Back to the Future: KSC Swamp Works

By Kerry Ellis   After the retirement of the Space Shuttle and completion of the International Space Station, NASA has been looking toward what’s next in human space exploration.

Read More
Morpheus ground-level hot fire on April 2, 2012, at Kennedy Space Center's Vertical Test Bed Flight Complex.
Hard Lessons and Lean Engineering

By Kerry Ellis Future human space exploration will mean getting beyond low-Earth orbit—and returning safely. Several projects across NASA are working on the challenges that goal presents, among them propulsion alternatives and guidance, navigation, and control. Three years ago, Project Morpheus and the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology project, or ALHAT, began collaborating on advances in these areas.

Read More
Astronaut Don Pettit
Interview with Don Pettit

By Kerry Ellis Astronaut Don Pettit began his career with NASA seventeen years ago and has since flown on three spaceflight missions.

Read More
What I’ve Learned from NASA
What I’ve Learned from NASA

By Kerry Ellis   Seven years ago, I was hired as an editor for NASA’s ASK Magazine. Being a rare English major math minor hybrid and a generally curious sort who liked taking things apart to see how they worked, I was thrilled for the opportunity to get an inside look at NASA.

Read More
Radiation-Ready with a Rock ‘n’ Roll
Radiation-Ready with a Little Rock ‘n’ Roll

By Kerry Ellis   Radiation is one of many hazards in space exploration. It causes electronics to fail, degrades sensitive instrumentation, and affects astronaut safety—just a few of the things NASA protects against when launching missions to space.

Read More
Kepler’s focal plane consists of an array of forty-two charge-coupled devices (CCDs). Each CCD is 2.8 cm by 3.0 cm with 1,024 by 1,100 pixels. The entire focal plane contains 95 megapixels.
Kepler: The Long Road to Other Worlds

By Kerry Ellis Navigating to alien planets similar to our own is a universal theme of science fiction. But how do our space heroes know where to find those planets?

Read More
The WIRE telescope inside the cryostat assembly.
WIRE: Learning from Failure

By Bryan Fafaul and Kerry Ellis   In 1999, the Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) lost its primary mission thirty-six hours after launch. Those who worked on WIRE, which was the fifth of the Explorer Program’s Small Explorer-class missions, thought they had done what they needed to achieve success.

Read More
Astronaut Jay Apt looking at a solid-fuel oxygen generator like the one that caught fire on Mir.
International Life Support

By Kerry Ellis   Supplying oxygen is only one of many life-support necessities for human spaceflight, but it’s obviously one of the most vital.

Read More