Wednesday December 19, 2018
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NASA space camps to find astronauts for Mars journey

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Washington: NASA is organizing space camps for the young would-be astronauts this summer and the best ones may join the US space missions, including Mars.

Thousands of children will gather at the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) in Florida and the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, to learn what it takes to be an astronaut for deeper space missions, the Guardian reported.

The kids will have first-hand experience of constructing and launching model rockets made of paper tubes and PVC pipes and experiencing the pull of a microgravity simulator.

They will also be taught to plan and execute a mission on board a full-size space shuttle mock-up.

“Each activity is planned to bring out team-building and problem-solving skills among children,” the US space agency said.

“It is about allowing their natural curiosity to run its course and sowing the seeds that might eventually lead them into space,” it added.

“I’m going to be a computer engineer, helping to launch rockets to go deeper into space,” 11-year-old Colin Cox was quoted as saying.

“The kids believe they can be the next person in that spacecraft. We may not be launching people now, but by the time they’ve finished school, we’ll be there,” Kerri Lubeski, chief educator of Camp KSC, was quoted as saying.

The Space Launch System (SLS) from NASA will be the largest rocket ever built, with the aim of a manned mission to Mars by the 2030s.

Its first unmanned test flight is set for no later than November 2018.

(IANS)

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Rocket Lab is Set To Launch 10 NASA CubeSats

They will be placed in RailPODs aboard the Electron rocket that will ferry them to space

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Rocket Lab to launch 10 NASA CubeSats on Sunday. Pixabay

In its first mission for NASA, the American aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab is set to launch 10 small research satellites, or CubeSats, from New Zealand, the US space agency said.

Owing to bad weather, Rocket Lab was forced to postpone the earlier decided launch on December 12.

Rocket Lab is now targeting the ELaNa-19 launch on December 15 with a launch window opening at 11 p.m. EST from the company’s launch complex on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

The CubeSats were built by three NASA centres, seven universities, and a middle school under the NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites, or (ELaNa-19) mission.

ElaNa-19 is NASA’s first to be completely dedicated to launching CubeSats under the agency’s Venture Class Launch Services program for small-satellite launches.

More than 250 students have been involved in the design, development and construction of the CubeSats scheduled to be flown as payloads on Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket.

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Owing to bad weather, Rocket Lab was forced to postpone the earlier decided launch on December 12. Flickr

“The major difference between today’s launch and previous #ELaNa missions is that for the first time, NASA will have a launch completely dedicated to CubeSats rather than having the small satellites ride along with a much larger spacecraft that is the primary mission,” NASA Launch Services Program officials wrote on Twitter on December 12.

The 10 CubeSats are named as CubeSail, CeREs, NMTSat, CHOMPTT, ALBus, STF-1, ISX, RSat, Shields-1 and DaVinci, NASA said.

These are built to standard dimensions of one unit (1U), and can be 1U, 2U, 3U or 6U in size. They generally weigh less than 1.33 kg per U — 6U may be up to 12 kg.

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They will be placed in RailPODs aboard the Electron rocket that will ferry them to space.

After the main payload deploys, the CubeSats will separate from their RailPODs. After 45 minutes in orbit, the CubeSat transmitters will turn on and university ground stations will listen for their beacons, determine their small satellites’ functionality and announce operational status.

CubeSat mission durations and orbital life vary but are anticipated to last at least three years. Upon mission completion, the CubeSats fall to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere, NASA noted. (IANS)