NASA’s Dr. John Grunsfeld visits the Space Sciences Lab

John M. Grunsfeld – Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA

In this image from March 2002, John M. Grunsfeld is shown in space shuttle Columbia's cargo bay. Credits: NASA

In this image from March 2002, John M. Grunsfeld is shown in space shuttle Columbia’s cargo bay.
Credits: NASA

John M. Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate

For Grunsfeld’s NASA astronaut and Science Mission Directoraten bio, visit.

The U.C. Berkeley Space Sciences Lab was honored to have Dr. Grunsfeld spend some time touring our facility on August 21st, 2015. He is the third NASA dignitary to visit our lab, joining the ranks of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Geoffrey Yoder, Associate Administrator for Programs.

Dr. Grunsfeld’s closest link to our lab was the installation of the COS, or Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, instrument into the Hubble Space Telescope, as part of the last Hubble Servicing Mission on STS-125. One half of the COS instrument, a EUV/FUV Detector and Electronics package was built here at SSL in conjunction with CASA at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has flown on five shuttle missions, three of which were to service the Hubble Space Telescope.  He has logged over 58 days in space and almost as many hours on “space walks”.

Paul Turin presents the various instruments that were designed at SSL for NASA missions

Paul Turin presents the various instruments that were designed at SSL for NASA missions

Dan Werthimer discusses Stardust and the SETI programs

Dan Werthimer discusses Stardust and the SETI programs

The SSL FOXSI and COSI Sounding Rocket and Balloon Teams.

The SSL FOXSI and COSI Sounding Rocket and Balloon Teams.

Carolyn Kierans and the COSI Team present the new Balloon Gondola and Instrument packs

Carolyn Kierans and the COSI Team present the new Balloon Gondola and Instrument packs

Lindsay Glesner and Team present the FOXSI Sounding Rocket and plans for the next iteration

Lindsay Glesner and Team present the FOXSI Sounding Rocket and plans for the next iteration

Dr. Grunsfeld meets the NuSTAR Science Team

Dr. Grunsfeld meets the NuSTAR Science Team

John Grunsfeld and SSL employees

John Grunsfeld and SSL employees

Bill Craig and John Vallerga discuss ICON Mission Objectives

Bill Craig and John Vallerga discuss ICON Mission Objectives

Dr. Korpela and team detail the calibration efforts for EUV in the Bayside Chamber

Dr. Korpela and team detail the calibration efforts for EUV in the Bayside Chamber

 

Dr. Ossy Siegmund explains the sealed tube detectors to be used on the ICON mission

Dr. Ossy Siegmund explains the sealed tube detectors to be used on the ICON mission

Grunsfeld meets members of the ICON Team

Grunsfeld meets members of the ICON Team

Dr. Grunsfeld asks a thought provoking question

Dr. Grunsfeld asks a thought provoking question

Thomas Immel describing what the ICON project will study

Thomas Immel describing what the ICON project will study

2015 Novato Space Festival

2015-SpaceFest-2-web

If you are a fan of space flight, NASA, and space exploration in general, mark your Calendar for Saturday August 1st and come out to the 2015 Novato Space Festival.

Meet Legendary Astronauts. See the latest additions to the museum, A Lunar Excursion Module (LEM): this is a 90% scale mockup, A Lunar Rover: this is an exact replica of one of the moon buggies, and A Space Capsule: This Gemini Capsule Boilerplate was used for parachute tests in 1963. There are many other items to see and astronauts to meet.

For more information, check out the website:

APOD – Astronomy Picture of the Day, turns 20 Years Old

Image Credit & Copyright: Apologies to: Vermeer's Astronomer and Geographer; Image Pixelation: Rob Stevenson

Image Credit & Copyright: Apologies to: Vermeer’s Astronomer and Geographer; Image Pixelation: Rob Stevenson

Welcome to the vicennial year of the Astronomy Picture of the Day! Perhaps a source of web consistency for some, APOD is still here. As during each of the 20 years of selecting images, writing text, and editing the APOD web pages, the occasionally industrious Robert Nemiroff (left) and frequently persistent Jerry Bonnell (right) are pictured above plotting to highlight yet another unsuspecting image of our cosmos. Although the featured image may appear similar to the whimsical Vermeer composite that ran on APOD’s fifth anniversary, a perceptive eye might catch that it has been digitally re-pixelated using many of the over 5,000 APOD images that have appeared over APOD’s tenure. (Can you find any notable APOD images?) Once again, we at APOD would like to offer a sincere thank you to our readership for continued interest, support, and many gracious communications. If you consider yourself a fan of APOD, you might want to consider joining the Friends of APOD.

20th Anniversary Interview: An oral history of Astronomy Picture of the Day
 

Engineer James Van Allen, RBSP Namesake, leads NACA in Rocket Propulsion development

NASA Engineers

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director William Pickering (left), Dr. James Van Allen (middle), and Dr. Wernher von Braun (right) hold up a model of Explorer 1, which successfully launched on January 31, 1958. Image Credit: NASA

Engineers from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), who joined NASA after its creation, tested, developed, and recommended one of the most vital technologies that the United States needed in order to successfully launch the Saturn rockets in the 1960s. These engineers had become experts in the field of high-energy propellants, particularly liquid hydrogen, and believed it should be used to power the upper stages of the Saturn rocket.

In 1959, these engineers made that critical recommendation to Wernher von Braun. The liquid hydrogen recommendation was not one that von Braun accepted at first. Von Braun and his team had more faith in the kerosene and liquid oxygen rocket propellants, with which they had more experience. He later acknowledged that the recommendation contributed immensely to NASA’s successful attempt to land the first human beings on the surface of the Moon in 1969.

So how did the NACA get involved in rocket research?

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