THIS WEEK @NASA: Astronaut Christina Koch Returns to Earth, Practicing For First Launch of Artemis

By  //  February 8, 2020

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Latest Happenings Surrounding NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: A record-setting astronaut returns safely to Earth, practicing for the first launch of Artemis, and honoring a member of a legendary group of aviators … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Record-Setting Astronaut Returns to Earth

On Feb. 6, our Christina Koch returned safely to Earth from the International Space Station with two Expedition 61 crewmates.

The landing wrapped up a 328-day stay aboard the station for Koch – the most time spent in space on a single mission by any woman.

Her extended mission also will enable researchers to observe the effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman as the agency plans a return to the Moon and an eventual trip to Mars under our Artemis program.

Artemis I Practice Simulations Underway

Practice sessions are underway at the Kennedy Space Center for the launch of the uncrewed Artemis I test flight of our Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Planners typically introduce issues during these simulations to help the team gain the experience needed for the actual launch. NASA’s first female Launch Director, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, is leading the team that will eventually send the first woman and next man to the Moon as part of our Artemis program.

Black History Month Program Honors Tuskegee Airman

We held a Black History Month program at our headquarters to honor retired Air Force Col. Charles McGee, who flew with the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.

The program also featured NASA astronaut and retired Air Force Col. Alvin Drew. McGee is one of only nine surviving members of the 355 Tuskegee pilots who flew in combat.

Retired Air Force Col. Charles McGee:
“I tell middle school – when I talk to them – I say, ‘you all know we’re going to Mars. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.’ I say, ‘guess who’s going to make the trip? When it gets all planned I think the planners are going to be too old.’ And I say, ‘it’s going to be one of you.’”

Space Station Cargo Craft Named for First African-American Astronaut

The Cygnus resupply craft for Northrop Grumman’s 13th mission to the space station is named in honor of Air Force Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. In June 1967, he became the first African-American selected as an astronaut, but he died six months later in a jet crash. The S.S. Robert H. Lawrence is loaded with critical research and supplies for the space station.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA