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May 16, 2014
This Week @ NASA, May 16, 2024

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

NASA center renamed

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and others honored two giants of aerospace history at a ceremony Tuesday, celebrating the renaming of Dryden Flight Research Center to Armstrong Flight Research Center, after the late Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon and a former research test pilot at the center. At the same time, the name of Hugh Dryden, who served as NASA's first deputy administrator, lives on as the namesake of the center's aeronautical test range. The event featured the singing of the national anthem by Neil Armstrong’s granddaughter, Kali and a low-level flyover of an F/A-18.

Space station crews on the move

On Tuesday, International Space Station, Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NASA Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin strapped into a Soyuz spacecraft and hours later, landed safely in Kazakhstan. New station commander Steve Swanson of NASA and his Expedition 40 crew mates now are awaiting the arrival of NASA’s Reid Wiseman and the rest of Expedition 40. They are in Russia preparing for their launch to the ISS later this month.

Asteroid mission gear tested

During a recent underwater exercise at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, near Johnson Space Center, astronauts Stan Love and Steve Bowen tested spacesuits, tools and techniques NASA is developing for a human mission to an asteroid in the 2020s. This is part of a series of evaluations to help determine what tools will be needed for the mission – which will help advance a number of technologies NASA needs to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.

Antarctic glacier melt: Unstoppable

A new study by NASA and the University of California, Irvine, indicates a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline with nothing stop the entire glacial basin from melting into the sea. These glaciers contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet in the coming century, and are melting faster than most scientists had expected.

Exploring Earth’s magnetic fields

During a visit to Goddard Space Flight Center on Monday, Administrator Bolden visited the Integration and Test Facility, where the four spacecraft for NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission are being tested. Following its targeted launch next year, MMS will orbit Earth to explore the mystery of magnetic reconnection – a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe during which magnetic fields connect and disconnect to explosively release energy.

Shrinking Great Red Spot

Recent observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot -- a swirling anti-cyclonic storm larger than Earth -- has shrunk to its smallest size ever measured. The new Hubble data indicate the storm currently is about 10-thousand-250 miles across – compared to 14-thousand-500 miles when measured by NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1979. Astronomers have followed its downsizing since the 1930s, and think the Great Red Spot is being altered by the swirling motions of small eddies feeding into it.

Helicopter drop test

Engineers at Langley Research Center conducted a 10-foot vertical drop test with a section of a former Marine helicopter, outfitted with a composite subfloor. The composite material absorbed enough energy from the impact to reduce simulated injury to two crash test dummies onboard. The composite subfloor will be used in a full-scale helicopter crash test later this year.

Technology Transfer University

Marshall Space Flight Center is one of ten NASA centers that may eventually participate in a new initiative called, Technology Transfer University – or T-2-U. The program seeks feedback from MBA students about how NASA technology could be “spun off” for use in commercial industry. NASA’s Technology Transfer Program hopes the initiative inspires students to form companies that grow the U.S. economy by developing new or improved commercial products using licensed, patented NASA technologies.

Louisiana Aerospace Day

NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility was honored by the Louisiana State Legislature during the recent NASA Louisiana Aerospace Day 2014 events in Baton Rouge. The facility’s deputy director, Michael Kynard and astronaut Jeanette Epps attended the festivities. Proclamations in the state’s House and Senate recognized Michoud's critical roles in the nation's space history, in America’s space exploration future, and in Lousiana’s economy and cultural life.

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 16th, 2014
Page Editor: Gary Daines