With the end of the space shuttle program in sight, NASA is shifting its focus on orbital access to the private sector and building a commercial infrastructure. The new initiative will focus on providing entry for humans into low earth orbit, and NASA will look to industry for solutions.
NASA has signed a contract modification increasing the not-to-exceed value of a support contract with L-3 Services of Fairfax, Virginia, by $49 million, bringing the total value of the contract to $98 million. The contract provides simulation and software technology support to Johnson Space Center's Software, Robotics and Simulation Division in the fields of design, development, testing and operations of intelligent systems, robotic systems, spacecraft flight software systems and real-time simulation systems.
General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies received a $40.7 million contract from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to build two additional 34-meter (112-foot wide) beam waveguide antennas as part of NASA's modernization and transformation plan to continue scientific studies of the Earth as well as explore distant bodies in the solar system. The new antennas will be located at the Deep Space Network facility in Canberra, Australia. Originally designed by JPL and built by General Dynamics, the antennas enable the Deep Space Network to communicate with existing flight missions such as the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spitzer Space telescope, Saturn explorer Cassini, as well as support future NASA space missions.
NASA, Washington, D.C., has appointed Michael J. Gazarik deputy chief technologist.
NASA has awarded a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Systems Engineering for In-Space Servicing. This 18-month contract has a value of $31 million. Lockheed Martin will provide systems and discipline engineering support to develop and execute two demonstrations to test and verify new robotic servicing capabilities using the Dextre robot aboard the International Space Station. The Canadian Space Agency's Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, is a two-armed robotic system designed to perform intricate maintenance and servicing tasks, which previously would have required spacewalks.
NASA recently awarded a 10-year, $2.5 billion contract to HP Enterprise Services of Herndon, Virginia, for Agency Consolidated End-user Services (ACES). The contract will be managed at the NASA Shared Services Center in Mississippi. The ACES contract will develop a long-term outsourcing arrangement with the commercial sector to provide and manage most of NASA's personal computing hardware, agency-standard software, mobile information technology (IT) services, peripherals and accessories, associated end-user services, and supporting infrastructure. HP Enterprise Services will provide, manage, secure and maintain these essential IT services for the agency.
NASA, Washington, D.C., has named Richard Keegan associate deputy administrator.
NASA, Washington, D.C., has named Waleed Abdalati chief scientist.
NASA selected DB Consulting Group Incorporated, Silver Spring, Maryland, to provide information technology, multimedia, information management and external relations support services at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The new Information Technology and Multimedia Services contract has a maximum value of $251 million. The company will provide services operation and maintenance of primary information technology services; graphics; library management; imagery acquisition, processing and cataloguing; television systems support for human spaceflight missions; public affairs services including creative content for NASA Television, live mission television, multimedia and the public Internet; and education program support.
NASA has awarded two sole-source contracts on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the common ground system and a scientific instrument on the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1). JPSS is the restructured civilian portion of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) that will make afternoon observations as it orbits Earth. The Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument contract is valued at approximately $314 million with a period of performance through September 2018.
NASA, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, recently awarded a $248 million sole-source contract for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) spacecraft to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, Boulder, Colorado. Ball will design, build and test the spacecraft; integrate government-furnished instruments; integrate the satellite with the launch vehicle; and support launch operations and on-orbit checkout. The spacecraft is a clone of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environment Satellite System Preparatory Project. JPSS-1 is expected to be ready for launch in 2014.
NASA, on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has awarded a $98 million contract to ITT Corporation of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) instrument planned for flight on the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) in 2014. JPSS is the restructured civilian portion of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System. This includes the satellites and sensors supporting civil weather and climate measurements and a shared ground infrastructure with the Department of Defense weather satellite system.
Throughout time, humans have explored their surroundings, crossing oceans and landmasses in pursuit of knowledge and glory. This thirst for knowledge also turned eyes skyward, causing the curious to try to understand the vastness of existence around the planet Earth. As technology advanced, the desire to venture into the cosmos became increasingly possible, until man walked on the moon and equipment traveled much farther away. Fortunately for those who are still on terra firma, gathering information about the universe is much easier than launching on a rocket ship. People can learn and discover more about deep space through adventures in cyberspace without the need for oxygen tanks or special suits.
NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio, has awarded a one-year contract option to ASRC Aerospace Corporation of Greenbelt, Maryland, for technical, engineering and scientific services in the areas of aeronautics, microgravity science, space exploration and related science and technology activities in support of Glenn's Lewis Field and Plum Brook Station, Sandusky, Ohio. The option has a value that will not exceed $50 million and increases the value of the contract to $260 million.
AeroTech Research Inc., has been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovative Research contract to develop a software toolset that quantifies the beneficial effects of equipping aircraft with improved weather avoidance technologies. The Advanced Weather Avoidance Requirements Evaluation software will allow airlines and avionics manufacturers to quantify costs and benefits of implementing technologies that reduce the impact that severe weather can have on aircraft operations.
PlantCML, an EADS North America company, recently received a five-year contract from NASA to provide the Communicator!NXT emergency notification system, which alerts employees, contractors and visitors via multiple communications devices, including landline telephones, cell phones, smartphones, pagers and emails of an emergency, such as fire, inclement weather, evacuations, security threats and building lockdowns.
Over the next two days, hackers from across the globe will team up on nearly every continent for the second Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) event aimed at finding solutions to real-world problems caused by natural disasters. It's a 48-hour marathon of competitive computer coding with the best and brightest developers in Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; Nairobi, Kenya; London; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
By Katherine Ackerman
Those of us on the East Coast are probably tired of looking at snow, but even if you're located elsewhere on the planet, you can download the NASA Images iPhone app for a variety of gorgeous sights. The free application gives the public access to NASA's audio, image and video collections in one searchable online resource. Users can search and browse images from nasaimages.org, view images with an interactive zoom feature, watch NASA programs and mission footage, and more.
U.S. Congress has approved full funding for the prelaunch processes to continue on the tri-agency Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite system, developed to help monitor for potentially disastrous sun storms. The funding ensures systems are a go for a January space launch. It is set to blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9, built by the private space technology company founded by Elon Musk.