THIS WEEK @NASA: First Commercial Crew Flight to Space Station Safely Splashes Down

By  //  August 8, 2020

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ABOVE VIDEO: A safe splashdown for an historic test flight, a major milestone for a future mission, and remembering a champion for Earth Science … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

First Commercial Crew Flight to Space Station Safely Splashes Down

SpaceX Mission Control:
(Sound of capsule hitting water) “Splashdown! As you can see on your screen, we have visual confirmation for splashdown!”

On Aug. 2, the SpaceX Endeavour Crew Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, safely returning our Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken from an historic test mission to the International Space Station, and marking a new era in human spaceflight.

Jim Bridenstine/NASA Administrator:
“This is really an amazing day, but we also need to remember that this is just the beginning. The future is very bright, but it’s going to require these public/private partnerships which we have now proven can be very, very successful.”

Gwynne Shotwell/SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer:
“We are starting the journey of bringing people regularly to and from low-Earth orbit and on to the Moon and then ultimately on to Mars.”

Behnken and Hurley’s 62-day stay onboard the space station was very busy. They spent more than 100 hours working with science investigations, and participated in four spacewalks, which saw Behnken and fellow NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy tie the record for most spacewalks by a U.S. astronaut.

Douglas Hurley/NASA Astronaut:
“To see those two work out on the International Space Station, you’re not going to see anything like that again. It was just amazing to be part of that.”

The splashdown of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission was the first with American astronauts since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project 45 years ago. Review of the mission and spacecraft could pave the way for NASA to certify SpaceX’s systems for regular crewed flights to the space station, including Crew-1, the first rotational mission later this year.

Robert Behnken/NASA Astronaut:
“I think this kind of comes full circle. It took years to get here; we brought the capability back to America, and we came home safely to our families. And it took a lot of people a lot of time to make that happen.”

NASA’s Lucy Mission Passes Critical Mission Milestone

Our Lucy mission has been cleared to proceed with assembly and testing in preparation for its targeted launch in 2021. Lucy will be the first mission to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. For more, go to: nasa.gov/lucy.

NASA Remembers Distinguished Earth Scientist Mike Freilich

NASA joins the entire science community in mourning the loss of Mike Freilich, former director of the agency’s Earth Science Division. In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine noted that Freilich’s deep expertise and innate love of science helped us expand the ways we observe our home planet. Earlier this year NASA joined several agencies and international partners to rename a mission after him. The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich mission will gather critical information about the oceans for which he had such an abiding passion.

NASA Provides Data on Isaias

This image was taken by our Terra satellite on Aug. 3, about 9 hours and 40 minutes before the eye of Hurricane Isaias made landfall in southern North Carolina, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. NASA satellites provided forecasters with rainfall rates, cloud top temperatures, and other data as the huge storm made its way up the U.S. East Coast.

NASA Monitors California’s Apple Fire From Space

An instrument aboard the International Space Station that measures the temperature of plants as they run out of water, produced this temperature map showing the Apple wildfire burning just east of Los Angeles. The fire had consumed about 4,000 acres at the time the image was captured. In just two days, that number grew to more than 26,000 acres.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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