Launch Summary

Launch Summary

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2013-14 Launches

Kepler - NASA's First Mission Capable of Finding Earth-Size Planets Around Other Stars

Objective: To survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Project Management and planning
  • Mission Operations Center facilities and support systems
  • Ground Data System – hardware, software & technical support and test
  • Mission Operations – daily command and telemetry operations from Mission Ops Center
  • Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator
KEPLERLaunch Date March 6, 2009
Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II 7925
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Mission Duration: 4 years baseline with Possible 2 year extension*
*K2 has extended the program to June 2016

MIZOPEX - Marginal Ice Zone Ocean and Ice Observations and Processes Experiment

Objective: To improve knowledge of how ocean surface and near-surface properties vary and evolve as a function of ice characteristics in and near the Marginal Ice Zone, (MIZ), and to quantify the performance of satellite-derived geophysical products and climate models in these areas.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities: SIERRA UAS Operations Team
MIZOPEXDeployment Date Summer 2013
Deployment Vehicles: NASA’s Fixed-Wing Sensor Integrated Environmental Remote Research Aircraft, (SIERRA) UAV
University of Alaska Fairbanks Insitu ScanEagle,
University if Colorado Boulder Micro UAS
NASA Ikhana
Deployment Site: Oliktok Point, Alaska
Mission Duration: 2 Years

SEAC4RS - Studies of Emissions and Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys

Objective: To determine how pollutant emissions are redistributed via deep convection throughout the troposphere, the evolution of gases and aerosols in deep convective outflow and the implications for UT/LS chemistry and to identify the influences and feedbacks of aerosol particles from anthropogenic pollution and biomass burning on meteorology and climate through changes in the atmospheric heat budget. This thorough examination of the region's atmosphere will help improve mathematical models for satellite data.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Science Support
  • Aircraft from the Airborne Science program
TechEdSat-3PDeployment Date Initial Flight on August 7, 2013
Launch Vehicles: NASA's Modified DC-8 Flying Laboratory
Learjet 25 N999MF, Spec Inc.
Deployment Site: Houston's Ellington Field
Mission Duration:

TechEdSat-3P – The Technology Education Satellite 3U CubeSat Project

Objective: One of a series of projects that pairs advanced University students with NASA researchers in a rapid design-to-flight climate that develops and tests novel space plug and play technology.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • SSTP Design and Planning
  • Program Management
TechEdSat-3PLaunch Date August 3, 2013
Launch Vehicle: H-II Transfer Vehicle 4HTV-4
Launch Site: Yoshinobu Launch Complex in Tanegashima, Japan
Mission Duration: 87 Days including the SPQR 10 day de-orbit

SOFIA – Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy

Objective: To conduct astronomy research not possible with ground-based telescopes by gathering and analyzing infrared light to further our understanding of puzzles such as the processes that form stars and planets, the chemistry of organic compounds in interstellar clouds, and the environment around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities: Managing the SOFIA Science and Mission Operations
SOFIADeployment Date First Check Flight April 26, 2007 – First Science Flight April 7, 2011
Deployment Vehicle: A heavily modified Boeing 747SP aircraft
Deployment Sites: Based and managed at Armstrong's Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California
Mission Duration: Nominal 20 years

Operation IceBridge

Objective:To provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the Greenland and Antarctic ice.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities: Mission support from the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, (UAV) Collaborative located in The NASA Research Park at Moffett Field.
Operation IceBridgeDeployment Date Initially March 2009
Deployment Vehicles: Main aircraft;
NASA's P-3 Airborne Laboratory
NASA's Modified DC-8
Deployment Sites: McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Punta Arenas, Chile
Kangerlussuaq and Thule, Greenland
Mission Duration: 6 years

Seedling Growth - 1

Objective: To determine how gravity and light responses influence each other in plants and to better understand the cellular signaling mechanisms involved in plant tropisms
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Payload Development
  • Experiment Unique Equipment (EUE) hardware development
Seedling Growth - 1Launch Date March 1, 2013
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Dragon
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force StationMission Duration: Current estimate 11 months

NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences,
(ROSES) Seagrass/Coral Reef UAS Project

Objective: To image sea grass and coral using unmanned aerial vehicles, (UAV’s) for understanding carbon dynamics in addition to improving methodologies for calibrating orbital imagery in the littoral zone.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities: UAS Operations Team
Deployment Dates: May 2012
October 2012
November 2012
May 2013
For a total of 26 flights
Deployment Sites: Bat-4 - Cedar Key
SIERRA - Key West Naval Air Station
Vision II – Sugarloaf Key and Cheeca Rocks Marine Sanctuary
Deployment Vehicles: MLB Company Fixed-Wing Bat-4 UAV
NASA’s Fixed-Wing Sensor Integrated Environmental Remote Research Aircraft, (SIERRA) UAV
MLB Company Fixed-Wing Bat-4 UAV
Xtreme Aerial Concepts’ Vision-II Jet-Engine Rotorcraft UAV
Mission Duration: 12 months

SpaceLoft 7

Objective: To evaluate emerging technology for future orbital and sub-orbital spaceflight and to promote industry developed spaceflight options for commercial payloads.
NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Campaign Manager – Paul De Leon, Payloads and Primary Launch Crew (on console as Payload 1). Manages the payloads and PI’s for NASA.
  • Backup Launch Crew – Dougal Maclise (on Console as Payload 2)
  • Suborbital Flight Environment Monitor Principle Investigator – Karolyn Ronzano.
Space Loft 7Launch Date June 21, 2013
Launch Vehicle: Spaceloft XL
Launch Site: Spaceport America, Las Crucas, NM
Mission Duration: 15 Minutes


Objective: To demonstrate the application of consumer electronics as the basis of an extremely low-cost satellite bus.

NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Spacecraft Design - including Mechanical, Electrical and Software
  • Spacecraft Integration and Test
  • Software Development
  • Mission Operations
PhoneSatLaunch Date April 21, 2013
Launch Vehicle: Antares Rocket
Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island Virginia
Mission Duration: 6 days

Bion M-1

Objective: To study the cellular mechanisms responsible for spaceflight-induced changes on tissues and cell growth in mice including muscle, bone and the cardiovascular and reproductive systems. In addition behavioral effects of spaceflight on rodents were studied.

NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities: NASA Ames managed all U.S. activities associated with the international Bion-M1 mission. ARC managed the project, U.S. science, U.S. logistics, procurement activities, coordination with Russian government and logistics to enable cooperation between the U.S. and Russia on the mission while maintaining all science aims and objectives. ARC has a 30-yr history managing Russian biosatellite projects and cooperating with the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, Russia.
Specific responsibilities include:
  • Project Management Support
  • Project Science Management Support
  • Science Support
  • Project Support
  • Logistics Support
  • International Procurement Definition and Negotiation
  • International Agreement Definition and Support
Bion M1 imageLaunch Date April 19, 2013
Landing May 19. 2013
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz - 2
Launch Site: Baikonur, Kazakhstan
Mission Duration: 30 Days

HS3 - Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel

Objective: To investigate the processes underlying hurricane formation and intensity change in the Atlantic Ocean Basin.

NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities: The Earth Science Project Office (ESPO) in code SG provides Project Management for HS3. The team also coordinates multi-agency coordination, payload management support and facilities and logistics.
HS3Launch Date: The HS3 Missions fly each year over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico from early August to late September during hurricane season (2012-14).
Launch Vehicle: Two NASA Global Hawk UAS aircraft (NASA 871 & NASA 872)
Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA
Mission Duration: 5 year EV-1 project (2011-2015) with deployments during 3 years.

IRIS – Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph

Objective: To study the Chromosphere and Transition Region of the sun to help understand how the solar corona is energized.

NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Project Management and planning assistance during - Phases A-D (proposal to test and integration)
  • Technical Engineering support for instrument and spacecraft software development
  • Technical Engineering support for all testing teams - (Phase D)
  • Mission Operations Center facilities and support systems - all phases
  • Ground Data System – hardware, software & technical support and test. - all development and flight phases
  • Mission Operations – daily command and telemetry operations from Mission Ops Center
  • Mission Operations team training
  • Co-Principal Investigator and Science Post-doc student provided for science team support assistance
  • Science: 3-D numerical modeling using Ames supercomputers
IRIS imageLaunch Date June 27, 2013
Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base
Mission Duration:2 years baseline with option for 2 more

ATTREX– Airborne Tropical TRopopause EXperiment

Objective: To study moisture and chemical composition in the region of the upper atmosphere where pollutants and other gases enter the stratosphere and potentially influence our climate.

NASA Ames Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Experimental Design
  • Project Management
AttrexDeployment Date December 2011
Deployment Vehicle: Global Hawk
Deployment Site: Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
Mission Duration: Planned 38 Days


Page Last Updated: September 9th, 2014
Page Editor: Anonymous