“Here’s some of the stories trending This Week at NASA!”
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Goddard Center Director Chris Scolese congratulated the Goddard team recently for progress in development of the James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope’s flight instruments and primary mirrors are being integrated at Goddard. JWST is the agency's flagship science project and the most powerful space telescope ever built. Scheduled to launch in 2018, it will study every phase in the history of our universe, including the first luminous glows after the big bang and the evolution of our own solar system.
Crawler-Transporter test drive
Engineers recently took one of NASA’s two Crawler Transporters for a test spin around the block at Kennedy Space Center. It was an opportunity to test modifications to the Crawlers to prepare them to carry the Space Launch System rocket to the launch pad – with both being upgraded with the ability to carry 14.2 million pounds of heavy-lift hardware.
A celebration at Marshall Space Flight Center for completion of the adapter that will connect the Orion spacecraft to a Delta IV rocket on Orion’s first flight test to space, in September. In mid-March, the adapter will be shipped to the United Launch Alliance facility in Decatur, Alabama, where the Delta IV is being constructed – and eventually on to Florida’s Cape Canaveral ahead of Orion's mission. During that first mission, called Exploration Flight Test-1, the un-inhabited Orion will travel about 36-hundred miles above Earth and re-enter the atmosphere at about 20-thousand miles per hour. Data from the flight will help engineers prepare Orion for its first Space Launch System mission in 2017.
A team of engineers conducted a hot-fire test of an AJ26 engine on the E-1 test stand at Stennis Space Center. After post-test inspections and flight prep activities, the engine will ship to Wallops Flight Facility. The AJ26 powers the first stage of Orbital’s Sciences’ Antares rocket – which launches the company’s Cygnus spacecraft from Wallops, on supply missions to the ISS. NASA, Orbital, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Lockheed Martin conducts testing of the first-stage engines.
An ISS Progress 54 cargo craft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on February 5 – and six hours later docked to the International Space Station with almost three tons of food, supplies and experiments for the station’s Expedition 38 crew. Arrival of the new Progress followed the undocking from the ISS of the old Progress 52 cargo ship, just two days earlier.
If you’ve got an idea for a new challenge for NASA’s Centennial Challenges program you can submit it through March 2014. If your idea is selected you’ll get the chance to help run the challenge. Centennial Challenges gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to demonstrate new technology solutions that can benefit NASA and the nation. For more info go to www.nasa.gov/challenges.
And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.
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Page Editor: Gary Daines