This Week at NASA | Astronomy Night at White House; New Rocket System; more
The stars were out for the second-ever White House Astronomy Night on Oct. 19. Attendees included NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Deputy Administrator Dava Newman and Associate Administrator for Science, John Grunsfeld – as well as NASA’s commercial crew astronauts, who are training for future spaceflights from American soil on commercial spacecraft. President Obama hosted the event to give students an opportunity to stargaze and to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or (STEM) education. Also, Social chat with Commercial Crew astronauts, Space station spacewalks previewed, SLS Critical Design Review completed, Heat shield testing completed and Exoplanet Week.
The stars were out for the second-ever White House Astronomy Night on Oct. 19. Attendees included NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Deputy Administrator Dava Newman and Associate Administrator for Science, John Grunsfeld. President Obama hosted the event to give students an opportunity to stargaze and to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or (STEM) education. NASA’s commercial crew astronauts, who are training for future spaceflights from American soil on commercial spacecraft, also participated in the event.
POTUS call to ISS:
Several hours before Astronomy Night, the President talked with NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren aboard the International Space Station about Kelly’s one-year mission and the upcoming anniversary of 15 years of continuous human presence aboard the station.
Scott Kelly, International Space Station Commander:
Social chat with Commercial Crew astronauts
Earlier that same day at NASA headquarters, Suni Williams and Bob Behnken, two of the four NASA commercial crew astronauts, fielded questions during a social media chat about their training, the importance of the Commercial Crew Program and the work NASA is doing to advance efforts to send humans to Mars in the 2030s.
An Oct. 22 news briefing at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston previewed two upcoming spacewalks aboard the space station. On Oct. 28 and Nov. 6, NASA’s Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren will perform a variety of upgrades and maintenance work on hardware outside the station. The spacewalks – the first ever for both astronauts – will “bookend” the station’s 15th anniversary of continuous human presence, which is Nov. 2.
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket has completed all steps needed to clear a critical design review (CDR). SLS is the first vehicle designed to meet the challenges of the journey to Mars and the first exploration class rocket since the Saturn V. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built and, with the agency’s Orion spacecraft, will launch America into a new era of human space exploration to destinations beyond Earth’s orbit, including an asteroid and Mars
Engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California successfully tested a heat shield in heating conditions that simulate a landing on Mars. The flexible Adaptive Deployable Entry and Placement Technology (ADEPT) opens like an umbrella and could help engineers provide the larger heat shields needed to protect spacecraft from the extreme heat experienced during landings on Mars.
Oct. 18-24 was Exoplanet Week for NASA — marking the 20th anniversary of the discovery of 51 Pegasi b — the first planet spotted outside our solar system orbiting a Sun-like star. Since that discovery in 1995, we’ve found thousands of confirmed planets and planet candidates beyond our solar system, including the discovery earlier this year by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft of a bigger, older cousin of Earth.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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