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June 27, 2014
This Week @ NASA, June 27, 20214

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

NASA, 50 years after The Civil Rights Act

During a special program at NASA headquarters, the agency’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity, in coordination with the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The program, moderated by CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, included NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, a video-taped poem from civil rights era poet Nikki Giovanni, members of Congress and past and present NASA officials, highlighting the progress of the last 50 years and the civil rights challenges that still confront us. The Civil Rights Act was signed into law July 2, 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson – the namesake of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Orion Chute Test

A recent test of the Orion spacecraft’s parachutes was the most complex yet with the maximum amount of stress put on the chutes, to date. A test version of the spacecraft was dropped out of an aircraft about 35-thousand-feet above the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. Engineers are testing the parachutes to ensure they can slow Orion for a safe landing in the Pacific Ocean during its first space flight test in December.

Cryogenic tank and 3D printer

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Technology, Mike Gazarik was on hand for a recent media event at Marshall Space Flight Center. Marshall is conducting a series of structural and pressure tests on an 18-foot-diameter composite cryogenic fuel tank – one of the largest ever built, along with testing and certification for a "3-D" printer like one that will head to the International Space Station later this year. These represent two of the advanced space technologies NASA is developing to enable future deep space exploration.

Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 mission

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 – the agency’s first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide will help us understand the causes of carbon dioxide emissions, as well as naturally-occurring processes that help control CO-2 buildup. Launch of OCO-2 is targeted for July 1 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base.

In a Martian Year

On June 24, NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover completed its first Martian year -- 687 Earth days. Included on its list of accomplishments, in that time – discovering that ancient Mars offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. With that finding, Curiosity met the mission’s main goal. The rover also has provided data about radiation and atmospheric elements on the Red Planet to help us prepare for human missions to Mars.

OpenNEx Challenge

NASA has launched two new challenges that use climate and Earth science satellite data recently made available to the public on the Open NASA Earth Exchange. The first is an “Ideation” challenge, seeking ideas on novel uses of the available datasets. That’s followed by a second “Solver” challenge to develop an application or algorithm for the OpenNEX data submitted from the Ideation challenge. Visit nex.nasa.gov for more details.

Jim McDivitt presentation

The featured speaker of the 10th anniversary John H. Glenn Lecture in Space History at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum was Air Force Brigadier General and former astronaut Jim McDivitt. In 1965 McDivitt was the command pilot for Gemini IV, the first NASA mission to include a spacewalk and four years later he commanded Apollo 9, the first flight of the complete set of Apollo hardware and lunar module.

NASA and Congressional Baseball

The NASA exhibit at Washington Nationals Park was one of the big hits during this year’s Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. The attraction included a thirty-foot blowup of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket. The annual event raises funds for the Washington Literacy Council, and The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington.

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: June 27th, 2014
Page Editor: Gary Daines