This Week at NASA | This Week at NASA: Dragon Leaves Space Station; National Parks from Space; more
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft left the International Space Station on Aug. 26. The Dragon departed the station five weeks after delivering almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, experiments and equipment to the orbital complex – including an international docking adapter for use by future American commercial crew spacecraft transporting astronauts to the station. The station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm was used to grapple the Dragon, move it away from the ISS, and release it for its return trip to Earth. The capsule is returning with about 3,000 pounds of cargo and experiments for researchers and investigators. Also, New U.S. Endurance Record in Space, Next U.S. Spacewalk Previewed, Boeing CST-100 Starliner Land Drop Test, SLS Liquid Hydrogen Test Tank Moved, and Celebrating National Parks, from Space.
Dragon Cargo Spacecraft Departs the ISS
The SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft left the International Space Station on August 26 …
The Dragon departed the station five weeks after delivering almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, experiments and equipment to the orbital complex – including an international docking adapter for use by future American commercial crew spacecraft transporting astronauts to the station. The station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm was used to grapple the Dragon, move it away from the ISS, and release it for its return trip to Earth. The capsule is returning with about 3,000 pounds of cargo and experiments for researchers and investigators.
New U.S. Endurance Record in Space
NASA astronaut and ISS Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams set a new record for most cumulative days in space by an American on August 24, when he passed former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly’s mark of 520 days in orbit. This is Williams’ fourth flight into space and third long duration mission on the station – also a first for a NASA astronaut. Williams is scheduled to return to Earth September 6 to close out his current six-month mission.
NASA hosted a news briefing on August 24 at the agency’s Johnson Space Center to preview the next U.S. Spacewalk scheduled to take place outside the International Space Station. On September 1, NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Jeff Williams will work on the port side of the station’s truss system to retract a thermal radiator that is part of the station’s cooling system, tighten struts on a solar array joint, and install the first of several enhanced high-definition television cameras to monitor activities outside the station. It will be their second spacewalk in less than two weeks – on August 19, Williams and Rubins installed the first of the station’s two international docking adapters (IDAs) during a five-hour and 58-minute spacewalk.
Boeing CST-100 Starliner Land Drop Test
A mock-up of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft was recently dropped from a height of about 30 feet at Langley Research Center’s Landing and Impact Research Facility. The company is conducting a series of tests to qualify the Starliner for ground landings and to simulate conditions the actual spacecraft and crew inside might experience when touching down on land – as mission plans call for. NASA’s Commercial Crew Program contracted with Boeing and SpaceX to develop the Starliner and Crew Dragon spacecraft, respectively, to restore launches of U.S. astronauts from American soil to low-Earth orbit and to the station.
SLS Liquid Hydrogen Test Tank Moved
At NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, final welding was recently completed on a liquid hydrogen tank test article for NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The tank was moved from Michoud’s Vertical Assembly Center and will be outfitted with sensors to record important data during future structural loads testing in the new, twin-tower test stand currently under construction at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Those tests are designed to ensure the tank can withstand the incredible stresses of a launch. When completed, the SLS will have the power and payload capacity needed to carry crew and cargo on exploration missions to deep space, including Mars.
Celebrating National Parks, from Space
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service on August 25, and its stewardship of America’s natural and historic treasures, NASA’s Earth Observatory website posted some of the best images taken from space of the monuments, scenic rivers, parks, and historic sites under the care of the National Park Service. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams also recorded a congratulatory video message from the space station to mark the occasion. NASA observes Earth from the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives, and safeguard our future.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA.
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Wow,100 yrs for our National Parks, truly grateful for the vision of keeping our country’s natural gems for all… Spacecraft “Dragon 🐉” 3 good name, “Pete’s Dragon” cousin.?