THIS WEEK @NASA: Vice President Pence Introduces the Artemis Team of Astronauts, NASA Remembers Chuck Yeager

By  //  December 13, 2020

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ABOVE VIDEO: The Vice President introduces the Artemis team of astronauts, progress on hardware for upcoming Artemis missions, and the science priorities for our next human mission on the Moon … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Vice President Pence Introduces the Artemis Team of Astronauts

On Dec. 9, we announced 18 NASA astronauts that will form the Artemis Team to help pave the way for the next astronaut missions on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program. Vice President Mike Pence introduced the team and made remarks during the eighth National Space Council meeting at our Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States):
“Really is amazing to think that the next man and first woman on Moon are among the names that we just read and they may be standing in the room with us right now. My fellow Americans, I give you the heroes of the future who will carry us back to the Moon and beyond – the Artemis generation. [applause]”

NASA will announce flight assignments for Artemis Team astronauts later, with additional Artemis Team members, including international partner astronauts, joining this group, as needed.

NASA Building Core Stages for Second, Third Artemis Flights

While testing and preparations continue for next year’s uncrewed Artemis I mission to the Moon, technicians at our Michoud Assembly Facility are simultaneously manufacturing the Space Launch System core stages for the Artemis II and Artemis III missions. All the main core stage structures for Artemis II are being outfitted with electronics, feedlines, propulsion systems, and other components, while a process called friction stir welding is being used to assemble the core stage structures for Artemis III.

NASA Report Defines Science Priorities for Artemis III Moon Landing

On Dec. 7, NASA released a report defining the agency’s science priorities for the Artemis III mission. The priority science goals include a better understanding of fundamental planetary processes that operate across the solar system and beyond, a greater knowledge of how the Moon formed and evolved, and characterizing the origin, movement, and preservation of water and other resources on the Moon. The report is available online at

NASA Science, New Airlock Delivered to Space Station

An upgraded SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on Dec. 7 with more than 6,400 pounds of science investigations, a new airlock, and other cargo, just one day after launching from our Kennedy Space Center.

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Starts Tracking Sea Level

Less than a month after launching to space, the joint U.S.-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite has sent back some of its first sea level measurements. The satellite will move into its operational orbit by mid-December, then spend the next 6 to 12 months checking the data it collects. It’s also monitoring atmospheric conditions that will help improve weather and hurricane forecasts.

New Findings Highlighted at Virtual AGU Meeting

Highlights from the virtual American Geophysical Union meeting include findings that the Solar Orbiter mission, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and NASA, is making the first direct connections between events at the solar surface and what’s happening in interplanetary space around the spacecraft. Data from the mission have provided new insights into so-called “solar campfires” that crop up on the surface of the Sun, solar wind and space weather, and disintegrating comets.

NASA Remembers Aeronautical Pioneer Chuck Yeager

NASA is remembering U.S. Air Force pilot, General Chuck Yeager who passed away Dec. 7. In addition to his military service during World War II, he may be best known for becoming the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound as an aeronautical test pilot in October 1947. In a statement, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Yeager’s achievements advanced America’s abilities in the sky, set our nation’s dreams soaring into the jet age and the space age, and will guide us for generations to come.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA