THIS WEEK @NASA: Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Set to Land on Mars Feb. 18, New Source of Power for ISS

By  //  February 7, 2021

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Latest Happenings around NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: A new source of power for the space station, targeting a second Green Run hot fire test, and another major boost for our Space Launch System rocket … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Space Station’s New Source of Power

On Feb. 1, our Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover completed a 5-hour-20 minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station to replace batteries for the solar arrays and upgrade some of the station’s external cameras.

The spacewalk capped off a four-year effort to replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries.

Two additional spacewalks planned for the near future will focus on work needed for the installation of new solar arrays, which will increase the station’s existing power supply.

Targeting 2nd Green Run Hot Fire Test

NASA is targeting the week of Feb. 21 for a second Green Run hot fire test of the Space Launch System or SLS rocket’s core stage, using the B-2 Test Stand at our Stennis Space Center. The exact date for the test will be set following a test readiness review. The hot fire is the final in a series of eight tests to ensure the core stage is ready for Artemis I – the first uncrewed mission around the Moon and back with the SLS and our Orion spacecraft.

Another Major Boost for SLS

Meanwhile, engineers have been busy moving the SLS’s twin solid rocket boosters onto the mobile launcher at our Kennedy Space Center. The boosters will help power the rocket during the launch phase of Artemis I. Following the final Green Run test at Stennis, the core stage will be shipped to Kennedy and integrated with the boosters, the Orion spacecraft and other hardware in preparation for the Artemis I mission.

Launch Date Targeted for Crew-2

NASA and SpaceX are targeting a no earlier than April 20 launch for Crew-2 – the second crew rotation mission to the International Space Station on an American rocket and spacecraft from the United States. The crew includes our Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, as well as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency. This will be the first mission to fly two international partner crew members as part of our Commercial Crew Program.

Psyche Mission Passes Key Milestone

Our Psyche mission is moving into the final phase of operations before its scheduled launch in August 2022. The mission will study a metal-rich asteroid orbiting the Sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It’s believed this asteroid could be the heart of an early planet that lost its outer layers. Exploring the asteroid could lend valuable insight into how Earth and other planets formed.

Mars 2020 Tech Pays Off Back Home

Our Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is scheduled to land on the Red Planet Feb. 18. But technology that will land with it is already paying off on Earth. For instance, technology used by the drill the rover will use to collect samples of Martian soil is available to help geologists study our home planet. Space-grade circuitry within the lander’s camera system has led to innovations in the manufacturing of printed circuit boards. And a laser used to identify organics and minerals could revolutionize how we treat infections, clean wastewater, and more. For more about how NASA brings space technology down to Earth, visit: spinoff.nasa.gov. For more on Perseverance check out: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020.

Remembering Millie Hughes-Fulford

NASA is remembering Millie Hughes-Fulford, a research scientist who became the first female payload specialist selected by NASA in June 1983. In 1991 she flew aboard space shuttle Columbia on STS-40, the first Spacelab mission dedicated to biomedical studies. That 9-day mission – the first NASA mission with three women on its crew – brought back more medical data than any previous NASA mission. Millie Hughes-Fulford was 75 years old.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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