“Here’s some of the stories trending This Week at NASA!”
Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo craft was detached and released from the International Space Station February 18, more than a month after arriving with over a ton of supplies and experiments for the Expedition 38 crew. The cargo craft burned up on reentry in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Orbital-1 mission was the first of at least eight NASA contracted cargo missions to the space station for the company through 2016.
Off the coast of California, the first full joint testing by NASA and the U.S. Navy of procedures to recover the Orion spacecraft after water landings in the ocean, was halted after the team experienced issues with the handling lines securing the Orion test article and turbulence from waves inside the well deck of the USS San Diego. Several test objectives were accomplished before the week’s remaining tests were called off -- including successful recoveries of the forward bay cover, parachute and demonstrations of the coordination required between the team onboard the ship and mission control in Houston.
With the help of NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR , researchers are closer to understanding one of astronomy’s biggest mysteries -- how stars explode… or go supernova. The high-energy X-ray observatory created the first-ever map of radioactive material in a supernova remnant, called Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short. The results reveal how shock waves from the cosmic explosions likely rip apart massive dying stars.
NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan made a visit to Stennis Space Center this week to talk with employees and tour the facilities. She also participated in a FIRST Robotics demonstration at the INFINITY Science Center and spoke with students about NASA’s work using applied science to create new tools that benefit life on Earth and solve real-world problems.
Astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger and others from NASA, industry and academia participated in the 9th annual Virginia Aerospace Day at the Virginia General Assembly building in Richmond, recently. It was an opportunity to showcase for elected officials the significant economic and technological impact that Langley Research Center and Wallops Flight Facility have on the Commonwealth and to promote science, technology, engineering and math-related education.
February 20th was the fifty-second anniversary of John Glenn’s historic flight aboard Friendship 7. Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth, circling the globe three times. People in Perth, Western Australia, greeted him by turning on house lights and street lights as he passed over, earning Perth the nickname, “The City of Light”. Glenn was celebrated as a national hero, with a ticker-tape parade in New York City after his return to Earth.
And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.
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Page Editor: Gary Daines