This Week at NASA | Something New in the Air; JPL Visit; more
In his keynote address at the Aviation 2013 conference in Los Angeles, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden shared a new strategic vision for the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate designed to help address looming challenges in global air transportation. The same day of Bolden’s speech … the Federal Aviation Administration announced a new computer software tool developed by NASA may soon help controllers better manage airline departures. Also, Bolden Briefed on Earth Missions, Martian Moons Eclipse Each Other, Airborne Mission Begins, Russian Spacewalk, Learning for the GLOBAL Environment, ADEPT Heat Protection, Stationary Orion Recovery Test, Dream Chaser Tow Test, Small Sat Conference and more.
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SOMETHING NEW IN THE AIR – DFRC
In his keynote address at the Aviation 2013 conference in Los Angeles, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden shared a new strategic vision for the agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate designed to help address looming challenges in global air transportation.
Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator:
The updated vision uses NASA’s aeronautical research programs to help America maintain its leadership in the sky and ensure aviation continues as a key economic driver for the nation.
The same day of Bolden’s speech … the Federal Aviation Administration announced a new computer software tool developed by NASA may soon help controllers better manage airline departures.
BOLDEN BRIEFED ON EARTH MISSIONS – JPL
While on the west coast the Administrator also stopped by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to check out preparations for two Earth-observing missions scheduled for launch next year.
Bolden saw hardware for the Soil Moisture Active Passive or SMAP mission – targeted for an October 2014 launch and the International Space Station RapidScat instrument, set to launch to the ISS in April 2014.
These missions will add to NASA’s suite of space and airborne research that is helping us better understand weather and climate and improve life on Earth.
MARTIAN MOONS ECLIPSE EACH OTHER – JPL
On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover captured the images in this animated sequence of the planet’s two moons in motion – with Phobos, the larger moon, passing in front of the other moon, Deimos. It’s the first time images from the surface have caught one moon eclipsing the other.
AIRBORNE MISSION BEGINS – JSC
A NASA study on affects to our climate from wildfires and other air pollution sources is underway. The Studies of Emissions, Atmospheric Composition, Clouds and Climate Coupling by Regional Surveys or SEAC4RS mission got underway at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center.
The campaign, the agency’s most complex airborne science study of the year, flies across the southern U.S. and uses observations from NASA satellites, aircraft and ground sites.
RUSSIAN SPACEWALK – JSC
During an August 16 spacewalk outside the International Space Station, Flight Engineers Fyodor Yurchikhin and Alexander Misurkin – wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits — installed equipment for the arrival of a new Russian module and completed prep work for the installation later this year of an optical telescope. They’re scheduled back outside on August 22 to install experiments designed to collect data on the effects of microgravity in low-Earth orbit.
LEARNING FOR THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT – GSFC
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden put a new spin on teaching at the 17th annual GLOBE Partners Meeting at the University of Maryland University College. Bolden spins student Panupasu Panpech from Thailand to demonstrate the concept of mass and weight in space. GLOBE or Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, is an international science and education program connecting students, teachers, and scientists to better understand, sustain, and improve Earth’s environment.
ADEPT HEAT PROTECTION – ARC
A flexible woven fabric heat shield is being tested at Ames Research Center. Called the Adaptable, Deployable Entry and Placement Technology, or ADEPT, this design is based on a carbon fabric already successfully tested in the Center’s Arc Jet facility. When used on a mission, this heat shield would be stowed in a more compact shape until deployed like an umbrella for entering a planet’s atmosphere. Such a design would allow exploratory spacecraft larger than the Curiosity rover to successfully land on Venus, Mars, or other planets in our solar system.
STATIONARY RECOVERY TEST – LARC
NASA and the Navy invited the media to check out key testing of splashdown recovery operations for the agency’s Orion spacecraft at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.
The stationary recovery test was designed to demonstrate and evaluate the procedures, hardware and personnel used to recover Orion in a controlled environment in advance of a test in open waters next year.
Orion is America’s new spacecraft that will take astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars – and make its return to Earth with a splashdown landing. Orion will launch without astronauts on Exploration Flight Test-1 in September 2014.
DREAM CHASER TOW TEST – KSC
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser flight vehicle went through a series of ground tests on the concrete runways at Dryden Flight Research Center. The evaluations – which included a 60 mile per hour taxi tow test – help the company assess the performance of Dream Chaser’s landing and braking systems.
Sierra Nevada Corporation currently is one of three companies working with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to restore America’s capability to launch astronauts to low-Earth orbit from U.S. soil.
SMALLSAT CONFERENCE – HQ
NASA’s Associate Administrator for Space Technology Mike Gazarik was the keynote speaker at this year’s Small Satellite Conference at the Utah State University in Logan on August 12. Gazarik gave an overview of NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program and the important role small satellites will play in NASA’s future exploration efforts. NASA’s “SmallSat” Program develops and demonstrates new capabilities that employ the unique features of small spacecraft for science, exploration and space operations.
ROBOTIC GARDENING – KSC
Remote plant production technology for NASA’s deep space habitat prototype was demonstrated at Kennedy Space Center by student developers from the University of Colorado-Boulder. The robotic gardening device moves plants under simulated sunlight for best exposure and feeds the greenery using robot arms. Future long duration space travelers would be able to monitor the system via webcam.
And that’s This Week @NASA.