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Saturday, February 7, 2015

More Exciting News from our Partner, Dream Flight Adventures, in Pennsylvania. First True Earth Like Planet Discovered. See the Far Side of the Moon. What's Happening at Kennedy Space Center. The Imaginarium.

Penn Hills uses futuristic simulator to enhance elementary subjects

Whether the mission involves space travel, time travel or a trip into the human body, the students’ excitement builds as they enter the simulator room because they know the next hour will be filled with an imaginative adventure in the middle of the school day.Their wits will be challenged, their poise tested and their ability to work with others, to process information, to overcome difficulties must come to the forefront for the mission to succeed. This is serious play. This is today’s education. It’s fun and they love it.

Dream Flight Adventures Goes Global, Appoints Michael Penn as General Manager of North American Operations

It’s been a busy past week at Dream Flight Adventures, with the launch of the IKS Buccaneer and Dreamcatcher, plus a few other thrilling projects that will be unveiled shortly. But, the excitement doesn't stop there—today we're delighted to announce some important changes to the Dream Flight team!
Our work at Dream Flight Adventures has attracted the attention of firms internationally, and as a result I have been offered a job at a company in England that makes immersive experiences for theme parks and brands around the world. I’ve decided to take the job and in conjunction with this change I’m delighted to announce that Mike Penn—a.k.a. Admiral Rigorious—has been promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral and will be assuming the role of General Manager of North American Operations at Dream Flight Adventures!
Mike is the Flight Director, Gifted Department Co-Chair, and STEAM Coordinator at Shaler Area School District and has been pioneering the Dream Flight magic with us from the beginning. We’re thrilled to have him involved in this new role, which he’ll perform in parallel with his ongoing work at SASD. He'll coordinate training, serve as point-person for US-based operations, and build a community of practice among Dream Flight simulators and flight directors. Mike simply exudes the Dream Flight vision, and we couldn’t have asked for someone more qualified!
On the other side of the pond, Sarah Gardiner will continue serving as Design Director from England as Dream Flight continues to grow. We're so excited for these big changes and are eager to take Dream Flight Adventures to new heights!

Kepler 186f - First Earth-sized Planet Orbiting in Habitable Zone of Another Star

For the past three decades, the SETI Institute has been participating in a number of scientific explorations to answer the question “Are we alone?” Today, my co-authors and I are announcing the achievement of another milestone in the exploration. We have confirmed the first Earth-sized planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a star other than the Sun.

This planet is named Kepler-186f and it is one of five planets that have thus far been detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in orbit about the star Kepler-186. This star is smaller and cooler than the Sun, of a type called an M-dwarf or red dwarf, and all its known planets are small as well, with sizes less than 1.5 times the size of Earth. The planet Kepler-186f is the smallest, being within 10% of the size of Earth and orbits furthest from the host star, within the habitable zone. This is the region around a star within which a planet can sustain liquid water on its surface given the right atmospheric conditions. The Kepler-186 planetary system lies in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, about 500 light-years away.
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What does the Moon look like on the Other Side?

A number of people who've seen NASA's annual lunar phase and libration videos have asked what the other side of the Moon looks like, the side that can't be seen from the Earth. This video answers that question. The imagery was created using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter data.

Space and Science News
By Mark Daymont
Farpoint Educator

Kennedy Space Center is Evolving!

own it goes! The Shuttle Mate/De-mate structure is being disassembled the violent way.

As our space program moves from the Shuttle Era towards the era of SLS and Commercial Space, some structures must go in order to raise new, modern structures to support future launches. One such example is the Shuttle Mate/De-mate structure, located alongside the shuttle landing runway just across from the Apollo visitors center. With the end of the shuttle program, the device is not needed and will make room for new projects. During the shuttle program days, whenever the shuttle landed at the dry lakebed in the mojave at Edwards flight test center, it would be mated to the back of a specially-adapted 747 and then flown to the runway at Kennedy to be prepared for another mission.

The good old days. A space shuttle is lifted from the support struts on the shuttle carrier 747, having arrived from a shuttle landing at Edwards AFB in California.

Another part of the Shuttle Program was the USS Pegasus, a special barge large enough to haul the Shuttle External Tank by water from its factory in New Orleans, Louisiana to the Kennedy space Center in Florida. The Pegasus was the last barge from the fleet of barges used to move Saturn stages and shuttle external tanks down the Gulf Coast and around the Florida Keys to the Kennedy center docking port.

Barge unloading facility at Kennedy Space Center. Picture taken during Apollo Program days.

Pegasus with an external tank on the way to KSC.

Pegasus will now receive an extension to its hull and hangar to accommodate the new core stages of the SLS rocket. The core stage is almost 60 feet longer and 250 tons heavier than the shuttle external tanks. The stages will be built at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, and transported to the KSC in several trips. You can read a lot more about the construction at

Pegasus undergoing a growth spurt.

Launch Complexes are also going through modifications. Pad 39A, from which most of the manned Apollo missions lifted off to the Moon or Earth orbit, is now under contract to SpaceX. The pad is being modified with a new gantry and tower system that will launch the Falcon 9 (and Dragon cargo spacecraft) and Falcon Heavy rockets. Future manned Falcon flights with the Dragon 2 capsule will also launch from Pad39A.

View of Launch Complex 39. Pad39A is in foreground, Pad39B in the back. Taken during the shuttle era. Both tower systems have been torn down and new construction is taking place.

Pad39B is being prepared for the new SLS heavy rocket system. Currently, the pad is being torn down to the concrete trench and a new flame exhaust trench will be put in place.

Deconstruction of the current flame exhaust trench at Pad39B. The blast from the SLS engines will be much more powerful than the shuttle's engines and boosters.

The Imaginarium

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