This Week at NASA | This Week @ NASA: An Important Step for Commercial Crew
An important step for the Commercial Crew Program … More testing with our Space Launch System rocket engine … And, a new show that explores how we do, what we do … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
“Ignition. Liftoff …”
On March 2, the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from our Kennedy Space Center, on Demo-1. The SpaceX Demo-1 mission is the first uncrewed test flight of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The round-trip to the International Space Station is designed to provide data on the performance of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft, and other systems and operations that NASA will evaluate, as part of the process to certify SpaceX to carry astronauts to and from the space station.
NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine: “What today really represents is a new era in spaceflight – an era where we are looking forward to being one customer as an agency and as a country, in a robust commercial marketplace in low-Earth orbit.”
SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk: “SpaceX would not be here without NASA – without the incredible work that was done before SpaceX even started, and without the support after SpaceX did start. So thank you.”
SpaceX’s Demo-2 test flight, which will fly NASA astronauts to the space station, is targeted to launch in July. Meanwhile, Boeing, our other partner developing spacecraft to launch American astronauts from American soil, is targeting the launch of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft’s uncrewed Orbital Flight Test, for no earlier than April.
Our Stennis Space Center in Mississippi conducted the latest in a series of tests with an RS-25 engine controller for use on a future flight of our new Space Launch System rocket, or SLS. The SLS will use four of the engines to launch astronauts aboard our Orion spacecraft on missions to the Moon and beyond.
“NASA Science Live” is our new monthly show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the agency explores Earth and outer space. “To the Moon, and Beyond” – the first episode – looks at how science conducted on the Moon in the past, informs current missions studying the Moon, as well as plans for future lunar exploration missions. You can see the show on NASA Television, on the agency’s website, and on social media. For more info, go to nasa.gov/nasasciencelive.
A new experimental type of deep space communications technology is scheduled to be demonstrated on the International Space Station this spring. The demonstration involves X-ray communications, or XCOM. In principle, XCOM can send more data, using less energy than the radio wave technology currently used to communicate between spacecraft and Earth. The experiment could lead to data rates in the gigabits-per-second range for deep space missions.
A new experiment planned for launch to the space station in August 2022 will, for the first time, gather global observations of an important driver of space weather in our upper atmosphere. The experiment will help us understand and, ultimately, forecast space weather – which can adversely affect technology, astronauts in space, radio communications, and even overwhelm power grids.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA …(c)2019 NASA | SCVTV