This Week a NASA | New Crew Aboard Space Station; MAVEN, MSL, more
On September 25, Eastern time, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore and his Expedition 41/42 crewmates, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency, launched to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They arrived six hours later and were welcomed by the crew onboard the station, including NASA’s Reid Wiseman. Expedition 41/42 will spend about five-and-a-half months on the ISS. Also, Clinton Global Initiative, SpaceX Dragon arrives at ISS, MAVEN’s first Mars images, Curiosity drills at Mt. Sharp, New aeronautics technologies and more.
On September 25, Eastern time, NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore and his Expedition 41/42 crewmates, Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova of the Russian Federal Space Agency, launched to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They arrived six hours later and were welcomed by the crew onboard the station, including NASA’s Reid Wiseman. Expedition 41/42 will spend about five-and-a-half months on the ISS.
The day before the arrival of Expedition 41/42, Wiseman and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency participated in a live question and answer session about life in space, with former President Bill Clinton and NASA astronaut Cady Coleman — in New York for the Clinton Global Initiative — a think tank to develop innovative solutions to benefit humanity. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also was at the event.
Two days after its September 21 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft arrived at the ISS – with about five-thousand pounds of supplies and critical science experiments for the space station crew – including ISS-RapidScat, a remote sensing instrument designed to monitor ocean winds and the very first 3-D printer in space. Dragon is scheduled to remain at the ISS for a month’s worth of cargo transfers. This is SpaceX’s fourth flight to the station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
The MAVEN spacecraft has obtained its first observations of the extended upper atmosphere surrounding Mars. About eight hours after successfully settling into orbit around Mars on September 21, MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument, captured these ultra-violet false-color images – showing atomic hydrogen and atomic oxygen among other things. Observations like these will help determine the loss rate of these elements from the Martian atmosphere and the amount of escaped water from the planet over time.
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has collected its first sample from the base of Mount Sharp. The powder, drilled from an outcrop of the mountain called “Pahrump Hills”, is temporarily held in the sample-handling mechanism on the rover’s arm. The next step will be to deliver it to a scoop on the arm to determine whether the powder is suitable for delivery to the instruments inside the rover for analysis. Mount Sharp offers a series of geological layers that represent different chapters in the environmental evolution of early Mars.
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and aviation partners of the agency’s North Texas Research Station facility – including the Federal Aviation Administration and American Airlines, recently hosted a media event in Fort Worth, Texas where two new NASA technologies are being evaluated that could improve air travel across the country. The Precision Departure Release Capability could improve the takeoff time predictability of flights, while the Dynamic Weather Routing tool could help flight dispatchers choose more efficient routes around bad weather — the leading cause of delays in the national airspace system.
During the 13th annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals ceremony, held September 22 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Administrator Bolden introduced NASA’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Program Manager, Alan Lindenmoyer as the recipient of the 2014 Management Excellence Medal for his work to enable NASA and the nation to continue space research in the post space-shuttle-era and stimulate the commercial space industry, while reducing taxpayer costs.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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