This Week at NASA | This Week @ NASA: The First Uncrewed Commercial Crew Flight Test Is Complete
The first uncrewed Commercial Crew Flight Test is complete … Vice President Pence calls the space station … And, the station’s next crew prepares for launch … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
First Uncrewed Commercial Crew Flight Test Complete
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft is back on Earth after successfully completing its uncrewed Demo-1 fligt test to the International Space Station.
The mission – the inaugural flight of our Commercial Crew Program, and the first ever flight to the station of a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket from American soil – was designed to test the end-to-end capabilities of SpaceX’s systems.
Those systems included the Crew Dragon’s automated control and maneuvering capabilities – which the spacecraft demonstrated during its approach to the space station.
And systems used to complete the first autonomous docking of any U.S. spacecraft to the space station’s new international docking adapter, which was installed in 2016.
The mission also included a life-like anthropomorphic test device to collect data about potential effects to humans on future flights aboard the Crew Dragon. After five docked days and transfer of critical supplies, the spacecraft headed back to Earth, where it safely came to a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean, off Florida’s Space Coast.
NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
Vice President Pence, Administrator Bridenstine Talk with Astronauts on Space Station
NASA Astronaut, Anne McClain:
Vice President Mike Pence visited our headquarters on March 6, where he and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine talked with Expedition 58 crew members Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques onboard the space station about the success of the Demo-1 mission and the anticipation of continued success on future missions.
Vice President Mike Pence:
Data from Demo-1, along with planned upgrades and additional qualification testing, will be used to further prepare for Demo-2, the first SpaceX flight test that will carry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station this summer.
Next Space Station Crew Prepares for Launch in Kazakhstan
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, our Nick Hague, Christina Koch, and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos took part in final preparations for their flight to the space station. The Expedition 59/60 crewmates are targeted for launch on March 14.
Kepler’s First Planet Candidate Confirmed, 10 Years Later
Our Kepler space telescope was retired in October 2018. But, the very first planet candidate it discovered was only just confirmed as a planet. Kepler-1658b’s road to confirmation was rocky, thanks to a history of anomalous and inconclusive data. But a dedicated team of researchers used new software and spectroscopic data to unambiguously show it is indeed a planet – in fact, a gas giant planet known as a “hot Jupiter,” that orbits very close to its star. A fitting way to mark the 10th anniversary of Kepler’s launch on March 6, 2009.
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