“It’s back to work, back to NASA’s mission following the government shutdown…’
“Another commercial partner completes a demonstration flight to the space station …”
“And preparations continue for NASA’s next mission to Mars …Those are some of the stories trending, This Week at NASA!”
Back to Mission – GSFC/NSSC/SSC
With the government shutdown over, Administrator Charlie Bolden welcomed employees back to the work of NASA’s mission. Bolden visited Goddard Space Flight Center with Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski for an update on several projects, including the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, the Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft and the James Webb Space Telescope. Bolden also visited Mississippi to thank employees at Stennis Space Center for their critical engineering and testing work on the agency’s next generation rocket engines and the staff of the NASA Shared Services Center for their support of the agency during the shutdown.
While we were away – HQ
A few notable accomplishments in space during the shutdown … This October 9 shot of Earth is from the Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft’s closest approach to Earth since launching in 2011 … LADEE, NASA’s latest moon mission, dropped into lunar orbit on Oct. 6 to study the moon’s atmosphere … and the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration system onboard LADEE recently used a pulsed laser beam to transmit data 239-thousand miles from the moon to Earth at a record-breaking download rate of 622 megabits per second.
Cygnus Completes! – JSC
The October 22 unberthing and release of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Cygnus spacecraft from the International Space Station made Cygnus the second commercial spacecraft to complete a resupply demonstration flight to the Station – the SpaceX Dragon is the other. Cygnus delivered 13-hundred pounds of gear to the ISS. Orbital can now make official resupply missions to the station in the future.
MAVEN in Waiting – KSC/GSFC
Pre-flight processing continues for NASA’s next mission to Mars. MAVEN, or Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, is the first spacecraft designed to directly measure the Martian atmosphere for clues about what existed there in the past. Liftoff is targeted for November 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
SLS Tests – ARC
Testing to fine tune the design of NASA’s Space Launch System continues. Specialized imaging techniques at Ames Research Center’s Unitary Wind Tunnel allow engineers to see air flow density around the base of various models. The data gives an indication how the rocket will perform on its way to space.
Satellites show there was greater sea ice coverage this summer in the Arctic than 2012’s record-breaking minimum -- the smallest coverage of Arctic sea ice in the 34 years the polar region’s been monitored from space. In addition to the satellite data, NASA’s IceBridge Mission uses aircraft to measure the thickness of sea ice.
And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.
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Page Editor: Gary Daines