This Week at NASA | This Week @ NASA: Testing Orion’s “Powerhouse”
A critical test of the “powerhouse” for our Orion spacecraft … Curiosity is still going strong after seven Earth years on Mars … And Hubble’s new portrait of Jupiter … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Orion’s Service Module Completes Critical Propulsion Test
On Aug. 5, at our White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, we conducted a ground-based firing test of the propulsion and pressurization systems for our Orion spacecraft’s service module. The test simulated an abort-to-orbit scenario that requires the system to place Orion into a safe orbit if a problem occurs after the abort system has been jettisoned. The service module will propel, power, and cool Orion, and provide consumables for astronauts inside the spacecraft on future Artemis exploration missions to deep space, including to the vicinity of the Moon.
Curiosity Completes 7th Earth Year on Mars
Our Curiosity Mars Rover recently captured this 360-degree panorama of a location on Mars called “Teal Ridge.” This location is part of a larger region the rover has been exploring called the “clay-bearing unit” on the side of Mount Sharp, inside Gale Crater. On Aug. 5 Curiosity wrapped up its seventh Earth year on Mars with news it successfully completed its 22nd full-depth drill hole on Mars. The rover will now use its suite of instruments to analyze and make observations of the dime-size hole and the material extracted from it.
Hubble’s New Portrait of Jupiter
This new Hubble Space Telescope view of Jupiter, taken on June 27, shows the planet’s Great Red Spot, and a more intense color palette in the clouds swirling in Jupiter’s atmosphere than seen in previous years. The colors, and their changes, provide important clues to ongoing processes in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Hubble provides views of the outer planets as part of a yearly study to look for changes in storms, winds, and clouds on those planets.
Webb’s Secondary Mirror Structure Successfully Deployed
During a recent test, the team of technicians and engineers for our James Webb Space Telescope successfully deployed the support structure that holds the telescope’s secondary mirror in place. At its full size, Webb will not fit into any available rocket, so it has been designed to intricately fold in on itself to create a smaller footprint for launch. Deployment of the support structure is a key part of the highly-choreographed series of deployments, extensions, and movements required to bring the observatory to life once it reaches orbit – so that it can begin its mission of conducting groundbreaking science.
U.S. Commercial Cargo Ship Departs Space Station
On August 6, an unpiloted Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo spacecraft left the International Space Station three months after delivering 7,600 pounds of supplies and scientific experiments to the station. The spacecraft is scheduled to remain in orbit until mid-December and, along with another Cygnus targeted for launch in October, demonstrate the capability to fly two Cygnus vehicles simultaneously and support hosted payloads for longer periods of time.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA …
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