JSC Director News
January/February 2015 E-News
2015 looks to be an exciting year at Johnson Space Center with a historic yearlong mission set, seven planned spacewalks, progress on three new spacecraft, continued technology developments, and some historic milestones.
Astronaut Scott Kelly, along with Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, will head to the International Space Station in March for a historic yearlong mission. Meanwhile, Scott’s identical twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will join Scott in unprecedented research, the Twins Study, here on Earth, all in the name of human space exploration.
The one-year mission is already getting a lot of attention: Scott and the mission’s focus on studying human health and performance in space were featured as the cover article of Time magazine; in addition, President Obama recognized Scott and his upcoming mission in his State of the Union speech.
During his speech, the President also said the successful Orion flight was “part of a re-energized space program.” JSC is now focused on the next Orion flight, Exploration Mission-1. Welding of the crew module pressure vessel will begin about May at the Michoud Assembly Facility, near New Orleans, and should be complete by year end when the crew module will be shipped to Kennedy Space Center. Also this year we’ll complete the developmental parachute drop tests, supporting the final configuration of parachutes that JSC Engineering will deliver to Orion contractor Lockheed Martin.
This year will also see significant progress for the Commercial Crew program. In a joint news conference at JSC on Jan. 26, NASA, Boeing and SpaceX highlighted development activities, test plans and objectives for achieving certification of two American crew transportation systems. You can follow the path forward via Commercial Crew’s Twitter, and Facebook.
In space station news, CNN Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta visited JSC to report on the groundbreaking research being conducted aboard the space station. In his CNN International series, Vital Signs. Gupta explores the ISS as an engineering marvel and platform for scientific research unmatched on, or off, the Earth. Here are highlights of Gupta’s visit to JSC in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Station research was also featured in an AARP blog on the osteoporosis studies and Elon Musk of SpaceX will be the keynote at the fourth ISS Research and Development Conference this summer.
NASA JSC will be landing in Austin and the State Capitol March 3 for Space Week Texas with a salute to space exploration and featuring educational and interactive exhibits, inspiring speakers, and legislative proclamations highlighting ISS and the future.
There will also be changes this year to the configuration of our station Mission Control Center, moving away from custom hardware and software to make use of updated tools and equipment that will reduce operational costs. It’s hard to believe the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center celebrates its 50th year on June 3. That date is also the 50th anniversary of the first US spacewalk by Astronaut Ed White, who left the safety of Gemini 4 for 23 minutes.
Near the end of the year, NASA will also celebrate 15 years of continuous habitation on the space station. That will occur within a month of the 50th anniversary of the first orbital rendezvous, highlighting how far we’ve come, now operating a space station which sees different vehicles from different countries routinely rendezvousing and docking.
I look forward to updating you on these activities throughout 2015.
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