Monthly Archives: May 2012

SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth After Successful Mission to ISS

Congratulations SpaceX!

The SpaceX Dragon capsule experienced spashdown off the coast of Baja California. 27′ N 120′ W.  According to NASA, the landing was on target and recovery ships are working on retrieval.

This mission was a demonstration flight by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, as part of its contract with NASA to have private companies launch cargo safely to the International Space Station.

Visit the NASA website for details about the mission:

There will be a press conference with NASA and the SpaceX team on NASA TV at 11 AM PST


Moon Rise – YouTube

Moon Rise – YouTube.

Aboard the International Space Station in May 2012, Expedition 31 astronaut Don Pettit opened the shutters covering the cupola observation windows in time to watch the moon rise. The time-lapse scene was photographed from the airlock of the Station’s Russian segment.

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Transit of Venus Event – June 5, 2012 at OMSI in Portland, OR

Transit of Venus

Watch the Transit of Venus on June 5-6, 2012

Rare transit of Venus viewing: June 5, 2012 from 3‐9 p.m. at OMSI

Portland, OR (May 29, 2012) The last to occur in our lifetime, a rare celestial event called a transit of Venus is set to transpire on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the Rose City Astronomers Club will host a free transit of Venus viewing party in OMSI’s south parking lot for this exciting occurrence. Filtered solar telescopes and indirect viewing methods will be available for safely observing the transit. NASA TV and San Francisco’s Exploratorium will display the transit of Venus from viewing sites around the world. OMSI will show their broadcasts live in the museum’s auditorium. The auditorium doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and admission to the televised transit is free (no reservations required).

A transit of Venus is the observed passage of the planet Venus across the disk of the sun. It occurs when Venus, orbiting the sun “on the inside track,” catches up to and passes the slower Earth. To viewers, Venus will appear as a small dot in the foreground, making its passage (or “transit”) from left to right across the face of the sun.

For Portland, the transit will commence at 3:05 p.m. when Venus appears to the east of the Sun. The greatest transit movement will occur at 6:29 p.m. when Venus appears just off-center to the right of the northern area of the sun. The sun will set at 8:55 p.m. and the transit will end at 9:44 p.m. as Venus exits to the west of the sun.

It is important to use eye protection or indirect viewing techniques when observing this transit activity. Viewers should use only an approved solar filter which blocks dangerous ultraviolet and infrared radiation as well as visible light. Special solar viewing glasses are available at the OMSI Science Store for $2 (

Transits of Venus always occur in pairs that are spaced eight years apart. Each pair of occurrences is then not repeated for more than a century. For example, the last transit of Venus took place on June 8, 2004, and of course the next one will be visible this June of 2012. The previous pair of transits occurred in December, 1874 and December, 1882. After 2012, the next transits of Venus will take place in December, 2117 and December, 2125.

Learn how to view the Venus transit with the experts by joining us for the event at OMSI! You can find more information by visiting or by calling 503.797.4000.

About OMSI
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit


NASA – ISS Successfully Captures SpaceX Dragon Capsule

SpaceX Dragon Capsule

SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully berthed with ISS

Today at 12:02 PM EDT, members of the ISS crew successfully bolted the SpaceX Dragon capsule to the Harmony module, marking the first commercial vehicle to ever berth with the ISS! Tomorrow, crew members will open the hatch and begin to offload supplies from the capsule.

Congratulations SpaceX!

Learn more about the mission and view the latest streaming news briefs at NASA’s website:  NASA – SpaceX Launch.

Request For Information (RFI) on Science Objectives and Requirements for the Next NASA UV/Visible Mission Concepts

Request For Information (RFI) on Science Objectives and Requirements for the Next NASA UV/Visible Mission Concepts
Solicitation Number: NNH12ZDA008L
Release Date: May 25, 2012
Response Date: August 10, 2012

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), through the Astrophysics Division, solicits information pertaining to potential ultraviolet (UV) and visible wavelength astrophysics science investigations. Specifically, NASA seeks information that can be used to develop a cohesive set of science goals that motivate and support the development of the next generation of UV/Visible space astrophysics missions. Information may include broad science goals, justifications for investigations that support Cosmic Origins (COR) Program science goals (for examples, visit, specific measurements or proxy observing plans for well-defined astrophysical experiments, or any aspect of scientific inquiry in the UV/Visible that supports the above COR goals.

This is a RFI only and does not constitute a commitment, implied or otherwise, that NASA will take procurement action in this matter. Further, neither NASA, nor the Government will be responsible for any costs incurred in furnishing this information.

This RFI is posted on the NASA research opportunity homepage at (select ‘Solicitations’ then ‘Open Solicitations’ then ‘NNH12ZDA008L’).

Grants for Community Organizations and Schools Serving Middle School Students – Deadlines June 8 and June 29, 2012

Summer of Innovation

Boy Scout troupes, Girl Scout troupes, YMCA programs, science centers, museums, libraries, school clubs and other community or school based organizations should apply today for the 2012 Summer of Innovation grants!

The National Space Grant Foundation is working with the NASA Summer of Innovation office to administer the awarding of approximately 200 mini-grants to community and school based organizations that inspire and engage middle school students in STEM disciplines during the summer or in after school programs. NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden has identified improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning as a national need. To that end the Summer of Innovation Project was established.

We are very pleased to invite you to participate in this opportunity. Eligible organizations include but are not limited to Boy Scout troupes, Girl Scout troupes, YMCA programs, science centers, museums, libraries, school clubs and any other community or school based organizations. The target audience is middle school students and/or teachers of middle school students especially those involved with underrepresented and underserved populations.

This project is designed to support student interest in STEM by strengthening the capacity of organizations or schools that inspire and engage middle school students particularly female, minority, or high poverty students and enable these previously overlooked organizations to present Summer of Innovation content and themes in an efficient and cost effective manner.

The mini-grants will be awarded at about $2,000 – $2,500 per grant. The awarded organizations will be expected to present 6 hours of NASA STEM content to middle school students or deliver an educator workshop (for certified teachers, pre-service teachers, or informal education community) featuring NASA Summer of Innovation content or themes. This can be done through modification of an existing event or through planning a new event. Awards will be made in as geographically diverse manner as possible. The time line for these activities is to be during the summer or early fall of 2012.

Complete details and the application for these grants are located at There will be two rounds of awards made within the next two months. The first deadline for applications will be June 8, 2012; the second deadline is June 29, 2012.

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SpaceX Dragon Launch Successful!

After several delays and aborted attempts, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was successfully launched this morning, marking the first commercial launch to the International Space Station.  The SpaceX mission will deliver a Dragon cargo capsule to the ISS.

Liftoff occurred at 3:44 EDT on May 22, 2012 from Cape Canaveral in Florida and the event was broadcast live online via NASA TV.  Learn more about the launch at the NASA website.

NASA – SpaceX Launches Falcon 9/Dragon on Historic Mission.


The Dragon capsule will deliver supplies, including food, clothing, and student experiments, to the ISS.  The 15 student designed experiments were conceived as part of the Student Space Flight Experiments Program (SSEP), a cooperative venture between the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) and NanoRacks LLC, a national science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education initiative.  To learn more about the SSEP program and the student experiments aboard the Dragon capsule, visit the NASA website.

SpaceX Dragon Transports Student Experiments to Space Station.

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ISS Research and Development Conference June 26-28, 2012

Announcing the 1st Annual ISS Research and Development Conference Results and Opportunities, June 26 – 28, 2012 at the Denver Marriott City Center The Agenda, registration and hotel information can be found at .

This conference will focus on ISS research and development research results and future opportunities in physical sciences, life sciences, Earth and space sciences, and spacecraft technology development. Plenary sessions will highlight major results and pathways to future opportunities. Plenary and Parallel Session speakers will be discussing their research results and plans for future utilization of the ISS. A workshop for new users will be held on the 3rd day to help them develop ideas for their own experiments using this unique laboratory.

Conference registration is online. Potential researchers can get a leg up on building their ideas by visiting NASA’s space station Research and Technology website.

The conference is organized by the American Astronautical Society in cooperation with NASA and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS).

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