RoundupSPACE CENTERJuly 2, 1999VOL. 38,NO. 12LY N D O NB.JOHNSONS PA C ECENTER,HOUSTON,TEXASShuttle to carry powerful X-ray telescope into orbitBy John Ira Pettyhe Chandra X-ray Observatory, theworld’s most powerful X-raytelescope, will be launched aboardColumbia on STS-93. Chandra’smission is to offer newinsights into the nature ofthe universe.Chandra, formerly called theAdvanced X-rayAstrophysics Facility, willjoin two other great NASA observatories in orbit. In terms of its energy sensing range, it will fall between the HubbleSpace Telescope, launched in 1990 tostudy visible and ultraviolet light sources,and the Gamma Ray Observatory,launched in 1991.The observatory is named forSubrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who diedin 1995 at age 85. Widely known asChandra, he was regarded as a leadingastrophysicist of this century. The Nobellaureate’s discoveries are basic to modernastrophysics.The Chandra Observatory will be available to U.S. and international scientists.It is designed to determine the nature ofcelestial objects, from normal stars toquasars, to understand the physical processes which take place in and betweenastronomical objects. More basically, it’sgoal is to understand the history andevolution of the universe.“With greater resolution and highersensitivity than any previous X-ray telescope, this observatory will provide uswith a new perspective of our universe,”said Dr. Martin Weisskopf of MarshallSpace Flight Center, the project’s chiefscientist.Marshall manages development of theobservatory for the Office of Space Scienceat NASA Headquarters.“We’ll be able to study sources ofX-rays throughout the universe, like colliding galaxies and black holes, many ofwhich are invisible to us now,” Weisskopfsaid. “We may even see the processes thatcreate the elements found here on Earth.”Among questions the observatory isexpected to help answer are the age and sizeof the universe. It also will probe the natureand amounts of “dark matter,” one ofnature’s great puzzles.The observatory will allow scientiststo see and measure the details of hot gasclouds in clusters of galaxies and toobserve X-rays generated when stars aretorn apart by the incredibly strong gravityaround massive black holes in the centersTof galaxies. It will provide images that willhelp understand how exploding starscreate and disperse many of the elementsnecessary for new stars, planets, and life.Cosmic X-rays are produced by violentevents such as stars exploding or galaxiescolliding. X-rays also are emitted by matterheated to many millions of degrees asit swirls toward a black hole.The only way toobservethese andother extremelyhot astronomical sources is with aspace-based X-ray telescope.Made of glass bought fromSchott Glaswerke in Mainz,Germany, the telescope’smirrors were built byHughes Danbury OpticalSystems of Danbury,Conn., and assembled byEastman-Kodak Company of Rochester, N.Y.The mirrors are tubular,containing four pairs of hollowedout cylinders of precisely ground glasscoated with a thin layer of iridium andmirrors are the largest ever built. They alsoare amazingly smooth. If the Earth, with itsdiameter of almost 8,000 miles, were proportionately as flat, the highest point on theplanet’s surface would be about six feetabove the lowest.The science instruments wereintegrated into the scienceThe elliptical orbittakes it beyond thebelts of radiation thatsurround Earth, which candisrupt observations by itssensitive instruments.During each orbit Chandra will havethe opportunity to take 55 hours of uninterrupted observations. It will not take observations during the periods of interference fromthe radiation belts.The observatory, more than20 years in the planning,weighs morethaninstrument module at BallAerospace and Technologies Corp. ofBoulder, Colo., before being tested andshipped to TRW Space and ElectronicsMy crew and I have beenpreparing for more than ayear for the challengingtask of deploying Chandrawith its Inertial Upper Stagebooster. We’ve had thepleasure of working with afine team of instructors,flight controllers, engineers,scientists, pilots, managers,and all the other key peoplein this program.– Eileen CollinsJSC Photo S98-10987nested inside one another because of thevery short wavelength of X-rays. Flatmirrors would absorb X-rays, but they arereflected if they encounter an angled surface.The mirrors are aligned to focus individual X-ray photons on a point 30 feet behindthem. Weighing about 2,000 pounds, theThe satellite willcircle the Earth onceevery 64 hours.Group for final integration into the spacecraft. TRW is NASA’s prime contractorfor the observatory.After deployment from Columbia at 155miles above the surface, Chandra will belifted to an elliptical orbit of 800 by 83,000miles by an Inertial Upper Stage booster.5 tonsand is 45 feetlong with the IUSbooster and has a solar arrayspan 64 feet wide. Its designed lifetime is a minimum of five years.STS-93 will be commanded by EileenCollins, the first woman to command ashuttle flight. It will be her third mission.“I am proud to have the opportunity tocommand this mission,” said Collins.“My crew and I have been preparing formore than a year for the challenging taskof deploying Chandra with its InertialUpper Stage booster. We’ve had the pleasure of working with a fine team ofinstructors, flight controllers, engineers,scientists, pilots, managers, and all theother key people in this program. This is avery strong and dedicated team. All theirefforts will come together as the ChandraX-Ray Observatory brings us closer tounderstanding this universe we live in.”The pilot is Jeff Ashby, making his firstflight. Mission specialists are Steve Hawley,on his fifth flight; Catherine Coleman, making her second flight; and Michel Tognini ofCNES, the French Space Agency, on hissecond flight. The mission is to last justunder five days.A fourth great observatory, the SpaceInfrared Facility, is scheduled for launchin 2001. Staying a Star,New ascentWinston Scottnow that JSCflight dynamicsHall opens atis one.officer certified.McAuliffe.Page 2Page 5Page 7
2July 2, 1999SPACE CENTERRoundupStaying a Star, now that JSC is oneBy Mary Petersont’s axiomatic among actors in Hollywood that you're only as good (bankable) as your last picture. And so it iswith the Voluntary Protection ProgramStar that JSC so proudly earned, asOccupational Safety and HealthAdministration VPP representativesannounced on May 14.In a ceremony this fall, the centerwill receive the coveted VPP Starflag, a symbol of occupational safetyand health excellence.But, what about retaining VPPStar status?This question was asked of the JSC VPPCoordinator Stacey Menard, OccupationalSafety and Quality Assurance Branch ChiefElmer Johnson, and Occupational HealthOfficer Sean Keprta, each of whom wasdeeply involved in VPP on-site education.“We have had many calls from JSCemployees since the announcement,” saidMenard. “They have asked, ‘What now?’‘What were the results of the OSHA-VPPvisit?’ and ‘Where do we go from here?’“One of the best places to start,” Menardsaid, “is on the JSC Web page itself.Besides a wealth of information about VPP,employees will find the OSHA-VPP On-siteReview Team results.”In the weeks to come, employees canexpect to see a number of changes andIimprovements, including the centralizationof the Hazard Abatement Tracking System(HATS) that will also contain correctiveaction system items. Whilethe HATS will continueto draw fromaid cases, along with full documentation ofthese activities.“The Occupational Health Office willbe working much more closely with boththe safety people and the hygienists onEverything employees havebeen doing – involvement,participating in JSC SafetyAction Team projects, doingsafety walkarounds, beingsafe personally, reportingclose calls, reporting thingsthat are not up to speed –these are the things that willkeep us a Star.– Stacey Menardlocations all across the site, the informationwill be entered into one database that willbe accessible by everyone and can be narrowed easily to specific searches.Plans are to institute, within the year, a“Safety Through Everyone’s Participation”course, which will be modeled after the successful Senior Managers’ Safety Course.Employees can also expect quarterlyinspections, hazard recognition training,and the investigation of mishaps and first-mishap and first-aid investigations to besure these are fully reviewed and documented,” said Keprta. “We will be keepinga much more watchful eye on whathappens to our many environmental healthsurveys and studies. We don’t want theresults of these efforts to wind up in somebody’s desk, never to be seen again.We plan to see that notices are posted andconvenient for employee consumption.If there’s a problem with the water, forexample, we want it known.”Employees will be encouraged to takepart in facility inspections. Not only willthis give them an insight as to how safetheir work area may or may not be, theywill learn to recognize what constitutes areal or potential hazard.“Another thing employees need to beaware of is that we can’t ‘rest on our laurels’ for three years with the attitude thatour safety program is in good shape as faras OSHA is concerned,” said Menard.“While three years is the normal reviewtime, we can expect to see OSHA auditorsmore frequently because many of our contractors are either applying for VPP statusor have plans to apply.” Because the JSCcontractor relationship is so integrated,OSHA’s assessment of mutual safety andhealth efforts will be also.Plans are well under way for the VPPStar flag ceremony and celebration.A number of dignitaries will be on hand,including NASA AdministratorDaniel S. Goldin.“Everything employees have beendoing – involvement, participating in JSCSafety Action Team projects, doing safetywalkarounds, being safe personally,reporting close calls, reporting things thatare not up to speed – these are the thingsthat will keep us a Star,” said Johnson. Conservationscape: protecting the environmentBy Sandra Parkerhe conservation landscape or “conservationscape” in front of Bldg. 30has received an overwhelmingly positive response from JSC employees. Duringthe recent JSC Earth Day event, more than300 people stopped by for a tour of the landscape by Mark Fox, the landscape designer.In addition, each participant received anative plant seedling and information.Most employees are interested in thenames of the plants, how big they will get,and how often they will bloom. TheConservation Landscape Working Group isdeveloping a sign to be located at the conservationscape and pamphlets to providemore information about each plant andideas for creating a conservationscape athome. In the interim, a complete list of all the plants alongwith details about the requirePlants used in thements for growing each plantconservationscapemay be obtained from SandraJSC Photo S99-05715 by Mark SowaincludeParker of JSC’s EnvironmenConservation Landscape Working Group members, from left, include Johntal Services Office.Jacob, Texas Agricultural Extension Service’s Clean Water for Armand Florida purslaneBayou; Tom Scarsella, Dyncorp; Colin Shackleford, Clean Water forThe conservationscape is a Florida zamiaArmand Bayou; Pat Kolkmeier, Center Operations’ Facility Engineeringresult of a partnership between Adina rubellaDivision; Sandy Parker, kneeling, Center Operations’ Environmental SerJSC and Clean Water forvices Office; Jo Kines, Center Operations’ Environmental Services Office. Goldstrum rudbeckiaArmand Bayou. Clean WaterNot pictured: Ivy Alexander, project manager, Tolman Grounds/BRSP; American euonymusfor Armand Bayou is a cooperMark Fox, Mark Fox Landscaping. Mexican shrimp plantative effort among the Texas Nolina texanaAgricultural Extension Service, Lindheimer muhlyAlexander, projectwith her extensive knowledge about nativethe Texas Soil and Water Con Lollie Jackson salviamanagerforTolmanplants used at JSC, worked closely with Foxservation Board and neighbor Sophora tomentosaGrounds;PatKolkto determine which plants would be approing Armand Bayou Nature Texas mountain laurelmeieroftheFacilitypriate for the landscape. Fox provided theCenter to demonstrate effectiveEngineeringDivision;overall landscape design. Shacklefordtechniques for reducing waterTomScarsella,Dyncorp;ParkerandJoworked with TAES to provide a low-flowpollution from contaminated surface ion system for the landscape.runoff. Clean Water for Armand Bayou conJohnJacobandColinShacklefordoftheShackleford and Jacob are working withtacted the Environmental Services Office toTexasAgriculturalExtensionService’sSteve Harding, the creator of the signs forsee if JSC would be interested in planting aCleanWaterforArmandBayouproject;andthe Houston Zoo, to provide a small signhigh-profile demonstration landscape to beFoxofMarkFoxLandscaping.Alexander,and pamphlets for the conservationscape.used to educate employees about how theycan promote clean water by reducing the useof pesticides and fertilizers at home.For more information on where to find native plants and seeds, Texas Park and Wildlife provides aAs a result, the Conservation Landscapenative plant and seed source list at its Web site: www.tpwd.state .tx.us/nature/plant. The EnvironmentalWorking Group, a working group of theProtection Agency also provides information at its Web site: www.epa.gov/ greenacres. For more inforEnvironmental Stewardship Subcommittee,mation on the conservationscape, contact Parker at x33119.was formed. Members include IvyTClean Water for Armand Bayou hashelped to install several conservationscapesin the area. JSC employees are encouragedto visit the Hanson House at the JimmyMartyn Farm located at the Armand BayouNature Center, the Clear Lake CommunityCenter, Krueger Park in the Meadow Greensubdivision, and the St. Thomas ApostleSchool in Nassau Bay for more examples oflandscaping with native and resourceefficient plants.Environmentally beneficial landscapingpractices are encouraged at federal facilities.Because the federal government owns andlandscapes large areas of land, we can provide the leadership needed to encourage theuse of native plants and thereby help toreduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers,while minimizing contaminated storm waterrunoff. Landscaping practices, such asplanting native shade trees around federalfacilities, can reduce air-conditioningdemands and can also provide innovativemeasures to comply with the energy consumption reduction goal established in Executive Order 12902, “Energy Efficiency andWater Conservation at Federal Facilities.”The extensive use of concrete andasphalt accelerates storm water runoff andcreates flooding and erosion for communities that exist along streams and bayous. Italso results in higher temperatures in urbanareas. Increasing the use of native plantsreduces damage from storm water runoff,reduces temperatures and energy costs,improves water quality and increaseswildlife habitat. Data show that combinedlandscape installation and maintenance costsassociated with native landscaping over a10-year period may be one-fifth the cost ofconventional landscape maintenance.Also, standard lawn maintenance equipment creates a significant amount of airpollution. Did you know that a gasolinepowered lawn mower emits 11 times the airpollution as a new car for each hour of operation? Cost data also show that conventionalsodded turf grasses may exceed 12,000 peracre, while planting native prairie grassesand forbs costs only 2,000 to 4,000 peracre. There are several varieties of nativegrasses in the Bldg. 30 conservationscapefor reference.
SPACE CENTERRoundupC O M M U N I T YJuly 2, 19993N E W SBales science students build station mockupt’s hard for young students to understand abstract ideas just by reading orbeing told about them. Increasedcomprehension is gained by researchingthe ideas and putting them into action.That was the concept that led to theconstruction of a nearly 18-meter-longspace station mockup. Built in only 9days by 175 sixth-grade science studentsat Zue S. Bales Intermediate School inFriendswood, Texas, the mockup featuresa clear plastic shell that houses panels andsigns indicating equipment and facilitiesthat range from experiment racks, to crewliving quarters, to an Earth observationdeck, to emergency medical areas. Themockup was on display for parents,Iteachers, students, and other visitors toview in early May.The idea behind the project was that ofDebbie Shearer, sixth grade science andsocial studies teacher at the school. Andwith the help of Vikki Ganske, anotherscience/social studies teacher at Bales,they brought this project to the students.“The vision was to help the studentsunderstand more about the space station,”said Shearer. “You can show them pictures of the space station, but that is reallyabstract to an 11- or 12-year-old. So theproject was intended to help them learnabout the science that will take placeaboard the station and about how theastronauts will live.”Construction of the mockup followedweeks of research. The students watchedNASA Lift-off to Learning videos of thestation and the science done in space tolearn more about the outpost and experiments that will be conducted aboard it,and they looked at pictures from a projectthat another class had done previouslyand at photos of the actual station.Next the teachers visited JSC, touredthe station mockup and measured it.Following discussions to resolvepotential design issues, the studentsbuilt their own mockup, adhering asclosely as possible to the samedimensions within the constraints oftheir classroom.Having completedthe project, the studentsnow have an increasedunderstanding of thestation. “Students havetold me that now theInternational SpaceStation Programmakes senseto them. They understand what theastronauts will have to go through andwhat they will have to do,”says Shearer.The mockup was dismantled at the endof the school year, but some parts of it werekept. Videos and still photos of it weretaken for use in teacher workshops andclass lessons. JSC Photo P000850 by Juan GalvezUrban planners see greener and cooler cities with NASA technologyBy Nicole Cloutierandsat images, optical data, thermalimaging and remote-sensing data.Although these technological advancesfrom space exploration may not be top-ofmind with the general public, they are thetalk-of-the-town for environmentalresearchers tackling growing urbanization,diminishing rural landscape and global warming here on Earth.“Our imaging technology is so accuratethat we can now identify and monitor how aparking lot in Atlanta affects that city’sweather,” said Kamlesh Lulla, Ph.D., chief,Office of Earth Sciences at JSC, at a recentworkshop focusing on issues related toHouston’s climate and environment. “Byproducts from our Earth sciences technologycan be very useful for urban planners anddevelopers to see how all the elements –weather, vegetation and land development –are interconnected and how they influencethe climate.”Images and data from NASA’s Earth Sciences enterprise are becoming high profileNASA products these days. In addition to arecently announced partnership with the U.S.Department of Agriculture for land management and watershed studies, more and moreenvironmental scientists and urban plannersare seeking NASA’s astronaut acquired photography to tackle more sensitive problemssuch as urban sprawl, heat-islands and otherclimate-related issues.“As a NASA center, we at JSC are verycommitted to bringing technological benefitsto the community and organizations that canfurther apply our research,” said Lulla. “OurEarth science research is no exception. Theinformation can be used to monitor andmodel what kinds of activities on a urbanscale influence changes that are happening inour own backyard.”To help spread the word about NASA’sEarth science resources and how they cancontribute to