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The new year is off to a hot start for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). The engine that will drive America’s next great rocket to deep space blazed through its first successful test Jan. 9 at the agency’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. from NASA

NASA has exercised the second option of its Information Technology and Multimedia Services (ITAMS) contract with DB Consulting Group, Inc., Silver Spring, Maryland, to provide information technology, multimedia, information management and external relations support services at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. from NASA

Crew members of Expedition 42, currently aboard the International Space Station, are available for live interviews with media and social media during their mission aboard the orbital laboratory. from NASA

A new NASA satellite that will peer into the topmost layer of Earth’s soils to measure the hidden waters that influence our weather and climate is in final preparations for a Jan. 29 dawn launch from California. from NASA

The fifth official SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract now is scheduled to launch at 4:47 a.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 10, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30 a.m. from NASA

NASA will hold two briefings Thursday, Jan. 15 at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, to preview the upcoming Expedition 43 mission aboard the International Space Station and the launch of the crew embarking on a yearlong mission. NASA Television and the agency’s website will broadcast the briefings live. from NASA

How many stars like our sun host planets like our Earth? NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system, and to date has offered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study — the 1,000th of which was recently verified. from NASA

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will get a firsthand look at work being done on advanced woven thermal protection systems used on the agency’s Orion spacecraft during a visit to Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) in Bally, Pennsylvania at noon EST Friday, Jan. 9. from NASA

Astronomers have observed the largest X-ray flare ever detected from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This event, detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, raises questions about the behavior of this giant black hole and its surrounding environment. from NASA

NASA issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision to deny a protest Sierra Nevada Corp., of Louisville, Colorado, filed Sept. 26, 2014, challenging the agency’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Contract awards made Sept. 16, 2014, to The Boeing Company, Space Exploration, Houston, and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. […]

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