THIS WEEK @NASA: New Crew Launches to ISS, Orion Spacecraft Recovery, 2020 Budget Proposal

By  //  March 15, 2019

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ABOVE VIDEO: Strong budget support for our Moon to Mars effort, a new crew launches to the space station, and training for NASA’s Orion Spacecraft recovery … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Bridenstine Discusses FY 2020 Budget Proposal

During our March 11 Moon to Mars event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, our administrator, Jim Bridenstine discussed the President’s $21 billion budget request for NASA. He called it a show of support for the agency and our wide-ranging objectives – including our push to develop a sustainable human presence on and around the Moon, to facilitate lunar exploration.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“In order to achieve that objective, we need a permanent command and service module, in orbit around the Moon – we call it Gateway. It represents an opportunity to get to more parts of the Moon than ever before.”

Our plan to go forward to the Moon calls for the use of innovative and new technologies to develop systems, utilize untapped resources, and eventually make use of what we learn to help astronauts take the next giant leap.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that what we develop is not a dead end and in fact has capabilities of being utilized on another world – that other world, of course being Mars.”

The administrator also noted strong support in the budget for our efforts in low-Earth orbit with our commercial and international partners, our work to resume launches of American astronauts on American rockets from American soil, and our progress developing the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft. Closer to home, our cutting edge research to make air travel safer, quieter, and more accessible is also acknowledged in the budget.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“Driving down costs and increasing access to air travel is the way that we’re going to be able to increase the standard of living for every American, and that’s really what NASA is all about.”

As are our space-based observations of Earth – which are crucial to understanding changes to our home planet now, and forecasting potential changes that might occur in the future.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“We are studying the Earth with as strong a budget as we have seen, really in a very long time, right now – and this budget request for Earth Science is very strong as well. (applause)”

IMAGES: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Set For Sunset Launch On Florida’s Space CoastRelated Story:
IMAGES: United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Set For Sunset Launch On Florida’s Space Coast

NASA Selects Teams to Study Untouched Moon Samples

NASA has selected nine teams to continue the science legacy of the Apollo missions by studying selected returned samples of the Moon from Apollo 15, 16, and 17. The samples, which have been carefully stored and untouched for nearly 50 years, were deliberately saved to take advantage of today’s more advanced and sophisticated technology – which could help advance our understanding of our nearest neighbor.

Next Space Station Crew Launches from Kazakhstan

On March 14, our Nick Hague and Christina Koch – along with Russia’s Alexey Ovchinin – launched to the International Space Station from Kazakhstan. The trio’s arrival will return the orbiting laboratory’s population to six, including three NASA astronauts. Hague, Koch, and Ovchinin will serve as the station’s Expedition 59/60 crew, and will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science being conducted aboard the orbital laboratory.

Orion Crew Module Uprighting System Tests

We partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of North Carolina, to conduct testing with our Orion spacecraft’s Crew Module Uprighting System. The system of five airbags is responsible for turning Orion right side up if the capsule turns over when it returns to Earth. Orion and our Space Launch System are critical backbone elements of our future in deep space – and will send our astronauts on missions to the Moon and beyond.

Opportunity’s Parting Shot: A Beautiful Panorama

This 360-degree panorama was compiled from multiple images taken over 29 days last spring by our Mars Opportunity Rover, from what would be its final resting spot in Perseverance Valley. After eight months of effort and sending more than a thousand commands in an attempt to restore contact with the rover, NASA declared Opportunity’s mission complete on Feb. 13, 2019 – after nearly 15 years of exploring the surface of Mars.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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