MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – NASA has selected a final destination for its
Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, after a
journey of nearly 5.6 million miles that included several orbits
around Earth and the moon. The mission team announced Wednesday that
Cabeus A will be the target crater for the LCROSS dual impacts
scheduled for 7:30 a.m. EDT on Oct. 9, 2009. The crater was selected
after an extensive review as the optimal location for LCROSS’
evaluation of whether water ice exists at the lunar south pole.
LCROSS will search for water ice by sending its spent upper-stage
Centaur rocket to impact the permanently shadowed polar crater. The
satellite will fly into the plume of dust left by the impact and
measure the properties before also colliding with the lunar surface.
The LCROSS team selected Cabeus A based on a set of conditions that
include proper debris plume illumination for visibility from Earth, a
high concentration of hydrogen, and mature crater features such as a
flat floor, gentle slopes and the absence of large boulders.
“The selection of Cabeus A was a result of a vigorous debate within
the lunar science community that included review of the latest data
from Earth-based observatories and our fellow lunar missions Kaguya,
Chandrayaan-1, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter,” said Anthony
Colaprete, LCROSS project scientist and principle investigator at
NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. “The team is
looking forward to the impacts and the wealth of information this
unique mission will produce.”
A cadre of professional astronomers using many of the Earth’s most
capable observatories is helping maximize the scientific return from
the LCROSS impacts. These observatories include the Infrared
Telescope Facility and Keck telescope in Hawaii; the Magdalena Ridge
and Apache Ridge Observatories in New Mexico and the MMT Observatory
in Arizona; the newly refurbished Hubble Space Telescope; and the
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, among others.
“These and several other telescopes participating in the LCROSS
Observation Campaign will provide observations from different vantage
points using different types of measurement techniques,” said
Jennifer Heldmann, lead for the LCROSS Observation Campaign at Ames.
“These multiple observations will complement the LCROSS spacecraft
data to help determine whether or not water ice exists in Cabeus A.”
During a media briefing Sept. 11, Daniel Andrews, LCROSS project
manager at Ames, provided a mission status update indicating the
spacecraft is healthy and has enough fuel to successfully accomplish
all mission objectives. Andrews also announced the dedication of the
LCROSS mission to the memory of legendary news anchor, Walter
Cronkite, who provided coverage of NASA’s missions from the beginning
of America’s manned space program to the age of the space shuttle.
“Dad would sure be proud to be part, if just in name, of getting
humans back up to the moon and beyond,” said Chip Cronkite, son of
the famed news anchor.
The LCROSS mission was selected in April 2006 as a mission manifested
with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Both missions launched on June
18, 2009 on an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The LCROSS mission
and science operations are managed at Ames.
“The LCROSS team has long been preparing for its final destination on
the moon, and we’re looking forward to October 9,” Andrews said. “The
next 28 days will undoubtedly be very exciting.”
For more information about the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing
Satellite Mission and images of Cabeus A, visit:
WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and European Space
Agency (ESA) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain signed a
memorandum of understanding Friday for cooperation in the field of
space transportation. The agreement was signed at NASA Headquarters
“From shuttle Spacelab missions to the International Space Station,
ESA has a long history of participating with NASA in human
spaceflight,” Bolden said. “With this agreement, it is our intent to
continue to build this relationship, sharing valuable engineering
analyses and technology concepts that will help transport humans to
low Earth orbit and beyond.”
The agreement will allow NASA and ESA to exchange technical
information and personnel, which will aid the eventual development of
new transportation systems. It is expected that ESA’s Ariane 5
development and flight experience will provide valuable engineering
analyses and technology concepts for NASA’s new launch and spacecraft
“The memorandum of understanding marks a new milestone in the already
very strong and long-lasting cooperation between ESA and NASA,” said
ESA’s Dordain. “The exchange of technical information this document
allows in the fields of space transportation will be beneficial to
both agencies and will facilitate our work toward future launch
systems, human spaceflight and exploration missions.”
The exchanges of information will provide NASA with assistance in a
number of areas, including: composite material technology;
development of payload shrouds; and management of propellants in
spacecraft propulsion systems used for transit to and from lunar
For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
WASHINGTON — To prepare for human exploration of the moon and other
destinations in our solar system, NASA is conducting a field test of
rovers and equipment at an Earthly site in the Arizona desert.
Hundreds of students are invited to experience it. NASA’s annual
Desert RATS — or Research and Technology Studies — field test is
underway. The agency has planned a variety of activities to engage
students in the practical application of the science, technology,
math and engineering skills critical to space exploration.
Dozens of students from Flagstaff and surrounding areas have been
invited to visit the test site at Black Point Lava Flow on Sept. 16.
They will be introduced to the work NASA engineers and researchers
conducted during the field test. In addition, college teams that
ranked highest in NASA’s 2009 Moon Work Engineering Contest will
present their projects to members of the NASA field test team. The
winning teams are from the University of Maryland, College Park; the
University of Akron, Ohio; and Texas A&M University, College Station.
As part of the day’s activities, hundreds of elementary and middle
school students participating in “Education Alley” at the American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Space 2009 Conference in
Pasadena, Calif., will observe field test activities and chat live
with the NASA engineers and researchers via satellite at 1 p.m. EDT.
Heather Paul and Kimberly Land of NASA’s Exploration Technology
Development Program will host the event, which will include NASA
experts explaining how the agency plans to use similar rovers on the
moon; video clips of field test demonstrations; and questions from
students. Students everywhere can view the event and learn more about
the Desert RATS activities at:
The 2009 Desert RATS tests focus on a simulated 14-day mission. Two
crew members — an astronaut and a geologist — will live for 14 days
inside NASA’s prototype Lunar Electric Rover, searching the area for
features of geologic interest and conducting simulated moonwalks to
collect samples. NASA’s K10 scout robot examined the location in
August to identify areas of interest. NASA’s heavy-lift rover
Tri-ATHLETE — or All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer
— will carry a habitat mockup to which the rover will dock.
The Desert RATS tests have taken place for more than a decade, as
engineers from NASA centers have worked together with representatives
from both industry and academia to determine what will be needed when
NASA makes trips to other worlds. Future Desert RATS analog test
activities could involve international partners in the quest toward
human planetary exploration. This year’s work will build on the
investigations of previous years, increasing the scope and length of
NASA centers involved are Johnson Space Center in Houston; Langley
Research Center, in Hampton, Va.; Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Pasadena, Calif.; Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.;
Kennedy Space Center in Florida.; Goddard Space Flight Center in
Greenbelt, Md.; Glenn Research Center in Cleveland; Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.; and NASA Headquarters in
Desert RATS participants from outside of NASA include the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington; the United States Geological Survey in
Flagstaff, Ariz.; Arizona State University in Tempe; University of
Texas at El Paso; University of Colorado at Denver; Brown University
in Providence, R.I.; and the Mars Institute at Moffett Field, Calif.
For more information about NASA’s “Moon Work” contest, visit:
For information about NASA’s education programs, visit:
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — Reporters are invited to participate in a
news conference at NASA’s Ames Research Center at 10 a.m. PDT on
Tuesday, Sept. 15, featuring Vivek Kundra, White House federal chief
information officer. He will outline his vision for a new federal
government cloud computing initiative.
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and top Silicon Valley
information technology leaders are scheduled to attend the news
conference. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television.
The event will be held at NASA’s Ames Research Center Exploration
Center, located at the NASA Main Gate, Moffett Blvd. and Hwy 101
(Exit 398). Parking will be available adjacent to the Ames
Exploration Center. To reach Ames, take U.S. Highway 101 to the
Moffett Field/NASA Parkway exit and drive east on Moffett Field
Boulevard toward the main gate. The Exploration Center is the large
white dome located adjacent to the main gate on the right.
For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information,
For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:
PROMONTORY, Utah — NASA and industry engineers lit up the Utah sky
Thursday with the initial full-scale, full-duration test firing of
the first stage motor for the Ares I rocket. The Ares I is a crew
launch vehicle in development for NASA’s Constellation Program.
ATK Space Systems conducted the successful stationary firing of the
five-segment solid development motor 1, or DM-1. ATK Space Systems, a
division of Alliant Techsystems of Brigham City, Utah, is the prime
contractor for the Ares I first stage. Engineers will use the
measurements gathered from the test to evaluate thrust, roll control,
acoustics and motor vibrations. This data will provide valuable
information as NASA develops the Ares I and Ares V vehicles. Another
ground test is planned for summer 2010.
“With this test, we have taken lessons learned from many years of
experience in solid rocket motor development and have built on that
foundation,” said Alex Priskos, first stage manager for Ares Projects
at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “Our team
collected data from 650 sensors today to evaluate the motor’s
performance. This test and those that follow are essential to
understanding as many aspects of our motor as possible, including
strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately delivering the safest and
most reliable motor possible.”
This was the second attempt to conduct the two-minute rocket test at
ATK’s test stand in Promontory, Utah. The first test on Aug. 27 was
canceled with 20 seconds left in the countdown because of a problem
with a component of the ground controller unit, which sends power to
the system that moves the nozzle during the test. Through a detailed
investigation, the engineering team pinpointed the problem and
replaced the faulty part.
The first stage motor will generate up to 3.6 million pounds of
thrust, or lifting power, at launch. Although similar to the solid
rocket boosters that help power the space shuttle to orbit, the Ares
development motor includes several upgrades and technology
improvements implemented by NASA and ATK engineers.
Motor upgrades from a shuttle booster include the addition of a fifth
segment, a larger nozzle throat, and upgraded insulation and liner.
The forward motor segment also has been improved for performance by
adding another fin, or slot in the propellant. This change in the
geometry of the propellant provides additional surface area for
burning the solid fuel, which results in greater thrust.
The DM-1 nozzle throat is three inches wider in diameter than the
nozzle used for the shuttle. The bigger nozzle throat allows the
motor to handle the additional thrust from the five-segment booster.
It also meets NASA’s structural requirements to stay within the
pressure capacity of the existing steel cases — the large,
barrel-shaped cylinders that house the fuel — ensuring safety and
reliability. Upgrades also were made to the insulation and liner that
protect the first stage’s steel cases.
The motor cases are flight proven hardware used on shuttle launches
for more than three decades. The cases used in this ground test have
collectively flown on 48 previous missions, including STS-1, the
first shuttle flight.
Marshall manages the Ares Projects and is responsible for design and
development of the Ares I rocket and Ares V heavy cargo launch
vehicle. NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston manages the
Constellation Program, which includes the Ares I, Ares V, Orion crew
module and Altair lunar lander. The program also includes multiple
project teams at NASA centers and contract organizations around the
For more information about the Ares rockets, visit:
For more information about NASA’s Constellation Program, visit:
The light attack and advanced training Super Tucano turboprop will be highlighted
São José dos Campos, September 10, 2009 –
Embraer is a newcomer to the Air Force
Association (AFA) Annual Air & Space
Conference and Technology Exposition taking
place September 14-16, in its 24th edition. The
conference will be held at the Gaylord National
Hotel & Convention Center on the Potomac, in
National Harbor, Md., just minutes from
downtown Washington, D.C.. At the event,
Embraer will promote its most successful defense
product: the Super Tucano, a single- or two-seat
light attack and advanced training turboprop.
“The AFA Annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition is one of the market’s
most productive trade events,” says Acir Padilha, Embraer Vice President, Marketing and
Sales, Defense Market. “Therefore, we are glad to have this opportunity to promote the Super
Tucano, the only turboprop aircraft in production, worldwide, with its low operating cost,
which is combat proven and specifically designed for counterinsurgency, irregular warfare,
and day and night missions, as well as advanced training.”
Of a total of 169 aircraft sold, so far – 99 of which to the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea
Brasileira – FAB) – Embraer has orders from the Air Forces of Chile, the Dominican
Republic, and Ecuador. The Super Tucano currently operates successfully with the Brazilian
and Colombian Air Forces on border surveillance and operational missions.
About the AFA Annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition
The Air & Space Conference is a one-of-a-kind event bringing together Air Force leaders,
industry experts, academia, and aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the
issues, challenges and accomplishments of today’s aerospace community. The Technology
Exposition will feature over 130 of the most significant aerospace exhibitors, displaying and
demonstrating the latest breakthroughs in air and space technology. AFA 2009 exhibits
highlight the most recent developments in technology and education. Learn more about the
event at http://www.afa.org/events/Conference/2009.
About the Super Tucano
The Super Tucano is an innovative evolution of the world-renowned basic training Tucano
aircraft, around 650 of which were produced and have been serving 15 air forces, worldwide.
The Super Tucano was designed to operate in the most complex combat settings, including
night vision capability, smart weaponry, and data link technology. Besides a reinforced
structure for operations on rustic landing fields, the aircraft has an advanced navigation and
weapon aiming system that ensures high mission precision and reliability, even under extreme
conditions and with minimal logistical support.
The turboprop is in full production on a very active and flexible assembly line, in keeping
with Embraer’s ability to meet its customer needs and deliver aircraft within short time spans.
Besides the aircraft, Embraer also supplies an advanced training and support system for the
operations of the Super Tucano. TOSS (Training and Operation Support System) consists of
four systems: CBT (Computer-Based Training) that improves pilot learning; FS (Flight
Simulator); MPS (Mission Planning Stations); and MDS (Mission Debriefing Station) to
analyze mission data and results.