Reaching Goal Early, VA/DoD Online Service Tops 5 Million Users

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2015 — Participation in the joint Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense Department eBenefits website topped 5 million users this week, two months ahead of schedule, officials said.

VA officials said they established an agency priority goal of reaching 5 million eBenefitsDepartment of Defense users by the end of fiscal year 2015, and achieved this early milestone through aggressive outreach efforts and with the support of DoD and its veterans service organization partners.

One-Stop Shop for Benefits Tools and Information

“Veterans are encouraged to enroll in eBenefits and file their claims online through this one-stop shop for benefits-related tools and information,” said Allison Hickey, VA’s undersecretary for benefits. “We have already implemented nearly 60 self-service features, and we continue to expand eBenefits capabilities to give veterans and service members greater flexibility in securing their information.”

The number of eBenefits users is a key measure of VA’s success in improving veterans’ access to VA benefits and services, officials said, and is reported on, a federal website that shows how government agencies are doing in meeting their performance goals.

To enroll in eBenefits, veterans and service members must obtain a DoD self-service logon, which provides access to several veterans and military benefits resources using a single username and password. The service is free, and the logon may be obtained online at the eBenefits website or in person at a VA regional office.

Successful Collaboration

“The successful collaboration of eBenefits and DS Logon is just one more example of how the DoD and VA are working together to continue bringing current and former service members secure online access to the benefits they’ve earned,” said Mary Dixon, director of the Defense Manpower Data Center.

The rapid and continued growth in the use of the eBenefits website demonstrates the importance of giving veterans greater access to information about their own benefits, officials said. In addition to filing claims online and checking the status of those claims, veterans also can send a message to their VA doctor, order prescription drug refills and obtain official military documents through eBenefits, they noted.

More than 7.5 million VA letters that show proof of disability, income or veterans preference used in federal or state government hiring have been generated and downloaded, officials said.

SOURCE:  NASA News Services

Soyuz Heads to Space Station with New Crew, Return Transportation for One-Year Mission Team

300px-NASA_logo.svgThree crew members representing Russia, Denmark and Kazakhstan have launched to the International Space Station to provide a new ride home for the station’s one-year crew and continue important research that advances NASA’s journey to Mars.

Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency launched aboard Soyuz TMA-18M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:37 a.m. EDT on Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur). They are set to dock to the station at 3:42 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 3 a.m.

At 2:40 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, NASA TV will provide a live broadcast as Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of Roscomos hands over command of the space station to Expedition 44 Flight Engineer Scott Kelly of NASA. Expedition 45 begins on Sept. 11 when Padalka, Mogensen and Aimbetov undock from the orbital outpost in the Soyuz spacecraft designated TMA-16M and return to Earth. The Soyuz TMA-16M carried Padalka, Kelly, and Roscosmos’ Mikhail Kornienko to space in March. Because each Soyuz remains in orbit for about six months, the spacecraft swap is necessary at the midway point of the one-year mission.

Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency launched aboard Soyuz TMA-18M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:37 a.m. EDT on Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur). Credits: NASA TV

Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency launched aboard Soyuz TMA-18M from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:37 a.m. EDT on Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur).
Credits: NASA TV

With the arrival of Volkov, Mogensen and Aimbetov, nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory for the first time since 2013. The three join Expedition 44 Flight Engineers Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Commander Padalka and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Kelly and Kornienko will reach the halfway point of their one-year mission to advance understanding of the medical and psychological challenges astronauts face during long duration spaceflight, in addition to developing countermeasures that will help minimize adverse effects. The pair will spend 342 consecutive days living in space before returning to Earth with Volkov in March 2016 aboard the Soyuz TMA-18M.

In the coming months, Expedition 45 crew members will conduct more than 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development.

The recently installed CALorimetric Electron Telescope (CALET) searches for dark matter, measures cosmic rays and observes sources of high-energy phenomena in the galaxy. CALET seeks answers for several unknowns, including the origin of cosmic rays, how cosmic rays accelerate and move across the galaxy, and the existence of dark matter and its relation to nearby cosmic ray sources. Once scientists take an inventory of the highest-energy radiation in space, they may be able to characterize the radiation environment experienced by humans and encountered by space electronics. This may help determine risk of exposure to this type of radiation.

Ongoing station research also includes the Flame Extinguishment Experiment-2 JAXA (FLEX-2J), a study of combustion in microgravity. Fires burn differently in space, where fuels form spherical droplets and flames burn in a globular shape rather than teardrop. The crew studies the interactions of flames on the motion and ignition, or non-ignition, of millimeter-sized droplets. Results could provide key insights and improve computer modeling of fuel combustion to aid in reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency in space and on Earth.

During the second half of the marathon one-year mission, the team will continue a wide variety of human research studies, such as the Assessing Telomere Lengths and Telomerase Activity in Astronauts (Telomeres). Telomeres are “caps” on the ends of chromosomes that protect them from fraying, much like the aglet on the end of a shoelace. Telomeres shorten over time, and the rate at which this occurs can be increased by stress, leading to accelerated aging, cardiovascular disease, cancer and an impaired immune system. The Telomeres investigation uses crew member blood samples to examine how telomeres and telomerase, an enzyme that maintains the length of telomeres, are affected by space travel and to better evaluate the impact of future spaceflight.

The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that enables us to demonstrate new technologies and make research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. It has been continuously occupied since November 2000 and, since then, has been visited by more than 200 people and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next giant leap in exploration, including future missions to an asteroid and Mars.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

To follow activities on orbit, visit the space station Facebook page at:

Follow the crew members and the station on Twitter at:

SOURCE:  SBA San Diego District Office

sba-logo-op_original_cropMeet the Buyers Who Really Make Buying Decisions

SBA representatives will be available at this event to provide information and guidance on SBA programs and services, including qualifying for SBA certifications.

SBA’s participation in this activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. 

Image: Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center Logo


Oct 1, 2015 – 9:30 12:30 p.m.

 SDSU Brawley Campus

560 East Highway 78, Brawley, CA 92227

 Several contracting officers from major defense contracting firms will be on hand to:

  • Discuss how to get federal contracts
  • Provide details on what buyers look for
  • Give tips on how to prepare and position your company
    to succeed in getting government contracts

Opportunities will be provided to meet individually
with buyers from six major companies.

 Space is limited. Please register with Sylvia Marroquin at 760-312-9800.

If you need information or preparation prior to participating, free services are available from the IV-SBDC or the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

The IV-SBDC can help companies develop Capability Statements and demonstrate capacity to perform on government contracts. Contact IV-SBDC at 760-312-9800.

For assistance with SBA certification questions, getting a DUNS number or registering on SAM call Rosa Rodarte at the SBA 619-727-4877.

Fuller Center 5K Walk-Run Flyer

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