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Topic: Deep Space Missions

NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations to prepare Astronauts for Space Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Beginning June 10th, NASA will future deep space missions by joining an international crew on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean this summer during the 10-day NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 23 expedition.

NEEMO 23 will focus on both exploration spacewalks and objectives related to space missions such as the International Space Station and future deep space missions to the Moon and Mars. As an analogue for future planetary science concepts and strategies, marine science also will be performed under the guidance of Florida International University’s marine science department.

The pictured NEEMO 22 diver is collecting a scientific sample for coral research using proxy tools, techniques, technologies, and training envisioned for future NASA planetary science exploration missions. (NASA)

The pictured NEEMO 22 diver is collecting a scientific sample for coral research using proxy tools, techniques, technologies, and training envisioned for future NASA planetary science exploration missions. (NASA)

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft completes Liftoff, Splashdown Safety Tests

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Engineers completed two key tests the week of March 18th to help ensure NASA’s Orion spacecraft is ready from liftoff to splashdown for missions to the Moon.

Teams successfully tested one of the motors on Orion’s Launch Abort System responsible for taking the crew to safety in an emergency during launch, and completed testing at sea for the qualification of the system used to upright Orion after it lands in the ocean.

NASA tested Orion’s crew module uprighting system off the Coast of North Carolina in March 2018. (NASA)

NASA tested Orion’s crew module uprighting system off the Coast of North Carolina in March 2018. (NASA)

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NASA’s BioSentinel satellite to study Space Radiation for Manned Deep Space Flights

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Astronauts live in a pretty extreme environment aboard the International Space Station. Orbiting about 250 miles above the Earth in the weightlessness of microgravity, they rely on commercial cargo missions about every two months to deliver new supplies and experiments.

And yet, this place is relatively protected in terms of space radiation. The Earth’s magnetic field shields space station crew from much of the radiation that can damage the DNA in our cells and lead to serious health problems.

BioSentinel’s microfluidics card, designed at NASA Ames, will be used to study the impact of interplanetary space radiation on yeast. Once in orbit, the growth and metabolic activity of the yeast will be measured using a 3-color LED detection system and a metabolic indicator dye. (NASA)

BioSentinel’s microfluidics card, designed at NASA Ames, will be used to study the impact of interplanetary space radiation on yeast. Once in orbit, the growth and metabolic activity of the yeast will be measured using a 3-color LED detection system and a metabolic indicator dye. (NASA)

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NASA’s Orion Spacecraft Engineers begin Summer with Safety System Tests

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Engineers working on NASA’s Orion kicked off summer with a series of important tests for some of the spacecraft’s critical safety systems. In the Utah desert, the skies over Arizona and the water at Johnson Space Center in Houston, the team is making sure Orion is safe from launch to splashdown.

At the Promontory, Utah, facility of Orion subcontractor Orbital ATK, engineers tested the abort motor for Orion’s launch abort system June 15th, firing the 17-foot tall motor for five seconds. The motor was fastened to a vertical test stand with its nozzles pointed toward the sky for the test. It produced enough thrust to lift 66 large SUVs off the ground and helps qualify the system for future missions with astronauts.

The abort motor for Orion’s launch abort system fired for five seconds in a test at the Promontory, Utah facility of manufacturer Orbital ATK. (Orbital ATK)

The abort motor for Orion’s launch abort system fired for five seconds in a test at the Promontory, Utah facility of manufacturer Orbital ATK. (Orbital ATK)

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NASA Scientists develop Food Bars for Orion Spacecraft Astronauts

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Washington, D.C. – When astronauts in the Orion spacecraft travel beyond the moon to explore deep space destinations, they’ll need a robust diet to keep them healthy and sharp.

While crew members aboard the International Space Station can choose from approximately 200 items for their meals and have the space to stow an array of options, feeding the crew on deep space missions presents several unique challenges that NASA scientists are working to tackle.

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NASA’s final Booster Test for Space Launch System Rocket was a success

 

Written by Cheryl Warner
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A booster for the most powerful rocket in the world, NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), successfully fired up Tuesday for its second qualification ground test at Orbital ATK’s test facilities in Promontory, Utah.

This was the last full-scale test for the booster before SLS’s first uncrewed test flight with NASA’s Orion spacecraft in late 2018, a key milestone on the agency’s Journey to Mars.

The second and final qualification motor (QM-2) test for the Space Launch System’s booster is seen, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at Orbital ATK Propulsion System's (SLS) test facilities in Promontory, Utah. During the SLS flight the boosters will provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth, the first step on NASA’s Journey to Mars. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The second and final qualification motor (QM-2) test for the Space Launch System’s booster is seen, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, at Orbital ATK Propulsion System’s (SLS) test facilities in Promontory, Utah. During the SLS flight the boosters will provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth, the first step on NASA’s Journey to Mars. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA researchers explore growing Food Crops during long Deep Space Missions

 

Written by Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationKennedy Space Center, FL – NASA plant physiologist Ray Wheeler, Ph.D., and fictional astronaut Mark Watney from the movie “The Martian” have something in common — they are both botanists. But that’s where the similarities end. While Watney is a movie character who gets stranded on Mars, Wheeler is the lead for Advanced Life Support Research activities in the Exploration Research and Technology Program at Kennedy Space Center, working on real plant research.

“The Martian movie and book conveyed a lot of issues regarding growing food and surviving on a planet far from the Earth,” Wheeler said. “It’s brought plants back into the equation.”

An artist concept depicts a greenhouse on the surface of Mars. Plants are growing with the help of red, blue and green LED light bars and a hydroponic cultivation approach. (SAIC)

An artist concept depicts a greenhouse on the surface of Mars. Plants are growing with the help of red, blue and green LED light bars and a hydroponic cultivation approach. (SAIC)

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