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Topic: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA to build additional Space Launch System Rocket Boosters for Artemis Moon Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – NASA has taken the next steps toward building Space Launch System (SLS) solid rocket boosters to support as many as six additional flights, for a total of up to nine Artemis missions.

The agency is continuing to work with Northrop Grumman of Brigham City, Utah, the current lead contractor for the solid rocket boosters that will launch the first three Artemis missions, including the mission that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024.

Exploration Ground System teams are processing the Artemis I booster segments and preparing to stack them with forward and aft assemblies at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket booster segments arrived on June 15th by trains traveling from Utah near Northrop Grumman’s facility where they were manufactured. (NASA)

Exploration Ground System teams are processing the Artemis I booster segments and preparing to stack them with forward and aft assemblies at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket booster segments arrived on June 15th by trains traveling from Utah near Northrop Grumman’s facility where they were manufactured. (NASA)

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NASA Completes Structural Testing of Artemis Space Launch System

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – On Wednesday, June 24th, 2020, engineers completed the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s structural testing campaign for the Artemis lunar missions by testing the liquid oxygen structural test article to find its point of failure.

“The Space Launch System and Marshall test team have done a tremendous job of accomplishing this test program, marking a major milestone not only for the SLS Program but also for the Artemis program,” said John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Manager. “From building the test stands, support equipment and test articles to conducting the tests and analyzing the data, it is remarkable work that will help send astronauts to the Moon.”

Engineers completed almost 200 tests on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket by breaking the liquid oxygen tank test article. This test was the last in a 3-year structural campaign to ensure the rocket’s structure was designed to endure the rigors of spacefllight. (NASA/David Olive)

Engineers completed almost 200 tests on the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket by breaking the liquid oxygen tank test article. This test was the last in a 3-year structural campaign to ensure the rocket’s structure was designed to endure the rigors of spacefllight. (NASA/David Olive)

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NASA to continue testing Deep Space Atomic Clock system

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As the time when NASA will begin sending humans back to the Moon draws closer, crewed trips to Mars are an enticing next step. But future space explorers will need new tools when traveling to such distant destinations.

The Deep Space Atomic Clock mission is testing a new navigation technology that could be used by both human and robotic explorers making their way around the Red Planet and other deep space destinations.

In less than a year of operations, the mission has passed its primary goal to become one of the most stable clocks to ever fly in space; it is now at least 10 times more stable than atomic clocks flown on GPS satellites.

A technology demonstration called the Deep Space Atomic Clock could enable far-flung probes to get around using a navigation system similar to the GPS-based system we use on Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A technology demonstration called the Deep Space Atomic Clock could enable far-flung probes to get around using a navigation system similar to the GPS-based system we use on Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA to finish Structural Testing of Artemis SLS Rocket

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Program is concluding its structural qualification test series with one upcoming final test that will push the design for the rocket’s liquid oxygen tank to its limits at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

In the name of science, engineers will try to break a structural test article of the tank–on purpose. The liquid oxygen tank’s structure is identical to the tank that is part of the SLS core stage, which will provide power to help launch the Artemis missions to the Moon. The tank is enclosed in a cage-like structure that is part of the test stand.

The liquid oxygen tank structural test article, shown here, for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage was the last test article loaded into the test stand July 10, 2019. The liquid oxygen tank is one of two propellant tanks in the rocket’s massive core stage that will produce more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help launch Artemis I, the first flight of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the Moon.(NASA/Tyler Martin)

The liquid oxygen tank structural test article, shown here, for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage was the last test article loaded into the test stand July 10, 2019. The liquid oxygen tank is one of two propellant tanks in the rocket’s massive core stage that will produce more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help launch Artemis I, the first flight of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft to the Moon.(NASA/Tyler Martin)

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NASA’s New Horizons Conducts the First Interstellar Parallax Experiment

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For the first time, a spacecraft has sent back pictures of the sky from so far away that some stars appear to be in different positions than we’d see from Earth. 

More than four billion miles from home and speeding toward interstellar space, NASA’s New Horizons has traveled so far that it now has a unique view of the nearest stars.

“It’s fair to say that New Horizons is looking at an alien sky, unlike what we see from Earth,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. (NASA)

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA’s Stennis Space Center conducts SLS Core Stage Green Run Tests Critical Systems For Artemis I

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is resuming work on a series of tests to bring the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage to life for the first time, allowing engineers to evaluate the new complex stage that will launch the Artemis I lunar mission.

In January, engineers began activating the stage’s components one by one over several months through a series of initial tests and functional checks designed to identify any issues. Those tests and checks collectively called Green Run will culminate in a test fire replicating the stage’s first flight.

The massive core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for the core stage Green Run test series. NASA and Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, installed the stage into the test stand in January 2020. (NASA)

The massive core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is in the B-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, for the core stage Green Run test series. NASA and Boeing, the core stage lead contractor, installed the stage into the test stand in January 2020. (NASA)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft works with Hubble Telescope, Gemini Observatory to examine Atmosphere of Jupiter

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the ground-based Gemini Observatory in Hawaii have teamed up with the Juno spacecraft to probe the mightiest storms in the solar system, taking place more than 500 million miles away on the giant planet Jupiter.

A team of researchers led by Michael Wong at the University of California, Berkeley, and including Amy Simon of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Imke de Pater also of UC Berkeley, are combining multiwavelength observations from Hubble and Gemini with close-up views from Juno’s orbit about the monster planet, gaining new insights into turbulent weather on this distant world.

This graphic shows observations and interpretations of cloud structures and atmospheric circulation on Jupiter from the Juno spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Observatory. By combining the Juno, Hubble and Gemini data, researchers are able to see that lightning flashes are clustered in turbulent regions where there are deep water clouds and where moist air is rising to form tall convective towers similar to cumulonimbus clouds (thunderheads) on Earth. (NASA, ESA, M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley), A. James and M.W. Carruthers (STScI), and S. Brown (JPL))

This graphic shows observations and interpretations of cloud structures and atmospheric circulation on Jupiter from the Juno spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Observatory. By combining the Juno, Hubble and Gemini data, researchers are able to see that lightning flashes are clustered in turbulent regions where there are deep water clouds and where moist air is rising to form tall convective towers similar to cumulonimbus clouds (thunderheads) on Earth. (NASA, ESA, M.H. Wong (UC Berkeley), A. James and M.W. Carruthers (STScI), and S. Brown (JPL))

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NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory discovers Star that Survives Close Encounter with Black Hole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – NASA reports that astronomers may have discovered a new kind of survival story: a star that had a brush with a giant black hole and lived to tell the tale through exclamations of X-rays.

Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton uncovered the account that began with a red giant star wandering too close to a supermassive black hole in a galaxy about 250 million light years from Earth. The black hole, located in a galaxy called GSN 069, has a mass about 400,000 times that of the Sun, putting it on the small end of the scale for supermassive black holes.

Astronomers may have discovered a new kind of survival story: a star that had a brush with a giant black hole and lived to tell the tale through exclamations of X-rays. Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton uncovered the account that began with a red giant star wandering too close to a supermassive black hole in a galaxy about 250 million light years from Earth. (X-ray: NASA/CXO/CSIC-INTA/G.Miniutti et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss)

Astronomers may have discovered a new kind of survival story: a star that had a brush with a giant black hole and lived to tell the tale through exclamations of X-rays. Data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton uncovered the account that began with a red giant star wandering too close to a supermassive black hole in a galaxy about 250 million light years from Earth. (X-ray: NASA/CXO/CSIC-INTA/G.Miniutti et al.; Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss)

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NASA Lunar Lander Thrusters hold up to Over 60 Hot-Fire Tests

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Future NASA Artemis lunar landers could use next-generation thrusters, the small rocket engines used to make alterations in a spacecraft’s flight path or altitude, to enter lunar orbit and descend to the surface. Before the engines make the trip to the Moon, helping deliver new science instruments and technology demonstrations, they’re being tested here on Earth.

NASA and Frontier Aerospace of Simi Valley, California, performed roughly 60 hot-fire tests on two thruster prototypes over the course of 10 days.

NASA and Frontier Aerospace are developing next-generation thrusters for use on Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander. In March 2020, thruster prototypes performed over 60 hot-fire tests in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

NASA and Frontier Aerospace are developing next-generation thrusters for use on Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. In March 2020, thruster prototypes performed over 60 hot-fire tests in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

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NASA releases First Names for Features on Asteroid Bennu

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA says Asteroid Bennu’s most prominent boulder, a rock chunk jutting out 71 ft (21.7 m) from the asteroid’s southern hemisphere, finally has a name. The boulder – which is so large that it was initially detected from Earth – is officially designated Benben Saxum after the primordial hill that first arose from the dark waters in an ancient Egyptian creation myth.

Benben Saxum and 11 other features on the asteroid are the first to receive official Bennu feature names approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognized authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.

This flat projection mosaic of asteroid Bennu shows the locations of the first 12 surface features to receive official names from the International Astronomical Union. The accepted names were proposed by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team members, who have been mapping the asteroid in detail over the last year. Bennu’s surface features are named after birds and bird-like creatures in mythology, and the places associated with them. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

This flat projection mosaic of asteroid Bennu shows the locations of the first 12 surface features to receive official names from the International Astronomical Union. The accepted names were proposed by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team members, who have been mapping the asteroid in detail over the last year. Bennu’s surface features are named after birds and bird-like creatures in mythology, and the places associated with them. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

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