THIS WEEK @NASA: Second Hot Fire Test for Artemis I Rocket, Bill Nelson Nominated for NASA Administrator

By  //  March 20, 2021

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Latest Happenings around NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: Firing up the rocket for the Artemis Moon missions, a nomination for NASA’s next administrator, and making room for the space station’s next crew … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Second Hot Fire Test for Artemis I Rocket

On March 18, we conducted the second Green Run series hot fire test with the core stage for our Space Launch System or SLS rocket at our Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

All four of the rocket’s RS-25 engines were fired at the same time during the test, to simulate the core stage’s operation for a launch – during which it will generate about 1.6 million pounds of thrust.

“This is a major milestone, advancing our goals and objectives for Artemis, and I just could not be more proud of the team, of their talent, dedication, getting to this point, and pulling off a, just very successful test.”—Steve Jurczyk, Acting NASA Administrator

The hot fire is the final test of the Green Run series to ensure the rocket’s core stage is ready to launch Artemis missions, beginning with Artemis I, the first uncrewed mission of SLS and our Orion spacecraft around the Moon and back.

Bill Nelson Nominated for NASA Administrator

On March 19, Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk released a statement in response to President Joe Biden’s nomination of Bill Nelson to serve as the 14th NASA administrator. The statement noted Nelson’s proven history of supporting our wide-ranging work here at NASA. Jurczyk went on to say that, while the nomination must still be confirmed, he looks forward to continued work with Nelson and the Biden-Harris administration to carry out NASA’s many critical missions in the future. In 1986, while the chair of the House space subcommittee, Nelson flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia as a payload specialist on the STS-61C mission.

Space Station Spacecraft Relocated

On March 19, three members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 64 crew, including our Kate Rubins, undocked and moved a Soyuz spacecraft from the station’s Rassvet module to a different docking port. The relocation will allow the next Soyuz crew, which includes our Mark Vande Hei, to dock to Rassvet when they arrive on April 9.

Tournament Earth 2021

Each March many of us look forward to following our tournament brackets. And it’s that time of year again to make your winning picks for Tournament Earth. From now through April 13, you can cast votes for the most unforgettable photographs of Earth taken by astronauts from the International Space Station for more than 20 years. For more details, to download your bracket, and to vote go to: earthobservatory.nasa.gov/te.

Asteroids Named for Pioneering Astronauts

Twenty-seven asteroids have been named in honor of African American, Hispanic, and Native American astronauts, and one cosmonaut, for their contributions to space exploration and for inspiring the next generation of explorers. The people who inspired the newly named asteroids include NASA’s Stephanie Wilson, who is on our Artemis Team of astronauts – one of whom will be the first woman to set foot on the Moon, and former NASA astronauts José Hernández, who worked as part of a migrant farming family in his youth, and John Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Asteroid to Safely Pass by Earth

Near-Earth asteroid, 2001 FO32 is expected to make its closest approach to us on March 21. The asteroid is the largest predicted to pass by Earth this year, and is expected to safely pass no closer than 1.25 million miles from Earth, which is about 5 1/4 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. The close approach will give astronomers a valuable scientific opportunity to study the asteroid.

A Bright Beginning on Jupiter’s Night Side

New results from our Juno mission have, for the first time, revealed that Jupiter’s dawn storms are born on the planet’s night side, which Juno can see because it orbits over the planet’s poles. Dawn storms are intense, early morning brightening of aurorae that occurs at both Jovian poles. These are specific to Jupiter, but researchers say they are very similar to a type of terrestrial aurora called substorms. The findings could provide a better understanding about how these planetary phenomena occur on worlds both within and beyond our solar system.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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