bilan NASA 2006

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Message Jeu 11 Jan 2007 - 10:32

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER REFLECTS ON A SUCCESSFUL 2006 (l'optimisme est de rigueur ;) )

As NASA's Kennedy Space Center prepares for a busy 2007, our successes
of the past year are recounted as we set the stage for our future

Three successful space shuttle launches, five expendable launch
vehicle missions, award-winning technology and processing several
large payloads and components for delivery to the International Space
Station were just some of KSC's 2006 achievements.

To prepare for the transition from the Space Shuttle Program to NASA's
Constellation Program and future space exploration missions, KSC
aligned with other NASA centers by combining the engineering work
force into one new engineering group.

On Feb. 8, the Virgin Atlantic Airways GlobalFlyer aircraft took off
from KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility in an attempt to set a new world
record for the longest flight made by any aircraft. Piloted by Steve
Fossett, the aircraft used more than 13,000 feet of the 15,000-ft.
runway before taking to the sky.

In March, the center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open
the newly constructed Operations Support Building II. The five-story,
189,000-square-ft. facility comprises more than 900 office spaces, a
300-person mission conference center with an observation deck,
training rooms, computer rooms, multimedia conference rooms and
technical libraries. The building replaces modular housing and
trailers in the Launch Complex 39 area.

In April, during the 25th anniversary of the first space shuttle
flight, KSC renamed and dedicated the Launch Control Center's Firing
Room 1 as the "Young-Crippen Firing Room" to honor STS-1 Commander
John Young and Pilot Robert Crippen.

Also in April, KSC announced plans to seek private-sector partners to
develop a space technology and commerce park to be named "Exploration
Park at John F. Kennedy Space Center." The park is expected to
attract tenants engaged in space technology, space commerce and space

In June, KSC selected the Atlas V, now part of the United Launch
Alliance rocket family, for the Mars Science Laboratory. This is a
mission to carry a large rover to the red planet in fall 2009. The
six-wheeled rover will explore Mars for two years, examining sites to
identify where the building blocks for life may exist.

The European Space Agency's Columbus research laboratory, an important
component to the space station, arrived in June at KSC's Space
Station Processing Facility where it will be prepared for launch on a
future shuttle mission.

Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off on mission STS-121 on July 4 (the
first mission to launch on Independence Day) from Launch Pad 39B,
carrying critical hardware to the station for future assembly
missions. The mission restored the station to a three-person crew for
the first time since May 2003. STS-121 also marked the first use of
the Launch Control Center's newly renovated Firing Room 4.

Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on mission STS-115 on Sept. 9, also
from Launch Pad 39B, carrying the P3/P4 integrated truss segment for
installation on the station. The mission resumed assembly of the
station after a hiatus of four years.

The final launch of the year was made by Discovery on mission STS-116
on Dec. 9. It was the last currently planned shuttle launch from
Launch Pad 39B. The challenging mission included installing the P5
short space truss segment to the station's P3/P4 truss segment and
completely rewiring and activating the station's electrical and
thermal control systems.

Launch Pad 39B is being transitioned to NASA's Constellation Program
and readied for the Ares 1-I test flight, scheduled for no earlier
than 2009.

The first shuttle launch in 2007 is currently targeted for no earlier
than March 16.

KSC's Launch Services Program managed five expendable launch vehicle
liftoffs from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg
Air Force Base, Calif.

NASA's New Horizons mission, the first in the New Frontiers Program,
launched using Lockheed Martin's massive Atlas V launch vehicle on
Jan. 19 from Cape Canaveral. The piano-sized spacecraft will travel
to Pluto and conduct the first close-up, in-depth study of the dwarf
planet and its moons in summer 2015.

NASA's Space Technology 5 spacecraft, also known as ST5, launched
aboard the Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL vehicle from Vandenberg on
March 22. ST5 is comprised of three miniature orbiting satellites
which were flight tested in the harsh environment of space, and their
ability to make research-quality scientific measurements was
evaluated over 90 days.

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-N, also called
GOES-N, launched into orbit for NASA aboard a Boeing Delta IV on May
24 from Cape Canaveral. Upon entering Earth's orbit, it became
GOES-13. The satellite is rotating around the planet to view
developing weather systems over the Central and Eastern Pacific
Ocean; North, South and Central America; and the Western and Central
Atlantic Ocean.

Expendable launch vehicle missions aboard Boeing Delta II vehicles
included CloudSat/CALIPSO on April 28 from Vandenberg, and the twin
Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatories (STEREO) on Oct. 25 from
Cape Canaveral.

CloudSat and CALIPSO are orbiting the Earth as part of the "A-train,"
a constellation of Earth-observing satellites. CALIPSO provides
climate observations, including the advanced study of clouds and
aerosols, to help improve the ability to predict climate change and
study the air we breathe. CloudSat's trio of experimental satellites
uses radar to perform the first study of clouds and precipitation on
a global basis from space. STEREO is NASA's first 3-D solar imaging
mission to help researchers understand how the sun creates space

Among payloads arriving at KSC for processing was NASA's Time History
of Events and Macroscale Interactions During Substorms (THEMIS)
spacecraft on Dec. 11, for final testing and launch preparations.
THEMIS is scheduled to lift off on Feb. 15 aboard a Delta II rocket
from Launch Complex 17-B at Cape Canaveral.

With Constellation Program activities moving forward, NASA awarded a
90-day study contract to four space-related companies to separately
examine long-term ground processing and infrastructure planning at

In September, the 50-foot door on the west end of the Operations and
Checkout Building was opened for business for the first time in more
than 20 years. The state of Florida provided $35 million to bring
Lockheed Martin to KSC to use this facility to complete final
assembly and testing of the new Orion crew capsule.

In October, public hearings were held at KSC and in Brevard County for
the National Environmental Policy Act. These meetings were held to
assess the potential impacts the Constellation Program may have on
the KSC environment, including its wetlands, flood plains and

In late 2006, a team of scientists from KSC and the University of
Central Florida received NASA's 2005 Invention of the Year Award for
a groundwater treatment technology called Emulsified Zero-Valent
Iron, or EZVI. The technology, developed at KSC, also received NASA's
2005 Commercial Invention of the Year Award. NASA has signed six
nonexclusive licenses with companies to market and further develop

James W. Kennedy, the eighth KSC director, retired from the agency at
the end of the year. William W. Parsons assumed the role as KSC's
ninth director on Jan. 4, 2007. After the Columbia tragedy, Parsons
led the return-to-flight activities for the agency as Space Shuttle
Program manager and played a major role in the success of the
Discovery STS-114 mission in 2005.

KSC's work force looks forward to an aggressive launch schedule in
2007, with five space shuttle missions and eight expendable launch
vehicle missions, along with continuing transition work for the new
Constellation Program and future space launches.
dominique M.
dominique M.

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Inscrit le : 15/10/2005
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