This Week at NASA | Dryden Center Renamed for Armstrong; more
NASA’s TDRS-L satellite launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas rocket January 23, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. TDRS-L, the second of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, provides tracking, telemetry; command and data return services for NASA science and human exploration missions. Also, KSC transformation continues, Center renamed for Armstrong, Next space station crew, SLS Thrust Frame Adapter, Orion chute test, 5 Earth Science missions for 2014 and more.
NASA’s TDRS-L satellite launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas rocket January 23, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. TDRS-L, the second of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites, provides tracking, telemetry; command and data return services for NASA science and human exploration missions.
Kennedy Space Center’s transformation into a multi-user spaceport for commercial and government customers continues. Administrator Charlie Bolden and Center Director Bob Cabana were on hand as Sierra Nevada Corporation announced plans for a November 2016 orbital flight of its Dream Chaser spacecraft from Florida’s Space Coast. SNC will establish an operation center at KSC, use the former Shuttle Landing Facility runway and utilize the services of other aerospace companies in the area.
President Obama signed into law a congressional resolution to re-designate NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center. The resolution also re-names the center’s Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range. Hugh Dryden and Neil Armstrong were aerospace pioneers who made historic contributions to the agency and the nation.
The next International Space Station crew spoke to media during a news conference on NASA TV. Expedition 39/40 – NASA astronaut Steve Swanson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander (Skuh-VORT-soff ) Skvortsov and Oleg (Ar-tuh-MY-eff) Artemyev are scheduled to launch March 25 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The crew will be the first to share its final weeks of mission preparations and flight experiences on Instagram.
The A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center has been outfitted with a new thrust frame adapter that will enable testing of RS-25 rocket engines. The RS-25 will power the core stage of NASA’s new Space Launch System rocket. Testing is scheduled to begin in mid-summer, after test stand modifications are completed.
The latest test of the Orion spacecraft’s parachute system in Yuma, Arizona increased the complexity of the tests and was the first to provide in-air data on the system that jettisons Orion’s forward bay cover — a shell that protects the spacecraft during launch, orbital flight and re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. When Orion returns from space, the cover must come off before the spacecraft’s parachutes can deploy. Further testing of the cover is planned before Orion’s Exploration Flight Test-1 in September.
For the first time in more than a decade, NASA will launch five Earth science missions in a single year – opening new and improved eyes on our changing planet. The five missions in 2014 are part of the agency’s planned Earth science activities for the year. Two missions will deliver instruments to the International Space Station, inaugurating use of the orbiting laboratory as a 24/7 Earth-observing science platform.
New data on 2013 global temperatures and climate released by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than those measured several decades ago – a trend researchers believe is the result of continued increases in greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere.
A news conference sponsored by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory celebrated ten years of accomplishments on Mars by the Exploration Rover Opportunity – which landed on Mars Jan. 24, 2004, Pacific Time, three weeks after its twin, Spirit. Both rovers made important discoveries on the Red Planet. Spirit stopped communicating in 2010, but Opportunity is still sending home scientific results from Mars.
And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.