THIS WEEK @NASA: Astronauts Wrap Up Third Spacewalk, Parker Solar Probe Reveals Surprising Details

By  //  December 7, 2019

Latest happening surrounding NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: A new cooling system for a device on the space station, first results from the first spacecraft to touch the Sun, and preparing Orion for some critical testing … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Astronauts Wrap Up Third Spacewalk for Cosmic Particle Detector Repairs

On Dec. 2, our Andrew Morgan and the European Space Agency’s Luca Parmitano conducted the third in a series of spacewalks outside the International Space Station to refurbish the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS – a cosmic particle detector.

The astronauts installed a new cooling system for the AMS, which was then successfully powered up by the control team on Earth.

Parker Solar Probe’s First Results Reveal Surprising Details About Our Sun

Data gathered from our Parker Solar Probe during two unprecedented and record-breaking close flybys of our Sun are being shared for the first time in four scientific papers featured in the journal Nature.

The spacecraft’s super-close proximity to the Sun – some 15 million miles away at the time – helped reveal new insights into processes that affect the solar wind, the dust located extremely close to the Sun’s corona, and the acceleration events of solar energetic particles, which are so small they are undetectable from our vantage point, nearly 93 million miles from the Sun.

This information will be vital to protecting astronauts and technology in space – an important part of NASA’s Artemis program, which will send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024 and, eventually, on to Mars.

Orion Spacecraft for Artemis I Mission Arrives at Ohio Testing Facility

The Orion spacecraft that will make a round-trip to the Moon and back on our Artemis I test flight – with no astronauts onboard, is at our Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio. Plum Brook houses the largest and most powerful space environment simulation facilities in the world.

Orion will undergo a four-month test campaign while there, to subject the spacecraft to the vacuum, extreme temperatures and electromagnetic environment it will experience during Artemis I.

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New Head of Human Spaceflight Introduced During Town Hall

During a Dec. 3 agency-wide town hall at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., Administrator Jim Bridenstine introduced the agency’s new associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, Douglas Loverro.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine:
“Finding somebody with this very unique skill set that could fit this role took a bit of time. But I do believe that we have found the right person in Doug Loverro.”

Loverro spent three decades in the Department of Defense and the National Reconnaissance Office developing, managing, and establishing national policy for the full range of national security space activities. Most recently, from 2013 to 2017, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy.

NASA Associate Administrator for HEO, Douglas Loverro:
“My job is to support the people who work for me – to go ahead and make sure they have the tools they need, whether it’s turning a bolt or creating a contract or whatever the tool is. And my job as a leader is to support them in that.”

NASA Commercial Partner Launches Research to Space Station

On Dec. 5, our commercial cargo provider, SpaceX, launched its Dragon spacecraft from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with a variety of cutting-edge scientific experiments for the International Space Station. These include an investigation studying the process of malting barley in microgravity, a high resolution imaging suite capable of specifically identifying materials on Earth’s surface – whether they be soil, rocks, vegetation, or human-made, and an external stowage unit where remote-control robots capable of detecting leaks outside the station can cool their heels until they are called into service.

Russian Cargo Ship Launches to Space Station

A Russian Progress cargo ship lifted off from Kazakhstan on Dec. 6 with almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the space station. We and our partners have supported humans living and working aboard the station for more than 19 years. The station remains the sole space-based proving ground and stepping stone for achieving the goals of our Artemis program, which will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA