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May 9, 2014
This Week @ NASA, May 9, 2014

“Here’s some of the stories trending This Week at NASA!”

National Climate Assessment

On Tuesday, The third U.S. National Climate Assessment was released, combining observations from NASA’s fleet of satellites with data from interagency and international partners, to help us understand climate change and its impacts in the United States. While at Ames Research Center, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden punctuated the important role the agency's climate research plays in preserving the health of our home planet.

Charles Bolden, NASA Adminstrator:
“Climate change is a problem we must deal with right now. NASA's role in studying and protecting our home planet has never been stronger.  And hopefully, that's the message that I bring you when I say that this is the ‘Year of Earth’ for us.”

Carbon counting spacecraft arrives

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 spacecraft arrived at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday to begin final preparations for a scheduled July 1 launch. OCO-2 is designed to make precise measurements in Earth’s atmosphere of carbon dioxide -- the leading human-produced greenhouse gas impacting our climate. The Earth science mission is one of five NASA is launching in 2014 to address critical environment and climate related challenges facing our planet.

EFT-1 booster arrives

The remaining flight hardware for the Delta IV rocket that will launch NASA’s Orion spacecraft on Exploration Flight Test-1 in December arrived at Port Canaveral, Florida by barge Sunday. The rocket’s second stage, port booster and spacecraft adapter will be processed and integrated along with the two boosters that arrived in early March, before being moved to Space Launch Complex -37 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. EFT-1 is the un-crewed first flight test of Orion… NASA's new deep space capsule.

Cold shock test

At the Stennis Space Center, a cold-shock test of the new structural piping system needed for the RS-25 engine was completed. The RS-25 will help power NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket, which will launch humans farther into space than ever before. The test, which involved pushing super-cold propellant through the piping system, is a major milestone that sets the stage for installation of the engine in the coming weeks and hot-fire testing this summer.

Origins of star clusters

On Wednesday, NASA announced astronomers have made an important advance in the understanding of how clusters of stars come into being. Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and infrared telescopes, astronomers studied two star clusters and found the stars on the outskirts of these clusters are older than those in the center, which is different from what the simplest idea of star formation predicts.

Simulated space dust

And a team of scientists at NASA Ames has successfully reproduced, right here on Earth, the processes that occur in the atmosphere of a red giant star responsible for creating planet-forming interstellar dust. Scientists plan to use the simulated space dust to gather clues to better understand the composition and the evolution of the universe.

Next space station crew trains

The next space station crew is training in Star City, Russia for its trip to the International Space Station later this month. Expedition 40/41 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 conducted final qualification training and other activities at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. They are scheduled to launch to the station May 28, Eastern Daylight Time.

Astronaut Hall of Fame

During a May 3 ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, astronauts Shannon Lucid and Jerry Ross officially were inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Lucid was the only American woman to serve aboard the Russian Space Station Mir and Ross became the first human to complete seven spaceflight missions.

Small Business Week

In celebration of Small Business Week, NASA recognizes the small business community for helping the agency work toward achieving its goals. In fiscal year 2013, NASA awarded over $2.7 billion directly to small businesses. In the approaching new era of space exploration that includes sending humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s, NASA expects that small business will continue to help make big things happen.

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 Last Updated: May 9th, 2014
Page Editor: Gary Daines