All Systems Go for NASA’s Mission to Jupiter Moon Europa

Beyond Earth, Jupiter’s moon Europa is considered one of the most promising places in the solar system to search for signs of present-day life, and a new NASA mission to explore this potential is moving forward from concept review to development.

NASA’s mission concept — to conduct a detailed survey of Europa and investigate its habitability — has successfully completed its first major review by the agency and now is entering the development phase known as formulation.

“Today we’re taking an exciting step from concept to mission, in our quest to find signs of life beyond Earth,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Observations of Europa have provided us with tantalizing clues over the last two decades, and the time has come to seek answers to one of humanity’s most profound questions.”

NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter in the late 1990s produced strong evidence that Europa, about the size of Earth’s moon, has an ocean beneath its frozen crust. If proven to exist, this global ocean could hold more than twice as much water as Earth. With abundant salt water, a rocky sea floor, and the energy and chemistry provided by tidal heating, Europa may have the ingredients needed to support simple organisms.

The mission plan calls for a spacecraft to be launched to Jupiter in the 2020s, arriving in the distant planet’s orbit after a journey of several years. The spacecraft would orbit the giant planet about every two weeks, providing many opportunities for close flybys of Europa. The mission plan includes 45 flybys, during which the spacecraft would image the moon’s icy surface at high resolution and investigate its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, has been assigned the responsibility of managing the project. JPL has been studying the multiple-flyby mission concept, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, since 2011.

Instruments selected for the Europa mission’s scientific payload were announced by NASA on May 26. Institutions supplying instruments include APL; JPL; Arizona State University, Tempe; the University of Texas at Austin; Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio and the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“It’s a great day for science,” said Joan Salute, Europa program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We are thrilled to pass the first major milestone in the lifecycle of a mission that will ultimately inform us on the habitability of Europa.”

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington conducts a wide variety of research and scientific exploration programs for Earth studies, space weather, the solar system and the universe.

For more information about NASA’s mission to Europa, visit:

AIMM Heads to Wallops Flight Facility for Orbital Resupply Mission to Space Station

Orbital Sciences Corp. will launch its next mission to resupply the International Space Station Monday, Oct. 27, and AIMM will assist NASA Television in the broadcast live coverage of the event, including pre- and post-launch briefings and arrival at the station.


Orbital Science’s Cygnus cargo carrier is transported Oct. 16, 2014 from the NASA fueling facility on Wallops Island, Virginia to the Horizontal Integration Facility where it will be mated to the Antares rocket for the Orbital CRS-3 cargo mission to the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA/Jamie Lee Adkins

Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 6:45 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Launch Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Launch coverage begins at 5:45 p.m.

A prelaunch status briefing will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, followed at 2 p.m. by a briefing to preview the mission’s science cargo. A post-launch briefing will be held approximately 90 minutes after liftoff.
Media who wish to ask questions remotely during the briefing must respond to Rachel Kraft at no later than 30 minutes before the start of each briefing. The public may submit questions via Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA.

Cygnus will transport almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, including science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware. It will arrive at the station Sunday, Nov. 2. Expedition 41 crew members Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore of NASA will be ready in the station’s cupola to capture the resupply craft with the station’s robotic arm and install it on the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony module.

NASA TV coverage of capture and installation will begin at 3:30 a.m. Nov. 2, followed by grapple at 4:58 a.m. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus onto the International Space Station will begin at 7 a.m. The capsule is scheduled to depart the station Wednesday, Dec. 3, and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere during reentry.

Continuing the tradition of naming its spacecraft after astronauts who have made significant contributions to spaceflight, Orbital dubbed this Cygnus resupply ship the SS Deke Slayton. The name is a tribute to original Mercury 7 astronaut Donald “Deke” K. Slayton, who flew on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in 1975 and championed commercial space endeavors after retiring from NASA in 1982. Slayton passed away in 1993.
This mission is the third of eight Orbital flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station, and the fourth trip by a Cygnus spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.
For a full media schedule and more information about the Orbital CRS-3 mission, visit:
For video b-roll and media resources on the International Space Station, visit:
For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

NASA Lunar Mission Wins 2014 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission has received the Popular Mechanics 2014 Breakthrough Award for innovation in science and technology. The 10th annual Breakthrough Awards recognize innovators, engineers and scientists responsible for changing our world.

LADEE - Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Winner
The award acknowledges LADEE’s modular flexible construction and laser data transfer capability, which can send and receive data more than six times faster than the quickest space-based radio signals.
“We’re proud of the LADEE mission’s accomplishments and this recognition,” said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, which designed, developed, built, integrated, tested and controlled the spacecraft. “LADEE may have been the first Ames-built spacecraft, but after the Kepler mission’s win in 2009 and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission’s win in 2010, it’s the third Ames mission to be honored with this award.”
LADEE launched in September 2013, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The car-sized lunar orbiter gathered detailed information on the structure and composition of our moon’s thin atmosphere and data to determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky. A thorough understanding of these characteristics of our nearest celestial neighbor will help researchers understand other bodies in the solar system, such as large asteroids, Mercury, and the moons of outer planets.
The first Ames-built spacecraft enjoyed many other firsts throughout its mission. The occasion of its launch was the first flight of a converted U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket, an excess ballistic missile converted into a space launch vehicle and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia. It also was the first launch beyond Earth orbit from the agency’s Virginia launch facility.
Hosted aboard LADEE for its ride to lunar orbit was the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) terminal. From a distance of almost a quarter-of-a-million miles, LLCD demonstrated record-breaking upload and download speeds. The cooperative mission with a team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory revealed the possibility of expanding broadband capabilities in future space communications development.
LADEE was built using an Ames-developed Modular Common Spacecraft Bus architecture — a general purpose spacecraft design that allows NASA to develop, assemble and test multiple spacecraft modules at the same time. The LADEE bus structure was a lightweight carbon composite weighing 547.2 pounds unfueled and 844.4 pounds when fully fueled.
“This mission put the innovative common bus design to the test and proved the spacecraft could perform well beyond our most conservative estimates,” said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at Ames. “This same common bus can be used on future missions to explore other destinations, including voyages to orbit and land on the moon, low-Earth orbit, near-Earth objects and objects in deep space.”
The successful mission was concluded April 18 when ground controllers at Ames confirmed the spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned. LADEE was designed for a relatively short mission, as the science goals only required 100 days of data collection.
“From beginning to end, LADEE was a testament of unparalleled teamwork and unique innovation,” said Joan Salute, LADEE program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington.” The mission established a new technology paradigm, opening a new chapter for spacecraft design and construction.”
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington funded the LADEE mission. Ames managed the overall mission. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, managed the science instruments, technology demonstration payload and science operations center, and provided overall mission support. Wallops was responsible for launch vehicle integration, launch services and operations. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, managed LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.

For more information about the LADEE mission, visit:


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October 21, 2013 –  Advocates In Manpower Management, Inc. 20423 State Road 7 – PMB#458,  Boca Raton, Florida 33498 recently completed the Veteran Institute Procurement (VIP), a comprehensive training and certification program that helps veteran-owned businesses strengthen their ability to win government contracts and do business with both military and civilian agencies they once served in uniform.

On October 17, 2013, Advocates In Manpower Management, Inc. was one of 52 businesses from 10 states and the District of Columbia to graduate from the National Center for the Veteran Institute for Procurement. During the program’s graduation, Richard Porter was presented with a congressional citation on behalf of Chris Van Hollen.

The Veteran Institute of Procurement provided my firm some tremendous insight into the federal procurement process as well as providing a review of the processes essential to being a more effective government contractor.  The interaction with fellow participants was extremely valuable.

The first program of its kind in the nation, VIP is conducted by professional subject-matter specialists in the essentials necessary to win government contracts: law, accounting, insurance, human resources, marketing and proposals. It also provides participants with access to Federal and prime contracting executives along with a national network of veteran owned small businesses that they can team with on opportunities.

Since its launch in 2009, VIP has helped 348 service-disabled and veteran-owned small businesses grow.  A survey of 121 of the program’s graduates determined that 1,535 new jobs were created and the size of their businesses increased by an average of 41% within a year of graduating from the Institute. More than 80% of surveyed graduates credited VIP for equipping them to make recent business decisions and avoid unseen pitfalls. Additionally, veteran-owned businesses are more likely to hire, mentor and train other war veterans as they transition to private life, which is a national priority.

“We are honored to give back to the men and women who served our county by providing them with the tools necessary to succeed as government contractors.” said Barbara Ashe, President of the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation. “We hope this training fosters their success as businesses and employers.”

VIP is a three-day, 27-hour comprehensive certification program. Participants must be a C-level leader in a Veteran-owned small business operating for at least two years with a minimum of 3 full time employees, and experience working on government contracts as a prime and/or sub-contractor to a prime. With volunteer instructors and at no cost to participants, VIP is funded by public and private sponsors and run by the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation.

For information:  Richard Porter, 561-479-1649;

For information on VIP: Barbara Ashe, 301-738-0015 x215;

For additional information, please visit or the Montgomery County Chamber Community Foundation

National Fallen Firefighters Memorial


Jeff Elliott, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Digital Technologies at AIMM is the Associated Producer of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial which will be held in  in Emmitsburg Maryland this weekend. He has been working with a team of volunteers to ensure the event’s live broadcast goes as planned despite the government shutdown.

According to, “The shutdown closed the National Emergency Training Center (NETC) forcing the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to move events for Memorial Weekend to other facilities in Emmitsburg. It also meant the Memorial on the NETC campus was off limits.”

The Candlelight Service will now be held at 4:00pm on Saturday October 5, at The Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Daughters of Charity in Emmitsburg. During the visit, the annual Presidential wreath laying will take place during the brief ceremony in front of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

Watch the 2013 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Live HERE:


LADEE on the Launch Pad

AIMM is at Wallops this week making final preparations in the studio that will be broadcasting the live video stream of the LADEE launch. LADEE, stands for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. The probe will be sent to the moon at 11:27 p.m. from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Va.

Here is a behind the scenes image of the LADEE on the launch pad.

LADEE on the Launch Pad

LADEE on the Launch Pad

Be sure to check back. We’ll be posting more behind the scenes images as we countdown to the launch.


In exactly 4 days…

NASA will launch a probe at 11:27 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 6, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. “The small car-sized Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere and determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky.” (

AIMM is at Wallops this week making final preparations to the studio that will be tasked with providing the live video stream.

Stay tuned for the exciting launch… in just 4 more days!

AIMM attends National Veterans Conference

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The National Veterans Small Business Conference  was held this year in St. Louis, Missouri.  There were 3800 attendees.  The conference gave veteran business owners the opportunity to meet procurement decision makers in small groups, at lunch, training sessions and in seminars. There were over 400 exhibitors.
Rich Porter, President, AIMM attended all three days of the convention and made some tremendous contacts that should result in new business opportunities.

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Rudy Watley, Associate Director, Supplier Diversity Program, Smithsonian Institution and Melissa Hong, Managing Partner, LH Solutions Group share lunch at the National Veterans Conference in St. Louis.  Rudy is a strong advocate for minority business opportunities at the Smithsonian and throughout the federal government.  

AIMM at Wallops

AIMM is at Wallops this week. This is the Global Hawks & HS3 NASA is preparing to fly two unmanned aircraft over Atlantic Ocean hurricanes this summer. NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel, or HS3, mission is a five-year project that first took to the field in 2012 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at Wallops Island, Va. HS3 is investigating the roles of the large-scale environment and storm-scale internal processes in hurricane formation and intensity change in the Atlantic basin. HS3 scientists will use two NASA Global Hawk aircraft during the campaign, one with instruments measuring the environment around a tropical cyclone and the other with instruments looking into the storms.998545_545337105502275_1008855692_n