NASA

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NASA awards $1.1 billion for manned spacecraft development

Article | Aug 06, 2012

Three companies have been awarded contracts to continue development of spacecraft able to shuttle astronauts to and from the International Space Station in years to come, with NASA divvying up $1.1 billion in potential awards over the coming two years.

‘Seven minutes of triumph’

Article | Aug 06, 2012

It was an instrument approach like no other, billed in advance as "seven minutes of terror" and ending with a triumphant celebration at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory control room in Pasadena, Calif. The NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity was deposited in a gravel field, and beamed back the first photos from the surface, marking the end of the most dangerous phase of the mission.

ASRS reports sought for safety studies

Article | Jul 31, 2012

NASA has asked general aviation pilots to participate in two special studies it is conducting with the FAA based on data collected through the Aviation Safety Reporting System.

Sally Ride: Astronaut, pathfinder, scientist dies at 61

Article | Jul 24, 2012

Sally Kristen Ride took her place in history on June 18, 1983, blasting into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle "Challenger", the first American woman in space. Ride, 61, lost a 17-month battle with cancer on July 23.

Future astronauts may count on inflatable heat shields

Article | Jul 23, 2012

A NASA test July 23 proved that an inflatable heat shield can stand up to the searing heat of atmospheric reentry, proving in the real world a concept with promise to facilitate travel to other planets--and a lightweight alternative to heavy heat shields protecting capsules returning to Earth.

NASA reporting progress on return to manned spaceflight

Article | Jul 19, 2012

A nation of space enthusiasts still smarting from the end of the space shuttle program may look forward to 2014, when NASA plans the first orbital test of the Orion space capsule, designed to carry astronauts to asteroids, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system.

Mars rover may have trouble closing flight plan

Article | Jul 17, 2012

While there is no pay phone on Mars, Curiosity might end up needing one, at least for a little while. With less than three weeks left in a journey of 352 million miles from Earth to Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory rover is lined up for an always-risky landing, one that predecessors have failed more often than not.

Conference focuses on space station science

Article | Jul 02, 2012

Engineers and scientists from a broad range of disciplines gathered in Colorado June 26 through 28 to reflect on past and future achievements, and be formally introduced to a new nonprofit organization chosen by NASA to manage the science taking place in the U.S. National Laboratory aboard the International Space Station.

GA pilot lands Emerging Explorer support

Article | Jun 12, 2012

The National Geographic Society has chosen Barrington Irving, the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the world in history, among 2012's Emerging Explorers. Irving's next mission will be flying around the world at 45,000 feet in an Embraer while beaming live lessons to students.

Curiosity takes closer aim at Mars landing

Article | Jun 11, 2012

A combination of in-flight calibration and improved simulations have allowed NASA and its partners to plan a more precise landing on Mars by Curiosity, mankind's first rover with tools to drill into rock - including one in particular that researchers are "quite fond of."

SpaceX capsule delivers cargo to space station

Article | May 30, 2012

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) made history May 25 as the first private company to dock a spacecraft with the International Space Station.

Private rocket launches for space station docking

Article | May 24, 2012

The Falcon 9 rocket's engines ignited in the early-morning darkness May 22, launching a mission to send the first commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the International Space Station.

NASA takes synthetic vision to the next level

Article | May 17, 2012

Engineers at the NASA Langley Research Center who developed synthetic vision technology are now working to put it right before your eyes. A head-worn display that tracks your gaze and is mounted on an ordinary eyeglass frame promises to project critical information, including traffic and terrain, in zero visibility.

NASA hunts meteorite with airship

Article | May 07, 2012

The remains of an asteroid similar to those that may have launched life on Earth crashed into Northern California on April 22. NASA scientist Peter Jenniskens hopes to collect footage from terrestrial security and surveillance cameras to track down missing pieces.

Back to a supersonic future

Article | Apr 26, 2012

When they lower the boom, we may get the word from a general aviation pilot who directs research that is blazing new trails and solving old riddles in aerodynamics.

Many pilots play roles in next chapter of spaceflight

Article | Apr 26, 2012

A successful test of parachutes that will safely ease the Orion manned spacecraft to landing was overshadowed by the final flight of the space shuttle Discovery on April 17. In Houston, the Arizona desert, and elsewhere, Orion's test and development crew, many of them pilots, were focused on the future.

Shuttle spotting: ‘Discovery’ lands at final home

Article | Apr 18, 2012

The space shuttle 'Discovery' appeared over the treeline atop its carrier aircraft, a modified Boeing 747, to an eruption of applause from thousands of visitors who lined the parking lot of the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center April 17 to witness its last flight.

NASA, SpaceX express cautious optimism for April 30 launch

Article | Apr 16, 2012

Two weeks ahead of the first planned attempt to rendezvous a commercial spacecraft with the International Space Station, all systems are go, and officials from NASA and private contractor SpaceX are keeping their fingers crossed.

Curiosity, midway to Mars, adjusts course

Article | Apr 04, 2012

The Mars rover Curiosity is back on course after NASA engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory executed a fancy bit of space aviation in late March.

NASA rockets will spread a ghostly glow

Article | Mar 08, 2012

The interaction of wind and charged electrical particles 60 to 65 miles from the surface has been associated with satellite failures and radio communication interference. NASA wants to better understand why.

Astronaut with GA roots prepares new generation of explorers

Article | Feb 27, 2012

The main engines lit six seconds before liftoff, filling the space shuttle Discovery with a low rumble. Liftoff was instant. NASA astronaut Nicole Stott's second trip to space was a highlight of a space flight career launched, in many ways, by a Skybolt.

NASA games designed to spark aviation interest

Article | Feb 01, 2012

NASA has launched two free games aimed at inspiring the next generation of engineers and aviators--an air traffic control game adapted for Apple iPhone and iPad devices, and a multi-player space and technology trivia game hosted on Facebook.

Air Mobile Joe

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2012

Ariana, born in Haiti, came to the door of the Cessna Skymaster nicknamed Ti Burik and paused; that first step is a big one for any 6-year-old. Joe Hurston, her adoptive father, lifted her from the airplane to the tarmac where she shyly stood. After meeting her 14-year-old brother, Peter, I stooped down and said, "I saw you on TV!" She looked at the ground.

Swamp Pirates

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2011

The Sikorsky X2 team is honored for speeding

Musician’s flying anthem soars

Article | Sep 01, 2011

Singer-songwriter Ansel Brown couldn't help but put his feelings into music about the family of aviators he acquired when he married Lisa Wixom Brown.

NASA flights test air quality above I-95 in Maryland

Article | Jul 01, 2011

NASA is informing pilots that it has begun a series of low-altitude research flights along the I-95 corridor in the Baltimore/Washington Cecil County area of Maryland.

Out of space

Article | Oct 01, 2010

“Houston, Atlantis is in the roll.” Space shuttle Commander Ken Ham announces that the orbiter, Atlantis, has just started its trademark maneuver, made during every space shuttle launch shortly after leaving the launch pad. And just a second later he utters the word that spells trouble for him and his crew for the next several minutes: “Helium.” “Roger, roll,” comes the call from mission control.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2010

In the summer of 1969, NASA made the crew of Apollo 11 one of the best space-flight deals of the last century. According to Craig Nelson, in his wonderful book, Rocket Men, NASA Administrator Thomas Paine told the Apollo 11 crew that if they got into trouble on their lunar landing mission, they shouldn’t hesitate to abort.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2009

John S. Yodice is an active pilot who flies a Cessna 310 based in Maryland.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2009

GENERAL A pilot flying over a desolate, remote part of the country notices a downed airplane that apparently is the result of an accident. How would he know if that aircraft had already been reported and identified? From reader Dan Stroud: What unusual side effect did the astronauts of NASA’s Apollo missions experience when drinking water produced by the fuel cells? Ten gallons of avgas plus four quarts of oil cost $60.20.

Wx Watch: Ice bridging redux

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2009

What timing! Shortly after the December 2008 “Wx Watch” (“Icing Facts and Myths”) came out, the NTSB issued a Safety Alert. The topic: ice bridging, which is a controversial phenomenon that may or may not exist, depending on who’s talking.

Low, slow, and comfortable

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

With hardly a change in engine sound, the giant Zeppelin gently floated straight up, marking the start of the first U.S. commercial Zeppelin flight in 70 years and confusing me.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

Jet power for your body JetPack International is close to developing a hydrogen peroxide-power jetpack that will fly you around for nine minutes. It will cost $200,000, training included.

Letters

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2008

Mooney Acclaim Type S: A Piston Rocket As a former executive at Columbia Aircraft, I read Ian Twombly’s story on the Mooney Acclaim Type S with interest (“Mooney Acclaim Type S: A Piston Rocket,” September AOPA Pilot). Obviously, keeping that number-one speed ranking for the Columbia 400 was important to us but the simple reality was that aircraft we were building during 2006 and beyond were not meeting book specifications, so we had already (privately) lost that race before the Type S came to market.

Turbine Edition: Acquisitions

Article | Oct 01, 2008

For the guy who has everything OK, Father’s Day rolled around again and you, once again, committed the buy-him-a-tie copout. Now nears a landmark birthday.

Turbine Edition: Turbines Around the World

Article | Oct 01, 2008

What’s your idea of the dream adventure of a lifetime? It probably involves flying a high-performance, luxury airplane to exotic lands on a leisurely schedule, staying at five-star hotels along the way. And what about having agents setting up your flight plans, securing overflight permits, providing your meals, and giving you tours of scenic and historic locations as well? Turns out that such an adventure can indeed be yours—for $55,000 per head.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2007

Here's how you fly the Vomit Comet: At 30,000 feet dive until the modified McDonnell Douglas DC-9 (C-9) hits 350 knots, pull the nose up 60 degrees — that's 1.8 Gs — until you reach 240 knots, then unload. Repeat 40 times and call it a day.

Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2007

Summer Williams is what you might call a triple threat: She's a NASA engineer, she's logged 19 years as a dancer and cheerleader, and, as you can probably discern from her appearing on this page, she's also a private pilot. She took her first flight as a 10-year-old native of tiny Anthony, Kansas, on a commercial airliner.

President's Position

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2007

Phil Boyer has served as AOPA's president since January 1, 1991. In her continuing quest to "sell" the agency's financing proposal, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey recently stated, "You know, GPS is the law of the land in virtually every other business and logistic situation that we have.

Answers for Pilots

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2006

Using the NASA form on your behalf Knowing you may have committed a regulatory violation is perhaps one of the worst feelings a pilot can have. Second only to the feeling of an accident, violations can range from the benign to the downright unsafe.

40 Top Technologies

Article | Aug 01, 2006

Direct to the cockpit In the early days of U.S. space programs, skeptics doubted the practical value of any new discoveries.

Spin Masters

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2006

A hawk soars off the shelf of green — the last bench of the Cumberland Plateau before the forest gives way to farmland, and to the stretch of Tennessee below. On this shelf sits the town of Sewanee, home to the University of the South, and the Franklin County Airport, home to William Kershner.

Pilot Briefing

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2006

NASA sets challenge for top GA aircraft If money is what really makes airplanes fly, NASA is ready to write some checks to pioneering general aviation pilots. As part of the broader NASA Centennial Challenges program, the agency is prepared to kick off the aeronautical component called the Personal Air Vehicle Challenge.

Capturing Sunlight

Article | Dec 01, 2005

"Feel that? I'll bet that's the trop." "Yeah, that's probably it." Bill Rieke, chief of aircraft operations at NASA's Glenn Research Center, is hand-flying a Learjet 25 from the right seat and Kurt Blankenship, the center's senior pilot and safety officer, is flying left seat as we pass through 37,000 feet about 50 miles east of Detroit. We're flying a solar-cell-calibration mission to collect data on the cells' performance.

Hangar Talk

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2005

ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast) may well be one of the best-kept secrets in aviation. Few pilots seem to have heard of what seems destined to become one of the most significant new datalink technologies in general aviation cockpits.

Out of This World

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2005

Behind every great achievement is a support team that makes the incredibly difficult (and sometimes seemingly impossible) a reality. Such has always been the case with NASA's manned space program.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2005

John S. Yodice and his associates provide legal counsel to AOPA's more than 400,000 members.

Test Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2005

GENERAL What unique method did Japan and other countries use during the 1930s (before the advent of radar) to detect approaching enemy aircraft? According to the Aeronautical Information Manual, what is the most likely way for a pilot to inadvertently induce whiteout conditions? From reader Mark Barchenko: What does a modern U.S. naval destroyer have in common with a McDonnell Douglas DC-10? NASA's hypersonic X-43A, an unmanned research airplane, is powered by an air-breathing scramjet and flew at almost Mach 10 (10 times the speed of sound) on November 16, 2004.

President's Position

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2005

AOPA President Phil Boyer and his wife own a 1977 Cessna 172. Most of us in aviation have become familiar with the NASA-FAA-Industry partnership called SATS, the Small Aircraft Transportation System.