“Here’s some of the stories trending This Week at NASA!”
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of France’s National Center of Space Studies or CNES, signed an agreement for cooperation on the lander for NASA’s future InSight mission to Mars. InSight will probe deep into the subsurface of Mars to understand the evolutionary formation of rocky planets, including Earth. A CNES instrument onboard the lander is designed to measure seismic waves – which provide clues about the earliest stages of the planet’s formation.
During a Congressional hearing at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor complex, chaired by Representative John Mica of Florida plans were discussed for putting vacant KSC buildings and excess property to their best and most productive use. Also participating was Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana. The center is in the midst of a post-space shuttle era transformation into a multi-user spaceport for commercial and government customers.
Officials at Langley Research Center hosted Senator Mark Warner of Virginia for a “look-see” at Langley’s efforts to reduce the time needed to develop space-age composite materials and make them available for market. The Senator was briefed on a robotic processing platform called ISAAC – that will play a key role in development of significantly improved aerospace structures and allow the Virginia facility to contribute to an emerging regional composites manufacturing research and development hub.
NASA astronaut Jeff Williams has been named to the Expedition 48 crew and with Russian cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, will launch to the International Space Station in spring 2016. This will be the fourth spaceflight and third long-duration mission for Williams, the second long-duration flight for Skripochka and the first trip to space for Ovchinin. They’ll return to Earth in fall 2016.
A free-flight test of a Morpheus prototype lander took place February 10 at Kennedy Space Center. During the 74-second test, the lander rose to a height of 467-feet before finally landing on its target. Project Morpheus is testing NASA's ALHAT hazard avoidance technology and an engine that uses liquid oxygen and methane, or "green" propellants. These new capabilities could be used in future efforts to deliver cargo to planetary surfaces.
Some of the most successful technology transfer projects developed at Ames Research Center were recently recognized at the center’s 2013 Tech Transfer Awards. Among them, a nano-sensor attached to a cell phone that detects traces of chemicals – such a small device could be used by astronauts on future planetary surface missions; a rehydration drink for athletes that’s been tested by NASA astronauts to counter dehydration caused by spaceflight and a photo-mapping software toolkit that enables planetary rovers to navigate through 3D space.
And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.
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Page Editor: Gary Daines