This Week at NASA | This Week @ NASA: Milestone Spacewalk on the Space Station
Milestone Spacewalk on the Space Station
On May 12, Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer conducted a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. This was the 200th spacewalk in support of station assembly and maintenance. Prior to the outing, during their pre-breathe activities in the airlock, the spacewalkers had to share Whitson’s service and cooling umbilical (SCU), due to an issue with the SCU connected to Fischer’s suit. That device provides electricity, cooling and communications during the pre-breathe phase of a spacewalk. Despite a late start, the pair completed the primary task of replacing an avionics box that supplies electricity and data connections to the science experiments on the orbital laboratory. It was Whitson’s ninth spacewalk and the first for Fischer.
Exploration Mission-1 Announcement
Also on May 12, NASA announced the decision of a study on the feasibility of putting crew on Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), the first integrated flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft. In a message, acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot expressed appreciation for the opportunity to evaluate the possibility of a crewed flight, and thanked Congress and the president for bi-partisan support of the agency’s efforts to send astronauts deeper into the solar system than ever before. But ultimately, the decision was made not to fly crew on the first flight after weighing the data and assessing all implications. Lightfoot noted, however, the work on this evaluation will flow into NASA’s planning for the next two years and the agency looks forward to using the valuable information to strengthen its posture for Exploration Mission-2, the second integrated flight of SLS and Orion, which will have astronauts aboard.
Future Space Station Crew Previews Mission
During a news conference May 10 at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA astronauts Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei, and Alexander Misurkin, of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, previewed their upcoming mission, as part of the space station’s Expedition 53/54 crew. The trio is targeted to launch in September from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They’re scheduled to spend five months on the orbital laboratory, working with about 250 research investigations and technology demonstrations not possible on Earth.
Humans to Mars Summit 2017
NASA’s acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot delivered the opening plenary remarks at the Humans to Mars Summit 2017 at The George Washington University, in Washington. The three-day event addressed the technical, scientific and policy challenges of making human exploration of Mars a reality. The summit featured other NASA officials, including Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for Science; Steve Jurczyk, the agency’s associate administrator for Space Technology; and William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations. NASA’s deep space exploration plans include sending humans to Mars in the 2030s.
James Webb Space Telescope at JSC
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is at the Johnson Space Center for its last cryogenic test before launch in 2018. This critical test will last almost 100 days and be conducted in Johnson’s Chamber A – the same vacuum chamber where Apollo lunar spacecraft were tested. The evaluation will verify the performance of the whole telescope at the extremely cold operating temperatures Webb is expected to experience at its final frigid destination, about one million miles out in space.
Martian New Year in Mars, PA
NASA helped ring in the Martian New Year – in Mars, Pennsylvania. Citizens of the town, just north of Pittsburgh, invited the agency to help celebrate Mars New Year, which happens about every two Earth years. The activities held May 4-6, included two days of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics or (STEAM) activities, to encourage young people to pursue careers in these fields of study, which are critical to NASA’s Mars exploration plans.
And that’s what’s up this week @NASA …(c)2017 NASA | SCVTV