Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA's GLAST Gets Shades, Blankets For The Beach

Date:
May 15, 2008
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, is receiving finishing touches at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, near the beaches of eastern central Florida for its launch. The spacecraft is set for launch aboard a Delta II rocket no earlier than June 3. The launch window runs from 11:45 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. EDT.

At the Astrotech payload processing facility near Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a worker looks over the star tracker sun shades just installed on the GLAST spacecraft.
Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, is receiving finishing touches at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, near the beaches of eastern central Florida for its launch. The spacecraft is set for launch aboard a Delta II rocket no earlier than June 3. The launch window runs from 11:45 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. EDT.

Housed at the Astrotech Facility located near the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., GLAST is getting a lot of attention from engineers and scientists, from sun shades to thermal blankets, to final inspection.

Recently, sun shades were installed on GLAST. "These are light shades on the star tracker optics (optics that measure where the observatory is pointing) that keep light outside of the field of view from obscuring the star field," said Al Vernacchio, GLAST Deputy Project Manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "Sun shades are like a visor you flip down in your car on a sunny day to block the Sun's glare so you can see the road," said Steve Ritz, GLAST Project Scientist at Goddard. They "shade" the star tracker field-of-view from stray light coming from the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, so GLAST's star trackers can see the needed reference stars. GLAST uses reference stars to check its orientation. Basically, GLAST is navigated using both GPS and the stars.

Once the shades are installed, temporary covers are placed on the open part of the shades to protect the optics from debris. These covers are removed after the rocket fairing (shell of the rocket where GLAST will sit) is installed on the launch vehicle prior to flight.

Thermal blanket "closeouts" were also recently done at Astrotech. Basically, thermal blankets are to spacecraft as clothes are to people. They'll protect GLAST from the harsh environment of space. A "closeout" means taping up all the loose seams on the insulation. The seams are always left open as long as access to the spacecraft is needed.

Engineers also made sure that GLAST had a thorough cleaning and a "blacklight inspection." The cleaning/blacklight inspection is just what it implies - going over everything carefully. "The blacklight can help with the cleanliness inspection, especially in finding organic materials like fingerprints which fluoresce (and become visible) under the ultraviolet from the blacklight," said David Thompson, a GLAST Deputy Project Scientist from NASA Goddard.

On May 4, workers moved the GLAST spacecraft to the Hazardous Processing Facility near Kennedy Space Center, Fla. for fueling.

Currently, the Delta II launch vehicle that will carry GLAST spaceward is also being prepared on Launch-pad 17B.

GLAST is a powerful space observatory that will explore the most extreme environments in the Universe, where nature harnesses energies far beyond anything possible on Earth. It will search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter, explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed, and help crack the mysteries of the stupendously powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA's GLAST Gets Shades, Blankets For The Beach." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513125853.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2008, May 15). NASA's GLAST Gets Shades, Blankets For The Beach. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513125853.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "NASA's GLAST Gets Shades, Blankets For The Beach." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513125853.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

Raw: US-Russian Crew Lifts Off for Space Station

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) A U.S.-Russian space crew has blasted off successfully for the International Space Station. The Russian Soyuz-TMA14M spacecraft lifted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins