This Week at NASA | Space Station Makes 100,000th Orbit; more
On May 16, the International Space Station completed its 100,000th orbit of Earth since the launch of the first component on Nov. 20, 1998. In that time, the station has traveled more than 2.6 billion miles – which is roughly the equivalent of about 10 round trips between Earth and Mars, at the average distance between the two planets. The space station zips around our planet at 17,500 miles per hour – completing each orbit in just 90 minutes – giving the crew onboard the unique opportunity to experience 16 sunrises and sunsets per day and to capture some great images of Earth. Also, CubeSats Deployed from ISS, Humans to Mars Summit 2016, Orion’s Water Drop Test “Passengers”, There’s No Place Like Space and more.
Space Station’s 100,000th Orbit
On May 16, the International Space Station completed its 100,000th orbit of Earth since the launch of the first component on Nov. 20, 1998. In that time, the station has traveled more than 2.6 billion miles – which is roughly the equivalent of about 10 round trips between Earth and Mars, at the average distance between the two planets. The space station zips around our planet at 17,500 miles per hour – completing each orbit in just 90 minutes – giving the crew onboard the unique opportunity to experience 16 sunrises and sunsets per day and to capture some great images of Earth. To help mark the occasion the Expedition 47 crew, including station Commander Tim Kopra and Jeff Williams of NASA, posed for this snapshot – the 3 millionth image taken from onboard the ISS!
May 16 also saw the much anticipated launch of several small satellites from the ISS. Students at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia watched as their STMSat-1 was deployed from the station’s NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer. STMSat-1, the first-ever CubeSat built by elementary school students, is an educational mission designed to transmit images of Earth to ground stations around the country. Meanwhile, NASA’s two Nodes satellites were also deployed into low-Earth orbit. These tiny devices are part of a technology demonstration mission to exhibit new network data and command handling capabilities needed for collaborative operation of swarms of multiple spacecraft. Both missions launched to the ISS on Dec. 6 aboard Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo resupply spacecraft.
Humans to Mars Summit 2016
Deputy Administrator Dava Newman was among the NASA officials to attend the Humans to Mars Summit 2016 at The George Washington University, in Washington. The three-day event, which kicked off May 17, addressed the technical, scientific and policy challenges of making human exploration of Mars a reality. In addition to remarks by Newman, the event also featured NASA’s Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, Steve Jurczyk, the agency’s Associate Administrator for Space Technology, as well as other well-known figures in the space community. NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars that includes sending humans to the Red Planet in the 2030s.
Orion’s Water Drop Test “Passengers”
When NASA’s Orion spacecraft makes water landings at the end of future deep space missions, astronauts inside will experience the mission’s greatest deceleration and some of the greatest forces on the human body. So, engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, are conducting water-impact tests of an Orion test capsule with suited crash test dummies inside. Data gathered with the help of these special passengers will be used to design safeguards and features to reduce the risk of astronauts being injured during splashdown landings in the ocean.
There’s No Place Like Space
On May 18, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden participated in “Transformers” – a live journalism event hosted by the Washington Post, to explore the breakthroughs pushing the boundaries of knowledge and setting the stage for inevitable change. The Administrator was part of a panel discussion titled, “There’s No Place Like Space”, about recent milestones and developments in commercial spaceflight and their potential to open up new frontiers for business and exploration. Other panelists included Julie Van Kleeck of Aerojet Rocketdyne, George Whitesides of Virgin Galactic, and Andy Weir, author of the book “The Martian”.
Grunsfeld Retirement Event
A farewell event was held on May 19 at NASA Headquarters in recognition of the nearly four decades of science and exploration achievements of John Grunsfeld, who is retiring at the end of May as the agency’s Associate Administrator for science. Administrator Charlie Bolden and other well-wishers were on hand to thank the hall of fame astronaut for his contributions to the agency and its missions.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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