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This Week at NASA | Orion Spacecraft Taking Shape; Deflecting Asteroids; more

Uploaded 06/20/2014

Orion Spacecraft Taking Shape; Deflecting Asteroids; more

At Kennedy Space Center, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana and other officials invited the media to view prelaunch progress of the Orion spacecraft. Kennedy technicians recently attached Orion’s crew module to its service module, the first step in moving the spacecraft’s three primary elements, which includes the launch abort system, into the correct configuration for launch. Orion is being prepared for its first space flight in December – a four-and-a-half-hour uncrewed mission to test systems that will be critical for survival of astronauts on future deep space missions. Also, Hunting for asteroids, Russian spacewalk and Celebrating a Nation of Makers.

 

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Orion spacecraft taking shape

At Kennedy Space Center, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana and other officials invited the media to view prelaunch progress of the Orion spacecraft. Kennedy technicians recently attached Orion’s crew module to its service module — the first step in moving the spacecraft’s three primary elements, which includes the launch abort system, into the correct configuration for launch. Orion is being prepared for its first space flight in December – a four-and-a-half-hour uncrewed mission to test systems that will be critical for survival of astronauts on future deep space missions.

Hunting for asteroids

During a multi-center program, anchored at NASA headquarters, agency officials announced recent progress to identify candidate asteroids for its Asteroid Redirect Mission, increase public participation in finding asteroids and advance the design of the redirect mission. NASA plans to launch a robotic spacecraft in 2019 to capture and redirect an asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon for study during a human mission with Orion. Concept studies solicited through a recent Broad Agency Announcement will help refine system concepts and key technologies needed for the Asteroid Redirect Mission, and assess feasibility of potential commercial partnerships to support the robotic mission. NASA is evaluating two concepts – the full capture of a small asteroid or retrieval of a boulder from a much larger one.

While NASA plans to pick the specific target asteroid about a year before the redirect mission will launch, recent observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of asteroid 2011 MD show it could make a good candidate for the full capture concept. Meanwhile, boulders have been seen on all larger asteroids visited by spacecraft so far – which makes the boulder retrieval option viable too. These findings show astronomers are making progress in characterizing suitable candidate asteroids for the mission.

The hunt for asteroids for the redirect mission is a component of NASA’s effort to identify all near-Earth objects that pose a threat to humans – an effort the public and other entities are helping with through the agency’s Asteroid Grand Challenge – which has resulted in more than 14-hundred potential threats found. In recognition of the first anniversary of the grand challenge, NASA held a virtual workshop about new opportunities for public participation – visit nasa.gov for details.

Russian spacewalk

Up on the International Space Station, Expedition 40 Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov (pron: Skuh-VORT’-tsoff) and Oleg Artemyev (pron: Ar-TIM’-ee-ehv) of the Russian Federal Space Agency conducted a spacewalk to install a telemetry system antenna and to relocate a payload boom. It was the 180th spacewalk in support of space station assembly and maintenance and the first for both cosmonauts.

Celebrating a Nation of Makers

At the first White House Maker Faire, NASA announced new opportunities for Makers – including a 3D printing challenge, an additive manufacturing competition, and a new way for CubeSat developers to work with NASA. Inventing the future is a passion NASA shares with Makers – working together to create the technology that drives exploration on Earth and in space.

And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.

 

 

(c)2014 NASA
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