AIMM Executives attend Maryland Space Roundtable with Barbara Mikulski

Maryland Space Business Roundtable April 18 2016.jpgOn April 18, AIMM executives attended the Maryland Space Roundtable (MSBR) luncheon where speaker Barbara Mikulski delivered a compelling message about her remarkable career as the longest serving woman in the history of the United States Congress.

The Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR) is a nonprofit organization for aerospace and technology businesses, universities, and individuals in Maryland as well as the surrounding national capital region that share a mutual interest in promoting a robust space community. The Roundtable provides a common ground for these companies to meet, interact, learn, and act on initiatives for future growth. Invited speakers and guests include prominent government agency leaders, elected officials and their staff, and aerospace industry leaders. These luncheons offer members the opportunity to host government guests in a one-on-one setting at their member table.

Senator Mikulski, the keynote as this month’s luncheon and a significant supporter for NASA and NOAA funding, spoke of her curiosity in science at an early age. An eruption of laughter soon followed when she spoke about the laws of gas. She noted, “Gas takes the size and shape of its container, which is a good lesson to know if you are in the United States Senate.”

You can view highlights of Mikulski’s keynote address here:

Mikulski was first elected to the federal House of Representatives in 1976, and in 1986 became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from Maryland. In 2013, Mikulski introduced the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013, which passed in the Senate. The bill would reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to provide block grants to the states to help low-income parents find childcare for their children. One of her most recent accomplishments, the Paycheck Fairness Act, was introduced on April 1, 2014, as a measure that aims to strengthen the Fair Labor Standards Act’s protections against pay inequalities based on gender. After serving five terms on the Senate, Mikulski retired March 2015.

Each month, the MSBR holds a luncheon event with invited government guests and speakers. To learn more about MSBR please visit. http://mdspace.org

 

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AIMM Wins NASA Mentor-Protégé Award

Boca Raton, Florida – January 19, 2016 Advocates In Manpower Management (AIMM), Inc. is pleased to announce that we and Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc. (HTSI) have been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as winners of the 2015 Goddard Space Flight Center Mentor-Protégé Agreement of the Year Award.

SB_MENTOR_LOGO-01In his announcement of the selection Glenn A. Delgado, NASA Associate Administrator for the Office of Small Business Programs stated “ The Agency’s Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) appreciates the ongoing efforts of companies like yours that work with NASA and make significant contributions to the Agency’s Small Business Program.”

HTSI and AIMM have worked together at NASA for over ten years supporting space and ground networks and mission operations. AIMM currently provides expertise in the areas of multi-media production and engineering, satellite flight operations and science data capture. HTSI has provided AIMM with valuable opportunities for on-contract growth and exposure to new business ventures, which have broadened the scope of AIMM’s capabilities.

Rich Porter, CEO and President of AIMM, commented “We have extraordinary respect for Honeywell and thank NASA for the recognition of our efforts to serve our nation with joy and a commitment to excellence.”

About Advocates In Manpower Management (AIMM), Inc.

Established in 1994 as a media-consulting firm, AIMM, a minority veteran owned CVE and SBA certified small business, has developed into a video production and engineering service provider and a federal services contractor. We commit to supplying quality services to achieve our customers’ missions.

For more information please visit: www.aimmfed.com

AIMM Community Outreach – VIDEO

On March 23rd, AIMM supported a visit to the Nasa Kennedy Center with the Urban Youth Impact Academy.

The children learned about Earth and space science and had an opportunity for hands on training and the chance to imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut.

About Urban Youth Impact:

Through our programs, we seek to reverse troubling trends and fulfill our mission by offering programs designed to develop critical life-skills that result in less juvenile crime, fewer teen pregnancies, less substance abuse, less child abuse/domestic violence, and fewer school drop-outs.

The primary goal of The Leadership Academy (TLA) is to prepare the students it serves to succeed in life by providing academic assistance, character development and spiritual enrichment through the students’ formative years.
TLA serves up to 150 students in grades K-9 daily during the school year through tutoring, computer-based literacy learning, faith-based instruction, life-skills and character building lessons, mentoring relationships, performing arts, field trips, and recreation.

Deep Ocean Discovery Opens Up Possibility for Life Beyond Earth

In this artist’s concept, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on the moon generated by Ganymede’s magnetic fields. A saline ocean under the moon’s icy crust best explains shifting in the auroral belts measured by Hubble. Image Credit: NASA/ESA

In this artist’s concept, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on the moon generated by Ganymede’s magnetic fields. A saline ocean under the moon’s icy crust best explains shifting in the auroral belts measured by Hubble.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth’s surface.
Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search of life as we know it.

“This discovery marks a significant milestone, highlighting what only Hubble can accomplish,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “In its 25 years in orbit, Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our own solar system. A deep ocean under the icy crust of Ganymede opens up further exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth.”

Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and the only moon with its own magnetic field. The magnetic field causes aurorae, which are ribbons of glowing, hot electrified gas, in regions circling the north and south poles of the moon. Because Ganymede is close to Jupiter, it is also embedded in Jupiter’s magnetic field. When Jupiter’s magnetic field changes, the aurorae on Ganymede also change, “rocking” back and forth.

By watching the rocking motion of the two aurorae, scientists were able to determine that a large amount of saltwater exists beneath Ganymede’s crust affecting its magnetic field.

Read More: NASA’s Hubble Observations Suggest Underground Ocean on Jupiter’s Largest Moon

Hubble is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, 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:
http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

President Obama Recognizes Astronaut Scott Kelly

State Of The Union

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly stands as he is recognized by President Barack Obama, while First Lady Michelle Obama (lower left corner) and other guests applaud. The President recognized Kelly during the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2015. This March, Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will launch to the International Space Station and become the first crewmembers to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory for a year-long mission. While living on the International Space Station, Kelly, Kornienko and the rest of the crew will carry out hundreds of research experiments and work on cutting-edge technology development that will inspire students here at home in science, technology, engineering and math. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA Telescopes Find Clear Skies and Water Vapor on Exoplanet

A Neptune-size planet with a clear atmosphere is shown crossing in front of its star in this artist's depiction. Such crossings, or transits, are observed by telescopes like NASA's Hubble and Spitzer to glean information about planets' atmospheres. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

A Neptune-size planet with a clear atmosphere is shown crossing in front of its star in this artist’s depiction. Such crossings, or transits, are observed by telescopes like NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer to glean information about planets’ atmospheres.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers using data from three of NASA’s space telescopes — Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler — have discovered clear skies and steamy water vapor on a gaseous planet outside our solar system. The planet is about the size of Neptune, making it the smallest planet from which molecules of any kind have been detected.
“This discovery is a significant milepost on the road to eventually analyzing the atmospheric composition of smaller, rocky planets more like Earth,” said John Grunsfeld, assistant administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Such achievements are only possible today with the combined capabilities of these unique and powerful observatories.”
Clouds in a planet’s atmosphere can block the view to underlying molecules that reveal information about the planet’s composition and history. Finding clear skies on a Neptune-size planet is a good sign that smaller planets might have similarly good visibility.
“When astronomers go observing at night with telescopes, they say ‘clear skies’ to mean good luck,” said Jonathan Fraine of the University of Maryland, College Park, lead author of a new study appearing in Nature. “In this case, we found clear skies on a distant planet. That’s lucky for us because it means clouds didn’t block our view of water molecules.”
The planet, HAT-P-11b, is categorized as an exo-Neptune — a Neptune-sized planet that orbits the star HAT-P-11. It is located 120 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. This planet orbits closer to its star than does our Neptune, making one lap roughly every five days. It is a warm world thought to have a rocky core and gaseous atmosphere. Not much else was known about the composition of the planet, or other exo-Neptunes like it, until now.
Part of the challenge in analyzing the atmospheres of planets like this is their size. Larger Jupiter-like planets are easier to see because of their impressive girth and relatively inflated atmospheres. In fact, researchers already have detected water vapor in the atmospheres of those planets. The handful of smaller planets observed previously had proved more difficult to probe partially because they all appeared to be cloudy.
In the new study, astronomers set out to look at the atmosphere of HAT-P-11b, not knowing if its weather would call for clouds. They used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, and a technique called transmission spectroscopy, in which a planet is observed as it crosses in front of its parent star. Starlight filters through the rim of the planet’s atmosphere; if molecules like water vapor are present, they absorb some of the starlight, leaving distinct signatures in the light that reaches our telescopes.
Using this strategy, Hubble was able to detect water vapor in HAT-P-11b. But before the team could celebrate clear skies on the exo-Neptune, they had to show that starspots — cooler “freckles” on the face of stars — were not the real sources of water vapor. Cool starspots on the parent star can contain water vapor that might erroneously appear to be from the planet.
The team turned to Kepler and Spitzer. Kepler had been observing one patch of sky for years, and HAT-P-11b happens to lie in the field. Those visible-light data were combined with targeted Spitzer observations taken at infrared wavelengths. By comparing these observations, the astronomers figured out that the starspots were too hot to have any steam. It was at that point the team could celebrate detecting water vapor on a world unlike any in our solar system. This discovery indicates the planet did not have clouds blocking the view, a hopeful sign that more cloudless planets can be located and analyzed in the future.
“We think that exo-Neptunes may have diverse compositions, which reflect their formation histories,” said study co-author Heather Knutson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “Now with data like these, we can begin to piece together a narrative for the origin of these distant worlds.”
The results from all three telescopes demonstrate that HAT-P-11b is blanketed in water vapor, hydrogen gas and likely other yet-to-be-identified molecules. Theorists will be drawing up new models to explain the planet’s makeup and origins.
“We are working our way down the line, from hot Jupiters to exo-Neptunes,” said Drake Deming, a co-author of the study also from University of Maryland. “We want to expand our knowledge to a diverse range of exoplanets.”
The astronomers plan to examine more exo-Neptunes in the future, and hope to apply the same method to super-Earths — massive, rocky cousins to our home world with up to 10 times the mass. Although our solar system doesn’t have a super-Earth, NASA’s Kepler mission is finding them in droves around other stars. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2018, will search super-Earths for signs of water vapor and other molecules; however, finding signs of oceans and potentially habitable worlds is likely a ways off.
“The work we are doing now is important for future studies of super-Earths and even smaller planets, because we want to be able to pick out in advance the planets with clear atmospheres that will let us detect molecules,” said Knutson.
Once again, astronomers will be crossing their fingers for clear skies.

More information about Hubble, Kepler and Spitzer is online at:
http://www.nasa.gov

Rocket Launches Scheduled between August 12 and September 24 from Wallops

UPDATE: The scheduled launch of a Terrier-Lynx suborbital rocket for the Department of Defense Saturday, Aug. 16, from NASA’s launch range at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia has been postponed. The new launch date is 9 to 11:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Aug. 23.

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – Two Terrier-Lynx suborbital rockets are scheduled for launch between August 12 and September 24 for the Department of Defense from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The rockets will be launched on separate days. The second rocket is expected to be launched about two weeks after the first rocket. The launch windows are (all times are EDT):
11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. August 12/13
10:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. August 16/17
9:00 – 11:00 p.m. August 23
7:30 – 9:30 p.m. August 27
5:30 – 7:30 a.m. September 20
4:00 – 6:00 a.m. September 24
The rockets may be visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic region.

VISIBILITY MAP FOR THE TWO SURROUNDING ROCKET MISSIONS

At the request of DoD project managers, no real-time launch status updates will be available. The launches will not be shown live on the Internet nor will launch status updates be provided on social media once the countdown begins. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will not be open for viewing the launches.

Smartphone users can download the “What’s Up at Wallops” app, which contains information on the launches as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing.

The app is available for download at: http://go.nasa.gov/17veCYT.

NASA’s ‘Flying Saucer’ Test Flight Delayed Again

UPDATE:

Due to weather conditions, there will be no launch of the LDSD test vehicle on Wednesday, June 11. The next potential launch date is Saturday, June 14. Check back here and on our Twitter sites: @AIMMFED to get the latest updates on the mission. #321TechOff #LDSD

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NASA’S Flyng saucer ready for Launch – JUNE:

converted PNM fileNASA’s flying saucer-shaped test vehicle is ready to take to the skies from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, for its first engineering shakeout flight.

The first launch opportunity for the test vehicle is June 3, when the launch window opens at 8:30 a.m. HST. The test will be carried live on NASA TV and streamed on the Web. The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) will gather data about landing heavy payloads on Mars and other planetary surfaces.

“The agency is moving forward and getting ready for Mars as part of NASA’s Evolvable Mars campaign,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We fly, we learn, we fly again. We have two more vehicles in the works for next year.”

As NASA plans increasingly ambitious robotic missions to Mars, laying the groundwork for even more complex human science expeditions to come, accommodating extended stays for explorers on the Martian surface will require larger and heavier spacecraft.

The objective of the LDSD project is to see if the cutting-edge, rocket-powered test vehicle operates as it was designed — in near-space at high Mach numbers.

“After years of imagination, engineering and hard work, we soon will get to see our Keiki o ka honua, our ‘boy from Earth,’ show us its stuff,” said Mark Adler, project manager for the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “The success of this experimental test flight will be measured by the success of the test vehicle to launch and fly its flight profile as advertised. If our flying saucer hits its speed and altitude targets, it will be a great day.”

The way NASA’s saucer climbs to test altitude is almost as distinctive as the test vehicle itself.

“We use a helium balloon — that, when fully inflated, would fit snugly into Pasadena’s Rose Bowl — to lift our vehicle to 120,000 feet,” said Adler. “From there we drop it for about one and a half seconds. After that, it’s all about going higher and faster — and then it’s about putting on the brakes.”

A fraction of a second after dropping from the balloon, and a few feet below it, four small rocket motors will fire to spin up and gyroscopically stabilize the saucer. A half second later, a Star 48B long-nozzle, solid-fueled rocket engine will kick in with 17,500 pounds of thrust, sending the test vehicle to the edge of the stratosphere.

“Our goal is to get to an altitude and velocity which simulates the kind of environment one of our vehicles would encounter when it would fly in the Martian atmosphere,” said Ian Clark, principal investigator of the LDSD project at JPL. “We top out at about 180,000 feet and Mach 4. Then, as we slow down to Mach 3.8, we deploy the first of two new atmospheric braking systems.”

The project management team decided also to fly the two supersonic decelerator technologies that will be thoroughly tested during two LDSD flight tests next year.

If this year’s test vehicle flies as expected, the LDSD team may get a treasure-trove of data on how the 6-meter supersonic inflatable aerodynamic decelerator (SIAD-R) and the supersonic parachute operate a full year ahead of schedule.

The SIAD-R, essentially an inflatable doughnut that increases the vehicle’s size and, as a result, its drag, is deployed at about Mach 3.8. It will quickly slow the vehicle to Mach 2.5 where the parachute, the largest supersonic parachute ever flown, first hits the supersonic flow. About 45 minutes later, the saucer is expected to make a controlled landing onto the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii.

NASA TV will carry live images and commentary of LDSD engineering test. The test vehicle itself carries several onboard cameras. It is expected that video of selected portions of the test, including the rocket-powered ascent, will be downlinked during the commentary. Websites streaming live video of the test include:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

and

http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl2

 

 

SpaceX Launch of NASA Cargo to Space Station Set for Friday, Spacewalk Wednesday

SpaceX Prelaunch Image - courtesy of NASA

SpaceX Prelaunch Image – courtesy of NASA

NASA and SpaceX are targeting a 3:25 p.m. EDT launch on Friday, April 18, of SpaceX’s third cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 2:15 p.m.

The company’s April 14 launch to the orbiting laboratory was scrubbed due to a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Dragon spacecraft to the space station.

Dragon is carrying to the space station almost 5,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk tools — all to support the crew and more than 150 scientific investigations planned for Expeditions 39 and 40. If needed, another launch attempt will take place at 3:02 p.m. Saturday, April 19.

NASA Television coverage of Dragon’s arrival at the space station will begin at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, April 20. Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture the spacecraft at approximately 7 a.m. NASA’s Rick Mastracchio will support Wakata during the rendezvous. NASA Television coverage will resume at 9:30 a.m., as the Dragon is attached to the Earth-facing port of the space station’s Harmony module.

An April 18 launch will allow the space station program to plan for a spacewalk on Wednesday, April 23, to replace a failed multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM) relay system. The prime MDM, which is operating normally, and the failed backup computer provide commands to some space station systems, including the external cooling system, Solar Alpha Rotary joints and Mobile Transporter rail car.

A separate media advisory providing NASA TV coverage times for the April 23 spacewalk will be issued at a later date.

For the latest information on the SpaceX mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/spacex

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For the latest information on the International Space Station, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/station

NASA Announces 715 New Worlds

The artist concept depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet. The planets eclipse or transit their host star from the vantage point of the observer. This angle is called edge-on. Image Credit: NASA

The artist concept depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet. The planets eclipse or transit their host star from the vantage point of the observer. This angle is called edge-on.
Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.

“The Kepler team continues to amaze and excite us with their planet hunting results,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, portends a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds.”

Since the discovery of the first planets outside our solar system roughly two decades ago, verification has been a laborious planet-by-planet process. Now, scientists have a statistical technique that can be applied to many planets at once when they are found in systems that harbor more than one planet around the same star.

To verify this bounty of planets, a research team co-led by Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., analyzed stars with more than one potential planet, all of which were detected in the first two years of Kepler’s observations — May 2009 to March 2011.

The research team used a technique called verification by multiplicity, which relies in part on the logic of probability. Kepler observes 150,000 stars, and has found a few thousand of those to have planet candidates. If the candidates were randomly distributed among Kepler’s stars, only a handful would have more than one planet candidate. However, Kepler observed hundreds of stars that have multiple planet candidates. Through a careful study of this sample, these 715 new planets were verified.

This method can be likened to the behavior we know of lions and lionesses. In our imaginary savannah, the lions are the Kepler stars and the lionesses are the planet candidates. The lionesses would sometimes be observed grouped together whereas lions tend to roam on their own. If you see two lions it could be a lion and a lioness or it could be two lions. But if more than two large felines are gathered, then it is very likely to be a lion and his pride. Thus, through multiplicity the lioness can be reliably identified in much the same way multiple planet candidates can be found around the same star.

“Four years ago, Kepler began a string of announcements of first hundreds, then thousands, of planet candidates –but they were only candidate worlds,” said Lissauer. “We’ve now developed a process to verify multiple planet candidates in bulk to deliver planets wholesale, and have used it to unveil a veritable bonanza of new worlds.”

These multiple-planet systems are fertile grounds for studying individual planets and the configuration of planetary neighborhoods. This provides clues to planet formation.

Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for life-giving liquid water.

One of these new habitable zone planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star half the size and 5 percent as bright as our sun. Kepler-296f is twice the size of Earth, but scientists do not know whether the planet is a gaseous world, with a thick hydrogen-helium envelope, or it is a water world surrounded by a deep ocean.

“From this study we learn planets in these multi-systems are small and their orbits are flat and circular — resembling pancakes — not your classical view of an atom,” said Jason Rowe, research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., and co-leader of the research. “The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home.”

This latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1,700. As we continue to reach toward the stars, each discovery brings us one step closer to a more accurate understanding of our place in the galaxy.

Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Discoveries include more than 3,600 planet candidates, of which 961 have been verified as bona-fide worlds.

The findings papers will be published March 10 in The Astrophysical Journal and are available for download at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/digital-press-kit-kepler-planet-bonanza

Ames is responsible for the Kepler mission concept, ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

For more information about the Kepler space telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

Read More: http://www.nasa.gov