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Topic: Astronauts

NASA Astronauts aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon make Historic Launch from American Soil

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For the first time in history, NASA astronauts have launched from American soil in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off at 2:22pm CDT Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“Today a new era in human spaceflight begins as we once again launched American astronauts on American rockets from American soil on their way to the International Space Station, our national lab orbiting Earth,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA announces SpaceX Commercial Crew Test Flight times, coverage

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA will provide live coverage of prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 2:22pm CDT Saturday, May 30th, for the launch of the first commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft carrying astronauts to the space station. The first launch attempt, on May 27th, was scrubbed due to unfavorable weather conditions.

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right) participate in a dress rehearsal for launch at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 23, 2020, ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. Demo-2 will serve as an end-to-end flight test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, providing valuable data toward NASA certifying the system for regular, crewed missions to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The launch is now scheduled for 2:22pm CDT Saturday, May 30th. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley (left) and Robert Behnken (right) participate in a dress rehearsal for launch at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 23, 2020, ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station. Demo-2 will serve as an end-to-end flight test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, providing valuable data toward NASA certifying the system for regular, crewed missions to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The launch is now scheduled for 2:22pm CDT Saturday, May 30th. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)

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NASA’s Ames Research Center Contributions to SpaceX Commercial Crew Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program – the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

Commercial crew partner SpaceX will carry humans to the space station, like a taxi or a rideshare service, shuttling people to their destination and home again.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard as it is rolled to the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-1 mission on Feb. 28, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard as it is rolled to the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A for NASA’s SpaceX Demo-1 mission on Feb. 28, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

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NASA prepares Mars Perseverance Rover for Launch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Engineers working on NASA’s Perseverance rover mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun the process of placing the Mars-bound rover and other spacecraft components into the configuration they’ll be in as they ride on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The launch period for the mission opens on July 17th, 2020 – just 70 days from now.

Called “vehicle stacking,” the process began on April 23rd with the integration of the rover and its rocket-powered descent stage. One of the first steps in the daylong operation was to lift the descent stage onto Perseverance so that engineers could connect the two with flight-separation bolts.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover's descent stage was recently stacked atop the rover at Kennedy Space Center, and the two were placed in their back shell. The Ingenuity helicopter can be seen attached to the rover's underside (lower center of the image). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover’s descent stage was recently stacked atop the rover at Kennedy Space Center, and the two were placed in their back shell. The Ingenuity helicopter can be seen attached to the rover’s underside (lower center of the image). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA performs weight balancing test on Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – With 13 weeks to go before the launch period of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover opens, final preparations of the spacecraft continue at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On April 8th, 2020 the assembly, test and launch operations team completed a crucial mass properties test of the rover.

Precision mass properties measurements are essential to a safe landing on Mars because they help ensure that the spacecraft travels accurately throughout its trip to the Red Planet – from launch through its entry, descent and landing.

This image of the Perseverance Mars rover was taken at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on April 7, 2020, during a test of the vehicle's mass properties. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image of the Perseverance Mars rover was taken at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on April 7, 2020, during a test of the vehicle’s mass properties. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover prepared to handle Moon Dust

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – NASA says that Moon dust is a formidable adversary – the grains are as fine as powder and as sharp as tiny shards of glass.

During the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon, the astronauts lamented how the dust found its way into everything, coating their spacesuits and jamming the shoulder joints, getting inside their lunar habitat and even causing symptoms of a temporary “lunar dust hay fever” in astronaut Harrison Schmitt. Those symptoms fortunately went away quickly – but the problem of Moon dust remains for future missions.

Robotics engineer Jason Schuler performs a preliminary test to prepare for dust testing of various seals for the wheel motors on NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, March 17, 2020, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test takes place in a bin holding more than 120 tons of simulated lunar regolith – loose dirt, dust and rock – that is used to help simulate the properties of the lunar surface. (NASA/Cory Huston)

Robotics engineer Jason Schuler performs a preliminary test to prepare for dust testing of various seals for the wheel motors on NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, March 17, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The test takes place in a bin holding more than 120 tons of simulated lunar regolith – loose dirt, dust and rock – that is used to help simulate the properties of the lunar surface. (NASA/Cory Huston)

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NASA lays out concept for Lunar Surface Activities

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When NASA sends astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2024, it will be the first time outside of watching historical footage most people witness humans walking on another planetary body. Building on these footsteps, future robotic and human explorers will put in place infrastructure for a long-term sustainable presence on the Moon.

NASA recently proposed a plan to go from limited, short-term Apollo-era exploration of the 1960s, to a 21st Century plan in a report to the National Space Council. With the Artemis program, we will explore more of the Moon than ever before to make the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

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NASA picks first two Science Instruments for Gateway

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected the first two scientific investigations to fly aboard the Gateway, an orbital outpost which will support Artemis lunar operations while demonstrating the technologies necessary to conduct a historic human mission to Mars. The instruments selected for Gateway will observe space weather and monitor the Sun’s radiation environment.

“Building the Gateway with our commercial and international partners is a critical component of sustainable lunar exploration and the Artemis program,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

NASA Gateway. (NASA)

NASA Gateway. (NASA)

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NASA works with Small Robots to be used in Future Moon Mission

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The newest edition of NASA’s small, foldable robots recently practiced their scouting skills and successfully traversed rugged terrain in the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

JPL developed the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) to scout regions on the Moon and gain intel about locations that may be difficult for astronauts to investigate on foot, like hard-to-reach craters and narrow caves.

A shoebox-sized wheeled robot explores the rugged terrain on the surface of the Mars Yard at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory during recent tests of the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) project. (NASA/JPL Caltech)

A shoebox-sized wheeled robot explores the rugged terrain on the surface of the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during recent tests of the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) project. (NASA/JPL Caltech)

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NASA CubeSats will be a big part of Humans returning to the Moon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – They might be small, but they’re also mighty. Very small and innovative spacecraft called CubeSats are poised to play a role in NASA’s Artemis program, which will return humans to the Moon by 2024.

Advancements in consumer electronics and miniaturized sensors enable small spacecraft to be powerful tools for space exploration.

“A number of things have coalesced to create what is termed the SmallSat and CubeSat revolution,” says Christopher Baker, Small Spacecraft Technology program executive within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

Illustration of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). (NASA)

Illustration of the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE). (NASA)

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