Launch Services Program
|Headquarters||Kennedy Space Center, FL|
|Website||Launch Services Program|
Launch Services Program (LSP) is responsible for NASA oversight of launch operations and countdown management, providing added quality and mission assurance in lieu of the requirement for the launch service provider to obtain a commercial launch license. It operates under the Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate of NASA.
Since 1990, NASA has purchased expendable launch vehicle (ELV) launch services directly from commercial providers, whenever possible, for its scientific and applications missions. ELVs can accommodate all types of orbit inclinations and altitudes and are ideal vehicles for launching Earth-orbit and interplanetary missions. The Launch Services Program was established at Kennedy Space Center for NASA’s acquisition and program management of ELV missions. A NASA/contractor team is in place to meet the mission of the Launch Services Program, which exists to provide leadership, expertise and cost-effective services in the commercial arena to satisfy Agency wide space transportation requirements and maximize the opportunity for mission success.
Primary launch sites are Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California. Other launch locations are NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the North Pacific’s Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Kodiak Island in Alaska.
- 1 Partners
- 2 Launch History
- 3 Upcoming Launches
- 4 Engineering
- 5 Educational Outreach
- 6 Social Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
- 9 References
- Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
- Jet Propulsion Laboratory, located at the California Institute of Technology
- NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, in California’s Silicon Valley
- NASA Marshall Space Flight Center at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama
- NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia
- Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland
- Several U.S. Universities, launching small research satellites (CubeSats)
- International partners
- Other Government Agencies:
Launch Vehicle Contractors
The Launch Services Program (LSP) is currently awarding new contracts under the NASA Launch Services (NLS) II Contract. The following vehicles are attached to the NLS II Contract.
- Antares  - Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)
- Athena I - Lockheed Martin Space Systems
- Athena II - Lockheed Martin Space Systems
- Atlas V - United Launch Alliance (ULA)
- Delta II - United Launch Alliance (ULA) [limited to 5 - 3 already assigned] 
- Falcon 1 - SpaceX
- Falcon 9 - SpaceX
- Pegasus XL - Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)
- Taurus XL - Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)
NASA has specific polices governing launch services. LSP Flight Design provides general information regarding the launch vehicle performance available via existing NASA contracts. This information is all available on publicly available websites.
The schedule below includes only Launch Services Program (LSP) primary and advisory missions. The NASA Launch Schedule has the most up to date schedule of all NASA launches. The NASA KSC News Releases will also have updates on LSP launches and mission accomplishments. NASA Launch Services Manifest will show all missions on the manifest.
|NET||No Earlier Than (Tentative)|
|+||LSP Advisory Mission|
The engineers at NASA's Launch Services Program are rocket experts. Below are some examples of jobs within LSP that NASA has written articles on.
- Flight Design analysts work on the intended course, or trajectory, of the rocket.
- Telemetry engineers get tracking stations to cover all the mandatory portions of flight. Analysts from many disciplines review this data post-flight.
- Weather Forecasters Balance Experience with Technology
- The Failure Analysis and Materials Evaluation Lab assists the program by examining failures and figuring out what went wrong 
Members of the Launch Services Program perform research relating to launching unmanned NASA spacecraft. Research topics include (partial list):
Slosh Fluid Dynamics Experiments
SPHERES-Slosh Experiment will be performed on the SPHERES Testbed on the International Space Station. The experiment launched on the Cygnus capsule going to the ISS via Orbital Sciences Corporation Commercial Resupply Services Orb-1 mission on an Antares on 2014.01.09. The Cygnus arrived at the ISS on 2014.01.12 and will spend five weeks unloading the cargo.
The SPHERES-Slosh investigation uses small robotic satellites on the International Space Station to examine how liquids move around inside containers in microgravity. A water bottle’s contents slosh around differently in space than on Earth, but the physics of liquid motion in microgravity are not well understood, which affects computer simulations of liquid rocket fuel behavior. LSP leads a team that includes Florida Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The research is sponsored by the Game Changing Development (GCD) program (within NASA Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)’s Space Technology Mission Directorate).   
The experiment is a water tank with cameras and sensors that will be mounted between two SPHERES satellites inside the ISS. During testing, the SPHERES will move to purposely agitate the water and cause the fluid inside to slosh around, like it might in a rocket or spacecraft tank during flight. The data collected will be one of a kind. Three initial tests are expected to happen with the first couple months of launch.
"The current inability to accurately predict fuel and oxidizer behavior can result in unnecessary caution, requiring extra propellant to be added along with additional helium for tank pressurization. A better understanding of fluid slosh could not only decrease this uncertainty, but increase efficiency, reduce costs and allow additional payloads to be launched." Understanding from this experiment could help improve design/operations of rocket tanks and control systems.
NASA’s Brandon Marsell, co-principal investigator on the Slosh Project: “Modern computer models try to predict how liquid moves inside a propellant tank. Now that rockets are bigger and are going farther, we need more precise data. Most of the models we have were validated under 1 g conditions on Earth. None have been validated in the surface tension-dominated microgravity environment of space.” (via Langley Research Center article)
- Space Station Live: Fluid Motion Study Using Mini-Satellites - Reel NASA Interview with LSP's Dr. Paul Schallhorn to explain the experiment
- Space to Ground - 1/17/14 - Reel NASA update on ISS includes launch of SPHERES-Slosh
The 2008-2010 slosh related tests on SPHERES were performed with a single SPHERES spacecraft and, in some cases, the addition of a battery pack Velcroed on to the SPHERES spacecraft. These tests were to better understand the physical properties of the SPHERES spacecraft, notably the mass properties, prior adding any tanks to the system. Some of the tests also attempted to excite and then sense slosh within the SPHERES CO2 tank. Florida Tech designed the slosh experiments for Test Sessions 18/20/24/25.
|Date||Session||Slosh-related Tests on the SPHERES ISS Testbed||Report||ISS Expedition||Media|
|2008.09.27||13||P221 Tests 2 & 5: Fuel Slosh – Sat only & Batt Proof Mass||||17|
|2008.10.27||14||P236, Tests 7 & 8: Fluid Slosh, Rotate 2: Sat Only & Batt Proof Mass||||18|
|2009.07.11||16||P251, Test 2 Fluid Slosh - X Nutation & Test 3 Fluid Slosh - Rotation Rate High||||20|
|2009.08.15||18||P264, Tests A/2, B/3 Fluid Slosh - Z Motion Fluid Slosh (full tank/partially used tank)||||20|
|2009.12.05||20||P20A, Fluid Slosh Test 3/4: Z Reverse T1/T2, Test 5/6: Fluid Slosh Spin Z Forward/Reverse||||21|
|2010.10.07||24||P24A, Tests 4/5: Fluid Slosh: Lateral/Circular Motion||||25|
|2010.10.28||25||P311, Tests 2/3/5: Fluid Slosh: Z Translation/X Translation/X Rotation||||25|
|2014.01.22||54||Slosh Checkout (1st SPHERES-Slosh Test Session)||38||Expedition 38 Image Gallery  |
|2014.02.28||58||Slosh Science 1 (2nd SPHERES-Slosh Test Session)||38|
The Cryogenic Orbital Testbed (CRYOTE) is a collaboration between NASA and commercial companies to develop an orbital testbed that will demonstrate cryogenic fluid management technologies in space environments. "The testbed provides an in-space environment in which the fluid transfer, handling, and storage of liquid hydrogen (LH2) and/or liquid oxygen (LO2) can be demonstrated."
The research is funded by the NASA Innovative Partnership Program (IPP) in the Office of the Chief Technologist. "The partners involved in the development of this system include United Launch Alliance (ULA), Sierra Lobo, Innovative Engineering Solutions (IES), Yetispace, and NASA Glenn Research Center, Kennedy Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center." 
Outreach Support to the Public
NASA's Launch Services Program Educational Outreach provides awareness to students, teachers and the public about NASA's exciting spacecraft missions and how the world benefits from them. Distance learning via video conference connects students to LSP experts
The office also coordinates activities and educational booths at events for NASA and the public. The outreach is performed by both members of the LSP Educational Outreach Office and LSP experts throughout the program.
The LSP Educational Outreach Office created the Rocket Science 101 Game. Students can pick a NASA mission, select the right rocket, and build a rocket to send the spacecraft into orbit. There are three different levels for varying ages and it is available for the computer and Apple/Android devices.
NASA and the Launch Services Program are partnering with several universities to launch small research satellites. These small satellites are called CubeSats. CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) provides opportunities for small satellite payloads to fly on rockets planned for upcoming launches. As of 2013, CSLI has selected 89 spacecraft since 2010.
ELaNa: Educational Launch of Nanosatellites is managed by NASA's Launch Services Program and is a part of CSLI. ELaNa manifests the CubeSats selected by CSLI onto upcoming rocket launches. CubeSats were first included on the launch of LSP missions in 2011. ELaNa missions are not manifested exclusively on LSP missions; they have been a part of NRO/military launches and ELaNa V will be on an International Space Station resupply launch.
|Fact Sheet||Launch Date||Mission||Vehicle||Launch Site|
|ELaNa I||2011.03.04||Glory [launch failure]||Taurus XL||Vandenberg AFB Launch Complex 576 (VAFB LC-576)|
|ELaNa II||2013.12.06||NROL-39||Atlas V-501||Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 3 East (VAFB SLC-3E)|
|ELaNa III||2011.10.28||NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP)||Delta II 7920-10||Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 2 West (VAFB SLC-2W)|
|ELaNa IV||2013.11.20||ORS-3||Minotaur I||Wallops Flight Facility (WFF)|
|ELaNa V||2014.02.22||SpaceX-3 Commercial Resupply Services flight (SpX-3/CRS-3)||Falcon 9/Dragon||Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40 (CCAFS SLC-40)|
|ELaNa VI||2012.09.13||NROL-36||Atlas V-401||Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 3 East (VAFB SLC-3E)|
These two high school STEM teams are sponsored and mentored by NASA's Launch Services Program.
FIRST Robotics: Team 1592 - Bionic Tigers
FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1592 (the Bionic Tigers) is out of Cocoa High School (CHS) and Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy. The robotics lab is located at CHS. The team started in 2005 and has its own website and Facebook Twitter YouTube accounts. The founding mentors of the team were Analex contractors working for LSP; the team has had NASA LSP engineering mentors ever since 2006.
Team 1592 is just one of many teams in the Brevard County area that are supported by Kennedy Space Center engineers. They regularly compete with one another at the Orlando Regional Competition and even sometimes at the Championships.
In 2011, Team 1592 started a coopertition arrangement with Team 801 Horsepower out of Merritt Island High School, Edgewood Junior/Senior High School, Jefferson Middle School, and Merritt Island Christian School. Horsepower also has NASA LSP mentors. Since the 2012 competition season, the teams have built identical robots and competed them separately. They are separate teams with their own identities, but share facilities, resources, and mentors, travel to the same competitions, and support each other performing outreach and more. They build a third identical robot for practicing with after the bag and tag date.
The 2013 competition season for the sister teams was off to a rough start, as the trailer carrying the twin robots to the Orlando Regional Competition was in an accident destroying the robots (no humans were harmed). With the competition starting in less than 36 hours, the teams pulled together, used parts from their third practice robot (with permission from FIRST), and received tremendous support from other teams attending the competition to build two competition-worthy robots. Both teams made it to the elimination rounds and Horsepower even competed in the Championships that year.
CubeSat: Merritt Island High School StangSat
Merritt Island High School CubeSat is a high school team building a small satellite. The team is a part of Kennedy Space Center's Creating Understanding and Broadening Education through Satellite (CUBES) pilot project.
The team's StangSat was accepted by the CubeSat Launch Initiative and is scheduled to launch in 2014 via ELaNa on the SpaceX-5 Commercial Resupply Services flight (SpX-5/CRS-5). The satellite is named after the school's mascot, the Mustang. StangSat will collect data on the amount of shock and vibration experienced by payloads while in orbit. This information will help future projects more accurately determine the level of protection needed for payloads. The data is of particular to interest to NASA's Launch Services Program. The satellite is being built in partnership with California Polytechnic State University.
On June 15, 2013, the team launched an engineering unit of StangSat on the Prospector-18 rocket; the suborbital flight took off from the Friends of Amateur Rocketry site in California's Mojave Desert. The other satellites on board were Rocket University Broad Initiatives CubeSat, or RUBICS-1 (KSC); PhoneSat (ARC); and CP-9 (CalPoly). Though the parachute deployed early, resulting in a hard landing, all four satellites were able to collect usable data. The data from this test flight is being used to improve the satellite's design.
The team will be only the second high school to launch a satellite into orbit. The first was Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology with TJ3Sat in November 2013, another ELaNa mission.
FIRST Robotics Team 1592 has provided StangSat with a top plate for mounting sensors onto the CubeSat.
NASA's Launch Services Program has social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. In addition to maintaining a YouTube Playlist specifically for LSP on its channel, NASA's Kennedy Space Center social media accounts frequently post LSP news.       NASA has compiled a page will all its flagship social media accounts across lots of different platforms. The spacecraft section of this page has accounts for many of the spacecraft launched by NASA LSP.
NASA Public Affairs posts pictures and videos of NASA LSP spacecraft and rockets as they go through processing and launch.  A launch blog is also stood up for each launch campaign and are always updated on launch day by Kennedy Space Center Public Affairs.
Since NASA Socials were started in 2009, NASA LSP has participated in many for the launch of its missions: Juno, GRAIL, NPP, MSL, KSC 50th/MSL Landing, RBSP, MAVEN and more. NASA Socials allow social media followers to receive VIP access to NASA facilities and speakers. The participants post about their experiences with NASA, performing outreach to their networks. NASA LSP has provided speakers for these events, along with tour guides and other support. NASA Socials were formerly known as Tweetups.
NASA has create many apps, some of which feature NASA LSP and its spacecraft. One popular app is Spacecraft 3D, which features several spacecraft launched by LSP. Developed by JPL, the app allows uses to take 3D tours of many JPL spacecraft using a printed piece of paper and their phone or tablet. Users can rotate and zoom in on the spacecraft, along with deploying movable parts of the spacecraft such as solar arrays, masts, and booms. By deploying and retracting these parts, a user can get a sense of how the spacecraft goes from the launch configuration on top of the rocket to operation configuration when it's collecting scientific data.
- Kennedy Resource Encyclopedia (includes some of the Technical Capabilities and Services and Facilities associated with LSP)
- United Launch Alliance site Launch Vehicle Provider
- Space X site Launch Vehicle Provider
- Orbital site Launch Vehicle Provider
- Lockheed Martin: Space Systems Launch Vehicle Provider
- Space Flight Now Provides Space News including Launch Coverage
- "NASA’s Launch Services Program NASA Facts". NASA. 2007. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- "LSP Brochure". NASA's Launch Services Program. 2012.
- "LSP Poster". NASA's Launch Services Program. 2012.
- "NASA Awards Launch Services Contracts". NASA News Release. Sep 16, 2010.
- "NASA Awards Launch Services Contracts". NASA News Release. June 26, 2012.
- "NASA Modifies Launch Service Contract To Add Delta II Rocket". NASA News Release. Sep 30, 2011.
- NASA - Launch Services Policies
- NASA LSP Launch Vehicle Performance Web Site
- James Webb Space Telescope Launch NASA
- Steven Siceloff (21 March 2012). "Launches Test Flight Design Teams". NASA. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Aiming for an Open Window
- Remote Launch Locations Challenge Telemetry and Communications Group
- CSI: NASA
- Launch Services Program on NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)
- A Geometric Analysis to Protect Manned Assets from Newly Launched Objects - Cola Gap Analysis NASA
- Assessing Upper-level Winds on Day-of-Launch (by NASA Applied Meteorology Unit)
- Launch Services Program + Liquid Sloshing on NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)
- Station Crew Supports Science, Preps for Cargo Ship Capture NASA, 9 December 2013
- NASA Orbital Sciences Commercial Resupply Launch
- Laura Niles (Jan. 6, 2014). "New Science Bound for Station on Orbital’s Cygnus". NASA Johnson Space Center. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-1)". Orbital Sciences Corporation. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Cygnus Arrives at Station on Orbital-1 Mission". NASA Space Station. Jan. 12, 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- "Low-Gravity Fluid Dynamics Research on the International Space Station". Florida Institute of Technology. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "Faculty-Student Experiment Flies to ISS Jan. 9". Florida Tech Now. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- Microgravity Fluid Slosh on SPHERES Payloads & Science NASA
- Schallhorn, Paul Acquisition of Long-Duration, Low-Gravity Slosh Data Utilizing Existing ISS Equipment (SPHERES) for Calibration of CFD Models of Coupled Fluid-Vehicle Behavior NASA Launch Services Program
- Chintalapati, Sunil; Charles A. Holicker, Richard E. Schulman, Brian D. Wise, Gabriel D. Lapilli, Hector M. Gutierrez, and Daniel R. Kirk (July 2013). "Update on SPHERES Slosh for Acquisition of Liquid Slosh Data aboard the ISS". American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 49th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- Space Technology: Game Changing Development | ISS Fluid Slosh NASA
- de Luis, Javier The SPHERES ISS Microgravity Testbed as a testbed for AR&D and servicing (Presentation) NASA
- Bob Granath (Dec 16, 2013). "Slosh Experiment Designed to Improve Rocket Safety, Efficiency". NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Denise M. Stefula (17 Dec 2013). "Slosh Team Readies for Important Launch". NASA Langley Research Center. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Burke, Caley Nutation in the Spinning SPHERES Spacecraft and Fluid Slosh Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 2010
- Lab Report. MIT Space Systems Lab. 2008-November-20 http://ssl.mit.edu/spheres/ISSdb/reports/SPHERES_ISS_TS013_Report.pdf
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "SPHERES 14th ISS Test Session". Lab Report. MIT Space Systems Lab. 2009/09/02. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "SPHERES 16th ISS Test Session (Draft)". Lab Report. MIT Space Systems Lab. 2009-February-24. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "SPHERES 18th ISS Test Session". Lab Report. MIT Space Systems Lab. 2009/12/02. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "SPHERES 20th ISS Test Session". Lab Report. MIT Space Systems Lab. 2010-04-29. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "SPHERES 24th ISS Test Session". Lab Report. MIT Space Systems Lab. 2011-01-31. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "SPHERES 25th ISS Test Session Draft". Lab Report. MIT Space Systems Lab. 2010/12/16. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- "Mike Hopkins Holds a Plastic Container". NASA - Expedition 38 Image Gallery. 22 Jan. 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Mike Hopkins Works With SPHERES". NASA - Expedition 38 Image Gallery. 22 Jan. 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "SPHERES-Slosh Experiment". NASA - Expedition 38 Image Gallery. 22 Jan. 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
- "Cryogenic Orbital Testbed (CRYOTE) Development Status". United Launch Alliance. 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- CRYogenic Orbital TEstbed (CRYOTE) on NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)
- "CRYOTE (Cryogenic Orbital Testbed) Concept". United Launch Alliance. 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- KSC Tech Transfer Spring/Summer 2011 page 9 NASA
- Blair, Christopher "NASA's Launch Services Program Connects With Students Around the World" 18 October 2011
- Blair, Christopher "Launch Services Program Supports NASA Family Education Nights" 1 August 2011
- Blair, Christopher "NASA's Launch Services Program Supports Boy Scout Event" 31 May 2011
- Blair, Christopher "Launch Services Program (LSP) Supports 2012 NASA Project Management Challenge" 22 February 2012
- Herridge, Linda "NASA's Launch Services Program Helps Promote Black History Month" 20 February 2011
- NASA's Launch Services Program Rocket Science 101 Game
- NASA CubeSat Selections
- NASA Feature Article on ELaNa: Educational Launch of Nanosatellites
- FIRST Robotics Team 1592 Bionic Tigers Website
- FIRST Team 1592 Facebook
- FIRST Team 1592 Twitter
- FIRST Team 1592 YouTube
- "LSP Supports Students in FIRST Robotics Competitions" (Team 1592)
- "Local Teams Win Zero Robotics, FIRST Competitions" NASA 2012.03.23
- "Students strive for FIRST at Competition" NASA 2010.04.08
- "Competition Heats Up for Kennedy's FIRST Robotics Teams" NASA 2011.04.01
- FIRST Robotics Team 801 Horsepower
- "Crash Forces Robotic Rebuild for Competition (FIRST Robotics Orlando Regional 2013)" NASA 2013.03.13
- Amanda Hatfield (22 March 2013). "Local robotics teams turn tragedy into triumph". Hometown News. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Merritt Island High School CubeSat Facebook
- Merritt Island High School CubeSat Twitter
- "Students to Design Tiny Satellite for Future Launch Services Program Mission"NASA 2011.06.27
- "NASA Announces Fourth Round of CubeSat Space Mission Candidates" NASA 2013.02.26
- Siceloff, Steven "Prospector Rocket Offers Research Opportunities" NASA April 2, 2013
- "CubeSat Launch Tests Satellite Innovations" NASA June 12, 2013
- Heiney, Anna "Small Satellites Soar in High-Altitude Demonstration" NASA June 18, 2013
- "CubeSat Demo Flight Tests Technologies" (video) 2013.06.18
- Joshua Buck (Nov 20, 2013). "NASA Helps Launch Student-Built Satellites as Part of CubeSat Launch Initiative". NASA. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Bionic Tigers & MIHS CubeSat Meeting Facebook Album
- NASA's Launch Services Program Facebook
- NASA's Launch Services Program Twitter
- Launch Services Program YouTube Playlist
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center Facebook
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center Twitter
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center YouTube
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center Google+
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center Instagram
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center uStream
- NASA's Kennedy Space Center SlideShare
- NASA Flagship Social Media Accounts
- Spacecraft Section of NASA Flagship Social Media Accounts
- KSC Video and Photo Search search for "Launch Services Program" or by specific mission
- NASA Videos
- Kennedy Space Center Launch Blogs
- NASA Socials NASA
- NASA Social Wiki
- NASA Apps
- JPL Mobile Apps
- JPL's Spacecraft 3D on Apple Devices
- JPL's Spacecraft 3D on Android Devices