THIS WEEK @NASA: Testing SLS Rocket Engines, Curiosity Rover Captures Eclipses on Mars

By  //  April 6, 2019

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What's New Happening Around NASA

Administrator Bridenstine Discusses Accelerating Human Return to Moon

It was a busy week for NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine that included plenty of discussion about our new accelerated goal of putting humans on the Moon by 2024.

The administrator testified during an April 2 House of Representatives hearing on NASA’s 2020 budget request, and he responded to questions, comments, and concerns from our workforce during an agencywide town hall the day before. Although a human return to the Moon within five years is a challenge, the administrator noted …

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“This is what I know throughout history. When this agency is given a task by the President of the United States and it is also given the resources and tools, this agency can deliver.”

The agency is working details of how to meet this accelerated return of humans to the Moon, including the resources required to do it. A new Moon to Mars Mission Directorate will be established to lead lunar exploration development activities. NASA plans to meet the 2024 date by all means necessary to ensure mission success.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“We’re going to the Moon, and we’re going fast and we’re going with international and commercial partners. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I hope everybody here takes that away. Do I believe it’s possible? Absolutely! Why? Because you’re here. You’re the ones that are going to make it possible.”

RS-25 Engine Test Series Complete

The April 4 hot-fire test of an RS-25 engine at our Stennis Space Center, in Mississippi capped off more than four years of testing with the former space shuttle main engines that will be used to help power the first four missions of our new Space Launch System rocket, or SLS.

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Completes Second Close Approach to the SunRelated Story:
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Completes Second Close Approach to the Sun

All sixteen engines have undergone acceptance testing and have completed developmental and acceptance testing for new engine controllers – the brain of the engine that also communicates with the rocket. The test series also demonstrated the RS-25 engines can perform at the higher power level needed to launch the super heavy-lift SLS. The SLS will use four of the engines to launch astronauts aboard our Orion spacecraft on missions to the Moon and beyond.

Curiosity Captured Two Solar Eclipses on Mars

This series of images captured by our Curiosity Mars rover, shows the Martian moon Phobos as it crossed in front of the Sun on March 26. The images were captured by the rover’s telephoto-lens camera, called “Mastcam”, which is equipped with solar filters that allow it to stare directly at the Sun. Mastcam also captured Mars’ other moon, Deimos passing in front of the Sun on March 17. Both images have been sped up by a factor of 10.

Launch of Progress Supply Ship to the Space Station

A Russian Progress cargo ship launched April 4 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the crew aboard the International Space Station. The Progress arrived at the station later that same day. It will remain at the orbital outpost until late July.

New Spinoff Publication Highlights NASA Technology Everywhere

The latest edition of our annual Spinoff publication is now available online. It features dozens of commercial technologies developed or improved by the agency’s space program and that now benefit people everywhere. Print and digital versions of the latest issue of Spinoff are available at: spinoff.nasa.gov

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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