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NASA News is posted by SAC student and NASA Scholar, Patricia Sullivan.

Patricia was the only Orange County student selected to take part in NASA's prestigious College Aerospace Scholars Program in 2011, and will lead the Santa Ana College research team while conducting a reduced gravity experiment for NASA. (Johnson Space Center – Summer 2012).

Patricia sits on the Board of Directors for MANA de Orange County, a not for profit organization that promotes leadership development in young women. She is committed to encouraging women to career paths in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

She is also the newest member of the Tessmann Planetarium staff.


Curiosity Is On Its Way

On November 27, 2011, Curiosity successfully launched and is headed to a Mars landing on August 5, 2012. Curiosity weighs over a ton and is about the size of a SUV August. It will search for organic compounds, the building locks of life.

Some Recent NASA Programs
True, NASA is no longer flying the big truck [Space Shuttle].  But,

•For every day over the last decade there has been one to three Americans living and working in space on the International Space Station, 4,000 straight days as of Sunday, October 16, 2011.

•For every day for the next decade there will be one to three Americans living and working in space on the International Space Station. ( (Today it is Mike Fossum, joined by Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa.  Dan Burbank and two cosmonauts are set to join them mid-November.) (NASA has just opened applications for the next astronaut class.)

•There are four space vehicles capable of visiting ISS (Soyuz, Progress, ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle and Japan's H-2 Transfer Vehicle).

•Several private companies are vying for work to deliver cargo and, eventually crew, to and from ISS.  SpaceX may fly its Dragon spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with ISS before the end of this year. Orbital Science's Cygnus spacecraft may have a test flight before the end of the year as well.

•At this moment there are robotic spacecraft in orbit around eight different planetary bodies (Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Saturn and Vesta). (Note that the ESA's Venus Express is not a NASA mission but there is some NASA support.)  Three additional spacecraft (the Voyagers and New Horizons) are on solar system escape trajectories.

•There is a mission on the way to orbit Jupiter (Juno) and the Grail twins are on the way to the Moon.

•There are three operational spacecraft in orbit around Mars and an operating rover on the surface (Opportunity).

•NASA's Science Mission Directorate lists 63 operational spacecraft and 36 space missions under development. (


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