presentation as well as the rest of the evening's events. The school is located at 13500 Aviation Boulevard, Hawthorne, Calif. For more information, visit http://davincischools.org/davinciscience.

Before the event, the Webb scientists and engineers will privately review student-presented projects on how telescopes have impacted space exploration. The 9th and 10th grade presenters will receive feedback and guidance from the panel. The student presentations are not open to the public.

"Exposing these students to scientists designing the world's largest space telescope is critical to giving them a real-world view of a career in math and science," said David DiCarlo, vice president and general manager of Space Systems for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector. "This is a way to bring world-leading science to the entire community and is an important aspect of our partnership with Da Vinci. We'll also continue to offer Northrop Grumman engineers and scientists to serve as ongoing mentors and subject matter experts for students."

Dr. Matthew Wunder, Da Vinci Schools executive director, noted that for students to interact with world-leading scientists is an opportunity for inspiration as well as learning. "Students can get an up close look at what's possible from space science pioneers," he said. "Opportunities like these help teachers nurture the best and brightest minds for the challenges of the 21st century workforce and beyond."

A model of the Webb telescope will be in the Northrop Grumman Innovation Lab, a state-of the-art media center where students have access to the latest technology to research, design and bring their projects to life in a creative, audio-visual environment. Northrop Grumman employees, working with an elite group of supplier companies that also donated their products and services, designed and built the Innovation Lab in less than five months with more than 1,000 hours of volunteer labor.

The Da Vinci Schools, located in the Wiseburn School District, are public, tuition-free schools that began operation in 2009. The schools draw enrollment primarily from the Wiseburn district (which serves portions of El Segundo and Hawthorne), and throughout Southern California. Both schools, Da Vinci Science and Da Vinci Design, offer a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum based on "project based learning." This dynamic approach allows students to relate classroom projects to real-world problems.

The Da Vinci astronomy event will take place the week of the James Webb Space Telescope mission design review at Northrop Grumman's Redondo Beach campus. The company is leading the Webb design and development effort for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the next-generation premier space observatory and will peer back in time when new stars and galaxies first began to illuminate the universe. The Webb Telescope will give scientists clues about the formation of the universe and the evolution of our own solar system, from the first light after the Big Bang to the formation of star systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth. Expected to launch in 2014, the telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

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LCROSS Program Receives Accolade From Space Foundation, Wins Swigert Award for Space Exploration

LCROSS Program Receives Accolade From Space Foundation, Wins Swigert Award for Space Exploration
April 8, 2010

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. –– The Lunar CRater Sensing and Observation Satellite (LCROSS), built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), continues to receive industry accolades for its science value and innovative design. The program that proved the existence of water on the moon has won the Space Foundation's John L. "Jack" Swigert Award for Space Exploration.

The award will be presented to NASA Ames Research Center, Northrop Grumman and United Launch Alliance on April 12 at the 26th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. The award presentation will take place during the symposium's opening ceremony, sponsored by Northrop Grumman.

The confirmation of water ice on the moon was part of the reason LCROSS was selected for the award, according to Space Foundation Executive Officer Elliott Pulham. "We were impressed with the way LCROSS leveraged both civil and commercial assets into a relatively low-cost, fast-turnaround project," he said. "Big bang – both figuratively and literally – for relatively few bucks."

The John L. "Jack" Swigert, Jr., Award for Space Exploration was created in honor of astronaut Jack Swigert, a Colorado native who served with retired U.S. Navy Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr., and Fred Haise on the legendary Apollo 13 lunar mission, which was aborted after the rupture of an oxygen tank en route to the moon. People around the world watched as NASA overcame tremendous odds to return the crew safely to Earth. Grumman Corporation, now part of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, designed, assembled, integrated and tested the Lunar Module Aquarius, which served as a lifeboat for Lovell, Haise and Swigert during the mission.

The Space Foundation created the Swigert Award in 2004 as a tribute to the astronaut's lasting legacy of space exploration. Previous recipients include NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander Team, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), The California Institute of Technology, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and NASA's Mars Exploration Team from JPL.

The LCROSS program has won a number of other prestigious awards, including a Space Pioneer Award from the National Space Society; Aviation Week's 2009 Program Excellence Award; the International Lunar Exploration Working Group's Technology Award; and numerous engineering and group achievement awards from Northrop Grumman and NASA Ames Research Center.

Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems built the LCROSS spacecraft and integrated the science payload built at NASA Ames. Teams from Ames and Northrop Grumman ensured the spacecraft was tested, certified for flight and delivered for integration with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Atlas V launch system. Northrop Grumman also provided operations support during the mission.

The Space Foundation is an international, nonprofit organization and the foremost advocate for all sectors of the space industry – civil, commercial, military and intelligence. Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a leader in space awareness activities, educational programs that bring space into the classroom and major industry events.


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Photo Of Most Recent Space Shuttle Launch

Our associate, Nick Franklin, took this photo of the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery this week. More of his work may be found at this flickr photostream, here.

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Raytheon Awarded Earth Observing System Engineering Contract by NASA Goddard

April 6, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: NASA, Raytheon, Syndicated Industry News 
Raytheon Awarded Earth Observing System Engineering Contract by NASA Goddard
April 6, 2010

RESTON, Va., -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) was awarded a NASA Goddard contract to maintain and manage large volumes of sensing data and imagery from space instruments.

The Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) evolution and development contract will give climate researchers access to valuable data about the earth's atmospheres, oceans, lands and their interactions.

The evolution and development program, an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity cost plus award fee contract, will have a $250 million ceiling for the five-year base period of performance and an initial value of $75 million.

"This contract enables Raytheon to continue to build upon our strong legacy of providing program excellence, innovation and reliable engineering solutions to NASA's earth observing systems," said TW Scott, vice president of Raytheon's Mission Operations and Solutions. "We look forward to supporting the EOSDIS evolution and ensuring that NASA Goddard's earth sensing data and imagery are available to educators, scientists, researchers and policy makers."

Raytheon developed the core components of EOSDIS, called the EOSDIS core system, which became operational in 1999; it provides data ingest, archive and distribution services at data centers that manage earth observing data. In 2003, Raytheon won the core system maintenance and development contract and has continued its partnership with NASA to maintain and evolve key elements of EOSDIS.

NASA developed EOSDIS to manage and provide access to data collected by a suite of earth observation satellites. This data is used by a growing international user community that includes earth scientists, educators, federal, state, local and tribal agencies, and the public. The data has many uses, including climate change research, disaster planning and response, natural resource assessment, and understanding the earth as an integrated system.

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Northrop Grumman Advanced Composite Mate Joint Passes Stringent Tests for NASA’s Composite Crew Module Demonstration Program

March 12, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: NASA, space, Syndicated Industry News 
Northrop Grumman Advanced Composite Mate Joint Passes Stringent Tests for NASA's Composite Crew Module Demonstration Program
December 17, 2009

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – An innovative method for joining composite structures implemented by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has passed a series of intensive structural tests, paving the way for the use of composites in future spacecraft.

"This is a major step forward for the use of composites in future missions," said Gene Fraser, vice president of Advanced Programs and Technology for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Our engineering and technology development efforts on this composite structure will enable future manned habitats for the Moon and beyond."

In collaboration with the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Composite Crew Module team, Northrop Grumman developed a unique joint design that was used to mate two segments of NASA's Composite Crew Module (CMM) demonstrator. The joint design test results proved that the mating process retains compartment pressure and withstands external loads at twice the level normally experienced in flight. In addition, the new process provides mass and cost savings due to the elimination of mate joint fasteners, more efficient subsystems installation and no requirement for an autoclave during mate. The CCM is a high fidelity technology demonstration article that represents the inner pressurized shell for the Orion crew module.

"The splice region performed exactly as our analysis predicted," said Mike Kirsch, NASA CCM program manager. "We tracked the strain across the joint and verified that the non-autoclave cured composite was fully capable of handling the pressure and vehicle loads in the crew cabin."

Conducted at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., the Northrop Grumman team also installed an advanced fiberoptic strain-sensing system on the CCM, which monitored more than 3,500 channels of data in real time during the test to monitor the splice joint's performance. Additional tests measured the CCM's performance during ultimate loads for launch, on-orbit, and abort scenarios. NASA is now proceeding with post-impact load conditions to verify the robust residual strength characteristics of the CCM habitat structure. The test program will be complete next spring.

In recognition of the company's participation in the CCM splice fabrication effort, NESC, which is leading development of the CCM, presented Northrop Grumman's engineer Dawson Vincent with a Technical Excellence Award in October.

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Student Teams Ready to Battle Lunar Terrain at NASA’s 17th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race — Press Release

Student Teams Ready to Battle Lunar Terrain at NASA’s 17th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race

WASHINGTON, March 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — More than 100 student teams from around the globe will drive their specially crafted lunar rovers through a challenging course of rugged, moon-like terrain at NASA’s 17th annual Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville, Ala., April 9-10.

Some 1,088 high school, college and university students from 20 states and Puerto Rico, Canada, Germany, Bangladesh, Serbia, India and Romania are expected to participate in the race at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Students begin to prepare for the event each year during the fall semester. They must design, build and test a sturdy, collapsible, lightweight vehicle that addresses engineering problems similar to those overcome by the original Apollo-era lunar rover development team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in the late 1960s.

The buggies are based on the design of those classic rovers, which American astronauts drove across the moon’s surface during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions in the early 1970s. Teams of students build their vehicles using trail bike tires, aluminum or composite-metal struts and parts. The best teams drive trains, gears, suspension, steering and braking systems they find or construct.

Top prizes are awarded to the three teams in both the high school and college/university divisions that post the fastest race times, which include assembly and penalty times. A variety of other prizes are given by race corporate sponsors. These include “rookie of the year” and the “featherweight” award, presented to the team with the lightest, fastest buggy.

NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race is one of many educational projects and initiatives the agency conducts each year to attract and engage America’s next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers. They will carry on the nation’s mission of exploration to unchartered destinations in our solar system.

“NASA is committed to inspiring young people in science, technology, engineering and math, and the Great Moonbuggy Race is an excellent way for us to reach out to young people and get them excited and involved in technical opportunities available to them,” said Mike Selby, an avionics technical assistant in the Marshall Center’s Engineering Directorate. While completing his engineering degree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Selby was a member of the school’s moonbuggy teams, helping them to a second-place finish in 1995 and to first place in 1996. Since 2001, he has served each year as a volunteer scorekeeper.

The race is hosted by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, and is sponsored by Lockheed Martin Corporation, The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation, and Jacobs Engineering ESTS Group, all of Huntsville.

For a list of this year’s competitors, visit:


For more information about the competition, visit:


For information about other NASA education programs, visit:


Source: NASA

CONTACT: Sonja Alexander of NASA Headquarters, Washington,
+1-202-358-1761, [email protected], or Angela Storey of NASA Marshall
Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., +1-256-544-0034,
[email protected]

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Space Shuttle’s Final Flight Tank Spliced Together

Space Shuttle's Final Flight Tank Spliced Together
March 2, 2010 7:35:00 PM

NEW ORLEANS, LA., March 2nd, 2010 -- The Space Shuttle Program's final flight tank's designated External Tank-138 has completed a critical production milestone at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) builds the External Tanks in New Orleans where its engineers and technicians mechanically spliced ET-138's liquid oxygen (LO2)/intertank to the liquid hydrogen (LH2) tank, thus producing a whole tank for the first time in the production process.

The work is performed in Cell A in the 20-story-tall Vertical Assembly Building, and is the only time during production that the tank is standing upright. Workers also completed foam closeouts on the LH2 to intertank flange.

An External Tank is actually three components in one. The 54.6-foot-tall bullet-shaped LO2 tank sits at the top. The 22.5-foot-long intertank separates the LO2 tank and the LH2 tank and does not hold fuel. Unpressurized, the intertank serves as the forward attachment point for the Solid Rocket Boosters. The bottom vessel is the 96.7-foot-tall LH2 tank. The LO2 tank and intertank are already spliced together when they enter Cell A.

Lockheed Martin employees loaded the tanks into the cell and completed the splicing and laydown of the tank in a record 40 days. The prior eight tanks averaged 60 days in Cell A.

ET-138 now proceeds to the Final Assembly area for more processing and is scheduled for completion June 29. When ET-138 is delivered to NASA, it will be 15 stories tall (154 feet), nearly 28 feet in diameter, and weigh 58,500 pounds empty. When filled with 534,000 gallons of propellant on the launch pad, the tank will weigh nearly 1.7 million pounds. ET-138 is scheduled to launch with Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-133) on September 16 -- the final shuttle launch of the 29-year program. ET-138 will help propel Discovery to orbit and then separate from the shuttle 8½ minutes post-launch after Main Engine Cut-off or MECO.

ET-138 will be the 134th flight tank that Lockheed Martin has constructed for the shuttle program.

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Lockheed Martin Orion Team Fabricates World’s Largest Heat Shield Structure

Lockheed Martin Orion Team Fabricates World's Largest Heat Shield Structure
March 1, 2010 8:09:00 AM

Innovative high-temperature material system to provide better crew protection

DENVER, -- The Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led team developing the Orion crew exploration vehicle achieved a major technology milestone by completing fabrication of the world's largest heat shield structure. The shield is five meters (16.4 feet) in diameter and is critical to the protection of the spacecraft and its crew from the extreme temperatures experienced during re-entry. The work was completed at Lockheed Martin's composite development facility in Denver, Colo.

The crew exploration vehicle is at the height of its development phase, which has spurred several new technologies and innovations such as a cutting edge high-temperature composite material system. The new system was developed by the Lockheed Martin Orion thermal protection system team in partnership with TenCate Advanced Composites, a leading supplier of aerospace thermoset and thermoplastic prepregs. TenCate's composite materials are used in commercial aircraft, radomes, satellites, general aviation, oil and gas, medical and high-end industrial applications.

"In addition to the technology advancement, we achieved a $10 million cost savings and improved the project schedule by 12 months through the innovative tooling, materials and fabrication processes the team put into action," explained Cleon Lacefield, Lockheed Martin vice president and Orion program manager.

The new resin system was developed over an 18-month period during which thousands of coupons were tested in extreme environments that simulated a ballistic re-entry from a lunar mission. The team verified that the thermal insulator on the outside of the composite material can be thinner due to the higher temperature capability, resulting in improved mass optimization of the Orion spacecraft.

The new resin system enables much simpler and more efficient manufacturing techniques compared to other high temperature resin systems. This resin system has the potential to be used in a wide range of commercial applications including aircraft, automobiles, launch vehicles, payload fairings, and re-entry vehicles.

The expansive heat shield will be applied to the Orion ground test article, which is the first full-sized, flight-like test article for Orion being built at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La. The ground test article is designed to serve as a production pathfinder to validate the flight vehicle production processes and tools. When completed, the crew module will be tested on the ground in equivalent flight-like environments, including static vibration, acoustics and water landing loads. This early high fidelity testing is necessary to correlate sizing models for all subsystems on the vehicle.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor to NASA for the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The Lockheed Martin Orion Project office is based in Houston, Texas, near NASA's Johnson Space Center. The team includes major subcontractors Aerojet, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Hamilton Sundstrand, Honeywell, Orbital Sciences Corporation and United Space Alliance; and an expansive network of minor subcontractors and small businesses working at 88 facilities in 28 states across the country.

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Northrop Grumman to Unveil Concept Design for NASA’s Next Generation X-ray Telescope at High Energy Astrophysics Conference

February 25, 2010 by · Comment
Filed under: NASA, space, Syndicated Industry News 
Northrop Grumman to Unveil Concept Design for NASA’s Next Generation X-ray Telescope at High Energy Astrophysics Conference
February 25, 2010

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. –- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) will showcase its innovative hardware design for NASA’s International X-Ray Observatory (IXO) during the premier conference of the world’s leading high energy astrophysicists. IXO is the next generation X-ray telescope slated for development by the space agency.

The design's public debut will be at the conference of the American Astronomical Society’s High Energy Astrophysics Division at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s big island March 1-4, 2010.

“To create this concept design, our Northrop Grumman team draws on our considerable experience building and operating Chandra and other NASA premier astrophysics observatories, such as the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and the James Webb Space Telescope,” said Bob Burke, vice
president of Civil and Military Systems for Northrop Grumman Aerospace
Systems. “Our perfect record pioneering the technology of deployable
space structures is also a significant capability that can assure the
success of the IXO mission.”

The IXO design features an optical bench concept that has the potential to increase the telescope’s focal length while staying within current mass and stability requirements. An instrument and system layout increases the telescope’s field of view. The deployable optical bench concept uses only technologically mature components and flight-proven elements that reduce cost and risk. The overall design is based on existing elements, can be fully tested on the ground and does not require any new technology.

The company's hardware display will feature a 1/10th-scale model of the deployment structure, including a prototype of a telescoping boom, similar to that used for the Webb telescope’s sunshield deployment. The Webb deployment design has successfully completed a review certifying that it meets mission requirements.

Three of the company's scientists will present papers at the conference: Dr. Rolf Danner will speak on "Enhancing the International X-ray Observatory,” Dr. Suzi Casement will present "A Tower Concept for the Off-Plane X-ray Grating Spectrometer for the International X-ray Observatory,” and Dr. Charles Lillie will deliver "Design Concepts for
the Generation-X Mission."

A successor to the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the International
X-ray Observatory (IXO) features a collecting area 50 times larger than
Chandra's. IXO will let scientists see objects that are farther away
and observe in detail what happens close to the event horizon of black
holes, where gas and dust are heated to extreme temperatures under the
crushing forces of gravity.

IXO, a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency and
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, combines a large X-ray mirror with
powerful new instrumentation that will explore the high energy
Universe. IXO could be launched as early as 2021.

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Lockheed Martin Responds to the FY2011 NASA Budget Proposal to Cancel Orion

Lockheed Martin Responds to the FY2011 NASA Budget Proposal to Cancel Orion

February 3,2010 7:28:00 AM

BETHESDA, Md., Feb 03, 2010 -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today released the following statement regarding the FY2011 budget request to cancel the Orion Project as part of NASA's Constellation Program:

We are keenly disappointed in the Administration's budget proposal for NASA that would cancel Project Orion as part of an elimination of NASA's Constellation Program. Orion's maturity is evident in its readiness for a first test flight in a matter of weeks. In fact, Orion can be ready for crewed flights to low Earth orbit and other exploration missions as early as 2013, thus narrowing the gap in U.S. human space flight capability when the shuttle is retired later this year.

Significant investment has already been made by the nation and private industry in Orion, which is human rated to provide a level of safety unmatched by any previous or currently proposed crewed vehicles. Nearly 4,000 people at more than 500 commercial companies and hundreds of small business suppliers across the country have worked diligently on the Orion project to support the nation's human space flight efforts. New facilities have been built and others upgraded. Innovative technologies such as a launch abort system, autonomous rendezvous and docking, closed-loop life support systems, state of the art solar power and avionics systems have been incorporated. And the next-generation of engineers, scientists, teachers and students, so critical to America's future, has been inspired. Cancellation of Orion would sacrifice these capabilities and accomplishments.

The President's budget proposal will, of course, be reviewed by Congress and ultimately will require Congressional approval. As the budget process moves forward, Lockheed Martin is committed to working with Congress, the Administration and NASA to ensure a safe, viable and robust space exploration program that does not cede U.S. leadership in space.

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