Tag Archives: NASA

Burbank Library Program Looks At New Orion Deep Space Vessel

NASA plans to put people on Mars in the 2030s with the Orion deep space vessel and Lockheed Martin Orion Integration Engineer Chris Nie will talk about the first missions of the Orion spacecraft, planned for 2019, at the Buena Vista branch of the Burbank Public Library on Wednesday, September 12.

“The talk will focus on giving a background of the major systems of the Orion spacecraft including its Launch Abort System, Crew Module and Service Module, as well as the first two missions for NASA’s human spaceflight architecture, subsequently called Exploration Mission-1 (an uncrewed test flight of the Orion spacecraft) and Exploration Mission-2 (the first crewed mission of Orion and will take humans farther from Earth than ever before),” explained Nie.


Orion display at the Buena Vista branch of the Burbank Public Libary. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Public Library)

“The aspect of the program I contribute to is the Environmental Control and Life Support Subsystem (or ECLSS for short) which is responsible for providing a livable environment for the crew in space and to keep them happy and healthy during their mission.”

“Designed to navigate, communicate and operate in a deep space environment, Orion will travel thousands of miles beyond the Moon, farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown,” commented Burbank Librarian Hubert Kozak. “It will eventually be used to return humans to the moon where an orbiting space platform will be built for the launch of future missions to Mars.”

“I wanted to do this event because Lockheed was such an important part of this community for so many years,” added Kozak. “There are many people still living in Burbank who were a part of building this company – who are a part of its tradition of innovation and technological achievement – and I thought they might like to see what the company they helped to build (now Lockheed Martin) is doing now. And it’s pretty exciting. Orion is central to the future of human space flight.”


Orion. (Image Courtesy NASA/Lockheed Martin)

“Chris is a young engineer who is doing this program for us because he is interested in inspiring youth to pursue careers in science and engineering. We hope to have a lot of students in our audience for this event.”

“The Orion program is incredibly exciting to work on for two main reasons; the folks I work with at NASA and Lockheed Martin are phenomenally talented and continuously provide me with challenges and opportunities to grow as an engineer, and secondly because nothing is more exciting to me than pushing the boundaries of the exploration of our solar system,” said Nie.

A graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering and a focus in Bioastronautics, Nie has been named one of Aviation Week’s Twenty20s as a rising leader in Aerospace and Defense. For his work in STEM outreach, he has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award several times.


(Graphic Courtesy Burbank Public Library)

“I am very grateful to Hubert Kozak and the Burbank Library for giving us the opportunity to share our excitement and passion for the Orion program and human spaceflight,” he also said. “One of my favorite things about working in the space exploration field is that it has the power to bring people from all backgrounds together, this includes the public.”

“It is not just four crew members that will orbit the moon on Exploration Mission-2, the public is, and will be, a part of the mission.”

More information on the Orion deep space program can be found on NASA’s website here. The free presentation at the Burbank Public Library begins at 7:00 p.m. Plenty of free parking is available at the library, which is located at 300 N. Buena Vista Street.


The Marshall Space Flight Center loaned a model of the SLS (Space Launch System), the big rocket that will put Orion into space. It’s part of the display at the Buena Vista branch of the Burbank Public Libary. (Photo Courtesy Burbank Public Library)

Dr. Mae Jemison, First African American Woman In Space, Speaks Sunday

In honor of Black History Month, the first African-American woman in space, Dr. Mae Jemison, speaks Sunday evening, February 1, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park’s Hall of Liberty. The free talk, Find Where the Wind Goes, touches on Jemison’s autobiography of the same name.

Jemison will talk about challenges she faced growing up on the south side of Chicago, as a 16-year-old freshman at Stanford University, life as a Peace Corps Medical Officer in Africa and her now historic flight as Science Mission Specialist on the Endeavour in 1992.

Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American woman in space, served as Science Mission Specialist on the Endeavour in 1992. (Photo Courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American woman in space, served as Science Mission Specialist on the Endeavour in 1992. (Photo Courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

Jemison heads The Jemison Group, a science and technology consulting firm, and is the principal of the 100 Year Starship organization. Through the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, she holds annual summer science camps in Los Angeles for thousands of middle school aged children from the L.A. area.

“One of the things I’m very interested in, is how do we get more people involved in understanding they can determine where this world goes,” commented Jemison via phone from her office in Houston, Texas. “Right now we’re sort of in this malaise sometimes, where we as individuals may not believe we have an impact on the world, and yet, we do. Our impact can be in small ways and sometimes in large ways.”

The name of the 100 Year Starship proposal that won a recent Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant points to the goals of the organization: An Inclusive, Audacious Journey Transforms Life Here On Earth And Beyond. The 100 Year Starship works to develop technologies and knowledge to allow human travel beyond our solar system in the next 100 years.

“The idea behind it is, as we think forward, as we start pushing into places that we don’t actually have the answers for, that can actually be very beneficial to life right now,” explained Jemison. “We as adults impact what our children aspire to and what they see. Children can’t make us invest in the future, that’s something as adults we have to see why we want to invest in the future.”

Dr. Mae Jemison, Science Mission Specialist, aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. (Photo Courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

Dr. Mae Jemison, Science Mission Specialist, aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. (Photo Courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration)

The goal of human space travel has the benefit of providing “the perspective of a global ambition as a society, a global ambition that may help us get beyond the problems we have here.”

Astronomy is something every group of people around the world have been involved with, she added.

“All the capabilities that are required to get to another star are the same capabilities that are required for us to survive as a species on this planet,” Jemison continued. “You have to think about energy very differently than we do now. You can’t think about chemical fuel but we have to do fuel safely and you have to control it and store it.”

“We have to think about sustainability – you can’t stop off at the grocery store along the way. How do you renew and refresh your oxygen, your equipment? We have to learn about optimizing human health as well.”

“Those things are really important if you’re going to look at life here on earth,” Jemison said. This whole issue about energy with [fossil fuels] – it’s not going to last and we’re fouling our environment with it. So we have to think of another energy source. We have to figure out ways to manage waste.”

“Pushing for capabilities of going someplace else makes us stop and handle it in this microcosm.”

Jemison also discussed human behavior in relation to the 100 Year Starship program. “How do we do something that is that bold and that big? As humans we have to learn how to work together… how do we get people to interact with each other on the starship and what would be some of the work we could do?”

Dr. Mae Jemison heads the 100 Year Starship organization, dedicated to space travel beyond our solar system by 2110. (Photo Courtesy of the Harry Walker Agency.

Dr. Mae Jemison heads the 100 Year Starship organization, dedicated to space travel beyond our solar system by 2110. (Photo Courtesy of the Harry Walker Agency.

Jemison will also talk about space exploration as inclusive of all genders and ethnicities and across academic and practical disciplines. She mentioned the challenge for people in engineering, science and technology fields to see young women and people of color coming in to these fields as colleagues.

“It’s better than it was in some ways because the images are there and we talk about it more, ” she said. “But, in some fields there has not been much progress made. Engineering still hangs around 20-25%.”

“Girls do as well as, or actually better than boys, all the way through high school. There was a study done by Bayer corporation, who I do a lot of work with, where they asked college professors who were the best people suited and prepared to get a degree in engineering or their discipline and they said the women students were.”

“Women students drop out in higher numbers and they were okay with that,” Jemison went on to note. “So that says there’s some more we have to do. I think we’re up to the task, because we can put that into the conversation more.”

Jemison pointed to the progress made at Harvey Mudd College with the arrival of renowned mathematician Maria Klawe as college president in 2006. Since Klawe’s arrival, the number of women graduating with science degrees has tripled.

“By making it a concerted effort, by thinking about how you change the environment in which the young women arrive as well as their interactions with the professors and other folks,” growth for women in science fields is possible, Jemison said.

“We also need to change how we think about these careers. Usually we think about four-year degrees. But what about two-year degrees, what about being an electrician?” mused Jemison. “It’s high school math and a little geometry and girls do pretty well in that but we don’t become electricians. And being an electrician makes a lot of money. How do we change that image?”

Image Courtesy of Forest Lawn Memorial Park

Image Courtesy of Forest Lawn Memorial Park

“We have to acknowledge some of the shortcomings: what do we show girls is important these days? There’s more emphasis placed on looks… and that’s adults. It’s adults who are putting that stuff up, who are producing the programs and the shows that emphasize [surface over substance.]”

“Not only can we change things but we need to acknowledge that we are the ones who are responsible for those images right now.”

Jemison’s love and learning of dance has continued through her 58 years. When she was younger, she wanted to be a dancer. She has even built a dance studio at her home.

“There are so many times we’re given these ideas that we can only be one thing,” she said, talking about dance and creative outlets. “It’s almost impossible to just be one thing. Life is not as full or as interesting without it.”

“It doesn’t mean that you don’t have to buckle down or make a choice between two things, because you might not be able to do both at the same time, but you can still have parts of them. They can be part of your life.”

Sunday, Jemison will share her personal experiences serving as Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia and working with a Cambodian refugee camp and the Flying Doctors of East Africa. Jemison earned engineering and African and Afro-American studies degrees from Stanford and a medical degree from Cornell University.

Jemison completed her medical internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center. She worked as a general practice doctor in Los Angeles and took graduate engineering courses until she was selected for the astronaut program.

By 1983, NASA began a shift towards inclusion with the Space Shuttle program that carried into space the first American woman, Sally Ride, and the first African-American man, Guion Bluford. Aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour in September 1992, Jemison served as Science Mission Specialist for cooperative study between the United States and Japan, focusing on life science and materials-processing experiments. Space Shuttle Endeavour resides at the California Science Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

“We know it’s Super Bowl Sunday but please come out after the Super Bowl,” said Jemison. “I ask people to join me on this adventure of the 100 Year Starship and join me in this discussion of where we want the world to go.”

Jemison’s talk begins at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, February 1, at Forest Lawn’s Hall of Liberty located at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90068. Admission and parking are free.

Shuttle Endeavour Burbank Flyover is Once in a Lifetime Event to Witness

Did you see it? When the NASA 747 banked left over the Burbank Media District on its approach to Universal Studios, life in Burbank came to a sudden halt for a few seconds as people of all ages looked to the sky to see one of the great man made events of the 21st century. Some in the area who also saw the Queen Mary sail into Long Beach for the last time said that it did not compare to the American history that circled overhead. BurbankNBeyond took a couple of pictures and if any readers have a photo they would like to share email it to endeavour@Burbanknbeyond.com and we will be glad to post it for you.

Endeavour banks to the left as it flies over Burbank on its way to Universal Studios. (Photo By Craig Sherwood)

Photo By Craig Sherwood

Rep. Adam Schiff on NASA and Innovation

On 28 February Burbank N Beyond’s John Savageau had the opportunity to interview Representative Adam Schiff from the 29th District, encompassing Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and surrounding areas, in his Washington D.C. office.  This is the third article in a series highlighting activities and topics of interest to Burbank.

BurbankNBeyond:  If we are cutting our budget for NASA, and the innovation not just to go to Mars and beyond, but the innovation and technology that’s generated through that type of research and development, what’s next?  Do we privatize NASA?  Do we make it a commercial company, do we continue to try and fund it (NASA) as a government entity…  How do we continue as the United States to be as innovative as NASA has allowed us to be over the last several decades?

Rep. Schiff:  I think we have to continue to have a strong NASA.  As a very large public component it has a role for the private sector as well, which it (private sector) has always had a role.

My chief concern right now is not with the overall NASA budget, which is pretty good considering the times, but with how we’ve balanced the portfolio within the NASA  budget. And the enormous cuts to planetary science.

This is one of the most exciting areas of NASA’s work.  Exploring the solar system, and beyond the solar system, looking for signs of life elsewhere.  We’ve found solid evidence of water on Mars, large bodies of water in the past, and we’re tantalizingly close to finding the building blocks of life elsewhere, and answering some of the most profound questions we have about the universe and our place in it.

And it would be catastrophic to step back from that and to decide that this was beyond our capability, or beyond our will.  We are the unparalleled leader in planetary science, we are the only country to land an object on Mars that survived, and those are the people who are our neighbors working at the Jet Propulsion Lab.

So we’re fighting to restore funding for those efforts that pay so many dividends.  Not just in our understanding of the universe, but also here on the ground.

I met with a planetary scientist just today (28 Feb 2012)  who was telling me that thanks to NASA he is able to function, whereas 15 or 20 years ago, as result of having multiple seizures every day he was incapable of functioning.  But because of technologies developed through NASA,  laser technology,micro-surgical capacities, that he was able to have essentially brain surgery that cured his seizures and made him a fully functional contributor to society.

This is just one very graphic example of the dividends that we’ve had from the space program.  These incredible developments in lasers, in GPS technology,  and that has meant enormous economic dividends to the country.

So this is I think, not only an economic imperative, but also an area where we enjoy the respect of the entire world.  They watch what we do, they marvel at what we do, and that is not something we should walk away from lightly.

BurbankNBeyond:  With (legislation) like the INVEST Act, where we try to retain foreign students from CalTech, or Stanford, or from wherever it may be, do they (immigrants and foreign students) supplement our ability to accomplish those objectives that you’re talking about with NASA?  Do we have a shortfall or deficit in that intellectual capacity within our own country that we have to supplement with foreign students who are hungry?

Rep. Schiff:  It’s not that we have a deficit in the sense that our universities are producing brilliant scientists and engineers .  We just don’t have enough of them.  And in the kind of skill-based economy that we need, we need, we need to graduate more people in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering .

So just from a pure numbers point of view, China is graduating more than we are .  And eventually that catches up to you.

But more than that, we have been fortunate that some of the best and the brightest from other countries come here, and we’re able to add their talents to our own.

One of the things that’s so fascinating to see at the Jet Propulsion Lab where they have a glass booth where you can watch some of the pivotal events , like when one of the rovers lands on the surface and  you get to see the excitement and the tension as this multi-year, often very expensive project  either lands and succeeds, or crashes and burns.

You look down at that Mission Control, and what you see is the head of the lab itself, who is an American of Lebanese origin, you see the head of the Mars program who is an American of Iranian origin, you see people controlling the Rover – you know who are of Chinese descent , or people from all over the United States , and it’s like the Olympics of intellect , and we want to keep that collaboration going.

One of the concerns I have about JPL, if we lose the talent over there, and we decide that these flagship missions we’re poised to do, to go to Mars , collect a sample and bring it back.  If we decide we’re not going to do them now it may be decades before we can reassemble the talent to go back.

When you look at how we’re going to have to start all over again… Who could have imagined in the 70s that it would be decades before we’d even be in a position to go back to the moon?  And I’m concerned if we leave Mars now we may not go back for a long, long time.

Schiff Speaks Out About Potential Cuts to NASA

For more than half a century, America’s space program has captivated the world’s imagination while expanding the frontiers of knowledge and engineering. As we face the first prolonged gap since the 1970s in our ability to launch humans into space, heightened attention will be focused on space science, and especially planetary science, which has delivered a series of dazzling missions that have begun to yield answers to profound questions about our place in the cosmos.

NASA science has succeeded when it has maintained a balanced portfolio committed to strong partnerships with universities and its national centers and laboratories — allowing each discipline to plan missions and nurturing successive generations of scientists. The space spectaculars of the past 15 years were the result of two decades of investment.

President Barack Obama’s proposed NASA budget would dramatically cut funding for planetary science, and with it, groundbreaking missions to Mars and outer planetary bodies like Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa. Congress committed our nation to carry out these missions by including a provision in last year’s appropriations bill requiring NASA to fund and fly the top priority missions recommended by the National Academy of Sciences’ decadal survey, which has always been a roadmap for NASA’s planetary program.

This nation must set priorities and make difficult choices if we are to maintain our scientific leadership in an age of fiscal austerity. But even as we struggle to set America on a more fiscally responsible path, we must invest in those scientific and technological endeavors that promise the greatest return. America’s unique expertise in designing and flying deep-space missions is a priceless asset. NASA’s missions to our planetary neighbors have always provided an enormous return on investment by advancing modern technical marvels like digital photography, cellular communications and advanced robotics. The technologies required for these missions help keep America on the leading edge of innovation. Investments in planetary programs preserve and expand the nation’s unique skills in entry, descent and landing on another planet, a vital precursor to NASA’s long-term strategy of sending astronauts out into the solar system.

The president’s 2013 budget makes important investments in cutting-edge space technologies that will fund important missions such as the James Webb Space Telescope and new launch systems for our manned space program. But without congressional action, the administration’s cuts to planetary science would devastate America’s planetary program.

The robotic Mars program, one of our nation’s science jewels, faces the most severe cuts, including a rover mission to Mars in 2018 identified as the highest priority in planetary science in the most recent decadal survey. This would be a tragic loss for a program that has made major scientific discoveries and captured the interest of people around the world. In the three days after the Mars Spirit rover landed in 2004, the mission’s website received nearly 1 billion hits. NASA still operates Spirit’s twin, Opportunity, almost eight years beyond its expected lifetime, and is preparing for the landing of the most ambitious surface explorer ever sent to another planet — the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity, which is due to touch down on Aug. 6.

Another of the decadal survey’s top priorities is a mission to Europa, which is thought to have saltwater oceans 10 times deeper and far larger than Earth’s. Europa’s icy crust also shows evidence of volcanic hot spots on the sea bed created by tidal flexing as the moon orbits in Jupiter’s immense gravity field. A huge saltwater ocean that has been oxygenated for eons combined with endless heat sources on the sea bed create ideal conditions for life forms like those we have discovered near undersea volcanic vents at the mid-ocean ridges here on Earth. Congress must prevent this vital mission from being shelved.

The excitement of these missions to Mars and Europa will motivate a new generation of American students to choose technical careers — essential to the nation’s economic well-being and our national security. As the Congress and the president work to resolve our budgetary challenges, we cannot forget that today’s decisions will have consequences far beyond the Mars and Europa missions. If the nation’s young people are not attracted to science and technology, NASA’s overall capabilities will be severely diminished and our competitiveness undermined. The administration’s proposal would compromise a program painstakingly built up over decades and jeopardize a work force that, once dissolved, would be difficult, if not impossible, to reconstitute.

Slashing NASA’s budget for exploring the solar system would be a serious mistake that would threaten our nation’s hard-won and long-held leadership role, and would come at a terrible time, now that China and other nations are rising to challenge American primacy in space. Meeting that test is good for science and good for America; by exploring other worlds, we remain competitive on our own.

U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.

NASA Project Sets Framework For Improved Capacity And Efficiency At Bob Hope Airport

Sensis Corporation was selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) Super Density Operations Airspace Design (SDOAD) project. Sensis will develop airspace definitions, including procedures and routes, which will enable NASA to more effectively and accurately research NextGen concepts to increase capacity at high volume, complex airports and surrounding airspaces.

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