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This Week at NASA | Mixed Reality at JPL; ISS Expandable Module; more

Uploaded 06/03/2016

Mixed Reality at JPL; ISS Expandable Module; more

Activities aboard the International Space Station during the first week in June included continued operations with the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) – which was fully expanded on May 28. The follow-up work included equalizing BEAM’s internal pressure and conducting leak checks to ensure its structural integrity. The BEAM is a technology demonstration to study expandable habitats in space. When it is safe to do so, NASA’s Jeff Williams will open the hatch and be the first to enter the inflatable experimental habitat. At more than 13 feet long and about 10.5 feet in diameter, the module adds about 565 cubic feet of habitable volume to the station. Also, Zuckerberg Connects with ISS Crew, Antares Hot Fire Test, Next Space Station Crew, Low Boom Flight Demonstration, Mixed Reality Demonstration, and Planetary Stamps Unveiled.

 

TRANSCRIPT

 

Update on Space Station’s Expandable Module

Activities aboard the International Space Station during the first week in June included continued operations with the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) – which was fully expanded on May 28. The follow-up work included equalizing BEAM’s internal pressure and conducting leak checks to ensure its structural integrity. The BEAM is a technology demonstration to study expandable habitats in space. When it is safe to do so, NASA’s Jeff Williams will open the hatch and be the first to enter the inflatable experimental habitat. At more than 13 feet long and about 10.5 feet in diameter, the module adds about 565 cubic feet of habitable volume to the station.

Zuckerberg Connects with ISS Crew

Meanwhile, the station crew talked with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on June 1, during an Earth-to-space Facebook Live video call, seen on NASA’s Facebook page. NASA astronauts Tim Kopra and Jeff Williams, and ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) Tim Peake, answered questions from Zuckerberg submitted by social media followers on NASA’s Facebook page.

Antares Hot Fire Test

On May 31, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the upgraded dual RD-181 engines of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket were fired at 100 percent power for 30 seconds as the rocket sat at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A. The so-called hot fire test is a key milestone for Antares and Pad-0A – to demonstrate the first stage of the rocket and the launch pad are ready for upcoming flights. Antares and Pad-0A have not been used for a launch since a 2014 mishap. Orbital ATK anticipates using Antares to launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station this summer.

Next Space Station Crew

Also on May 31, in Star City, Russia, NASA’s Kate Rubins and Expedition 48-49 crewmates, Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, participated in traditional ceremonial activities at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. The trio is scheduled to launch June 24 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a four-month mission on the Station.

Low Boom Flight Demonstration

NASA’s Armstrong Fight Research Center, in Edwards, California hosted a “before and after” demonstration, with F-18 aircraft, to compare the loud sonic booms we are familiar with …

“Sonic Boom”

To a quieter, more community-friendly sonic “thump” …

“Sonic Thump”

NASA is working to make supersonic flight sound more like, with experimental aircraft developed through the agency’s Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST). Following the supersonic portion of the event, there were also discussions on efforts to safely integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems, commonly called drones, into the National Airspace System (UAS-NAS).

Mixed Reality Demonstration

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California invited members of the media to experience “Mixed Reality” – an environment created by using new JPL software combined with a mixed-reality headset. Mixed Reality enables virtual elements to be merged with a user’s actual physical space — creating a world in which real and virtual objects can interact. This technology can be used to study Mars from the comfort of Earth or examine the inner workings of a spacecraft that hasn’t even been built yet.

Planetary Stamps Unveiled

Ten new U.S. Postal Service “Forever” stamps feature some of the most iconic NASA images in our solar system. The new issue stamps, unveiled on May 31 at World Stamp Show-NY 2016, in New York, include the well-known “Blue Marble” image of Earth, as part of the “Views of Our Planets” collection. Meanwhile, images of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and the dwarf planet Pluto adorn the faces of the two “Pluto Explored” Forever stamps, commemorating the July 2015 flyby of Pluto by New Horizons.

And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.

 

 

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