Tuesday, January 30, 2018

MIST summit postponed

The Marine Industries Science and Technology (MIST) Cluster Small Business Summit scheduled for Feb 6 is being postponed. Current plans are to re-schedule the summit for a date in May still to be determined. (Source: MIST, 01/30/18) Previous

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Orion recovery test a wrap

Divers recover Orion mock-up
Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Abe McNatt
SAN DIEGO – San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) successfully completed test recovery operations of NASA's Orion test article, Jan. 23. The Underway Recovery Test-6 (URT-6) is part of a U.S. government interagency effort to safely retrieve the Orion crew module, which is capable of carrying humans into deep space. URT-6 consisted of releasing the test capsule from the well deck, then carefully maneuvering the ship alongside the capsule at slow speed. Once the test article was far enough from the ship, the lines attaching the capsule to the ship were released. Then, divers attached a stabilization ring designed by NASA that would help in sustaining the astronauts in the capsule for up to three days. Divers then removed the collar, attached lines from the small boats to steady and guide the capsule toward Anchorage, where Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) would then assist in attaching lines from a NASA-designed winch which then hauled the capsule into the well deck. The tests allowed NASA and the Navy to continue to demonstrate and evaluate the recovery processes, procedures, hardware and personnel in real, open-ocean environment before conducting actual recovery operations. (Source: NNS, 01/25/18) Note: The RS-25 engines that will power the first stage of the Space Launch System are tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SSC adding computing power

New HPC systems at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Navy DoD Supercomputing Research Centers (DSRC) will provide an additional 14 petaflops of computational capability. The Department of Defense (DoD) High Performance Computing Modernization Program (HPCMP) completed its fiscal year 2017 investment in supercomputing capability supporting the DoD Science and Technology, Test and Evaluation, and Acquisition Engineering communities. The acquisition consists of seven supercomputing systems with corresponding hardware and software maintenance services. One of the sites, the Navy DSRC at Stennis Space Center, Miss., will receive three HPE SGI 8600 systems containing Intel Xeon Platinum 8168 (Skylake) processors. The AFRL in Dayton, Ohio, will receive four HPE SGI 8600 systems. The systems are expected to enter production service in the second half of calendar year 2018. (Source: HPCWire, 01/23/18)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MIST summit scheduled

The next Marine Industries Science and Technology (MIST) Cluster Small Business Summit will be held at Infinity Science Center, Room D, Pearlington, Miss. It’s from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 6. This event will focus on various NASA activities at Stennis Space Center (SSC), Miss., as well as the large prime contractors that locally support NASA. The event will feature presentations on the missions, programs, and projects within SSC, as well as information on upcoming contracts and ways small companies can help support the small business goals on larger contracts. Refreshments will be provided by the Holiday Inn Express Picayune/Stennis. Lunch is included in the $25 registration fee. (Source: MIST, 01/16/18) To register

NASA tests RS-25 flight controller

RS-25 flight controller test. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA engineers picked up this year where they left off in 2017, conducting a certification test of another RS-25 engine flight controller Tuesday on the A-1 Test Stand. The 365-second, full-duration test came a month after the space agency capped a year of RS-25 testing with a flight controller test in mid-December. A 3D printed part tested in December, a pogo accumulator assembly, was tested again. It’s part of an ongoing series of tests with parts made using advanced manufacturing techniques that will make building future engines more affordable. For this "green run" test, the flight controller was installed on RS-25 developmental engine E0528 and fired just as during an actual launch. Once certified, the flight controller will be removed and installed on a flight engine for use by NASA’s new deep-space rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). (Source: NASA/SSC, 01/16/18) Previous

Friday, January 12, 2018

Spaceport at Stennis airport eyed

KILN, Miss. -- The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission has commissioned RS&H, Inc. to study the feasibility of obtaining a Launch Site Operator License that could open the door to commercial space flight out of Stennis International Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration has developed regulations that enable airports to host operations of reusable launch vehicles that take off and land like aircraft. Several kinds of such vehicles are currently under development. The study will examine the feasibility of hosting spaceport operations, as well as the infrastructure needs and potential economic benefits of such operations. Commission CEO Bill Cork said the commercial space industry is "poised for dynamic growth, and Hancock County is uniquely positioned to benefit from this growth." The airport is just outside NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, the nation's largest rocket engine test facility. (Source: Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, 01/12/18)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

2018 SBIR/STTR solicitations open

NASA is looking to small businesses and research institutions for innovative technologies that could have significant potential for successful transition into NASA mission programs and other commercial markets. This year, through NASA’s Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I solicitation, proposals for research, development and technology demonstrations can be submitted until March 9, 2018, 5 p.m. EST. Phase I awards are valued at about $125,000 for up to six months for SBIR and 13 months for STTR to establish the scientific, technical and commercial merit and feasibility of the proposed innovation in fulfillment of NASA needs. (Source: NASA, 01/11/18)

Area III Special Olympics scheduled

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- The Area III Special Olympics games are scheduled for March 10 at Infinity Science Center, with the opening ceremony parade of athletes beginning at 9 a.m. Patterned on the World Olympics, the games include an opening ceremony, parade of athletes, and a host of track and field competitions. The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for intellectually or developmentally challenged persons at least eight years of age and older. Athletes from Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River and Stone counties may sign up through their school’s Special Education Office, local Service Providers or by contacting the Area III Director, Katherine Clough. Volunteers and sponsors are needed to help with various components of the games, to include athlete friends who assist the athletes. Athlete friends must be at least 16 years of age. To volunteer or for more information, visit the Area III website. The Area III Special Olympics are held in partnership with Stennis Space Center (SSC) and Infinity Science Center, south of Interstate 10 near SSC. (Source: SSC, 01/11/18)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Spacecraft Zuma reported lost

A secret spacecraft launched by a SpaceX rocket on Sunday failed to enter a stable orbit and was lost. The spacecraft, called Zum, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, apparently did not separate as it was supposed to from the upper stage of the rocket and did not reach a stable orbit. Northrop Grumman, which built the Zuma spacecraft, would only say that it's a classified program and can not comment. It was not clear if the failure was due to problems with the SpaceX rocket or with the Zuma spacecraft. SpaceX issued a statement Tuesday suggesting that its rocket performed as designed. (Sources: multiple, including CNNArs TechnicaWired, 01/09/18) Note: SpaceX is using Stennis Space Center, Miss., to develop its next-generation Raptor engine. Previous

GRIP III training involved SSC team

The Navy Special Boat Team 22 from Stennis Space Center, Miss., provided a riverine command boat, rigid inflatable boats and trailers for a joint training exercise last week at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi and the Combat Readiness Training Center (CRTC) in Gulfport. Air Force, Army and Navy personnel teamed up for GRIP III Breaking Barriers. The primary goal was to give reservists and military members a chance to train with aircraft, personnel, and equipment they don't regularly encounter in everyday training. The 1108th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group at the CRTC provided UH-60 helicopters to ferry personnel between Keesler and the CRTC, simulating transportation between forward operating bases. Personnel performed joint inspections of several vehicles, including a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, light mobile tactical vehicles, Humvees, and mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. (Source: 403rd Wing, 01/09/18)

Monday, January 8, 2018

SpaceX launches Zuma

SpaceX lifted the secret Zuma spacecraft for the government Sunday night in a mission that also featured another landing by the first stage of the company's Falcon 9 rocket. The launch was from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida's east coast. The booster's two stages separated 2 minutes and 19 seconds into flight. The second stage continued carrying Zuma to its destination in low-Earth orbit, and the first stage made a vertical touchdown at Landing Zone 1, a SpaceX facility at Cape Canaveral. The first stage landed a little less than 8 minutes after taking off. SpaceX now has 21 successful first stage returns, part of its plan to develop reusable rockets. The launch followed more than a month of delays. (Sources: Space.com, CNN, 01/08/18) SpaceX is using Stennis Space Center, Miss., to develop its next-generation Raptor engine.

Tech park responses due this week

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Responses are due Jan. 12 from non-federal organizations interested in leading the development of a 1,100-acre technology corridor on the north side of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) in South Mississippi. Dr. Richard Gilbrech, director of SSC, mentioned the idea of a "near-site research park" during the Aerospace Alliance Summit in New Orleans this fall, and a Notice of Availability was posted at FedBizOpps on Dec. 4. SSC has a buffer zone and tight security that has been positive for many of the companies that have come to SSC, but is an issue for some companies that want to be close but don’t want to go through the security procedures. The park would "fill the niche and really poise us toward growth in the future," Gilbrech said at the summit. The private or public entity would partner with NASA and lead in the multi-phased development and long-term operation of the park, which would be designed to attract private sector participation in space exploration and space transportation activities. The property is on the northern edge of SSC and includes sites both inside and outside the security perimeter. (Source: Gulf Coast Aerospace Newsletter, December 2017, page 7) Previous

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Sailors, civilians of year named

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command announced its selections for 2017 Sailors and Civilians of the Year during an all hands session Dec. 19 at Stennis Space Center. Aerographer's Mate (AG) 1st Class Adam Smith, stationed at Fleet Weather Center Strike Group Oceanography Team in San Diego, Calif., was named Sea Sailor of the Year. AG1 Pedro Henry Shore of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Professional Development Center in Gulfport, Miss., was named Shore Sailor of the Year. AG1s Joseph Skebeck and Brandon Cruz, both recently promoted and both with the Naval Oceanography Anti-submarine Warfare Center at Stennis Space Center, were named Junior Sea and Shore SOY. Megan Natter was named Senior Civilian of the Year and Jacqueline Bussell was the Junior COY. Both are at Stennis Space Center. (Source: Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, 12/27/17)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Contract: Silicon Graphics, $22.6M

Silicon Graphics Federal LLC, Annapolis Junction, Md., was awarded a $22,579,671 firm-fixed-price contract for Department of Defense high-performance computing modernization program's technology insertion Navy Order 14. Bids were solicited via the Internet with two received. Work will be performed in Stennis Space Center, Miss., with an estimated completion date of July 20, 2023. Fiscal 2017 other procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $22,579,671 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Ala., is the contracting activity (W912DY-18-F-0045). (Source: DoD, 12/21/17)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Free fall

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- John C. Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi is known as the location where rocket engines are tested by NASA and commercial companies, but it's also a major military training location. In this photo, Marine Corps reservists perform free-fall jumps at the installation in Hancock County, Miss., Dec. 14, 2017, to maintain tactical proficiency. (Source: Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tessa D. Watts, 12/20/17)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Astronaut says sky not the limit

NEW ORLEANS -- Joan Higginbotham wanted to be an engineer, and thought she might work for IBM. What she didn’t expect was to travel in space. "Always have a plan, but don’t be afraid to alter that plan for the right opportunity,” Higginbotham told University of New Orleans graduates at their recent commencement. She shared her journey from a college graduate with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering to one of only three African-American women to travel into space. She tried first tried to become an astronaut in 1995 at the urging of a co-worker when she worked at Kennedy Space Center. She was one of 122 out of 3,000 qualified applicants invited back for an interview, but she was ultimately cut. She got an additional degree and tried again, becoming an astronaut in 1996. She traveled on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station in 2006. “The sky is absolutely no longer the limit,” Higginbotham told graduates. “I am challenging you to aim high.” (Source: The Advocate, 12/18/17)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

RS-25 has final test of 2017

RS-25 test Wednesday. NASA photo
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA engineers capped a year of Space Launch System testing with a final RS-25 rocket engine hot fire on Dec. 13 at Stennis Space Center in South Mississippi. The 400-second test on the A-1 Test Stand was a “green run” test of an RS-25 flight controller. It marked the eighth RS-25 test of the year and the sixth flight controller to be tested for use on NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle. The engine tested also included a large 3D-printed part scheduled for use on future RS-25 flight engines. The part, a beach ball-sized pogo accumulator assembly, is a complex piece of hardware that acts as a shock absorber to dampen vibrations, or oscillations, caused by propellants as they flow between the vehicle and the engine. Initial reports show the 3D-printed hardware performed as expected, opening the door for more components scheduled for future tests. (Source: NASA/SSC, 12/13/17)

Monday, December 4, 2017

SSC seeks partner to develop park

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- NASA has opened a search for a non-federal partner to lead in development of a 1,100-acre technology corridor called Enterprise Park at Stennis Space Center (SSC) near Bay St. Louis, Miss. An official Notice of Availability has been posted at FedBizOpps.gov, with responses due on Jan. 12, 2018. SSC has scheduled an Industry Day on Feb. 7, 2018, where interested parties can learn more about the park. The objective is to find a private or public entity to enter into a partnership with NASA to lead in the multi-phased development and long-term operation of the park at the nation’s largest rocket engine test facility. The test facilities are used by both government and commercial operations. SSC is home to more than 40 federal, state, academic and commercial entities with a combined workforce of 5,000. The Enterprise Park is designed to enable private sector participation in space exploration, to support commercial space transportation activities, to promote commercial development of technologies for use in space and on Earth, and to provide opportunities for companies and other organizations to co-locate at Stennis to support the missions of existing federal city tenants at SSC. Recent master planning efforts identified a need for a technology park area at SSC, and the first phase of the Enterprise Park focuses on 1,100 acres identified as the most development-ready. The property is located on the northern edge of the 13,800-acre secured area and includes sites both inside and outside the security perimeter. (Source: NASA/SSC, 12/04/17)

Friday, December 1, 2017

MAF simulates engine install

NEW ORLEANS -- Engineers at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans are using a pathfinder RS-25 engine to practice the installation of engines on the Core Stage of the Space Launch System (SLS). Each core will receive four RS-25s, currently undergoing test firings at the Stennis Space Center, ahead of a path that will see them being shipped to MAF. The installation of all four R-25s on the Core Stage will be a major milestone on the path to Exploration Mission-1, the first launch of SLS. Test firings at the Stennis Space Center (SSC) continue to serve toward the readiness of that milestone, with the first four flight engines now closing in on shipping to MAF to be installed on Core State-1 (CS-1). Those engines, all Space Shuttle veterans, are E2045 in position 1, E2056 in position 2, E2058 in position 3, and E2060 in position 4. All four of these RS-25s will remain at SSC until MAF engineers have completed the work on CS-1. The latest schedule shows the four engines will make the journey to New Orleans in May of next year. (Source: NASA Spaceflight, 11/30/17)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

French group to visit SSC

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic Development will host a delegation of French companies on Dec. 6. The tour of the Mississippi Gulf Coast will include a visit to Stennis Space Center, including Rolls-Royce and Lockheed Martin. The goal of this event is to connect local companies with the decision makers of the companies involved in the tour. The delegation includes companies involved in aerospace, healthcare, maritime, energy and more. For more information or to RSVP, email Tiffany Aultman of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission by Dec. 1. (Source: Magnolia Business Alliance/EIGS, 11/29/17)