NASA News August 18th-26th
- Move to the launchpad ahead of our Artemis I flight test …
- Discussing priorities for national space activities …
- And cargo and science head home from the space station
- Our Artemis I flight test is “go for launch” …
- The first deep-space long-duration biology test …
- And the Webb Space Telescope captures new images of Jupiter
Artemis I Moon Rocket and Spacecraft Moved to the Launch Pad
On the night of Aug. 16, teams at our Kennedy Space Center began the approximately 4-mile move of the Space Launch System or SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B, in preparation for the launch of our uncrewed Artemis I flight test. The rocket and spacecraft arrived at the pad the next morning. Artemis I is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions to help us establish a long-term presence on the Moon. The mission also will serve as a steppingstone to sending astronauts to Mars. Artemis I is currently targeted for launch no earlier than Aug. 29.
Vice President Meets with National Space Council in California
Vice President Kamala Harris recently met with the National Space Council at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California, the official visitor center for our Ames Research Center. Aerospace companies at the event had the opportunity to display and share their work with the vice president. The vice president – who serves as the chair of the National Space Council – also made a speech, in which she discussed upcoming priorities for national activities in space, including strengthening public-private partnerships and the benefits of space exploration for all.
SpaceX Cargo Dragon Departs from Space Station
On Aug. 19, a SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply spacecraft left the International Space Station and headed back to Earth with more than 4,000 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments for NASA and others. This was SpaceX’s 25th Commercial Resupply Services mission for NASA.
Lucy Team Discovers Moon Around Asteroid Polymele
Another asteroid has been added to the “to visit” list for our Lucy spacecraft. Lucy’s science team recently discovered that the smallest of the mission’s Trojan asteroid targets, Polymele, has a moon. With this discovery, Lucy is now on track to visit a total of nine asteroids – one main belt asteroid and eight so-called Trojan asteroids, a previously unexplored population of asteroids that lead and follow Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun.
NASA Wallops Launches Student Technology Experiments
Our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia recently helped teams of U.S. college students launch their technology experiments into space. The experiments were launched on a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket to an altitude of about 91 miles before descending back to Earth by parachute. The investigations were flown through the RockSat-X program, which gives students the experience of building experiments for spaceflight.
NASA Television Transponder Change Effective Monday, Aug. 29
A quick note about an upcoming change for NASA Television. NASA TV programming on the Galaxy 13 domestic satellite is moving from transponder 11 to transponder 15. Currently, both transponders are active, but distribution of NASA TV programming on transponder 11 will end on Monday, Aug. 29. For complete details, please visit go.nasa.gov/transponder.
Artemis I is Flight Ready and “Go for Launch!”
On Aug. 22, mission managers concluded a Flight Readiness Review for our uncrewed Artemis I flight test by giving teams a “go for launch.” The review is an in-depth assessment of the readiness of our Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft to support the Artemis I flight test beyond the Moon and back to Earth. The primary goal of the mission is to thoroughly test the integrated systems, from launch to splashdown, before flying astronauts on subsequent Artemis missions. Artemis I is currently targeted for launch no earlier than Aug. 29.
A First-of-a-Kind Deep Space Biology Mission
BioSentinel – a shoebox-sized CubeSat – is one of several secondary payloads on our uncrewed Artemis I flight test. It will perform the first long-duration biology experiment in deep space by monitoring the vital signs of yeast exposed to deep space radiation. Yeast cells have some biological similarities to human cells, so BioSentinel could help us better understand the risks of space radiation to humans and other biological organisms as we plan crewed exploration missions to the Moon and beyond.
Webb Space Telescope Captures Jupiter Images
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope recently captured new images of Jupiter that may give astronomers even more clues to the planet’s inner life. The images, captured by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera or NIRCam, show auroras extending to high altitudes above the northern and southern poles of Jupiter. They also provide details about some of the planet’s clouds, haze, and other atmospheric features, such as the Great Red Spot, a storm so big it could swallow Earth. Researchers have already begun analyzing Webb data to get new science results about our solar system’s largest planet.
NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test Update
NASA and Boeing are targeting as early as February 2023 for the launch of the Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station. The mission will carry NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Suni Williams to the space station, where they will live and work for about two weeks. This is the first flight of the company’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft with astronauts. The mission will demonstrate the ability of Starliner to safely carry astronauts to and from the station. Find out more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at nasa.gov/commercialcrew.
Engineers Install Solar Array for Earth-observing Satellite
Engineers recently installed and deployed the 30-foot-long solar array for our partner agency NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System-2 or JPSS-2. The solar array deployment marked the last major testing milestone for the weather satellite ahead of its targeted Nov. 1 launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. JPSS-2 will orbit Earth from pole to pole, taking measurements and snapping images to help us plan for hurricanes, snowstorms, floods, and other severe weather.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA … For more on these and other stories, follow on the web at nasa.gov/twan.