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This Week at NASA | The Plan to Launch America

Uploaded 01/30/2015

The Plan to Launch America

During a Jan. 26 media briefing at the Johnson Space Center, Administrator Charlie Bolden, other NASA officials and representatives from Boeing and SpaceX discussed key development activities, test plans and objectives for developing safe, reliable and cost-effective spacecraft and systems that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station from the United States. Under Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts for NASA’s Launch America initiative, the companies will conduct spacecraft systems testing followed by increasingly complex flight tests – before ultimately flying astronauts on orbital flights and eventually on operational missions to the station in the next few years. Also, Soil moisture mission update, ISSAC robot unveiled, Close asteroid flyby, Best images yet of Ceres and Day of Remembrance.

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

The plan to Launch America

During a Jan. 26 media briefing at the Johnson Space Center, Administrator Charlie Bolden, other NASA officials and representatives from Boeing and SpaceX discussed key development activities, test plans and objectives for developing safe, reliable and cost-effective spacecraft and systems that will launch astronauts to the International Space Station from the United States. Under Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts for NASA’s Launch America initiative, the companies will conduct spacecraft systems testing followed by increasingly complex flight tests – before ultimately flying astronauts on orbital flights and eventually on operational missions to the station in the next few years.

Soil moisture mission

NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft is the first U.S. Earth-observing satellite designed to collect global observations of surface soil moisture. Its high resolution space-based measurements will give scientists a new capability to better predict natural hazards of extreme weather, climate change, floods and droughts and improve our understanding of Earth’s water, energy and carbon cycles. Launch from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base is no earlier than Jan. 31.

ISSAC robot unveiled

NASA’s new seven-ton, two-story tall composite materials robot, named ISAAC, was unveiled Jan. 26 during a ceremony at Langley Research Center. ISAAC, which stands for Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites uses epoxy and carbon fibers to transform 3-D computer drawings into strong, but lighter weight parts for aircraft and spacecraft – which will allow planes, rockets and other vehicles to use less fuel and carry more weight.

Close asteroid flyby

These animated radar images captured with NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, show asteroid 2004 BL86 during its close flyby of Earth on Jan. 26. The images also show the asteroid, which is about 1,100 feet across, has a small moon that is about 230 feet across. The flyby – about 745,000 miles from us, is the closest a known asteroid this size will come to Earth until 2027.

Best images yet of Ceres

The images captured of Ceres by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft get better and better as the probe continues to close in on the dwarf planet. This animation, made with images taken on Jan. 25, represents the highest-resolution views to date of Ceres. The images were taken at a distance of about 147,000 miles. Dawn is scheduled to become the first probe to visit a dwarf planet when it enters into orbit around Ceres on March 6.

Day of Remembrance

Administrator Bolden and other senior NASA officials held a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Jan. 28 – to mark NASA’s annual Day of Remembrance. This was one of several such observances around the agency to honor the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, as well as other members of the NASA family who lost their lives supporting NASA’s mission of exploration and discovery.

And that’s what’s up this week @NASA

 

 

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