• Kathleen POLLARD SLS
  • NASA Completes SLS
  • EFT - 1 Preparations
  • NASA Navy Orion

NASA's Hubble Maps the Temperature and Water Vapor on an Extreme Exoplanet

A team of scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has made the most detailed global map yet of the glow from a turbulent planet outside our solar system, revealing its secrets of air temperatures and water vapor.

Hubble observations show the exoplanet, called WASP-43b, is no place to call home. It is a world of extremes, where seething winds howl at the speed of sound from a 3,000-degree-Fahrenheit “day” side, hot enough to melt steel, to a pitch-black “night” side with plunging temperatures below 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Astronomers have mapped the temperatures at different layers of the planet's atmosphere and traced the amount and distribution of water vapor. The findings have ramifications for the understanding of atmospheric dynamics and how giant planets like Jupiter are formed.

“These measurements have opened the door for a new kinds of ways to compare the properties of different types of planets,” said team leader Jacob Bean of the University of Chicago.

First discovered in 2011, WASP-43b is located 260 light-years away. The planet is too distant to be photographed, but because its orbit is observed edge-on to Earth, astronomers detected it by observing regular dips in the light of its parent star as the planet passes in front of it.


Temperature map of the 'hot Jupiter' class exoplanet WASP 43b

This is a temperature map of the "hot Jupiter" class exoplanet WASP 43b. The white-colored region on the daytime side is 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The nighttime side temperatures drop to under 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA


“Our observations are the first of their kind in terms of providing a two-dimensional map on the longitude and altitude of the planet’s thermal structure that can be used to constrain atmospheric circulation and dynamical models for hot exoplanets,” said team member Kevin Stevenson of the University of Chicago.

As a hot ball of predominantly hydrogen gas, there are no surface features on the planet, such as oceans or continents that can be used to track its rotation. Only the severe temperature difference between the day and night sides can be used by a remote observer to mark the passage of a day on this world.

The planet is about the same size as Jupiter, but is nearly twice as dense. The planet is so close to its orange dwarf host star that it completes an orbit in just 19 hours. The planet also is gravitationally locked so that it keeps one hemisphere facing the star, just as our moon keeps one face toward Earth.

This was the first time astronomers were able to observe three complete rotations of any planet, which occurred during a span of four days. Scientists combined two previous methods of analyzing exoplanets in an unprecedented technique to study the atmosphere of WASP-43b. They used spectroscopy, dividing the planet’s light into its component colors, to determine the amount of water and the temperatures of the atmosphere. By observing the planet’s rotation, the astronomers also were able to precisely measure how the water is distributed at different longitudes.

Because there is no planet with these tortured conditions in our solar system, characterizing the atmosphere of such a bizarre world provides a unique laboratory for better understanding planet formation and planetary physics.

“The planet is so hot that all the water in its atmosphere is vaporized, rather than condensed into icy clouds like on Jupiter,” said team member Laura Kreidberg of the University of Chicago.

The amount of water in the giant planets of our solar system is poorly known because water that has precipitated out of the upper atmospheres of cool gas giant planets like Jupiter is locked away as ice. But so-called “hot Jupiters,” gas giants that have high surface temperatures because they orbit very close to their stars, water is in a vapor that can be readily traced.

“Water is thought to play an important role in the formation of giant planets, since comet-like bodies bombard young planets, delivering most of the water and other molecules that we can observe,” said Jonathan Fortney, a member of the team from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

In order to understand how giant planets form astronomers want to know how enriched they are in different elements. The team found that WASP-43b has about the same amount of water as we would expect for an object with the same chemical composition as our sun, shedding light on the fundamentals about how the planet formed. The team next aims to make water-abundance measurements for different planets.

The results are presented in two new papers, one published online in Science Express Thursday and the other published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on Sept. 12.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For images and more information about Hubble, visit:




Manassas, Virginia, Native Kathleen Pollard Named to Managerial Position for NASA's Space Launch System

Kathleen Pollard, a native of Manassas, Virginia, has been named manager of the Program, Planning and Control Office for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) Program at the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars.

As part of her new position, Pollard will be responsible for formulating and implementing all SLS resource plans and an annual budget of $1.6 billion. She also serves as liaison among the SLS Program, Marshall Center and agency to develop resource requirements and implement strict budget and schedule controls in order to deliver a launch vehicle that will fulfill NASA's performance requirements within the target schedule and budget.

"I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to be part of the team that's working to launch a safe, sustainable vehicle like SLS to missions unlike we've ever done," Pollard said.    


Kathy Pollard
Pollard has more than 29 years of experience in aerospace program control and operations -- with a heavy focus on government financial management and program/project planning and control. 
Before accepting her current position, Pollard was business manager of the Marshall Center's Engineering Directorate. She was responsible for all aspects of the directorate’s resources management, including financial, human capital, and information technology budgetary formulation and execution. 
From 2011 to 2013, she was associate chief financial officer and finance deputy chief financial officer at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.  In those roles, she supported Johnson’s chief financial officer in managing all aspects of the organization, and financial and accounting operations. 


Kathy Pollard
Image Credit: SA/MSFC

In 2007, Pollard served as deputy director, acting director and director of the Program Planning and Control Office for NASA's Constellation Program. She was selected in 2005 as manager for Project Control for the Ares Projects Office at the Marshall Center. 

Pollard was assistant manager for NASA's Program Control for the Next Generation Launch Technology Program (NGLT) from 2002 to 2005. She was responsible for the development, formulation and integration of all NGLT program control activities.

Pollard began her NASA career in 1985. Between 1985 and 1999, she served in progressively responsible roles in program control and business management for the Space Shuttle Main Engine Project and the Solid Rocket Booster Project Office at Marshall, culminating as the business manager for the Solid Rocket Booster Project Office.

She earned a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1978 at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. Pollard received her master's degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1998.

The first flight test of the SLS will feature a configuration for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS evolves, it will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130-metric-tons (143-tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

For more information on SLS, visit:

Credits : NASA/M



NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars

NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

"We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "And we’re firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey."

For its first flight test, SLS will be configured for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. In its most powerful configuration, SLS will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons), which will enable missions even farther into our solar system, including such destinations as an asteroid and Mars.


NASA’s Space Launch System


Artist concept of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) 70-metric-ton configuration launching to space. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars.
Image Credit: NASA/MSFC


This decision comes after a thorough review known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), which provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.

Conservative cost and schedule commitments outlined in the KDP-C align the SLS program with program management best practices that account for potential technical risks and budgetary uncertainty beyond the program's control.

“Our nation is embarked on an ambitious space exploration program, and we owe it to the American taxpayers to get it right,” said Associate Administrator Robert Lightfoot, who oversaw the review process. “After rigorous review, we’re committing today to a funding level and readiness date that will keep us on track to sending humans to Mars in the 2030s – and we’re going to stand behind that commitment.”

"The Space Launch System Program has done exemplary work during the past three years to get us to this point," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We will keep the teams working toward a more ambitious readiness date, but will be ready no later than November 2018.”

The SLS, Orion, and Ground Systems Development and Operations programs each conduct a design review prior to each program’s respective KDP-C, and each program will establish cost and schedule commitments that account for its individual technical requirements.

"We are keeping each part of the program -- the rocket, ground systems, and Orion -- moving at its best possible speed toward the first integrated test launch,” said Bill Hill, director Exploration Systems Development at NASA. "We are on a solid path toward an integrated mission and making progress in all three programs every day."

“Engineers have made significant technical progress on the rocket and have produced hardware for all elements of the SLS program,” said SLS program manager Todd May. “The team members deserve an enormous amount of credit for their dedication to building this national asset.”

The program delivered in April the first piece of flight hardware for Orion’s maiden flight, Exploration Flight Test-1 targeted for December. This stage adapter is of the same design that will be used on SLS’s first flight, Exploration Mission-1.

Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans has all major tools installed and is producing hardware, including the first pieces of flight hardware for SLS. Sixteen RS-25 engines, enough for four flights, currently are in inventory at Stennis Space Center, in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where an engine is already installed and ready for testing this fall. NASA contractor ATK has conducted successful test firings of the five-segment solid rocket boosters and is preparing for the first qualification motor test.

SLS will be the world's most capable rocket. In addition to opening new frontiers for explorers traveling aboard the Orion capsule, the SLS may also offer benefits for science missions that require its use and can’t be flown on commercial rockets.

The next phase of development for SLS is the Critical Design Review, a programmatic gate that reaffirms the agency's confidence in the program planning and technical risk posture.

For more information about SLS, visit:

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Flight Test Preparations Draw on Launch Services Program's Expertise

By Anna Heiney
NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida

The upcoming flight test of NASA's Orion spacecraft will be a mission of firsts. This new crew vehicle, making its debut on Exploration Flight Test-1, will become the first of its kind in four decades to venture beyond low-Earth orbit. The mission also marks the first time a spacecraft designed to carry humans will be lofted to orbit by a modern-day expendable launch vehicle.

Orion, built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, will fly aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket. NASA's Launch Services Program (LSP), based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, specializes in the management of missions flying on expendable rockets, single-use vehicles that aren't reused. The program is providing its expertise in an advisory capacity for Orion's first flight.


Launch personnel gather in Hangar AE for a joint integrated simulation



Launch personnel gather inside the Mission Director’s Center in Hangar AE for a joint integrated simulation of Orion’s first flight test.
Image Credit: NASA

"An advisory role really can be whatever the customer wants it to be, depending on what the needs are," explained John Calvert, a mission manager in the program's Flight Projects Office.

LSP's lead launch site integration manager, Mark Shugg, explained that Johnson Space Center's Flight Test Management Office contacted LSP about four years ago to find out if the program could help.

"They recognized us as the agency's leading subject matter expert in the field of launching spacecraft on expendable launch vehicles and providing customers with payload processing facilities for hazardous operations," Shugg said.

In the case of Orion's first flight, LSP agreed to provide specific Kennedy facilities, ground support equipment, communications and video capabilities, and computer modeling of the vehicle's guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system.

Asked which key areas could have the biggest impact on mission success, the program identified guidance, navigation, and control of the vehicle as essential. Flight test managers requested Independent Verification and Validation, or IV&V, to build confidence in the unique configuration of the Delta IV rocket for this particular mission.

Jon Bauschlicher leads the GNC group, part of the Flight Dynamics Branch in LSP's Flight Analysis Division. The group took on the massive IV&V computer modeling effort for this test.

"We set about building computer models of the rocket and its systems from liftoff through orbit insertion -- that part of the flight when the rocket's GNC system is active -- factoring in the timing and effects of possible disturbances like wind gusts or variations in engine performance," Bauschlicher explained.

They'll present their results to the Flight Test Management Office through a formal review process.

"We've had four or five engineers working on this full time, building up computer models that predict guidance, navigation, and control system performance while flying this mission and comparisons to ULA's predictions of GNC system performance," Bauschlicher said. "I give full credit to the team for working weekends and off-hours in addition to their standard workloads."

The Orion spacecraft structure arrived at Kennedy in 2012 from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and other parts and components arrived from all over the country. While Lockheed Martin has assembled these to build the crew and service modules in Kennedy's Operations and Checkout Building, LSP has been working to prepare the center's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility for Orion's arrival this fall.

"In our typical missions, the spacecraft is shipped in from elsewhere. This is unique, because it's the first time the offsite factory is here at Kennedy," Shugg explained.

Once United Launch Alliance transports Orion into the servicing facility, though, LSP has a hands-on role in ensuring Lockheed Martin gets the right support during hazardous activities such as pressurizing tanks, ammonia servicing, and loading of hypergolic fuels.

LSP's Communications and Telemetry Group also is providing communications, telemetry, data, video and voice recording during key processing milestones and throughout the flight.

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Hangar AE is supporting Johnson Space Center's Mission Management Team with a series of joint integrated simulations. Combined, the rehearsals will take the launch team through the entire mission sequence, from six hours prior to liftoff all the way to the spacecraft's splashdown and recovery.

The simulations give the look and feel of a real launch day, according to Lois Clutter, an LSP Ground Data Systems aerospace technologist supporting Orion's first flight. Playback of earlier Delta IV launches add to the authenticity. Each practice run also gives launch personnel the opportunity to figure out what they need during the countdown -- before they truly need it.

"These integrated 'sims' are helping the Mission Management Team decide which voice, video and data they need to support their jobs," Clutter said.

During flight, LSP will separate the spacecraft telemetry data from that of the rocket, then provide both to Johnson's Mission Control Center.

A relatively low number of LSP team members have worked on Orion's first flight, although support has varied over time and is ramping up as launch approaches, Calvert explained.

"But dozens of our folks have put their fingerprints on the mission in some way," he added.

When launch day arrives, LSP's role will shift from advising to monitoring, following along with the countdown and watching to see how the mission progresses. In Hangar AE, Clutter will be stationed at the Mission Operations Director's console should anyone on the launch team encounter a problem with their console's sound, video, data or communications.

"This flight will be complete in less than a day. In the course of one or two work shifts, we'll see the beginning, middle and end of this mission," Calvert pointed out. "We usually high-five at spacecraft separation; in this case, it will be after the successful Orion reentry and splashdown."

"This flight is so important because it’s the next generation," Clutter said. "This is history."


Credits :

NASA, Navy Prepare for Orion Spacecraft to Make a Splash

A team of technicians, engineers, sailors and divers just wrapped up a successful week of testing and preparing for various scenarios that could play out when NASA's new Orion spacecraft splashes into the Pacific Ocean following its first space flight test in December.

After enduring the extreme environment of space, Orion will blaze back through Earth's atmosphere at speeds near 20,000 mph and temperatures approaching 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Its inaugural journey will end in the Pacific, off the Southern California coast, where a U.S. Navy ship will be waiting to retrieve it and return it to shore.

"We learned a lot about our hardware, gathered good data, and the test objectives were achieved,” said Mike Generale, NASA recovery operations manager in the Ground Systems Development and Operations Program. “We were able to put Orion out to sea and safely bring it back multiple times. We are ready to move on to the next step of our testing with a full dress rehearsal landing simulation on the next test."






U.S. Navy personnel use a rigid hull inflatable boat to approach the Orion boilerplate test article during an evolution of the Underway Recovery Test 2 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego, California on Aug. 2, 2014.
Image Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA and Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin teamed up with the U.S. Navy and the Defense Department's Human Space Flight Support Detachment 3 to try different techniques for recovering the 20,500-pound spacecraft safely during this second "underway recovery test." To address some of the lessons learned from the first recovery test in February, the team brought new hardware to test and tested a secondary recovery method that employs an onboard crane to recover Orion, as an alternative to using the well deck recovery method, which involves the spacecraft being winched into a flooded portion of the naval vessel.

"Anchorage provided a unique, validated capability to support NASA's request for operational support without adversely impacting the Navy's primary warfighting mission," said Cmdr. Joel Stewart, commanding officer of the Navy vessel. "This unique mission gave Anchorage sailors an opportunity to hone their skills for the routine missions of recovering vehicles in the well deck and operating rigid-hulled inflatable boats in the open water while supporting NASA. The testing with NASA was a success and Anchorage sailors continue to raise the bar, completing missions above and beyond any expectations."

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The Next - Generation Spacecraft

A Masterpiece and Outstanding Hightechnological Spacecraft of the next - generation, which will bring The Human Spaceflight deeper into Space than ever before. As Flagship of the United States and ready for Exploration Flight Test 1 in 2014, The Orion MPCV will begin a New Era of Spaceflight history to far beyond Low Earth Orbit. Rigorously Tested, and Designed to be Flexible for Crew, Cargo and Instrumental Missions, the Orion will be the State - of - the Art Spacecraft, for Human Exploration needs the coming decades. To reach the goals and extended deep space missions up to 6 months, Orion Engineers developed This next - generation Spacecraft with unique life support, propulsion, thermal protections and avionic systems .





The ORION MPCV With Solar Panels








The Orion has 4 Seats for Lunar Missions, and 6 for non - Lunar. Has a diameter of around 5 Metre ( 16.5 feet ) and Powered By Solar Panels . The Launch date is planned for 2014 and the Contractor was Lockheed Martin. Mass 22.7 Metric tons. And the budget for development is estimated at $8 billions . The Inhabitable volume of the Orion is 380 cubic feet .





The Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle is Designed and Created to meet the evolving needs of The United States and The World's beyond low Earth Orbit Space Exploration Programs for the coming decades, perhaps Centuries. Dozens of Technology Advancements and Innovations from more than 50 Years Experience Spaceflight Research and Development are Incorporated into the Design and Subsystem of the Spacecraft.


The ORION MPCV Parachute Flight Test 2014 January 16 in Arizona .
The ORION MPCV and The SLS. The Space Launch System












The Human Research Program, has the resposibility and mission to discover and apply the Best methods and technologies to support safe, productive far beyond low Earth Orbit Human Space Travels .
As the Flagship of The United States next - generation Space fleet,The ORION will push the envelope and Exploration needs of Human Spaceflight far beyond low Earth Orbit.


The SLS or The Space Launch System is the high - lifted Rocket which will Launch the Orion in the Upcoming Missions Into Deep Space.

The Lagrange Points

The Lagrangian points (pron.: /ləˈɡrɑːniən/; also Lagrange pointsL-points, or libration points) are the five positions in anorbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be part of a constant-shape pattern with two larger objects (such as a satellite with respect to the Earth and Moon). The Lagrange points mark positions where the combined gravitational pull of the two large masses provides precisely the centripetal force required to orbit with them.


Lagrange points

The Lagrange Points

The Lagrangian points (pron.: /ləˈɡrɑːniən/; also Lagrange pointsL-points, or libration points) are the five positions in anorbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be part of a constant-shape pattern with two larger objects (such as a satellite with respect to the Earth and Moon). The Lagrange points mark positions where the combined gravitational pull of the two large masses provides precisely the centripetal force required to orbit with them.



Planet Mars

Of all the planets in the Solar System, the seasons of Mars are the most Earth-like, due to the similar tilts of the two planets' rotational axes. The lengths of the Martian seasons are about twice those of Earth's, as Mars's greater distance from the Sun leads to the Martian year being about two Earth years long. Martian surface temperatures vary from lows of about −143 °C (−225 °F) (at the winter polar caps) to highs of up to 35 °C (95 °F) (in equatorial summer). The wide range in temperatures is due to the thin atmosphere which cannot store much solar heat, the low atmospheric pressure, and the low thermal inertia of Martian soil. The planet is also 1.52 times as far from the Sun as Earth, resulting in just 43% of the amount of sunlight.


The Moons Of MARS

Mars has two relatively small natural moons, Phobos (about 14 miles in diameter) and Deimos (about 8 miles in diameter), which orbit close to the planet. Asteroid capture is a long-favored theory, but their origin remains uncertain. Both satellites were discovered in 1877 by Asaph Hall; they are named after the characters Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread), who, in Greek mythology, accompanied their father Ares, god of war, into battle. Mars was the Roman counterpart of Ares. In modern Greek, though, the planet retains its ancient name Ares(Aris: Άρης).






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