This Week @ NASA | Dragons in Space; Planning for Pluto; Messenging Mercury; more
On April 14, a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the company’s sixth NASA-contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station. When it arrived three days later, the Dragon was captured by the Expedition 43 crew with the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm and attached to the orbital laboratory where it will remain for about a month. The supply ship delivered more than two tons of science experiments and cargo. Also, New Horizons nearing Pluto, MESSENGER’s accomplishments, Budget hearings, Space Symposium and International Space Apps Challenge.
On April 14, a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on the company’s sixth NASA-contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station. When it arrived three days later, the Dragon was captured by the Expedition 43 crew with the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm and attached to the orbital laboratory where it will remain for about a month. The supply ship delivered more than two tons of science experiments and cargo.
A pair of news briefings at NASA headquarters on April 14 focused on the mission goals, scientific objectives and encounter plans for the historic flyby of Pluto this summer by the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft, including when and what types of imagery and data we can expect. New Horizons will fly by Pluto on July 14 at 31,000 mph, taking thousands of images and making a wide range of other science observations. At a distance of nearly four billion miles from Earth at flyby, it could take about 4-and-a-half hours for the spacecraft’s data to reach us.
The scientific findings and technical accomplishments of the NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging or MESSENGER spacecraft was discussed during an April 16 event at NASA headquarters. After more than 10 years in space that included unprecedented images and other observations taken by its cameras and other sophisticated, high-technology instruments, the highly successful mission will come to an end when it is expected to impact Mercury at the end of this month.
Also on April 16, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden provided more testimony during two hearings convened to review the $18.5 billion dollar Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposed for NASA by President Obama. The funding will enable the agency to continue making strides toward accomplishing the Administration’s priorities for NASA, including developing vehicles and technologies for unprecedented deep-space human missions, first to an asteroid and then on to Mars by the 2030s.
Administrator Bolden attended this year’s Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The annual event is the premier U.S. space policy and program forum for leaders of space organizations around the world to discuss, address and plan for the future of space related activities. Areas of interest this year included small satellite technology, launch vehicle development, communications and Earth observation and remote sensing.
This year’s International Space Apps Challenge featured NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan and the agency’s chief technology officer for IT Deborah Diaz at the Global Mainstage event in New York City. The three-day affair, which took place at more than 135 locations worldwide, brings together tech-savvy citizens, scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, and students to address issues relevant to space exploration and broader subjects that impact life on Earth.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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