This Week at NASA | This Week @ NASA: Soyuz Crew Lands Safely After Launch Anomaly
Soyuz crew is safe following a launch anomaly … Another major hurricane seen from space … And testing continues for the rocket engine that will power us to deep space … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Soyuz Crew Safe After Abort During Launch to Space Station
Shortly after the Oct. 11 launch of a Soyuz spacecraft carrying our Nick Hague and Russia’s Alexey Ovchinin to the International Space Station, there was an anomaly with the booster, and the launch ascent was aborted, resulting in a ballistic landing of the spacecraft in Kazakhstan. Hague and Ovchinin were recovered safely from the capsule and both are in good condition. The crew onboard the space station, including our Serena Auñón-Chancellor, were informed of the launch abort and are continuing with normal station operations. Meanwhile, Russia’s Space Agency, Roscosmos has formed a commission to assess the root cause of the failure – an investigation that our administrator, Jim Bridenstine says, NASA will fully support.
NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
NASA and the International Space Station partners also will review upcoming operational schedules, including the plan for two spacewalks targeted later in October.
Jim Morhard Confirmed as NASA Deputy Administrator
Jim Morhard has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be our 14th Deputy Administrator. Morhard has previously served as the Senate’s Deputy Sergeant at Arms and as Staff Director of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Administrator Bridenstine welcomed him aboard, noting in a statement that Morhard’s legislative and managerial talents will serve the agency well.
Hurricane Michael Seen from Space
Cameras outside the space station captured views of Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9 as it moved northwest through the Gulf of Mexico that day as a category 3 storm. The following day, Michael nearly reached category 5 status – as it made landfall near Mexico Beach, in the Florida panhandle, with winds of about 155 miles per hour.
Testing of Space Launch System Rocket Engine Continues
On Oct. 11, our Stennis Space Center in Mississippi tested an RS-25 engine, with a ‘hot fire’ of 500 seconds – that’s over 8 minutes. The test – the fourth in a series that will extend into next year – featured an acceptance test of an RS-25 engine controller, for use on a future flight of our new Space Launch System or SLS rocket. SLS will use four RS-25s to launch astronauts in our Orion spacecraft to deep space destinations, including to the vicinity of the Moon and Mars.
Hubble in Safe Mode as Gyro Issues are Diagnosed
Our Hubble Space Telescope remains in safe mode following the recent failure of one of the telescope’s three gyroscopes that was actively being used to point and steady Hubble. Safe mode puts the telescope into a stable configuration until ground control can correct the issue and return the mission to normal operation. Hubble’s instruments still are fully operational and are expected to produce excellent science for years to come.
Apollo 50th Anniversary Coin Unveiled
During an Oct. 11 event at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Mint unveiled the winning design for a series of commemorative coins to recognize the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission’s historic landing on the Moon. July 20, 2019 will mark fifty years since astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface, while crewmate Michael Collins orbited above. Then Armstrong, followed by Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on a celestial body other than Earth.
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