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This Week at NASA | This Year at NASA: A Look at Some Top Stories from NASA

Uploaded 12/16/2016

This Year at NASA: A Look at Some Top Stories from NASA

Here’s a look at some of the top NASA stories of 2016 …

International Space Station

In March, NASA astronaut and Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko completed their historic one-year mission aboard the International Space Station.

And NASA’s commercial cargo partners, Orbital ATK and SpaceX, delivered tons of cargo to the station in 2016, to support hundreds of science experiments and technology demonstrations crucial to NASA’s Journey to Mars.


The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, was one of the technology demonstrations delivered to the space station in April.

In June, a booster for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket successfully fired up. It will be used on the first uncrewed test flight of SLS with NASA’s Orion spacecraft in 2018.

And in March, the agency updated the milestones for its InSight mission to Mars with a new target launch window beginning in May 2018.

Solar System and Beyond

Exploration of our solar system and beyond included the July 4 arrival of the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter.

In September, NASA launched OSIRIS-REx – America’s first sample return mission to an asteroid.

In February, the final primary mirror segment was installed on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The most powerful space telescope ever will launch in 2018.

And in May, NASA’s Kepler mission verified the discovery of 1,284 new planets. Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets.

Earth Right Now

NASA’s efforts to improve life on Earth included the announcement in March of a collection of Earth science field campaigns to study how our planet is changing.

In November the agency announced plans to launch six next-generation, Earth-observing small satellite missions. One uses GPS signals to measure winds in hurricanes and tropical systems in greater detail than ever before.

Aeronautics Research

NASA efforts in 2016 to make air travel cleaner, safer and quieter included new technology to improve safety and efficiency of aircraft arrivals, departures and surface operations.

In June, NASA highlighted the agency’s first designation of an experimental airplane, or X-plane, in a decade. It will test new electric propulsion technology.

And in October, NASA evaluated a system being developed for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to safely manage drone air traffic.


On the technology front, the agency selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop an advanced electric propulsion system to enable deep space travel to an asteroid and Mars.

NASA’s Technology Transfer program continued to share the agency’s technology with industry, academia and other government agencies at an unprecedented rate.

And the Centennial Challenges program conducted four competition events in 2016 to spark innovation and enable solutions in important technology focus areas.

That’s a look at some of the top NASA stories of 2016. Happy Holidays … and, as always – be sure to follow us on social media and visit

(c)2016 NASA | SCVTV
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