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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

EM-1 Update: Kennedy Space Center Makes Progress on the Path to SLS' First Flight...

An artist's concept of NASA's Space Launch System being rolled out of the Vehicle Assembly Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA / Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA’s ‘Spaceport of the Future’ Reaches Another Milestone (Press Release)

NASA has completed a major milestone on its journey to Mars and is ready to begin another phase of work on its spaceport of the future, where the next generation of astronauts will launch to Mars and other deep-space destinations.

The agency recently wrapped up a comprehensive and successful review of plans for the facilities and ground support systems that will process the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“NASA is developing and modernizing the ground systems at Kennedy to safely integrate Orion with SLS, move the vehicle to the pad, and successfully launch it into space,” said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator of NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “Modernizing the ground systems for our journey to Mars also ensures long-term sustainability and affordability to meet future needs of the multi-use spaceport.”

Over the course of a few months, engineers and experts across the agency reviewed hundreds of documents as part of a comprehensive assessment. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program (GSDO), responsible for processing SLS and Orion for flight and ensuring all systems and facilities are ready, completed its critical design review (CDR) of the facilities and ground support systems plans in December 2015.

This was followed in January by the completion of an independent assessment by a Standing Review Board, a team of aerospace experts that assessed program readiness and confirmed the program is on track to complete the engineering design and development process on budget and on schedule.

In the final step before actual fabrication, installation and testing of Kennedy's ground systems, the GSDO program and review board briefed the results of their assessments to NASA’s Agency Program Management Council, led by Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot.

Engineers are transforming Kennedy's launch infrastructure to support the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. The heavy-lift rocket will be stacked in the Vehicle Assembly Building on the mobile launcher and roll out to Launch Pad 39B atop a modified crawler transporter. The Orion spacecraft will be fueled with propellants in the Multi-Payload Processing Facility at Kennedy prior to stacking atop the rocket. The launch team will use the new command and control system in the firing room as the clock counts down to liftoff of SLS’s first flight.

“The team is working hard and we are making remarkable progress transforming our facilities," said Mike Bolger, GSDO Program Manager. "As we are preparing for NASA's journey to Mars, the outstanding team at the Kennedy Space Center is ensuring that we will be ready to receive SLS and Orion flight hardware and process the vehicle for the first flight in 2018."

The council also heard the results of the Orion CDR, completed at the program level in October 2015. The evaluation assessed the primary systems of the spacecraft, including the capsule’s structures, pyrotechnics, Launch Abort System jettison, guidance, navigation and control and software systems among many other elements.

For the spacecraft’s first mission on the SLS rocket, ESA (European Space Agency) is providing Orion’s service module, which powers, propels, cools and provides consumables like air and water in space. Results from ESA's service module design review, which began this month, will be assessed and incorporated into Orion development and integration plans later this summer. Systems unique to the first crewed flight will be addressed at a review in the fall of 2017.

Progress continues on Orion at NASA facilities across the country. The underlying structure of the crew module arrived at Kennedy in early February for outfitting, which is currently underway. Over the next 18 months, thousands of Orion components will arrive and be installed.

Meanwhile, a structural representation of the service module is being tested at NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio, where engineers conducted a successful solar array wing deployment test on Feb. 29 and are preparing for a variety of tests to confirm it can withstand the harsh conditions of launch.

Source: NASA.Gov

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Another Cygnus Is On Its Way to the Space Station!

With Space Launch Complex 37B in the foreground, an Atlas V rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 22, 2016...beginning the OA-6 mission.
United Launch Alliance

Liftoff of Cygnus Cargo Ship, Atlas V Rocket on Mission to International Space Station (Press Release)

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft on a resupply mission to the International Space Station lifts off from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 11:05 p.m. EDT on March 22, 2016. The Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting laboratory Saturday, March 26.

Nearly 7,500 pounds of supplies, science payloads and experiments are headed to the station aboard Cygnus, including scientific investigations of fire in microgravity and grippers inspired by geckos, along with equipment to support some 250 other studies. The station’s Expeditions 47 and 48 crews will employ these science payloads to support experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.

Source: NASA.Gov

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Another Crew Heads Up to the ISS...

A Soyuz TMA-20M rocket carrying three Expedition 47 space station crew members launches from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 19, 2016 (Kazakh Time).
NASA / Aubrey Gemignani

Soyuz Lifts Off Carrying Jeff Williams and Crewmates to Station (Press Release - March 18)

The Soyuz TMA-20M rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Saturday, March 19, 2016 (Friday, March 18, in the U.S.), carrying Expedition 47 Soyuz Commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Jeff Williams of NASA, and Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos into orbit to begin their five and a half month mission on the International Space Station.

Source: NASA.Gov

Friday, March 18, 2016

CRS-8 Update: NASA and SpaceX Prepare for Dragon's Return to Flight...

The Dragon CRS-6 spacecraft floats underneath the International Space Station after the SpaceX vehicle is unberthed from the orbital outpost on May 21, 2015.
NASA

NASA Targets Early April for Eighth SpaceX Cargo Launch (Press Release)

Media accreditation now is open for the April launch of a cargo resupply service mission to the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft is targeted for launch at 4:43 p.m. EDT Friday, April 8.

The Dragon capsule will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, carrying science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 47 and 48 crews. The flight also includes the Bigelow Aerospace expandable habitat module that will be attached to the space station for testing. In its scheduled return to Earth in May, the Dragon capsule will bring back biological samples from astronauts, including those collected during NASA’s one-year mission. This launch is the eighth contracted mission by SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Media prelaunch and launch activities will take place at CCAFS and at nearby NASA Kennedy Space Center. The deadline to apply for media access to Kennedy is 5 p.m., March 24 for non-citizens and 5 p.m. March 31 for U.S. citizens. The registration deadline for international media access to the Air Force station has passed for this event.

All media accreditation requests must be submitted online. International media are required to upload a scanned copy of their visa and passport or green card when submitting their online accreditation request. To apply for media accreditation, visit:

https://media.ksc.nasa.gov

Media must present two forms of unexpired legal, government identification to access Kennedy. One form must include a photo, such as a passport or driver’s license. Questions about accreditation should be directed to Jennifer Horner at jennifer.p.horner@nasa.gov or 321-867-6598. For other questions or additional information, contact the Kennedy newsroom at 321-867-2468.

Source: NASA.Gov

****

The Dragon CRS-6 spacecraft is about to splash down into the Pacific Ocean hours after it departed from the International Space Station...on May 21, 2015.
SpaceX

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Back in the Day: Gemini, Meet the Agena...

The Agena target vehicle as seen from aboard the Gemini VIII spacecraft...on March 16, 1966.
NASA

March 16, 1966: Gemini's First Docking of Two Spacecraft in Earth Orbit (Press Release)

On March 16, 1966, command pilot Neil Armstrong and pilot David Scott successfully docked their Gemini VIII spacecraft with the Agena target vehicle, the first-ever linking of two spacecraft together in Earth orbit. This crucial spaceflight technology milestone would prove vital to the success of future moon landing missions. Catching up with already-orbiting spacecraft also has been essential during missions to the International Space Station.

The astronauts aboard the Gemini spacecraft took this side view photograph of the Agena target vehicle at a distance of 45 feet during an inspection prior to docking. The two spacecraft were in the third orbit of the mission, above the west coast of Mexico.

Because of problems with the Gemini spacecraft control system, the crew was forced to undock after approximately 30 minutes, as the spacecraft-target vehicle combination had begun to encounter increasing yaw and roll rates. The crew regained control of their spacecraft by using the reentry control system (RCS), and the decision was made in Mission Control to follow mission rules that dictated once the RCS was activated, the crew must be brought home. The Gemini VIII landed early in a secondary landing area in the Pacific, splashing down within two miles of the predicted impact point 10 hours, 41 minutes after liftoff.

Source: NASA.Gov

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Photo of the Day: South Africa As Seen From 250 Miles Above...

South Africa as seen from EarthKAM aboard the International Space Station...on February 9, 2016.
NASA / EarthKAM.org

South Africa From the Space Station's EarthKAM (Press Release)

The remotely controlled Sally Ride EarthKAM aboard the International Space Station snapped this striking photograph during a flyover of South Africa on Feb. 9, 2016. The EarthKAM program allows students to request photographs of specific Earth features, which are taken by a special camera mounted on the space station when it passes over those features. The images are posted online for the public and students in participating classrooms around the world to view.

EarthKAM is the only program providing students with such direct control of an instrument on a spacecraft orbiting Earth, teaching them about environmental science, geography and space communications.The project was initiated by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, in 1995 and called KidSat; the camera flew on five space shuttle flights before moving to the space station on Expedition 1 in 2001. In 2011, NASA and Sally Ride Science installed a new camera system in a downward-pointing window on the station. This camera system is responsible for taking and downloading student image requests.

Source: NASA.Gov

Friday, March 11, 2016

Scott Kelly Callin' It Quits After Completing a Historic Space Mission Earlier This Month...

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly takes a selfie inside the Cupola module aboard the International Space Station.
NASA

Astronaut Scott Kelly to Retire from NASA in April (Press Release)

NASA astronaut and one-year crew member Scott Kelly will retire from the agency, effective April 1. Kelly joined the astronaut corps in 1996 and currently holds the American record for most time spent in space.

After retiring, Kelly will continue to participate in the ongoing research related to his one-year mission. He will provide periodic medical samples and support other testing in much the same way that his twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly, made himself available for NASA’s Twins Study during his brother’s mission.

“This year-in-space mission was a profound challenge for all involved, and it gave me a unique perspective and a lot of time to reflect on what my next step should be on our continued journey to help further our capabilities in space and on Earth,” Kelly said. “My career with the Navy and NASA gave me an incredible chance to showcase public service to which I am dedicated, and what we can accomplish on the big challenges of our day. I am humbled and excited by new opportunities for me to support and share the amazing work NASA is doing to help us travel farther into the solar system and work with the next generation of science and technology leaders.”

Kelly flew in space four times, beginning with space shuttle Discovery’s trip to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on the STS-103 servicing mission in 1999. On his second mission, STS-118, he crossed the threshold of the International Space Station for the first time as commander of space shuttle Endeavour. He returned to the station for a six-month stay in 2010, commanding Expedition 26.

A veteran of spaceflight, Kelly accepted the opportunity to participate in NASA’s unprecedented yearlong space station mission, which aimed to expand the boundaries of space exploration beyond low-Earth orbit through the collection of critical data on how the human body responds to extended space missions. On this mission, Kelly eclipsed two American space records.

“Records are meant to be broken,” Kelly said. “I am looking forward to when these records in space are surpassed.”

Kelly broke the American record for most cumulative time in space during his one-year mission, accruing 520 days.

“Scott’s contributions to NASA are too many to name,” said Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “In his year aboard the space station, he took part in experiments that will have far-reaching effects, helping us pave the way to putting humans on Mars and benefiting life on Earth. His passion for this work has helped give hundreds of thousands of people a better understanding of what NASA does, thanks in part to the numerous photos and updates he shared from space. We appreciate his years of service and anticipate many benefits to come from them, thanks to the research he’s supporting.”

Source: NASA.Gov

Thursday, March 10, 2016

EM-2 Update #2: SLS' Flight Engine Comes to Life!

An RS-25 flight engine is test-fired inside the A-1 test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi...on March 10, 2016.
NASA / SSC

Engine Test Marks Major Milestone on NASA’s Journey to Mars (Press Release)

NASA successfully tested the first deep space RS-25 rocket engine for 500 seconds March 10, clearing a major milestone toward the next great era of space exploration. The next time engine rocket engine No. 2059 fires for that length of time, it will be carrying humans on their first deep-space mission in more than 45 years.

"What a great moment for NASA and Stennis," said Rick Gilbrech, director of NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. "We have exciting days ahead with a return to deep space and a journey to Mars, and this test is a very big step in that direction."

The hot fire marked the first test of an RS-25 flight engine for NASA's new Space Launch System (SLS), being built to carry humans on future deep-space missions, including an asteroid and Mars. Four RS-25 engines will help power the SLS core stage.

The engines used on initial SLS missions are flight engines remaining from the Space Shuttle Program, workhorse engines that are among the most proven in the world, having powered 135 space shuttle missions from 1981 to 2011. For the SLS vehicle, the engines will fire at 109 percent thrust level and provide a combined two million pounds of thrust.

"Not only does this test mark an important step towards proving our existing design for SLS's first flight," said Steve Wofford, engines manager at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where the SLS Program is managed for the agency. "But it's also a great feeling that this engine that has carried so many astronauts into space before is being prepared to take astronauts to space once again on SLS's first crewed flight."

NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne, the prime contractor for RS-25 engine work, conducted a series of developmental tests on the RS-25 engine last year at Stennis, primarily to validate the capabilities of a new controller – or, "brain" – for the engine and to verify the different operating conditions needed for the SLS vehicle. Following today's firing, Stennis and Aerojet Rocketdyne will conduct a development engine series to test new flight engine controllers and will continue to test RS-25 flight engines.

In addition, the agency is preparing the B-2 Test Stand at Stennis to test the SLS core stage that will be used on the rocket's first flight, Exploration Mission-1. Testing will involve installing the flight core stage on the B-2 stand and firing its four RS-25 rocket engines simultaneously.

"One more powerful step forward accomplished on the SLS journey," said Ronnie Rigney, RS-25 project manager at Stennis. "It really feels great to be part of such an important program in our nation."

Source: NASA.Gov

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Paving the Way for the Future of Human Spaceflight...

A vacuum chamber used by NASA to test new technologies that the agency will use to advance human spaceflight.
NASA

NASA Announces Winning Concepts to Further its Journey to Mars (Press Release)

NASA has announced the winners of two challenges to create new concepts for construction and human habitation on future space exploration missions, including the agency’s journey to Mars.

The Space Suit Textile Testing and In-Situ Materials Challenges, managed for NASA by NineSigma, launched in October 2015 under the umbrella of the NASA Tournament Lab, yielded innovative concepts for spacesuit testing and in-situ building materials use for habitat construction.

“These two challenges offered the opportunity to think about two basic needs of exploration – protective suits and building materials – in a new way,” said Steve Rader, deputy manager of NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI). “Our journey to Mars will require innovations in design and technology; opening our process up to the public gives us more creative paths to follow.”

The Space Suit Textile Testing Challenge offered three prizes of $5,000 for winning ideas on how to test the outer protective layer of spacesuit material for performance in different kinds of planetary environments, such as like Mars or large asteroids.

Winners for the Space Suit Textile Testing Challenge are:

Evaluating Space Suit Textile Abrasion in Planetary Environments -- Ahilan Anantha Krishnan

Cylindrical Abrasion Method -- Himel Barua, Thomas L. Collins, Riniah Foor, Evan Hess, Joey Stavale, Christopher Daniels, Heather Oravec, Janice Mather and M.J. Braun

Point-of-Failure Based System Using High Velocity Abrasives -- John Holler

The In-Situ Challenge sought solutions using surface materials like regolith -- crushed basalt rock -- for Earth and space fabrication and construction applications and offered a first-place prize of $10,000 and two second-place prizes of $2,500 for top submissions.

Using native materials for construction is tremendously beneficial for space exploration because in-situ regolith utilization (ISRU) reduces the need for materials to be shipped from Earth, along with the expense and resources this requires. ISRU could potentially save the agency more than $100,000 per kilogram to launch, making space pioneering more cost-effective and feasible.

The winners for the In Situ Challenge are:

1st place: Planetary Fabrication of Complex Metallic/Ceramic Objects with In-Situ Resources -- Behrokh Khoshnevis

2nd place: Cold Spray Technology Applied to Building and Repair -- David Espinosa and David Orlebeke

2nd place: Simultaneous Exhaust-Enabled Ore Reduction, Separation and Processing -- Patrick Donovan

“We are proud to have connected NASA with innovators that have immediately viable technical solutions in a variety of disciplines to accelerate NASA’s goals,” said NineSigma CEO, Andy Zynga. We are also pleased to have created opportunities for winners of these challenges to collaborate with NASA in shaping the future of space exploration.”

CoECI was established with support from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to assist NASA and other federal agencies in using new tools – such as challenges – to solve tough, mission-critical problems. The center launches challenges under the umbrella of the NASA Tournament Lab and offers a variety of open innovation platforms that engage the crowdsourcing community in challenges to create the most innovative, efficient and optimal solutions for specific, real-world challenges.

Source: NASA.Gov

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

EM-2 Update: Testing the Flight Engine That Will Fly on SLS' Second Mission...

RS-25 flight engine No. 2059 is transported to the A-1 Test Stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi...on November 4, 2015.
NASA / SSC

NASA Prepares to Fly – First RS-25 Flight Engine Test Set for March (Press Release)

It is business as usual as NASA engineers prepare for an upcoming RS-25 rocket engine test at Stennis Space Center. They are well-versed on all of the pre-test work to be done, having conducted a very successful series of tests on an RS-25 developmental engine just last year.

Nevertheless, the lead-up to this March 10 engine test on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis has a very different – and exciting – feel about it.

This RS-25 engine will fly.

“Every test is important, but there really is a different energy level associated with flight engines,” said Ronnie Rigney, RS-25 project manager at Stennis. “It’s hard to describe the feeling you get knowing you’re going to see that engine lift off into the sky one day soon. It’s a very exciting time for all of us here.”

The flight certification test of RS-25 engine No. 2059 marks a major milestone in NASA’s return to deep-space exploration and its journey to Mars. Four RS-25 engines – all tested at Stennis – will help power the core stage of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), being built to carry humans on future deep-space missions.

The RS-25 engines used on the initial SLS missions are flight engines remaining from the Space Shuttle Program. The engines are among the most proven in the world, having logged more than 1 million seconds of hotfire time during ground tests and 135 space shuttle missions. For the SLS vehicle, the engines will be fired at 109 percent thrust level. Together, four SLS engines will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust and operate in conjunction with a pair of solid rocket boosters to power the SLS launch to space.

The RS-25 engine gives SLS an experienced, high performance main propulsion system for deep space exploration, said Steve Wofford, SLS engines manager. “This year is all about collecting the data we need to adapt these proven engines for SLS’s first flight.”

The early SLS flights are focused on developing the capabilities needed to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s. The SLS Block I configuration will have a minimum 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capability and be powered by twin boosters and four RS-25 engines. The next planned upgrade of SLS, Block 1B, would use a more powerful exploration upper stage for more ambitious missions with a 105-metric-ton (115-ton) lift capacity. Block 2 will add a pair of advanced solid or liquid propellant boosters to provide a 130-metric-ton (143-ton) lift capacity. In each configuration, SLS will continue to use the same core stage and four RS-25 engines. In that final version, SLS will be the most powerful rocket in the world.

NASA conducted a series of RS-25 developmental tests last year at Stennis to validate the capabilities of a new controller – or “brain” – for the engine and to verify the different operating conditions needed for the SLS vehicle. The test series concluded in August; removal of the developmental engine from the A-1 stand cleared the way for installation of flight engine No. 2059.

After testing is completed, that engine is scheduled to fly on the second SLS exploration mission (EM-2), planned as the first crewed flight of the new space vehicle. It is expected to carry four astronauts into lunar orbit to test key elements of the spacecraft.

“This is what the testing we do is all about – preparing engines to fly into space,” Stennis Space Center Director Rick Gilbrech said. “You can’t help but be excited about the test on A-1, especially when you realize that the engines that carried us to the moon and that carried astronauts on 135 space shuttle missions were tested on this very same stand. We’re just adding to a remarkable history of space exploration.”

There are more chapters to come.

Following the March 10 firing, Stennis will continue to test RS-25 flight engines and conduct a development engine series to test new flight engine controllers. In 2017, Stennis will also test fire the core stage ahead of SLS’s first flight, EM-1 mission. The testing will involve installing the core stage on the B-2 Test Stand and firing its four RS-25 flight engines at the same time.

In addition, NASA is working with Aerojet Rocketdyne, who built the RS-25 engine, to test new RS-25 engines being built for future missions.

“It is a great time to be on this integrated test team, which includes NASA, S3 (Syncom Space Services) and Aerojet Rocketdyne working together,” said Rigney. “We’re not just dreaming of the future. We’re enabling it to happen right now.”

Source: NASA.Gov

Monday, March 7, 2016

SLS Update: Gearing Up For This June's QM-2 Test...

At the Orbital ATK facility in Promontory, Utah, engineers prepare to install the final segment of the solid rocket booster that will be used in the second qualification motor test (QM-2) this June.
Orbital ATK

Final Hardware Delivered for Second SLS Booster Test (Press Release)

The fifth and final segment for a full-scale test version of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) booster is delivered March 2 to Orbital ATK's Promontory, Utah, test site. The aft -- or rear -- segment of the booster will be assembled with the other four segments, currently at the test stand, and outfitted for a second booster qualification ground test this summer.

The test will measure the booster’s performance at a cold motor conditioning target of 40 degrees and also demonstrate that it meets applicable ballistic requirements. NASA successfully completed the first booster qualification test in March 2015. The two full-scale tests provide crucial data to support booster qualification for the first two flights of SLS with NASA's Orion spacecraft.

When completed, two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 main engines will power SLS, with Orion atop, on deep-space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. The solid rocket boosters -- measuring 177 feet long and producing 3.6 million pounds of thrust -- operate in parallel with the main engines for the first two minutes of flight. The boosters provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed for the launch vehicle to escape the gravitational pull of Earth. Orbital ATK is prime contractor for the SLS boosters.

Source: NASA.Gov

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Endeavour Update... The Orbiter Will Soon Be Joined By ET-94 In Los Angeles!

Space shuttle Endeavour launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on her final voyage to the International Space Station, on May 16, 2011.
NASA

California Science Center Foundation Announces Route for External Tank's Journey (Press Release)

Los Angeles – Today the California Science Center Foundation announced the route for “Mission 26: ET Comes Home,” the journey of the external tank (ET-94). It will travel from the Michoud Assembly Facility through the Panama Canal by barge to Los Angeles, then on through city streets, pulled by a truck on dollies, to its final destination near the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Pavilion. The entire journey will take six to eight weeks. ET-94 is expected to arrive around May 21, 2016.

Larger and longer than Endeavour, the ET was the Orbiter’s massive “gas tank” and contained the propellants used by the Space Shuttle Main Engines (though ET-94 is empty). The tank, the only major, non-reusable part of the space shuttle, is neither as wide as Endeavour (32 feet versus 78 feet) nor as high (35 feet versus 56 feet). Because of this, fewer utilities will be impacted and no trees will be removed along ET’s route from the coast to Exposition Park, though some light trimming may be necessary. The path it will take through the streets was planned with input from city officials, utilities and community groups.

The route is as follows –

- Marina Del Rey parking lot to Fiji Way
- Fiji Way to Lincoln (PCH)
- Lincoln to Mindanao Way
- Mindanao Way to CA-90
- CA-90 to Culver Blvd
- Culver Blvd. to Lincoln via transition ramp
- Lincoln to Loyola Blvd
- 
Loyola Blvd. to Westchester Pkwy
- Westchester Parkway turns into Arbor Vitae St. at Airport Blvd; Arbor Vitae St. to La Brea Ave
- La Brea Ave. to Manchester Blvd
- Manchester Blvd. to Vermont Ave
- Vermont Ave. to Martin Luther King Blvd.

 - Martin Luther King Blvd. to Exposition Park.

The journey through the streets to the Science Center is expected to take 13-18 hours.

“With the transfer of ET-94 from NASA, we will have the ability to preserve and display an entire stack of flight hardware, making the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center an even more compelling educational experience. With the same outpouring of community support we saw with the arrival of Endeavour, we look forward to celebrating this gift from NASA as it journeys from the coast through city streets to the California Science Center,” notes California Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph.

"We are honored that NASA has entrusted the California Science Center and the City of Los Angeles with this incredible piece of history,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "As the world’s last surviving flight-qualified space shuttle external tank journeys from the coast to its final home, it will inspire a new generation of Angelenos — who can dream the kind of dreams that make it possible for us to continue leading the world in innovation.”

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts notes that “Inglewood is pleased to share another historic moment with the California Science Center in the transport of ET-94. Nearly 1.5 million people came out to cheer Endeavour years ago bringing joy to everyone, young and old. The event celebrated our sense of wonderment and community pride. Inglewood once again welcomes the ET to its home at the Science Center”

Mrs. Lynda Oschin, Chairperson and Secretary of the Mr. and Mrs. Oschin Family Foundation, adds "I'm so excited about this new addition to the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center and look forward to joining the enthusiastic crowds as it makes it's way to the California Science Center."

The donation of this never-used artifact from NASA is significant, and allows the Science Center to fulfill its vision of building a full stack for Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final display in the launch position in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. This will mark the only time an ET has traveled through urban streets and will evoke memories of when Endeavour traveled 12-miles from the Los Angeles International Airport to the Science Center and was cheered on by a crowd of 1.5 million in 2012.

Ways the Public Can Support Mission 26: ET Comes Home

To follow ET-94’s journey from the Michoud Assembly Facility to the California Science Center, use the hashtag #ETComesHome.

Volunteer opportunities to help move ET-94 to the California Science Center will be available. Contact the California Science Center volunteer office at (213) 744-2124 or at VolunteerDept@cscmail.org for more information.

The California Science Center Foundation welcomes the public’s support of the EndeavourLA Campaign to create the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. Opportunities include sponsoring one of Endeavour’s thermal tiles with a gift of $1,000 and monthly payment options are available. For more information or to make a donation online, please visit EndeavourLA.org. ET-94 will also be the star attraction at the Science Center’s 18th Annual Discovery Ball on Friday, May 20, 2016 in Marina del Rey. Tables for our first-ever, off-site gala start at $10,000 (Ten people) or $2,500 for a pair of tickets. Contact galainfo@cscmail.org for reservations.

Source: California Science Center

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Space shuttle fuel tank ET-94 is placed in horizontal position at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, Louisiana...on September 15, 2012.
NASA / MAF / Steven Seipel

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Welcome Back, Scott Kelly & Co.!

The Soyuz capsule carrying NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov is about to touch down near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time).
NASA / Bill Ingalls

One-Year Crew Returns to Earth (Press Release)

The Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Kazakh time). Kelly and Kornienko completed an International Space Station record year-long mission to collect valuable data on the effect of long duration weightlessness on the human body that will be used to formulate a human mission to Mars. Volkov returned after spending six months on the station.

Source: NASA.Gov