THIS WEEK @NASA: Opportunity Spotted On Mars, Test Firing Rocket Engine For Deep Space Travel

By  //  September 29, 2018

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ABOVE VIDEOA dusty Opportunity spotted on Mars, hot firing the rocket engine that will power us to deep space, and a visit with our newest class of astronaut candidates … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Opportunity Emerges in a Dusty Picture

A high-resolution camera aboard our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted our Opportunity rover, still on the slopes of the Martian valley it was descending when a massive dust storm struck more than 100 days ago.

The rover team has not heard from the solar-powered rover since a lack of sunlight from the storm caused it to go into hibernation – but they continue to send commands to Opportunity, in hopes that the rover will respond.

RS-25 Rocket Engine Test Series Moves Forward

On Sept. 25, engineers at our Stennis Space Center, in Mississippi successfully conducted the third in a series of scheduled RS-25 rocket engine hot fire tests for our Space Launch System Program, or SLS.

The hot fire tested several key elements, including a flight controller that will help the engine communicate with the SLS rocket.

SLS will use four RS-25s to launch our Orion spacecraft on missions to deep space destinations, including the Moon and Mars.

Newest Astronaut Class Featured on “Watch This Space”

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“There’s a lot of really exciting things happening at NASA.”

On Sept. 27 at NASA headquarters, our administrator, Jim Bridenstine talked with the newest class of astronaut trainees about their experiences in the training program, hopes for future missions, and more, during a live episode of Watch This Space.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“What excites you the most about going to space?”

Astronaut Candidate, Frank Rubio:
“I think humanity is kind of driven by curiosity and the want to explore, and so to be able to represent that is a pretty neat privilege.”

Astronaut Candidate, Jonny Kim:
“This is a dream that’s shared by thousands of people and we’re just the lucky ambassadors that have the opportunity to fulfill this mission.”

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Captures Clouds in a Jovian Jet StreamRelated Story:
NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Captures Clouds in a Jovian Jet Stream

Once their training is complete, the astronaut candidates may be assigned to missions that range from performing research on the International Space Station, to launching from American soil on spacecraft built by U.S. commercial companies, to departing for deep space missions on our SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. You can learn more about the newest astronaut candidates at

Japanese Supply Spacecraft Arrives at the Space Station

Also on Sept. 27, the crew of the International Space Station received more than five tons of supplies, spare parts and experiments with the arrival of Japan’s HTV-7 cargo spacecraft. HTV-7 launched to the station five days earlier from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

Expedition 57-58 Crew Departs for Kazakh Launch Site

Preparations continue in Russia for the launch of the space station’s next crew, Expedition 57/58. On Sept. 25, our Nick Hague, cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos, and their backups boarded a bus in Star City for the trip to the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch site, in Kazakhstan. Hague and Ovchinin will launch Oct. 11 to begin a six month mission on the station.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA