This Week @ NASA, August 23, 2013
A big week for NASA’s newest astronaut candidates … chosen from more 6-thousand applicants, the group of eight arrived at Johnson Space Center to begin training for future missions and were introduced to the media during a news conference with Administrator Charlie Bolden.
The candidates could be some of the first explorers to help NASA and its international partners blaze the trail outlined in the recently announced The roadmap makes clear the U.S. and its international space partners share an interest in pursuing ambitious exploration goals.
The roadmap also highlights the critical role of the International Space Station in preparing for deep-space exploration, and the importance of asteroid missions in advancing capabilities needed to explore Mars.
While in Houston, Administrator Bolden also visited Boeing’s Houston Product Support Center to check out a fully-outfitted mockup of the company’s CST-100 capsule.
The vehicle is being developed in partnership with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective transport to and from the International Space Station.
Another Commercial Crew partner, Sierra Nevada Corporation, suspended its Dream Chaser spacecraft from a heavy lift helicopter over California’s Mojave Desert during a successful captive-carry test.
The exercise simulated the path Dream Chaser will take during free-flight tests scheduled for later this year.
Back outside the International Space Station for the second time in six days, Expedition 36 Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin, in Russian Orlan spacesuits, conducted another second spacewalk. The pair’s “to do” list included installing a platform on the Zvezda module for a telescope coming in the future and removing a visual alignment target on the Pirs Docking Compartment.
During a news briefing at NASA Headquarters, participants previewed the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE mission – the agency’s next excursion to the moon and the first lunar mission launching from Wallops Flight Facility.
Understanding the environment around the moon will help scientists better understand other planetary bodies in the universe. LADEE is scheduled to launch Sept. 6.
The Primary Mirror Backplane Support Structure of the James Webb Space Telescope was delivered to Marshall Space Flight Center for testing in the X-ray and Cryogenic Test Facility. The backplane holds JWST’s huge hexagonal shaped mirror segment and other elements. To prepare the Webb for the extreme temperatures of space, its components are tested at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility at temperatures down to a frigid minus 414 degrees Fahrenheit.
Members of the media stopped by Houston’s Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center for behind-the-scenes tours and access to the SEAC4RS mission, NASA’s airborne study on how storm systems and air pollution from wildfires and other sources affect our climate.
SEAC4RS is the agency’s most complex airborne science study of the year – with more than 200 support personnel observations from NASA satellites, aircraft and ground sites.
The media got a “two-fer” in Houston that day because during another event at Ellington Field, plans were announced to relocate , the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, to the Space Center Houston visitor center for permanent public display. The SCA safely transported space shuttles around the country on 68 ferry flights from 1974 to September 2012.
On August 25, 2012, astronaut Neil Armstrong – passed away after complications from heart surgery. The Apollo 11 commander was the first person to set foot on the lunar surface during the 1969 mission to the moon. NASA and Washington’s National Cathedral held a memorial service in September of last year, during which Armstrong was remembered by those in attendance as an American hero, selfless educator and a humanitarian. Neil Armstrong was 82.
And that’s This Week @NASA.
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