NASA News Page

The NASA News page will be updated on a weekly basis. Check in on this page each week to check out the new information.

NASA Transfers Landsat 9 Satellite to USGS to Monitor Earth’s Changes

August 11th, 2022

Satelite

NASA transferred ownership and operational control on Thursday of the Landsat 9 satellite to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in a ceremony in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Landsat 9 is the most recent in the Landsat series of remote-sensing satellites, which provide global coverage of landscape changes on Earth. The Landsat program – a joint effort between NASA and USGS – recently marked 50 years of continuous service on July 23.

“For more than fifty years now, Landsat satellites have helped us learn more about how Earth systems work, how human activities affect those systems, and how we can make better decisions for the future,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Landsat 9, the latest joint effort by NASA and USGS, proudly carries on that remarkable record.”

NASA launched Landsat 9 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on Sept. 27, 2021. Since then, NASA mission engineers and scientists, with USGS collaboration, have been putting the satellite through its paces – steering it into its orbit, calibrating the detectors, and collecting test images. Now fully mission-certified, the satellite is under USGS operational control for the remainder of its mission life.

“Our partnership with NASA over many years has been good for science and good for the American people," said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “A half-century archive of Landsat’s Earth observations is a magnificent achievement in the history of science. This fifty-year record gives scientists a consistent baseline that can be used to track climate change and enables them to see changes to the land that might not otherwise be noticed.”

Landsat 9 joined Landsat 8, which has been orbiting since 2013. Together, the two satellites collect images of Earth’s full surface every eight days. USGS specialists collect an average of 740 Landsat 9 scenes every day from around the world to be processed and archived at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls.

Remote-sensing satellites such as Landsat help scientists observe the world using ranges of light beyond the power of human sight to monitor land changes that may have natural or human causes. Landsat is unique because it consistently captures a comprehensive view of Earth at a moderate resolution of approximately 30 meters, the area of a baseball infield. This global view of changes on the land through decades provides an unparalleled perspective for a broad range of data applications in fields such as agriculture, water management, forestry, disaster response, and – crucially – climate change science.

Estimates indicate Landsat provides billions of dollars in value to the U.S. economy each year. Starting in 2008, Landsat images and data became available to the public at no charge. This policy has served to expand applications of Landsat data that enable greater efficiencies for government agencies while creating profitable commercial opportunities for information service industries.

With a data user community that keeps growing, scientists and engineers are already looking forward to the next mission. NASA and USGS are developing options for the next iteration of Landsat, currently called Landsat Next.

The Landsat program has provided continuous global coverage of landscape change since 1972. Landsat’s unique long-term data record provides the basis for a critical understanding of environmental and climate changes occurring in the United States and around the world.

NASA Seeks Student Experiments to Soar in Second TechRise Challenge

August 10th, 2022

Student challenge

NASA is calling on middle and high school students to join the second NASA TechRise Student Challenge, which invites student teams to develop, build, and launch science and technology experiments on high-altitude balloons.

Students in grades six to 12 attending U.S. public, private, or charter schools – including those in U.S. territories – are challenged to team up with their schoolmates to design an experiment under the guidance of an educator. Administered by Future Engineers, the NASA TechRise Student Challenge offers hands-on insight into the design and test process used by NASA-supported researchers. It aims to inspire a deeper understanding of Earth’s atmosphere, surface features, and climate, as well as space exploration, coding, electronics, and the value of test data. Teams should submit their experiment ideas by Oct. 24, 2022.

“We are thrilled to offer the second NASA TechRise Student Challenge,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “The quality of the experiments and the creativity we saw from students in the last challenge are exactly the kinds of problem-solving and hands-on learning NASA hopes to inspire. We’re eager to see what innovative ideas pour in from students around the nation this year.”

NASA Sets Coverage for Russian Spacewalk

August 10th, 2022

Russian

NASA will provide live coverage on Wednesday, Aug. 17, of a spacewalk with two Russian cosmonauts to continue outfitting the European robotic arm on the International Space Station’s Nauka laboratory.

Coverage will begin at 9 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, the NASA app, and agency’s website. The spacewalk is scheduled to begin around 9:20 a.m.

Expedition 67 Commander Oleg Artemyev and Flight Engineer Denis Matveev, both of Roscosmos, will begin the six-and-a-half-hour excursion by exiting the station’s space-facing Poisk module. The primary objective of the spacewalk is to install cameras on the European robotic arm, relocate an external control panel for the arm from one operating area to another, remove launch restraints near the two end effectors or “hands” of the arm, and test a rigidizing mechanism on the arm that will be used to facilitate the grasping of payloads.

The European robotic arm will be used to move payloads and equipment outside the Russian segment of the station, joining the Canadian-built Canadarm2 robotic arm and the Japanese arm already supporting station maintenance, operations, and research.

Artemyev will wear a Russian Orlan spacesuit with red stripes, while Matveev will wear a Russian Orlan suit with blue stripes. This will be the seventh spacewalk for Artemyev and the third for Matveev.

California, Indiana Students to Hear from Astronauts on Space Station

August 9th, 2022

GMT184_18_12_also For ESA_Crew photos at CQs_Samantha Cristoforetti

Students from California and Indiana, along with staff members at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, will have the opportunity this week to hear from astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The two space-to-Earth calls will air live today, Tuesday, Aug. 9, and Thursday, Aug. 11, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA astronaut and former California Institute of Technology student Jessica Watkins will answer prerecorded questions from undergraduate and post-doctoral students and faculty from Caltech, as well as JPL staff members, at 12:55 p.m. EDT today, Tuesday, Aug. 9. Caltech and JPL have a keen interest and dedication to encouraging STEM learning. Laurie Leshin, director of JPL and Caltech vice president, will deliver opening and closing remarks.

Media interested in covering the event should contact Deborah Williams-Hedges at: debwms@caltech.edu or 626-840-1565.

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut  Samantha Cristoforetti will answer prerecorded questions from students at Van Buren Elementary School in Nashville, Indiana, at 1:05 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11. Van Buren Elementary offers students educational experiences in STEM, the arts, and career-connected learning. The downlink will kick off a school-wide STEM-a-Thon. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb will deliver opening remarks.

Media interested in covering the event should contact: Sarah Cochran at: 407-625-3562 or scochran@browncountyschools.com.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance, and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Astronauts living in space on the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Near Space Network Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).

For more than 21 years, astronauts have continuously lived and worked aboard the space station, testing technologies, performing science, and developing the skills needed to explore farther from Earth. Through NASA’s Artemis program, the agency will send astronauts to the Moon, with eventual human exploration of Mars. Inspiring the next generation of explorers – the Artemis Generation – ensures America will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson released this statement Saturday

July 30th, 2022

regarding debris from the Chinese Long March 5B rocket:

“The People’s Republic of China (PRC) did not share specific trajectory information as their Long March 5B rocket fell back to Earth.

“All spacefaring nations should follow established best practices, and do their part to share this type of information in advance to allow reliable predictions of potential debris impact risk, especially for heavy-lift vehicles, like the Long March 5B, which carry a significant risk of loss of life and property. Doing so is critical to the responsible use of space and to ensure the safety of people here on Earth.”

SOAR High School Student Wins NASA Armstrong Scholarship

July 28th, 2022

 

Exchange Scholarship Award Katelyn Perez

The NASA Armstrong Employee Exchange Council presented the 2022 John W. Russell Memorial Scholarship Award to Katelyn Perez.

Perez is a 2022 graduate of Students on Academic Rise (SOAR) High School in Lancaster, California, who plans to major this fall in English at the University of California, Irvine. She earned a 4.57 grade-point average and ranked 36 academically at her high school out of a class of 114 students.

The scholarship provides $2,000 per year for up to four years for attendance at a four-year college or university, provided the recipient maintains a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Applicants for the annual scholarship must be high school seniors with a parent working at NASA Armstrong.

Perez was surprised when she learned of her selection.

“I could not believe it,” Perez said. “This is the first scholarship I have won and I’m excited!”

She is the daughter of Carlos and Annamarie Perez of Lancaster, California. Carlos Perez is the NASA Armstrong X-59 lead quality assurance specialist.

“It was great news for our family,” her father said.

Katelyn Perez wants to be a community college or university English professor, share her love for literature, and inspire students. She credits her work ethic to her parents and her love of literature and enthusiasm for teaching to her mother, who is an English professor at Antelope Valley College.

“My mom raised three kids and sometimes worked two jobs,” Perez said. “I was inspired. I had some great teachers and my mother’s example of what I want to do. Any great teacher wants to inspire, and I want to be like them and do that.”

Annamarie Perez is proud of her daughter, who she taught in sophomore year of high school, and supports her career choice.

“Katelyn will help future generations to get ahead and succeed in college,” she said. “Education is the best tool to change the world because it opens doors and provides access to opportunities.”

To prepare for her future, Perez completed the Antelope Valley College Honors Program while attending high school. She excelled in advanced placement and honors classes, earned the California State Seal of Biliteracy, received the National Honor Society Medal, and graduated as a member of the California Scholarship Federation.

At SOAR, she was vice president of the Christian club, and was treasurer for the National Honors Society, the California Scholarship Federation, and for the school’s journalism program. She published articles in the school’s monthly newspaper, and was lead anchor on the school’s news broadcasts, both called the SOARce. Perez participated in student government, mentored new students, was a member of the Hispanic and LatinX Heritage Club, the Key Club, a tutor, and active in her church.

NASA Armstrong Exchange Council scholarships are named for five former Armstrong employees, with honorees selected on a rotating basis. Russell, who is named on the current scholarship, was the original crew chief for Chuck Yeager on the X-1 program that resulted in achieving speeds above Mach 1. Russell later flew as one of the panel operators when the X-15 rocket plane launched from the NASA B-52 and reached the edge of space.

In addition to Russell, the other four people are Thomas Finch, a center engineer who specialized in stability and control; Joseph Vensel, a former director of Flight Operations; Harold Walker, a former chief of the Aerodynamics Branch; and Joseph Walker, a chief test pilot. Scholarship funds are raised from council activities.

NASA Prepares for Space Launch System Rocket Services Contract

July 26th, 2022

As NASA prepares for the first integrated flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft to the Moon this summer as part of Artemis, the agency is moving toward a services contract model for long-term SLS hardware production and operations to reduce costs.

“SLS is not just a NASA investment, it has been a national investment. Through this contract approach, we are working to enable the use of this one-of-a-kind heavy lift capability to other customers,” said Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This approach will also allow NASA to streamline SLS production and operations under one contract, creating a more affordable and sustainable exploration framework for decades to come.”

In a pre-solicitation notice for the Exploration Production and Operations Contract published Tuesday, NASA is proposing to transfer SLS production and associated testing, manufacturing, and transportation facilities from multiple existing hardware procurement contracts to a single launch service contract with Deep Space Transport LLC. Due to the proprietary nature of the processes for manufacturing of the SLS rocket, NASA does not expect to recover costs through competition associated with an alternate source’s design, development, and testing. The notice conveys NASA’s intended acquisition plan for a long-term SLS production and operations contract, to which industry may respond with feedback in accordance with the instructions in the pre-solicitation notice. An award is anticipated by Dec. 31, 2023.

 

The contractor would be responsible for producing hardware and services for up to 10 Artemis launches beginning with the Artemis V mission, and up to 10 launches for other NASA missions. NASA expects to procure at least one flight per year to the Moon or other deep-space destinations.

Spanning multiple centers and facilities, the NASA SLS workforce will continue to provide expertise for the first four Artemis missions and for future Artemis missions.

“We have a big job ahead of us to fly the first four Artemis missions and develop the new exploration upper stage,” said Jody Singer, center director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “While NASA transitions the contracting approach for long-term SLS operations, the talented team that brought the rocket to the launchpad will also be needed for other projects necessary for the agency’s exploration missions.”

NASA previously issued a request for information in October 2021 and conducted discussions with industry this year to inform the approach to maximize the long-term efficiency of the SLS rocket.

With Artemis, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the lunar surface and establish long-term exploration at the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars. SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, along with the commercial human landing system and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single mission.

 

NASA to Discuss Status of Artemis I Moon Mission

July 20th, 2022

Moon Mission

NASA will hold a media teleconference at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, July 20, to discuss next steps for the Artemis I mission with the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Audio of the call will livestream on NASA’s website.

Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy, technicians continue to prepare SLS and Orion for Artemis I. The first in a series of increasingly complex missions, Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test that will provide a foundation for human exploration in deep space and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and eventually Mars.

Teleconference participants include:

  • Jim Free, associate administrator, Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Cliff Lanham, senior vehicle operations manager, Exploration Ground Systems Program, Kennedy
  • Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, NASA Headquarters

To participate by telephone, media must RSVP no later than two hours prior to the start of the event to: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, paving the way for a long-term lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone to send astronauts to Mars.

Decade of Excellence: NASA Named Best Place to Work 10th Year in a Row

July 13th, 2022

For the 10th consecutive year, the Partnership for Public Service has ranked NASA the Best Place to Work in the Federal Government among large agencies.

The rankings, announced Wednesday, reflect the agency’s continuing dedication to supporting and strengthening its workforce while also carrying out its inspirational mission of exploration and discovery for the benefit of all humanity.

“For an unprecedented 10th consecutive time, NASA has been named as the Best Place to Work in the federal government among large agencies by the Partnership for Public Service. This is only possible because of the NASA family, which empowers our agency to continue achieving monumental milestones that shape history and benefit all of humanity. I am deeply proud to be a part of and represent such a creative and talented workforce,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Despite a global pandemic, we came together to make 2021 a banner year for space exploration and discovery – from the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope to launching astronauts to the International Space Station from American soil. And we are poised to accomplish more daring feats with new advancements in aeronautics, more scientific contributions, and incredible technological breakthroughs, especially as our Artemis I mission paves the way for future crewed missions to the Moon and beyond.”

The Best Places to Work in the federal government rankings are based on responses to the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey from almost 624,800 employees at 482 federal agencies and offices. The Partnership for Public Service began publishing the rankings in 2003.

NASA Reveals Webb Telescope’s First Images of Unseen Universe

July 12th, 2022

Telescope

The dawn of a new era in astronomy is here as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).

The full set of the telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data, which uncover a collection of cosmic features elusive until now, released Tuesday, are available at:

https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages

“Today, we present humanity with a groundbreaking new view of the cosmos from the James Webb Space Telescope – a view the world has never seen before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “These images, including the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken, show us how Webb will help to uncover the answers to questions we don’t even yet know to ask; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it.

“The Webb team’s incredible success is a reflection of what NASA does best. We take dreams and turn them into reality for the benefit of humanity. I can’t wait to see the discoveries that we uncover – the team is just getting started!”

NASA explores the unknown in space for the benefit of all, and Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe through every phase of cosmic history – from neighboring planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.

“This is a singular and historic moment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “It took decades of drive and perseverance to get us here, and I am immensely proud of the Webb team. These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all. It’s a stunning glimpse of the insights yet to come.”

“We are elated to celebrate this extraordinary day with the world,” said Greg Robinson, Webb program director at NASA Headquarters. “The beautiful diversity and incredible detail of the Webb telescope’s images and data will have a profound impact on our understanding of the universe and inspire us to dream big."

NASA to Pick Next Generation Spacesuits for Moonwalking, Spacewalking

May 26th, 2022

NASA will announce at 2 p.m. EDT (1 p.m. CDT) Wednesday, June 1, the company, or companies, selected to move forward in developing the next generation of spacesuits for Artemis missions at the Moon and the International Space Station during an event at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The announcement will air live on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app.

Event participants will include:

  • Vanessa Wyche, director, NASA Johnson
  • Lindsay Aitchison, program executive for Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program, NASA Headquarters
  • Lara Kearney, manager, Extravehicular Activity and Human Surface Mobility Program, NASA Johnson
  • Dina Contella, operations integration manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson

Media are invited to attend in-person and hear remarks by key NASA officials involved in the selection followed by a question-and-answer session.

U.S. media interested in participating in person must contact the Johnson newsroom no later than 6 p.m. (5 p.m. CDT) Friday, May 27, by calling 281-483-5111 or emailing jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov. To participate by phone, media must contact the newsroom by 6 p.m. (5 p.m. CDT) Tuesday, May 31. A copy of NASA’s media accreditation policy is online.

New spacesuits that allow humans to explore the lunar surface and unlock new spacewalk capabilities outside the International Space Station are a critical part of advancing human exploration in space and demonstrating continued American leadership. Under Artemis, new exploration spacesuits, together with human surface mobility systems, the Space Launch System rocket, the Orion Spacecraft, ground systems, Gateway, and human landing systems, will enable NASA to return humans to and establish a long-term presence at the Moon and to eventually explore Mars.

Moonwalk

Coverage Updated for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Briefing, Events, Broadcast

April 25th, 2022

4.25

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, which will send astronauts to the International Space Station.

The launch is targeted for 3:52 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft, dubbed Freedom by the mission’s crew, is scheduled to dock to the space station at 8:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27.

Prelaunch activities, launch, and docking will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

The Crew-4 flight will carry Mission Commander Kjell Lindgren, Pilot Bob Hines, and Mission Specialist Jessica Watkins, all NASA astronauts, and Mission Specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency).

The mission is the fourth crew rotation to fly on a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, and the fifth SpaceX flight with NASA astronauts – including the Demo-2 test flight in 2020 to the space station  –  as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

 

All media participation in the following news conferences will be remote except where specifically listed below. The deadline has passed for media accreditation for in-person coverage of this launch. More information about media accreditation is available by emailing: ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern):

Tuesday, April 26

7 a.m. (approximately) – Prelaunch news teleconference at Kennedy (no earlier than one hour after completion of the launch readiness review) with the following participants:

  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson
  • Zeb Scoville, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, NASA Johnson
  • Jessica Jensen, vice president, customer operations and integration, SpaceX
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA
  • Arlena Moses, launch weather officer, U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron

Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 6 a.m. on April 26 at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

9 a.m. – NASA administrator media briefing on NASA TV with the following participants:

  • Bill Nelson, NASA administrator
  • Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator
  • Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA
  • Heidi Parris, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson

 

Media may ask questions in-person and via phone. Limited auditorium space will be available for in-person participation. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

Wednesday, April 27

12 a.m. – NASA Television mission commentary coverage begins

3:52 a.m. – Launch

5:30 a.m. (approximately) - Postlaunch news conference

  • Bill Nelson, NASA administrator
  • Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson
  • Jessica Jensen, vice president, customer operations and integration, SpaceX
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA

Media may ask questions in-person and via phone. Limited auditorium space will be available for in-person participation. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

 

8:15 p.m. (approximately) – Docking

9:45 p.m. (approximately) – Hatch Opening

 

Thursday, April 28

2:40 a.m. (approximately) – Welcome Ceremony from the International Space Station

NASA TV Launch Coverage

NASA TV live coverage will begin at 12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules, and links to streaming video, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135. A “clean feed” of the launch without NASA TV commentary will be carried on the NASA TV media channel.

NASA Website Launch Coverage

Launch day coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission will be available on the agency’s website. Coverage will include live streaming and blog updates beginning no earlier than 12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27, as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact the Kennedy newsroom at 321-867-2468. Follow countdown coverage on our launch blog at:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

Launch also will be available on local amateur VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz and UHF radio frequency 444.925 MHz, FM mode, heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.

Attend the launch virtually

Members of the public can register to attend this launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for this mission also includes curated launch resources, notifications about related opportunities or changes, and a stamp for the NASA virtual guest passport following a successful launch.

Watch and engage on social media

Let people know you're following the mission on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtags #Dragon and #NASASocial. You can also stay connected by following and tagging these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA@NASAKennedy@NASASocial@Space_Station@ISS_Research@ISS National Lab@SpaceX

Facebook: NASANASAKennedyISSISS National Lab

Instagram: @NASA@NASAKennedy@ISS@ISSNationalLab@SpaceX

Did you know NASA has a Spanish section called NASA en Espanol? Make sure to check out NASA en Espanol on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for more coverage on Crew-4.

NASA will provide a live video feed of Launch Complex 39A beginning Monday morning. Pending unlikely technical issues, the feed will be uninterrupted through launch.

Once the feed is live, you will find it here:

https://youtube.com/kscnewsroom

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has delivered on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry. This partnership is changing the arc of human spaceflight history by opening access to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station for more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars.

For NASA's launch blog and more information about the mission, visit:

Axiom Private Astronauts Headed to International Space Station

April 14th, 2022

Four private astronauts are in orbit following the successful launch of Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1), the first all private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Axiom Space astronauts lifted off at 11:17 a.m. EDT on Friday, April 8, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft carrying Ax-1 crew members Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor, Mark Pathy, and Eytan Stibbe into orbit. The crew will spend more than a week conducting scientific research, outreach, and commercial activities on the space station.

“What a historic launch! Thank you to the dedicated teams at NASA who have worked tirelessly to make this mission a reality,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. “NASA’s partnership with industry through the commercial cargo and crew programs has led our nation to this new era in human spaceflight — one with limitless potential. Congratulations to Axiom, SpaceX, and the Axiom-1 crew for making this first private mission to the International Space Station a reality.”

Beginning at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, NASA will provide live coverage of the Endeavour docking, hatch opening, and a ceremony to welcome the crew. The events will run on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Endeavour will autonomously dock to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module around 7:45 a.m. The welcome ceremony is expected to start shortly after the Dragon hatch opens at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Live mission coverage will end with the conclusion of the ceremony. The mission also will be covered by Axiom on its website.

“I first want to congratulate Michael, Larry, Eytan, and Mark,” said Michael Suffredini, president and CEO of Axiom Space. “We will usher in a new era in private human spaceflight when they cross the threshold to enter the International Space Station. This journey is the culmination of long hours of training, planning, and dedication from the crew and the entire Axiom Space team, our partners at SpaceX, and of course, a credit to NASA’s vision to develop a sustainable presence in low-Earth orbit.”

Once aboard the station, the Axiom crew will be welcomed by Expedition 67 crew members, including NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Sergey Korsokov, and Denis Matveev.

Axiom Space astronauts are expected to spend about 10 days in orbit before a return to Earth and splashdown at one of seven landing sites off the coast of Florida. NASA and Axiom will release separate advisories to preview the Ax-1 farewell event and return coverage.

 

Record-Setting NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Return from Space Station

March 30th, 2022

After extending the record for the longest single spaceflight in history by an American to 355 days, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei returned to Earth on Wednesday, March 30, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

The trio departed the International Space Station at 3:21 a.m. EDT and made a safe, parachute-assisted landing at 7:28 a.m. (5:28 p.m. Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

"Mark's mission is not only record-breaking, but also paving the way for future human explorers on the Moon, Mars, and beyond," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "Our astronauts make incredible sacrifices in the name of science, exploration, and cutting-edge technology development, not least among them time away from loved ones. NASA and the nation are proud to welcome Mark home and grateful for his incredible contributions throughout his year-long stay on the International Space Station."

Vande Hei’s extended mission will provide researchers the opportunity to observe the effects of long-duration spaceflight on humans as the agency plans to return to the Moon under the Artemis program and prepare for exploration of Mars.

Vande Hei launched April 9, 2021, alongside Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov. His second journey into space of 355 days is the longest single spaceflight by a U.S. astronaut, previously held at 340 days, and gives him a lifetime total of 523 days in space. Dubrov also remained onboard for 355 days on his first spaceflight.

Supporting NASA’s goals for future human landings on the Moon, Vande Hei completed approximately 5,680 orbits of the Earth and a journey of more than 150 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 312 trips to the Moon and back. He witnessed the arrival of 15 visiting spacecraft and new modules, and the departure of 14 visiting spacecraft.

Following post-landing medical checks, the crew will return to the recovery staging city in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, aboard Russian helicopters. Vande Hei will board a NASA plane bound for Cologne, Germany, for refueling prior to his return home. Shkaplerov and Dubrov will board a Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center aircraft to return to their home in Star City, Russia.

During his record mission, Vande Hei spent many hours on scientific activities aboard the space station, conducting everything from plant research to physical sciences studies.

With the undocking of the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft with Vande Hei, Shkaplerov, and Dubrov aboard, Expedition 67 officially began aboard the station. NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn recently took over as station commander, and is joined by NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov.

Marshburn, Chari, Barron and Maurer will remain onboard until late April, when NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, as well as ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti launch to the station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission.

Learn more about space station activities by following @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter, as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts and the space station blog.

NASA to Provide Live Coverage of Record-Setting US Astronaut Return

March 24th, 2022

GMT041_17_09_Mark Vande Hei_1017_CIR Optics Bench Configuration 1

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Roscosmos cosmonauts are scheduled to end their mission aboard the International Space Station and return to Earth on Wednesday, March 30.

Vande Hei, along with Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, will close the hatch to the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft to begin the journey back to Earth. The Soyuz will undock from the Rassvet module, heading for a parachute-assisted landing Wednesday, March 30, on the steppe of Kazakhstan, southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan.

Coverage of the crew’s farewells, undocking, and landing will air live on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app at the following times (all EDT):

  • 11:30 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, March 29 – Farewells and hatch closure (at 12 a.m., Wednesday, March 30)
  • 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, March 30 – Undocking (at 3:21 a.m.)
  • 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, March 30 – Deorbit burn and landing (landing at 7:28 a.m. / 5:28 p.m. Kazakhstan time)

Vande Hei and Dubrov launched April 9, 2021, on Soyuz MS-18, and will wrap up a 355-day mission spanning 5,680 orbits of Earth and more than 150 million miles. During the long-duration mission, Vande Hei broke the record for longest single spaceflight by an American astronaut, previously held at 340 days. Vande Hei will wrap up his second spaceflight with a total of 523 days in space. Shkaplerov launched on Soyuz MS-19 on Oct. 5, 2021. This was Dubrov’s first flight. Shkaplerov is ending his fourth mission with 708 cumulative days spent in space.

In advance of Soyuz departure coverage, Shkaplerov will hand over command of the station to NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn during a change of command ceremony. The event will air live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website beginning at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 29.

At the time of undocking, Expedition 67 will formally begin aboard the station, with new station Commander Marshburn, NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov.

After landing, the Soyuz MS-19 crew will split up, as per standard crew return practice, with Vande Hei returning to his home in Houston, while the cosmonauts fly back to their training base in Star City, Russia.

NASA’s Mega Moon Rocket, Spacecraft Complete First Roll to Launch Pad

March 18th, 2022

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with the Orion spacecraft atop arrived at Launch Pad 39B at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida Friday in preparation for a final test before its Artemis I Moon mission.

The uncrewed flight test will pave the way for missions to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis, and the rocket rolled to the pad for a final test before launch.

Stacked on the mobile launcher and mounted on the crawler-transporter for a journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39B, it took 10-hours and 28 minutes for SLS and Orion to reach the launch pad four miles away. The trip began at 5:47 p.m. Thursday, March 17, and the 322-foot tall, 3.5-million-pound rocket and spacecraft arrived at the pad at 4:15 a.m. on March 18.

The upcoming final test, known as the wet dress rehearsal, will run the Artemis I launch team through operations to load propellant into the rocket’s tanks, conduct a full launch countdown, demonstrate the ability to recycle the countdown clock, and also drain the tanks to practice the timelines and procedures the team will use for launch.

“Rolling out of the Vehicle Assembly Building is an iconic moment for this rocket and spacecraft, and this is a key milestone for NASA,” said Tom Whitmeyer, deputy associate administrator for Common Exploration Systems Development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now at the pad for the first time, we will use the integrated systems to practice the launch countdown and load the rocket with the propellants it needs to send Orion on a lunar journey in preparation for launch.”

Before the test, SLS, Orion, and the associated ground systems will undergo checkouts at the pad. After the rehearsal, NASA will review data from the test before setting a specific target launch date for the upcoming Artemis I launch. The integrated rocket and spacecraft will roll back to the Vehicle Assembly Building several days after the test to remove sensors used during the rehearsal, charge system batteries, stow late-load cargo, and run final checkouts. Orion and SLS will then roll to the launch pad for a final time about a week before launch.

With Artemis, NASA will establish long-term exploration at the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars. SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft, along with the human landing system and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, are NASA’s foundation for deep space exploration.

NASA Breaking News

Are We Alone?

In 2020 NASA's next Mars rover mission will be underway and the rover will be flying to the Red Planet searching for possible post existent life.

At a glance, it looks a lot like its predecessor, the Curiosity Mars rover. But there's no doubt it's a souped-up science machine: It has seven new instruments, redesigned wheels and more autonomy. A drill will capture rock cores, while a caching system with a miniature robotic arm will seal up these samples. Then, they'll be deposited on the Martian surface for possible pickup by a future mission.

This new hardware is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, which manages the mission for the agency. It includes the Mars 2020 mission's cruise stage, which will fly the rover through space, and the descent stage, a rocket-powered "sky crane" that will lower it to the planet's surface. Both of these stages have recently moved into JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility.

 

Aliens
Mars Rover

Are We Alone?

Mars 2020 relies heavily on the system designs and spare hardware previously created for Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover, which landed in 2012. Roughly 85 percent of the new rover's mass is based on this "heritage hardware."

"The fact that so much of the hardware has already been designed -- or even already exists -- is a major advantage for this mission," said Jim Watzin, director of NASA's Mars Exploration Program. "It saves us money, time and most of all, reduces risk."

Despite its similarities to Mars Science Laboratory, the new mission has very different goals. Mars 2020's instruments will seek signs of ancient life by studying terrain that is now inhospitable, but once held flowing rivers and lakes, more than 3.5 billion years ago.

To achieve these new goals, the rover has a suite of cutting-edge science instruments. It will seek out biosignatures on a microbial scale: An X-ray spectrometer will target spots as small as a grain of table salt, while an ultraviolet laser will detect the "glow" from excited rings of carbon atoms. A ground-penetrating radar will be the first instrument to look under the surface of Mars, mapping layers of rock, water and ice up to 30 feet (10 meters) deep, depending on the material

The rover is getting some upgraded Curiosity hardware, including color cameras, a zoom lens and a laser that can vaporize rocks and soil to analyze their chemistry.

"Our next instruments will build on the success of MSL, which was a proving ground for new technology," said George Tahu, NASA's Mars 2020 program executive. "These will gather science data in ways that weren't possible before."

The mission will also undertake a marathon sample hunt: The rover team will try to drill at least 20 rock cores, and possibly as many as 30 or 40, for possible future return to Earth.

"Whether life ever existed beyond Earth is one of the grand questions humans seek to answer," said Ken Farley of JPL, Mars 2020's project scientist. "What we learn from the samples collected during this mission has the potential to address whether we're alone in the universe."

JPL is also developing a crucial new landing technology called terrain-relative navigation. As the descent stage approaches the Martian surface, it will use computer vision to compare the landscape with pre-loaded terrain maps. This technology will guide the descent stage to safe landing sites, correcting its course along the way.

A related technology called the range trigger will use location and velocity to determine when to fire the spacecraft's parachute. That change will narrow the landing ellipse by more than 50 percent.

"Terrain-relative navigation enables us to go to sites that were ruled too risky for Curiosity to explore," said Al Chen of JPL, the Mars 2020 entry, descent and landing lead. "The range trigger lets us land closer to areas of scientific interest, shaving miles -- potentially as much as a year -- off a rover's journey."

This approach to minimizing landing errors will be critical in guiding any future mission dedicated to retrieving the Mars 2020 samples, Chen said.

Site selection has been another milestone for the mission. In February, the science community narrowed the list of potential landing sites from eight to three. Those three remaining sites represent fundamentally different environments that could have harbored primitive life: an ancient lakebed called Jezero Crater; Northeast Syrtis, where warm waters may have chemically interacted with subsurface rocks; and a possible hot springs at Columbia Hills.

All three sites have rich geology and may potentially harbor signs of past microbial life. A final landing site decision is still more than a year away.

"In the coming years, the 2020 science team will be weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each of these sites," Farley said. "It is by far the most important decision we have ahead of us."

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