OCO-2 Observatory Conducts Environmental Tests

NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 spacecraft is moved into a thermal vacuum chamber at Orbital Sciences Corporation's Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Gilbert, Ariz., for a series of environmental tests. The tests confirmed the integrity of the observatory's electrical connections and subjected the OCO-2 instrument and spacecraft to the extreme hot, cold and airless environment they will encounter once in orbit. The observatory's solar array panels were removed prior to the test. OCO-2 is NASA's first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide and is the latest mission in NASA's study of the global carbon cycle. Carbon dioxide is the most significant human-produced greenhouse gas and the principal human-produced driver of climate change. The mission will uniformly sample the atmosphere above Earth's land and ocean, collecting between 100,000 and 200,000 measurements of carbon dioxide concentration over Earth's sunlit hemisphere every day for at least two years. It will do so with the accuracy, resolution and coverage needed to provide the first complete picture of the regional-scale geographic distribution and seasonal variations of both human and natural sources of carbon dioxide emissions as well as the places where carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored. Image Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation/NASA/JPL-Caltech

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NASA Awards Information Technology and Multimedia Contract

NASA is exercising an option to extend its contract with DB Consulting Group, Inc., in Silver Spring, Md., to provide information technology, multimedia, information management and external relations support services at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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Forty-Fifth Anniversary of ‘Earthrise’ Image

Forty-five years ago, in December of 1968, the Apollo 8 crew flew from the Earth to the Moon and back again. Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders were launched atop a Saturn V rocket on Dec. 21, circled the Moon ten times in their command module, and returned to Earth on Dec. 27. The Apollo 8 mission's impressive list of firsts includes: the first humans to journey to the Earth's Moon, the first to fly using the Saturn V rocket, and the first to photograph the Earth from deep space. As the Apollo 8 command module rounded the far side of the Moon on Dec. 24, the crew could look toward the lunar horizon and see the Earth appear to rise, due to their spacecraft's orbital motion. Their famous picture of a distant blue Earth above the Moon's limb was a marvelous gift to the world. Image Credit: NASA

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Santa delivers early Christmas wish

Yes, there is a Santa Claus... and with some extra planning and an early sleigh ride, he was able to pull off a small Christmas miracle for two boys at the Bass Pro Shop in Destin, Fla., Dec. 20.

With a little ingenuity and some Christmas spirit, Master Sgt. Jason Slaymaker, 39th Information Operations Squadron operations superintendent, surprised his sons, Jakeb, 4, and Jarret, 2, with an early Christmas present: himself.

"The idea actually originated from my son's mouth," Slaymaker said. "[Jakeb] started telling everyone about four months ago he was certain Santa would bring his Daddy home because he's been a good boy, and I took it from there."
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The Athena-Fidus satellite is readied for Arianespace’s first heavy-lift mission of 2014

The multi-role Athena-Fidus satellite has completed initial checkout at the Spaceport as it is readied for a dual-payload, geostationary transfer orbit launch on Arianespace’s first flight in 2014.

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The Athena-Fidus satellite is readied for Arianespace’s first heavy-lift mission of 2014

The multi-role Athena-Fidus satellite has completed initial checkout at the Spaceport as it is readied for a dual-payload, geostationary transfer orbit launch on Arianespace’s first flight in 2014.

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The Athena-Fidus satellite is readied for Arianespace’s first heavy-lift mission of 2014

The multi-role Athena-Fidus satellite has completed initial checkout at the Spaceport as it is readied for a dual-payload, geostationary transfer orbit launch on Arianespace’s first flight in 2014.

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