THIS WEEK @NASA: Key Milestone for 2024 Mission to the Moon, Critical Test for Orion Spacecraft

By  //  May 25, 2019

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Latest happenings around NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: A key milestone for our #Moon2024 plans, “rolling out” for a critical safety test of NASA’s Orion Spacecraft spacecraft and a chance to send your name to Mars … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Company Named to Provide Lunar Gateway Power and Propulsion Element

In one of the first steps of our Artemis lunar exploration plans, we have selected Maxar Technologies to provide the power and propulsion element for our lunar Gateway.

The power and propulsion element is a spacecraft that will use high-power solar electric propulsion to give our explorers aboard the Gateway access to the entire surface of the Moon.

It will also enable the Gateway to serve as a mobile command and service module by providing a communications relay for human and robotic expeditions to the lunar surface.

NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“This is a critical capability for not just a sustainable lunar return, but also an eventual journey to Mars.”

NASA’s current lunar exploration plans call for a return to the Moon within five years, and a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028. The agency is targeting launch of the power and propulsion element in late 2022.

Orion’s Ascent Abort-2 Flight Test Article Rolls Out to the Pad

The vehicle for our Orion spacecraft’s Ascent Abort-2 flight test was rolled out from Kennedy Space Center to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in preparation for its launch this summer. This will be a full-stress test of Orion’s Launch Abort System, which is designed to propel the spacecraft and its crew safely away from the rocket, should a life-threatening event happen during an actual launch. This critical safety test will help pave the way for Artemis missions near the Moon and enable astronauts to set foot on the lunar surface by 2024.

NASA Invites Public to Submit Names to Fly Aboard Next Mars Rover

Through September 30, we are giving you an opportunity to send your name to Mars aboard our Mars 2020 rover – currently targeted for launch as early as July 2020. Submitted names will be etched onto one or more dime-size microchips that will ride on the rover under a glass cover. Each microchip can hold more than a million names – and more than two million names were submitted in the first three days. Mars 2020 will collect samples for future return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. To add your name to the list and obtain a souvenir boarding pass, go to go.nasa.gov/Mars2020Pass.

Big City Life Awaits Drones in Final Year of NASA Research

The final and most complex season of flight tests is underway for our Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management project, or UTM. This round of testing tackles the unique challenges of flying small drones in the urban landscape – with flights through August 2019 in Reno, Nevada and Corpus Christi, Texas. Since 2015, NASA has researched the ins and outs of building a system to manage drone traffic safely. The project works with the Federal Aviation Administration and other partners to understand how a nationwide system for drone traffic could be created from scratch.

NASA Is Going Green, in Space

Our Green Propellant Infusion Mission, or GPIM, is a small spacecraft the size of a mini-refrigerator that will test a low toxicity propellant and compatible systems in space for the first time. This cutting-edge “green” technology could improve the performance of future missions by providing for longer mission durations using less propellant. GPIM is one of four unique NASA technology missions targeted for launch in June 2019, aboard a SpaceX launch of a U.S. Air Force project.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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