Science

10:25 am
Thu December 11, 2014

2015 Spending Bill Includes $18 Billion for NASA

That's $364 million more than the space agency got for the current fiscal year -- which ends on Sept. 30 -- and some $500 million more than it requested. Most of that increase is due to lawmakers increasing funding for the Space Launch System and Orion multi-purpose crew vehicle designed to eventually take astronauts to Mars, a key congressional priority. The spending bill includes $3.25 billion for human exploration, up from the $2.78 billion the Obama administration had sought.
WASHINGTON -- NASA would get $18 billion in fiscal 2015 as part of a $1.01 trillion government-wide spending bill Congress is expected to pass as early as Thursday. That's $364 million more than the space agency got for the current fiscal year -- which ends on Sept.
Science
9:24 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Navy Returns NASA's Orion Spacecraft After Test Flight

A man looks on as NASA's Orion space capsule is prepared to be unloaded from the USS Anchorage at Naval Base San Diego Monday in San Diego. NASA's new spacecraft returned to dry land Monday in Southern California after a test flight that ended with a plunge in the Pacific Ocean
Credit AP Photo/Gregory Bull

NASA's new Orion spacecraft returned to dry land in Southern California after a test flight that ended with a plunge into the Pacific Ocean.

Navy ship, the USS Anchorage, delivered the capsule to Naval Base San Diego and unloaded the 11-foot-tall cone around 10 p.m. PST Monday.

Orion made an unmanned flight Friday that carried it 3,600 miles above Earth to test the spacecraft's systems before it carries astronauts on deep space missions. During re-entry into the atmosphere, the spacecraft endured speeds of 20,000 mph and temperatures near 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Science
6:00 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Space Florida is Riding on Orion

Artist's illustration of Orion in space

Orion, NASA's deep-space exploration spacecraft, remained on the launch pad Thursday as a series of delays pushed its scheduled maiden flight to Friday.

But the vessel sitting atop the massive Delta 4 rocket is expected to one day push man to the Moon, asteroids and Mars, and Florida's aerospace leaders believe the state will remain at the forefront of those efforts.

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Science
12:07 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

NASA Scrubs Launch Of Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Orion spaceship early Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

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Science
7:05 am
Wed December 3, 2014

What You Need to Know About the Orion Launch (video)

The Orion test capsule will not have life support, but it will check many other systems, including computers and parachutes and the heat shield.
Credit Radislav Sinyak NASA/Rad Sinyak

At 7:05 a.m. Thursday, the unmanned Orion test vehicle is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket to begin a two-orbit, four-and-a-half hour mission called Exploration Flight Test-1.

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Science
10:33 am
Wed November 19, 2014

The Little Comet Probe That Could

This combination photo produced with different images shows Philae after landing on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
AP

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 9:14 am

Even with all the drama — and now the prolonged silence, possibly permanent — the European Space Agency's (ESA) mission to land a fridge-sized probe on a comet zipping at about 80,000 miles per hour, some 300 million miles from Earth, was a resounding success. This first ever comet landing has captivated the world as very few events in the history — certainly the recent history — of space exploration have.

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Science
2:15 am
Wed November 19, 2014

USF Professor Finds Ants, CEOs Not that Different

Deby Cassill, the Associate Professor of Biology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Credit M. S. Butler

Plenty of kids play in dirt and collect bugs. Maybe you used to bring home bugs in a jar. Maybe you still do.  Deby Cassill does. But, she’s the Associate Professor of biology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

So, she spends her days getting a microscopic look at something many of us consider a pest and even something to step on.

She says there was a time when it was considered strange for her to play with bugs.

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Science
4:12 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Comet Landing A Success: European Craft Makes 'Fairly Gentle Touchdown'

The Philae lander took this photo of its descent onto comet 67P Wednesday, when it was about 3 kilometers from the surface. The landing site is seen with a resolution of about 3 meters per pixel.
ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 7:07 pm

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.

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12:23 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Report: KSC Must Do More to Succeed as Spaceport

KSC has leased about half of the 23 facilities it no longer needs after the shuttle program's 2011 retirement, including giving SpaceX control of launch pad 39A. But in interviews with the auditors, six companies and KSC's closest government partner, Space Florida, continued to raise concerns about bureaucracy, high costs and potential mission conflicts that can hamper commercial operations at KSC. The companies have not abandoned the spaceport given limited options available today, but "this may change as the commercial space industry grows and additional non-Federal launch sites become available," the report says.
Kennedy Space Center has made progress transitioning into a multiuser spaceport but must do more to compete with a growing number of alternative launch sites, according to a NASA audit report released today. "The better Kennedy can position itself now as a commercial-friendly launch site, the more competitive it will be in the future," says the report by NASA's Office of Inspector General.
Science
5:17 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

Invited guests walk up the steps to look at the inside of the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, in May 2014.
Credit Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.

On Tuesday, the space agency announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners of the competition at Kennedy Space Center, next door to where the launches should occur in a few years.

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Science
6:33 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Orion Makes A Move

Orion Crew Capsule and Service Module at the Kennedy Space Center.
Credit Rad Sinyak / NASA

NASA has finished building the crew module of its newest spacecraft- Orion.

The spacecraft was moved out of the Kennedy Space Center facility Thursday where engineers have been getting it ready.

Orion’s cone-shaped crew module, stacked on top of a white service module, emerged from the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on a special flat bed transporter.

It was moved to a new facility where it will be fueled up with ammonia and hyper propellants for its test flight slated for December.

The crew capsule can seat four astronauts.

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Science
10:38 am
Mon September 8, 2014

As NASA Considers New Spacecraft, Ukraine Complicates Russian Relations

Boeing's CST-100 is one of the space crafts NASA is considering.
Credit Taisha Henry / WMFE

Escalating unrest in the Ukraine is adding urgency to NASA’s decision on the space craft that will replace the shuttle.

The space agency is expected to announce any day the space craft that will fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

Two candidates – Boeing’s CST-100 and Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser – rely on the Atlas V rocket to launch into space. But the rocket is powered by the Russian-built RD-180 engine.

Dale Ketcham of Space Florida says the Atlas V rocket is vital to American space flight.

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Science
10:35 am
Fri August 15, 2014

A New Space Race To Replace the Shuttle

It will be a snug ride in Boeing;s CST-100
Credit Photo by Taisha Henry.

For the first time in a generation American astronauts will fly into space aboard a new spacecraft beginning in 2017.

But it won’t be a NASA spacecraft. Instead three private space companies are competing to design and build it under a NASA contract.

When NASA announces the winner or winners in a few weeks, it will mark the start of a new era in human space flight.

- – -

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4:33 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Kennedy Space Center's Quiet Rebirth Slowly Taking Shape

Anticipation is building for the unmanned Orion flight in December. The new capsule, designed to carry astronauts into deep space again, will be sitting on top of a huge Delta IV heavy rocket. Lockheed Martin is building the capsule in the renovated Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy. Florida threw $35 million at the project to make sure it was located here. The project employs about 150 people currently. The goal is to have a manned Orion launch in 2021. On my tour there last week, I saw the capsule under construction in the 1964 operations building, now named after Neil Armstrong and completely renovated. The Orion is the first capsule to be built at Kennedy. It the past, capsules were only inspected there after being manufactured elswhere.
Kennedy Space Center is relatively quiet these days, but there's a rebirth taking shape in the historic buildings and grounds. On a recent tour, I was able to see ongoing work to retool large areas of the complex for a new era of space flight.
10:35 am
Fri May 23, 2014

It is Rocket Science: $100M for New NASA Rocket?

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, linked the plan to heightened tension with Russia in a news release. “Mr. Putin’s Russia is giving us some problems,” said Nelson, a senior member of the committee. “So we put $100 million in the defense bill to develop a state-of-the-art rocket engine to make sure that we have assured access to space for our astronauts as well as our military space payloads.”
NASA's new Space Launch System rockets ( NASA / ) In what could become a boost to Central Florida's economy, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a budget plan Thursday that includes $100 million for NASA 's largest ever rocket.

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