This Week at NASA | Astronaut Class, LADEE Extended, Climate Science, more
NASA’s newest astronaut class was in Washington, DC recently, discussing the future of human exploration and STEM education at the annual White House State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math address hosted by Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren. The astronaut candidates shared advice and insight with some students at that event and with more students at a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum event that included a live conversation with the International Space Station crew. Also, Russian spacewalk, SLS sound test, LADEE mission extended, GPM briefing, and Day of Remembrance.
NASA’s newest astronaut class was in Washington, DC recently — discussing the future of human exploration and STEM education at the annual White House State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math address — hosted by Presidential Science Advisor John Holdren. The astronaut candidates shared advice and insight with some students at the event. Later, with NASA’s head of education and former astronaut Leland Melvin, they interacted with more students at a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum event that included a live conversation with the International Space Station crew. The astronaut trainees, who also visited Goddard in Maryland and Langley in Virginia, could play key roles in NASA’s vision to send astronauts beyond the Moon – to an asteroid redirect mission and on the Mars.
Outside the International Space Station, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy successfully completed a spacewalk to reinstall and activate a pair of cameras designed to downlink Earth views for a commercial venture between a Canadian firm and the Russian Federal Space Agency. The spacewalk followed up the unsuccessful initial attempt to fully install the cameras on Dec. 27.
The first round of tests are underway at Marshall Space Flight Center on a scale model of the Space Launch System, to study how low- and high-frequency sound waves affect the rocket while it’s on the launch pad. Sound from rocket engines and boosters can impact a rocket and its crew – especially at liftoff. The testing will help verify the rocket’s design and be used to develop an effective system to suppress the sound.
NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, or LADEE mission has been extended to April 21. The extension gives the satellite – which has been orbiting the moon since October 6 – time to gather additional low-altitude data on the chemical composition of the moon’s atmosphere – to help researchers better understand other planetary bodies in the solar system.
Officials and researchers previewed the upcoming Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory mission and its science during briefings at Goddard Space Flight Center. A joint effort between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, GPM is scheduled to launch from Japan February 27. The mission’s next-generation measurements of rainfall and snowfall from space will usher in a new era of global weather observing and climate science.
January 31 was NASA’s Day of Remembrance – honoring the fallen heroes of Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia – and all members of the NASA Family who lost their lives furthering the cause of exploration and discovery. Administrator Charlie Bolden took part in a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery — joining others at NASA centers around the country in commemorating the annual observance.
And that’s what’s up … This Week at NASA.
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