“Here’s some of the stories trending This Week at NASA!”
During a free-flight test of the Morpheus prototype lander at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, the lander used its newly installed suite of autonomous landing and hazard avoidance technology sensors to survey the landing field for hazards and successfully self-navigate to a safe landing. The technology used with Morpheus could be used to deliver cargo to planetary surfaces in the future.
NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator, a rocket-powered, saucer-shaped test vehicle, has completed final assembly at the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. An experimental flight test is planned for LDSD June 3 to investigate breakthrough technologies that will benefit future spaceflight missions that require landing large objects, including human missions to Mars.
With the successful completion of a Mission Critical Design Review, NASA and its international partners can move ahead with construction of the lander for the InSight mission to Mars. Scheduled to launch in early 2016, InSight will probe the Martian sub-surface for clues about how Earth-like planets form their layered inner structure of core, mantle and crust.
An ISS Science Forum took place Wednesday at Johnson Space Center. The NASA Destination Station event focused on scientific endeavors on the International Space Station that are preparing NASA to venture farther into the solar system than ever before and providing real benefits to life on Earth.
The SpaceX Dragon cargo craft left the space station on Sunday, a month after delivering more than 2-and-a-half tons of supplies and science investigations. Hours later, Dragon completed a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean near Baja, California – returning more than 35-hundred pounds of NASA cargo and science samples.
Training continues at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for Expedition 40/41 – the next crew headed to the station. Soyuz Commander Max Suraev of the Russian Federal Space Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Reid Wiseman and Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency are scheduled to launch at about 4 p.m. Eastern on May 28… to the ISS.
The new NASA Student Launch, formerly the Student Launch Initiative wrapped up Sunday in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sixteen student-built rockets with working science or engineering payloads, soared to altitudes of nearly 20-thousand feet during the event, which provides relevant and cost-effective research and development support to NASA’s Space Launch System program at Marshall Space Flight Center.
TW@N on hiatus May 30-June 13
Before we go – a quick programming note. Starting May 30, the This Week at NASA crew will take a two week hiatus. While we’re gone, though – we’ll leave you with a special 2014 mid-year report on some of the big and exciting news we’ve featured so far this year.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA …
For more on these and other stories follow us on social media and visit www.nasa.gov/twan.
Page Editor: Gary Daines