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This Week @ NASA, June 21, 2013
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This Week at NASA…
ASTEROID GRAND CHALLENGE - HQ
Lori Garver, NASA Deputy Administrator:
“This is something that we are thrilled to be part of. Again, NASA’s not the only player in asteroids, we know that and Grand Challenges are about leveraging those additional partners.”
During an asteroid initiative industry and partner day at NASA Headquarters, Deputy Administrator Lori Garver announced a Grand Challenge focused on finding and mitigating all asteroid threats to human populations.
Grand Challenges, an important element of the President's Strategy for American Innovation, are ambitious goals on a national or global scale that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation, science and technology.
NASA also released a request for information, or RFI inviting industry and potential partners to submit ideas on accomplishing the agency’s goal to locate, redirect, and explore an asteroid, as well as find and plan for asteroid threats.
Robert Lightfoot, NASA Associate Administrator:
“When you read the RFI you’ll see that you have an opportunity to submit any idea that you want. What we want to be able to do is take the complete set of those ideas and somehow figure out a way to make the best mission that engages the most folks and brings the most ideas to the table.”
For more information about NASA's asteroid initiative, including a link to the RFI, visit: www.nasa.gov/asteroidinitiative.
J-2X ENGINE GIMBAL TEST – SSC
The latest test of the J-2X engine at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, included the first gimbal test conducted on the A-1 test stand since the space shuttle main engines. Gimbal tests, during which the engine’s nozzle is pivoted back and forth, are critical to the design process because the engines must move freely to steer rockets like the Space Launch System, NASA’s new heavy-lift launch vehicle.
This also was the first time in almost a decade that a full engine was installed and tested in the A-1 test stand.
COUNTDOWN TO IRIS MISSION – GSFC/KSC
NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS mission is scheduled to start on June 26, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
IRIS is a NASA Small Explorer Mission to observe the characteristics of solar material as it moves through the little-understood interface region between the sun's photosphere and corona that powers the sun’s million-degree atmosphere and drives the solar wind.
IRIS will be air-launched on an Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus rocket. Live NASA Television coverage begins at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
ARMSTRONG CEREMONY – JSC
The Johnson Space Center held a memorial service to honor the life and historic achievements of astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Armstrong made history on July 20, 1969, when he became the first person to walk on the moon, as commander of Apollo 11. Among those in attendance were JSC Director Ellen Ochoa and Armstrong’s Apollo 11 crewmates, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Michael Collins, Apollo 11 Astronaut:
“He took all accolades in his stride and he never showed a touch of arrogance, although I think he had plenty of things to be arrogant about. I like to remember him that way. He deserved all of the good things that came his way.”
A tree dedication was also held for Armstrong at the JSC Memorial Tree Grove. Armstrong was 82 when he died on Aug. 25, 2012.
ADVANCING LIQUID AIR TECHNOLOGY – KSC (CP) Al Feinberg Reporting
A team of engineers at the Kennedy Space Center is advancing and refining a technology used for decades by NASA to protect its rescue crews around the launch pad.
The Cryogenic Refuge Alternative Supply System, or CryoRASS, and a smaller liquid-air filled backpack will store more than twice the amount of breathable air – and at cooler temperatures -- than traditional compressed systems used in hazardous or emergency situations.
David Bush, Lead NASA Engineer:
“We're excited about this technology because it has the potential to save lives and improve safety in mines, as well as improve safety and save lives, hopefully, in the firefighting and military applications. And it also as we move forward into the next generation of manned spaceflight, we hope to be able to use this technology to do our crew rescue as well.”
GPM’s SOLAR WINGS – GSFC
The core satellite of the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission is a step closer to completion after a successful test of its solar array wings at Goddard Space Flight Center. Engineers watched as the 18-foot long by 9-foot wide solar arrays were successfully released and locked into place during the test. The arrays will help power the satellite's electronics and instruments - providing a total of 2,000 watts of energy Scheduled to launch next year, GPM is an international network of satellites designed to measure rain and snowfall around the world every three hours.
2013 W.E.S.T. SUMMIT – ARC (CP) Jesse Carpenter Reporting
Ames Research Center hosted a gathering of well-known climate scientists and legislators for the 2013 Water, Energy, Smart Technology, or WEST, Summit.
Sponsored by Sustainable Silicon Valley, the event featured former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, former NASA climate scientist James Hansen as well as several other world renowned experts.
Ames Center Director Pete Worden welcomed California Governor Jerry Brown, who shared his own perspective on the topics discussed at the Summit.
The organization presented Governor Brown with a document signed by hundreds of scientists around the world declaring a consensus agreement that the planet is now at a tipping point and that proactive measures are needed now to mitigate the damage done by global warming.
NASA ANNIVERSARY: June 27, 1995, Atlantis Launches for First Shuttle-Mir Docking Mission
On June 27, 1995, space shuttle Atlantis became the 100th U.S. human spaceflight launched from Cape Canaveral -- on STS-71, the first space shuttle docking with the-Russian space station Mir. Over a five-day period, the combined American and Russian crews conducted biomedical and scientific investigations.
Atlantis, the last of NASA’s space shuttles to be retired, will officially go on display June 29 when the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens the doors of its new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit to the public.
And that’s This Week @NASA.
For more on these and other stories, or to follow us on Foursquare, Twitter and other social media, log on to www.nasa.gov.
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