THIS WEEK @NASA: First All-Woman Spacewalk, New Spacesuits for Artemis Generation Astronauts
By Space Coast Daily // October 19, 2019
ABOVE VIDEO: A first aboard the space station, some gear well-suited for the Artemis generation, and ensuring astronaut safety … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
First All-Woman Spacewalk
On Oct. 18 our Christina Koch and Jessica Meir ventured outside the International Space Station for the station’s first-ever spacewalk conducted by an all-woman team of spacewalkers.
Our Administrator Jim Bridenstine, several members of Congress, and the media watched the start of the spacewalk at our headquarters in Washington. Not only is this historic, but it is also a prime example of inclusion; an important element of our Artemis program that will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine:
“This is significant for women all over the world. I think it’s important that young girls be able to see themselves as having all of the opportunities that young boys see themselves as having.”
Station managers scheduled this spacewalk to replace a faulty battery charge/discharge unit used to regulate the amount of electrical charge put into batteries that help power the station. Although the faulty unit had no impact on station operations, safety of the crew, or the ongoing experiments, it was preventing a set of recently installed batteries from providing increased power.
Replacement of the unit was also necessary before resuming the series of previously scheduled spacewalks to outfit the station’s power system with new batteries. Following the spacewalk – which was the 221st in support of space station assembly – Koch and Meir received a congratulatory call from the White House for their historic accomplishment.
White House Call:
“I just want to congratulate you both – you’re very brave, brilliant women and you represent this country so well, and our country is very proud of you and we are very proud of you.”
New Spacesuits for Artemis Generation Astronauts
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine:
“So these are our spacesuits for the Artemis generation. (applause)”
We showcased a pair of spacesuits that will be worn by the first woman and next man to explore the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program. The Orion Crew Survival System suit incorporates safety technology and mobility features that will help protect astronauts during launch and reentry aboard our Orion spacecraft. The Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit or xEMU – is the spacesuit astronauts will wear while exploring the surface of the Moon’s South Pole. The xEMU improves on suits worn during the Apollo era as well as current suits used for spacewalks outside the space station. Both suits can accommodate a broad range of astronaut sizes and feature improved fit, comfort, and range of mobility for the lunar surface.
NASA Prepares Orion for Safe Mission to the Moon
On Oct. 16 at the Redstone Test Center in Huntsville, Alabama, engineers conducted a successful hot fire test of the jettison motor for our Orion spacecraft’s Launch Abort System. In the unlikely event of an emergency on the launch pad or during ascent, the Launch Abort System will safely lift Orion and its crew away from the rocket.
The static test is the final in a series of three to qualify the jettison motor for human spaceflight on the Artemis II mission – the first integrated test flight of Orion and our Space Launch System or SLS rocket, with a crew of astronauts onboard.
Space Launch System’s Core Stage Pathfinder Practice at Kennedy
On Oct. 17, crews inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at our Kennedy Space Center in Florida practiced lifting, moving, and stacking operations that will be needed to prepare the SLS for future missions. They used a full-size mockup known as the SLS core stage pathfinder. The practice – expected to go on all this month – is part of preparations for our Artemis missions to the Moon.
NASA’s Van Allen Probes Mission Ends
After seven years of operations, we ended our Van Allen Probes mission on Oct. 18 when Spacecraft A – the last of the mission’s operable twin spacecraft – finally ran out of propellant. Operations for spacecraft B ended three months ago.
The mission – originally expected to last just two years – made major discoveries that revolutionized how we understand our near-Earth environment, by studying the rings of charged particles trapped by Earth’s magnetic field, known as the Van Allen belts.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA
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