Monday, October 31, 2011

NASA forces Apollo astronaut to give back space camera

Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell has reluctantly given back the space camera he brought home from his 1971 Apollo 14 moon mission, rather than face a federal lawsuit over its ownership.

The 81-year-old argued the data acquisition camera was a gift from NASA, and earlier this year - four decades after taking it to space - he tried to auction it through the British firm Bonhams.

NASA says the camera is U.S. government property and sued Mr Mitchell to get it back after learning in March the device was up for sale.

In papers filed Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami stated Mr Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, will 'relinquish all claims of ownership, legal title, or dominion' of the 16mm motion picture camera.

Mr Mitchell agreed to allow Bonhams' New York auction house, where the camera was consigned for sale last June, to release the artifact to the government. Bonhams had estimated the camera's value at $60,000 to $80,000.

Once returned to NASA, the space agency will pass it on to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington for display within 60 days.

Both sides will pay their own legal expenses. A judge was expected to sign off on the settlement in the coming days.

Mitchell’s attorney Armen R. Vartian said his client decided the settlement was the best way to resolve a conflict with NASA.

'I think both sides saw the lawsuit as something that should not continue,' he added.

Mr Mitchell is one of 12 humans to have walked on the moon. He later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The data acquisition cameras (DAC), measuring six inches, by four inches by two inches, were taken into space to record engineering data and lunar surface imagery.

This particular camera was one of two that went to the moon's surface on the Apollo 14 mission, which Mr Mitchell piloted. It shot the final five minutes of the lunar module, named Antares, landing on the moon.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Delta II Poised to Launch NPP

A technological trailblazer is poised to lift off from a California launch pad to take a place in space to show us what is happening on Earth. Known as the NPP, for National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project, the two-ton spacecraft is destined for an orbit 512 miles above the planet where it will be able to see every part of the Earth.

Because it is going into a polar orbit crossing both the north and south poles while the world spins beneath it, the NPP mission will launch from NASA's Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

NPP has two goals, according to James Gleason, NPP project scientist.

"One is to get the data for the weather forecasts, environmental observations and take a whole suite of observations that continue our satellite data records which span from measuring aerosols, you know, dust particles in the atmosphere, how have they changed over the past decade?," Gleason said. "Is the ground greener or browner over time? Has the sea surface temperature changed? Has the ozone changed? These are all data sets that we have that we have multi-decades sets of data sets and we just want to keep adding to that so we can answer the question, is the climate changing?"

Members of NASA's Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, have been working at Vandenberg to get the spacecraft ready to launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket.

"We began build-up of the vehicle in July of this year, erecting first stage, the nine solid rocket motors, the second stage, putting the payload fairing into the mobile service tower," NASA Launch Director Tim Dunn said.

Once in orbit, the NPP spacecraft is to scan the world with five instruments that track their development through the sensors used on previous Earth-observation missions.

"NPP is a continuation of the earth orbiting satellite systems," Gleason said. "For weather forecasting and for climate predictions, you need to have continuous observations. So what NPP does is continue the data record started by the NASA EOS satellites and improves on the instruments that are used for numerical weather forecasting from the current series of NOAA satellites."

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Storm forces NASA to call off underwater simulation

NASA evacuated astronauts and scientists participating in an underwater space simulation in the Florida Keys over concerns about Hurricane Rina, officials said on Wednesday.

Six astronauts and scientists participating in the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, program left the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory after five days.

The start of the 15th NEEMO mission had been delayed by another storm in the area.

NASA said it will not reschedule the simulation, which was slated to last 13 days off the coast of Key Largo. The goals of the mission were to practice operations and test tools being developed for a future planned human mission to an asteroid.

Rina, a surprising late addition to the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, was headed toward Mexico's Yucatan peninsula but losing strength on Wednesday.

Computer models forecast Rina, the sixth hurricane of the Atlantic season, will weaken into a tropical storm and move over western Cuba, potentially bringing strong winds and heavy rains to southern Florida and the Keys.

Participants in the NEEMO mission included NASA astronaut Shannon Walker, Japan's Takuya Onishi and Canada's David Saint-Jacques and scientists Steven Squyres with Cornell University and James Talacek and Nate Bender with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

The NEEMO crew conducted six underwater spacewalks and one day of scientific research. They also used a deep-water submersible to simulate robotic exploration of an asteroid.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

NASA postpones climate satellite launch to Oct 28

WASHINGTON — NASA on Wednesday set October 28 for its planned launch of a satellite to help weather forecasters predict extreme storms and offer scientists a better view of climate change.

The 1.5 billion dollar National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) is the first to measure both short and long term changes in weather and climate, the US space agency said.

The launch, initially set for October 27, "has been retargeted for Oct 28," NASA said in a message on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

The satellite will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California between 5:48 am Eastern time (0948 GMT) and 5:57 am (0957 GMT).

The SUV-sized satellite will carry five instruments to study temperature and water in the atmosphere, how clouds and aerosols affect temperature, and how plants on land and in the ocean respond to environmental changes.

"This is really the first mission that is designed to provide observations for both weather forecasters and climate researchers," Jim Gleason, NPP project scientist, told reporters earlier this month.

"NPP's observations will help scientists better predict the future environment and these prediction are incredibly valuable for economic, security and humanitarian reasons."

The satellite is one of 14 Earth observation missions currently being managed by NASA. Project managers said they hope it will operate for about five years.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NASA Continues Critical Survey of Antarctica's Changing Ice

WASHINGTON -- Scientists with NASA's Operation IceBridge airborne research campaign began the mission's third year of surveys this week over the changing ice of Antarctica.

Researchers are flying a suite of scientific instruments on two planes from a base of operations in Punta Arenas, Chile: a DC-8 operated by NASA and a Gulfstream V (G-V) operated by the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The G-V will fly through early November. The DC-8, which completed its first science flight Oct. 12, will fly through mid-November.

Ninety-eight percent of Antarctica is covered in ice. Scientists are concerned about how quickly key features are thinning, such as Pine Island Glacier, which rests on bedrock below sea level. Better understanding this type of change is crucial to projecting impacts like sea-level rise.

"With a third year of data-gathering underway, we are starting to build our own record of change," said Michael Studinger, IceBridge project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "With IceBridge, our aim is to understand what the world's major ice sheets could contribute to sea-level rise. To understand that you have to record how ice sheets and glaciers are changing over time."

IceBridge science flights put a variety of remote-sensing instruments above Antarctica's land and sea ice, and in some regions, above the ocean floor. The G-V carries one instrument: a laser-ranging topography mapper. The DC-8 carries seven instruments, including a laser altimeter to continue the crucial ice sheet elevation record begun by the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) mission, which ended in 2009. The flying laboratory also will carry radars that can distinguish how much snow sits on top of sea ice and map the terrain of bedrock below thick ice cover.

While scientists in recent years have produced newer, more detailed data about the ice sheet's surface, the topography of the rocky surface beneath the ice sheet remains unknown in many places. Without knowing the topography of the bedrock, it is impossible to know exactly how much ice sits on top of Antarctica.

A gravimeter aboard the DC-8 will detect subtle differences in gravity to map the ocean floor beneath floating ice shelves. Data on bathymetry, or ocean depth, and ocean circulation from previous IceBridge campaigns are helping explain why some glaciers are changing so quickly.

Flights take off from Punta Arenas and cross the Southern Ocean to reach destinations including West Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula and coastal areas. Each lasts 10 to 11 hours.

Monday, October 17, 2011

NASA Books A Virgin Flight On Virgin Galactic

The space shuttle program is retired, and so NASA has engaged the services of Sir Richard Branson's private venture, Virgin Galactic, to service rides to the edge of space. Virgin Galactic announced that the agreement includes NASA to charter a full flight from the company, and it includes options for two additional flights. If all the options are used the value of the contract is $4.5 million, providing opportunities for engineers, technologists and scientific researchers to conduct experiments in suborbital space.

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS, says each mission allows for up to 1,300 pounds of scientific experiments. The research flights mark an important milestone for Virgin Galactic, and has collected more than $58 million in deposits from 455 future tourist astronauts — providing access to space to researchers is viewed by Virgin Galactic as a significant business opportunity.

"Each mission allows for up to 1,300 pounds of scientific experiments, which could enable up to 600 experimental payloads per flight," the company said in a release. "Providing access to space to researchers and their experiments is viewed by Virgin Galactic as both a future mission segment and a significant business opportunity." Based on the Ansari X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne, SpaceShipTwo is 60 feet long and can carry six passengers and two pilots.

Based on the Ansari X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne, SpaceShipTwo is 60 feet long and can carry six passengers and two pilots, and launches from a mothership, WhiteKnightTwo, at around 50,000 feet.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

NASA's Dawn Science Team Presents Early Science Results

Scientists with NASA's Dawn mission are sharing with other scientists and the public their early information about the southern hemisphere of the giant asteroid Vesta. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Minneapolis, Minn. 

Dawn, which has been orbiting Vesta since mid-July, has found that the asteroid's southern hemisphere boasts one of the largest mountains in the solar system. Other findings show that Vesta's surface, viewed by Dawn at different wavelengths, has striking diversity in its composition, particularly around craters. Science findings also include an in-depth analysis of a set of equatorial troughs on Vesta and a closer look at the object's intriguing craters. The surface appears to be much rougher than most asteroids in the main asteroid belt. In addition, preliminary dates from a method that uses the number of craters indicate that areas in the southern hemisphere are as young as 1 billion to 2 billion years old, much younger than areas in the north.

Scientists do not yet understand how all the features on Vesta's surface formed, but they did announce today, after analysis of northern and southern troughs, that results are consistent with models of fracture formation due to giant impact.

Since July, the Dawn spacecraft has been spiraling closer and closer to Vesta, moving in to get better and better views of the surface. In early August, the spacecraft reached an orbital altitude of 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) and mapped most of the sunlit surface, during survey orbit, with its framing camera and visible and infrared mapping spectrometer.

That phase was completed in late August, and the spacecraft began moving in to what is known as High Altitude Mapping Orbit at about 420 miles (680 kilometers) above Vesta, which it reached on Sept. 29.

An archive of the live news conference is available for viewing at: .

The Dawn scientists also shared their findings at the recent European Planetary Science Congress and the Division of Planetary Sciences Joint Meeting 2011 in Nantes, France.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

NASA to Launch New Satellite to Track Earth's Weather, Climate

A new NASA satellite that will be the first geared at observing key aspects of both Earth's climate and its weather is slated for launch on Oct. 27, the space agency announced today. The National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) is the first mission designed to collect critical data to improve weather forecasts in the short-term and increase our understanding of long-term climate change.

NPP's five science instruments, including four new state-of-the-art sensors, will provide scientists with data to extend more than 30 key data records that have been kept for decades by a cadre of Earth-observing satellites. These records, which range from the ozone layer and land cover to atmospheric temperatures and ice cover, are critical for understanding and predicting changes in global climate.

"NPP's observations of a wide range of interconnected Earth properties and processes will give us the big picture of how our planet changes," said Jim Gleason, NPP project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"That will help us improve our computer models that predict future environmental conditions," Gleason added. "Better predictions will let us make better decisions, whether it is as simple as taking an umbrella to work today or as complex as responding to a changing climate."

Meteorologists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will incorporate NPP data into their weather prediction models to produce forecasts and warnings that will help emergency responders anticipate, monitor and react to many types of natural disasters.

"The timing of the NPP launch could hardly be more appropriate," said Louis W. Uccellini, director of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Camp Springs, Md. "With the many billion dollar weather disasters in 2011, NPP data is critical for accurate weather forecasts into the future."

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another satellite set to crash back to Earth

Well, you may have been lucky last time, but there's another satellite heading back to Earth, and this time it's much more likely that it'll land on your head.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) plunged safely into the south Pacific Ocean, six years after completing its mission.

And, now, a German research satellite called ROSAT is set to make a similar return to Earth in the next two or three weeks. It's an X-ray telescope weighing nearly three tons, that's been orbiting since 1990.

However, communication was lost in 1999, and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has lost control. There were suggestions at the time that the satellite's failure was triggered by a hacking attack from Russia.

ROSAT's now orbiting at around 270km above the Earth, descending slowly.

It's unlikely to burn up entirely on re-entry, because of the large amount of ceramics and glass used in construction - and this could mean that many pieces of debris would be razor-sharp.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Smallest Full Moon of 2011 Occurs Tuesday

In my more than 40 years as an amateur astronomer, I've given countless numbers of people views of a variety of celestial objects through telescopes. And most people usually will tell me that the first object in the sky that attracted their attention as youngsters was the ever-changing moon.

Many may recall the attention given to our nearest neighbor in space in March when that months' full moon very nearly coincided with the lunar perigee — the point in the moon's orbit in which it is nearest to Earth. At a distance of 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers), some media outlets even christened it the "Supermoon" of 2011 because of its unusual closeness.

But on Tuesday night (Oct. 11) we will have the astronomical opposite of a supermoon. At 10:06 p.m. EDT (0206 GMT), the moon will officially turn full, but it will be the smallest full moon of 2011.

The sky map of the smallest full moon of the year shows where it will appear on Tuesday night when it reaches its full phase.

Less than 10 hours after the October full moon peaks, at 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) on Wednesday, the moon will arrive at the apogee of its orbit (the farthest point from Earth each month), which in October is a distance of 252,546 miles (406,434 km). That's only 154 miles (248 km) shy of the moon's absolute farthest point from Earth it can reach.

A puny full moon
Looking at the moon during Tuesday night, perhaps you will be struck by the noticeably small size of the moon's disk, even when it's near the horizon (which is supposed to make it appear larger as a result of the familiar "moon illusion" effect).

Last March, when the full moon was at perigee, some reported it as looking absolutely enormous as it emerged from above the eastern horizon. Not so on Tuesday, however, because the moon will very close to apogee, making this the smallest full moon of 2011.

By coincidence, October's full moon comes just days after the second annual International Observe the Moon Night on Oct. 8, in which skywatchers participated in hundreds of lunar observing events at skywatching parties around the world.

In fact, it will appear 12.3 percent smaller than the so-called supermoon of March 2011.

And because it is near its maximum distance from the Earth when full, the moon will also be traveling relatively slowly in its orbit. So both effects will combine to make its motion against the background stars especially small from night to night.

As a result, to the casual skywatcher it will seem that the moon is full for not just one night, but for three nights in a row: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The defect of illumination on the moon's disk — or put another way, the dark sliver near the edge — will be very slight on Monday and Wednesday night.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

New Solar Orbiter Mission in Development by NASA

According to a recent press release from the space agency, NASA, in a joint effort with the European Space Agency (ESA), are planning to develop new instruments which will be used on a new mission to study our Sun. Launch is currently scheduled for 2017.

Known as the Solar Orbiter mission, the new spacecraft focus its instruments on the sun from a distance comparable to the orbit of the planet Mercury. At this unprecedented close proximity to the Sun of only about 21 million miles, the Solar Orbiter will be able to much more accurately analyze the sun and help to forecast space weather and solar flares.

With humanity’s ever increasing reliance on electricity and electronics for navigation and communication, solar flares and other disturbances from the sun are a much larger concern than in the past. The orbiter will give scientists an earlier warning of impending solar storm, and give planners on the ground more time to prepare.

“Solar Orbiter is an exciting mission that will improve our understanding of the sun and its environment,” said Barbara Giles, director for NASA’s Heliophysics Division in Washington. “This collaboration will create a new chapter in heliophysics research and continue a strong partnership with the international science community to complement future robotic and human exploration activities.”

The two $80 million instruments currently at the focus of the development are:

- The Solar Orbiter Heliospheric Imager (SoloHI), which will provide revolutionary measurements to pinpoint coronal mass ejections or CMEs. CMEs are space weather events with violent solar eruptions that travel from 60 miles per second to more than 2,000 miles per second with masses greater than a few billion tons. Russell Howard from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington is principal investigator.

- The Heavy Ion Sensor (HIS)

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

ESA To Collaborate with NASA on Solar Science Mission

On October 4, 2011, the European Space Agency announced it's two next science missions, including Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft geared to study the powerful influence of the sun. Solar Orbiter will be an ESA-led mission, with strong NASA contributions managed from Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Solar Orbiter will venture closer to the Sun than any previous mission. The spacecraft will also carry advanced instrumentation that will help untangle how activity on the sun sends out radiation, particles and magnetic fields that can affect Earth's magnetic environment, causing aurora, or potentially damaging satellites, interfering with GPS communications or even Earth's electrical power grids.

"Solar Orbiter will use multiple gravity assists from Venus to tilt its orbit until it can see the poles of the Sun, and that's never been done before," said Chris St. Cyr, NASA's project scientist for Solar Orbiter at Goddard. "A full view of the solar poles will help us understand how the sun's magnetic poles reverse direction every 11 years, causing giant eruptions and flares, called space weather, that can affect the rest of the solar system."

Being so close to the sun also means that the Solar Orbiter will stay over a given area of the solar surface for a longer time, allowing the instruments to track the evolution of sunspots, active regions, coronal holes and other solar activity far longer than has been done before.

Solar Orbiter is also designed to make major breakthroughs in our understanding of how the sun generates and propels the flow of particles in which the planets are bathed, known as the solar wind. Solar activity and solar eruptions create strong perturbations in this wind, triggering spectacular auroral displays on Earth and other planets. Solar Orbiter will be close enough to the sun to both observe the details of how the solar wind is accelerated off the sun and to sample the wind shortly after it leaves the surface.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Best Evidence Yet That Comets Delivered Water for Earth’s Oceans

The idea isn’t new that Earth’s oceans originated from comets bombarding our planet back in its early days. But astronomers have now found the best evidence yet for this scenario. The Herschel infrared space observatory detected that comet Hartley 2, which originates from the distant Kuiper Belt, contains water with the same chemical signature as Earth’s oceans.

“Our results with Herschel suggest that comets could have played a major role in bringing vast amounts of water to an early Earth,” said Dariusz Lis, senior research associate in physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and co-author of a new paper in the journal Nature, published online on Oct. 5. “This finding substantially expands the reservoir of Earth ocean-like water in the solar system to now include icy bodies originating in the Kuiper Belt.”

Previous looks at various other comets showed water content different from Earth’s oceans, with deuterium levels around twice that of Earth’s oceans, but those comets came from the Oort Cloud. Scientists theorized that if comets of this kind had collided with Earth, they could not have contributed more than a few percent of Earth’s water.

But Herschel’s observations of Hartley 2 are the first in-depth look at water in a comet from the Kuiper Belt — home of icy, rocky bodies that includes dwarf planets and innumerable comets — and it showed a surprising difference.

Using HIFI, a highly sensitive infrared spectrometer, Herschel peered into the comet’s coma, or thin, gaseous atmosphere, and found that Hartley 2 possessed half as much “heavy water” as other comets analyzed to date. In heavy water, one of the two normal hydrogen atoms has been replaced by the heavy hydrogen isotope known as deuterium. The ratio between heavy water and light, or regular, water in Hartley 2 is the same as the water on Earth’s surface.

“Comet Hartley’s deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio is almost exactly the same as the water in Earth’s oceans,” says Paul Hartogh, Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, who led the international team of astronomers in this study.

The amount of heavy water in a comet is related to the environment where the comet formed, and by comparing the deuterium to hydrogen ratio found in the water in Earth’s oceans with that in extraterrestrial objects, astronomers were hoping to identify the origin of our water.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Giant Asteroid Vesta Has Mountain Taller Than Anything on Earth

A NASA spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Vesta is revealing new details about the huge space rock's surface, including a massive mountain that rises taller than Mt. Everest on Earth.

NASA's Dawn probe has been circling Vesta since mid-July, when it arrived in the asteroid belt that orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. So far, Dawn has beamed back surprising views of Vesta that revealed an enormous mountain in the asteroid's southern hemisphere and show that its crater surface is incredibly diverse place.

"We are learning many amazing things about Vesta, which we call the smallest terrestrial planet," Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission, said in a statement. "Like Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury, Vesta has ancient basaltic lava flows on the surface and a large iron core … The south polar mountain is larger than the big island of Hawaii, the largest mountain on Earth, as measured from the ocean floor. It is almost as high as the highest mountain in the solar system, the shield volcano Olympus Mons on Mars."

Vesta's giant southern mountain is nearly as tall as Olympus Mons, the largest mountain (and volcano) in the solar system, which soars about 15 miles (24 kilometers) above the surface. On Earth, the largest terrestrial volcano is Mauna Loa in Hawaii, which rises up 6 miles (9 km) high, including the portion of the volcano that extends underwater to the sea floor. Mount Everest, the tallest mountain above sea level on Earth, is a paltry 5.5 miles (8.85 km) tall.

Dawn also revealed that Vesta's surface appears to be much rougher than most asteroids in the main asteroid belt, which is a vast region full of space rocks between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Additionally, preliminary estimates of crater age dates on Vesta suggest that regions in the southern hemisphere are far younger than in the north — with some areas in the southern hemisphere only about 1 to 2 billion years old.

The findings were presented today at the 2011 European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences Joint Meeting in Nantes, France.

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Monday, October 03, 2011

Private Space Race On to Launch US Astronauts for NASA

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Private space companies will launch American astronauts into orbit years before NASA is ready to do so on its own again, but the race to be the first commercial space taxi service is still far from won.

NASA's next crew-carrying rocket, the heavy-lift Space Launch System, will blast off on its first test flight in 2017 at the earliest, agency officials have said. But a handful of private companies say they're on schedule to begin lofting astronauts by 2015 — or perhaps even earlier.

"We believe we'll be ready in three years," said Gwynne Shotwell, president of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (also known as SpaceX).

Encouraging private spaceflight
NASA is happy about the progress SpaceX and other companies seem to be making. The agency is not in competition with these firms, after all; rather, NASA is encouraging them to develop their capabilities, via its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

In the last several years, the agency has given money to a handful of firms — including SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Blue Origin — in two rounds of funding. The goal is to help establish American means of human transportation to space again, an ability the nation has lacked since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle fleet in July.

Currently, the United States is completely dependent on Russian Soyuz vehicles to ferry its astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

"Obviously, our focus is to close the gap," said Ed Mango, NASA's CCDev program manager. "We want an American-led system in order to get us back into low-Earth orbit, just like we've had for the last 30 years."

NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) isn't the answer for low-Earth orbit. The heavy-lift SLS is designed to launch the agency's crew-carrying Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle toward deep space destinations such as asteroids and Mars.

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