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This Week at NASA | JPL Open House; Int’l Mars Effort; Scott Kelly Sets Record; more

Uploaded 10/16/2015

JPL Open House; Int’l Mars Effort; Scott Kelly Sets Record; more

During meetings and public events at the International Astronautical Congress, Oct. 12-16 in Jerusalem, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and several other NASA officials highlighted the agency’s recently released plan to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030’s. They also emphasized the need for international partnerships and cooperation to make a mission of this magnitude a reality, the importance of harnessing enthusiasm for space exploration and the need to encourage young people to develop the skills we’ll need for the Journey to Mars. Also, New American record in space, Flyby of Saturnian moon, Next launch for Cygnus, Access to space for small satellites and more. JPL Open House is a big draw.

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Journey to Mars: An international effort

During meetings and public events at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Oct. 12-16 in Jerusalem, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and several other NASA officials highlighted the agency’s recently released plan to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030’s. They also emphasized the need for international partnerships and cooperation to make a mission of this magnitude a reality, the importance of harnessing enthusiasm for space exploration and the need to encourage young people to develop the skills we’ll need for the Journey to Mars.

New American record in space

Oct. 16 was a record-breaking day in space for International Space Station Commander Scott Kelly. It gave him 383 total days in space — the most cumulative days in space by a U.S. astronaut – a record previously held by NASA’s Mike Fincke. Kelly will break another record on Oct. 29 – his 216thconsecutive day in space — surpassing Michael Lopez-Alegria’s record for the single-longest spaceflight by an American. Kelly’s time in space as part of the one-year mission, helps us better understand the physical and mental effects of long duration spaceflight, which is critical to NASA’s journey to Mars.

Flyby of Saturnian moon

During an Oct. 14 flyby, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft passed within 1,142 miles of Saturn’s moon Enceladus to capture the first close-up look at the plumes of icy spray situated in the moon’s North Polar Region. This is a prelude to an even closer flyby on Oct. 28 when Cassini will get within 30 miles of the moon’s southern polar region for the most accurate measurements yet of the plumes’ composition.

Next launch for Cygnus

Dec. 3 is the targeted launch date for the fourth commercial resupply services mission of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station. This will be the first flight of the company’s enhanced Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft, which can deliver more than 7,700 pounds of cargo. The supply spacecraft is scheduled to lift off aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at about 6 p.m. Eastern Time.

Access to space for small satellites

NASA has awarded new Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) contracts to three companies — Firefly Space Systems, Inc. of Cedar Park, Texas, Rocket Lab USA, Inc. of Los Angeles and Virgin Galactic LLC of Long Beach, California. The launch vehicles developed by these companies will be used to provide access to low-Earth orbit for small satellites, which currently only make it to space as secondary payloads on other missions. Small satellites, including CubeSats, are playing an increasingly larger role in exploration, technology demonstration, scientific research and educational investigations at NASA.

JPL Open House is a big draw

Soaring temperatures and heavy traffic did not deter some 45,000 people from attending the recent 2-day Open House event at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. JPL manages several NASA missions that have captured the public’s attention recently. These include the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover, Dawn, the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet, Ceres, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has found key evidence that water does exist on present-day Mars.

Combined Federal Campaign underway

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden helped kick-off the 2015 Combined Federal Campaign recently at headquarters. Each year, donations from NASA employees make a positive impact on the lives of others who are less fortunate. There is a wide choice of approved local, national and international charities to which employees around the agency can donate. The campaign ends Dec. 15.

And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.

 

(c)2015 NASA | SCVTV
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