This Week at NASA | Kepler Discovers Newborn Exoplanet; more
NASA announced June 20, astronomers have discovered the youngest fully formed exoplanet ever detected. The discovery of the planet outside our solar system was made using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The newfound planet is a bit larger than Neptune and whips tightly around its star every five days. The planet is only 5 to 10 million years old. For comparison, Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. So, this makes it a relatively “newborn” planet — one of a very few found to date. Also Expedition 47 returns safely to earth, the next ISS crew departs for launch site, SLS booster test, Orion water drop test, CST-100 Starliner hardware arrives and Rocket Week at Wallops Flight Facility this week at NASA.
NASA announced June 20th, astronomers have discovered the youngest fully formed exoplanet ever detected. The discovery of the planet outside our solar system was made using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
The newfound planet is a bit larger than Neptune and whips tightly around its star every five days. The planet is only 5 to 10 million years old.
For comparison, Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. So, this makes it a relatively “newborn” planet — one of a very few found to date.
Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA, Soyuz Commander Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Tim Peake of the European Space Agency landed safely on June 18th in Kazakhstan, hours after leaving the International Space Station in their Soyuz spacecraft. Kopra, Malenchenko and Peake spent 186 days in space. During that time, Kopra conducted research and technology demonstrations aboard the orbital laboratory in support of NASA’s Journey to Mars.
The next three crew members who will head to the International Space Station wrapped up qualification training in Star City, Russia, and then headed to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to complete their prelaunch training. NASA’s Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch July 6th , U.S. time, for a four-month mission to the space station.
NASA will test the largest, most powerful booster ever built for flight for the agency’s new Space Launch System rocket, June 28th at Orbital ATK Aerospace System’s test facility in Utah. This is the second two-minute, full duration qualification test for the booster and will provide NASA with critical data to help qualify the booster for flight. This also will also be the last time the booster is fired in a test environment before being used for the first flight of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft in 2018.
A series of water impact tests with the Orion spacecraft continues at Langley Research Center. Engineers are using Langley’s 20-foot-deep Hydro Impact Basin to help simulate various wind conditions, velocities and wave heights the spacecraft and crew may experience when landing in the ocean after returning from deep space missions.
The upper dome of a Boeing Starliner spacecraft has arrived at the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The upper dome is part of Spacecraft 1, a Starliner that will perform a pad abort flight test as part of the development process of the spacecraft under contract with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The Starliner is designed to carry as many as four astronauts to the International Space Station on upcoming commercial crew missions.
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia held its annual Rocket Week June 18-24. The event is an opportunity for students and instructors from across the country to learn more about rocketry basics and build experiments for flying on a NASA suborbital rocket through the RockOn! and RockSat-C programs.
Rocket Week is one of the many events NASA sponsors to stimulate student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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