THIS WEEK @NASA: Wrapping Up Orion Water Drop Tests for Artemis II, Kayla Barron Joins NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Mission

By  //  May 23, 2021

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ABOVE VIDEO: An addition to a future Commercial Crew mission, our administrator discusses the budget request for NASA, and NASA’s deputy administrator nominee appears before the Senate … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Barron Joins NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Mission

NASA astronaut Kayla Barron has been assigned to our SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station, expected to launch as early as Oct. 23. She will join NASA’s Tom Marshburn and Raja Chari, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer. This is SpaceX’s third crew rotation mission to the station for our Commercial Crew Program.

Nelson Testifies During House Hearing on NASA’s Budget

NASA Administrator Sen. Bill Nelson testified during a May 19 virtual House hearing on the president’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget request for the agency. The $24.7 billion funding request supports a wide range of NASA programs and activities.

“This is an exciting time for NASA. We are having a lot of things happen, just in this next year. We launch the largest most powerful rocket ever, the SLS in its first maiden flight. If that were not exciting enough, later in the year, we’re going to launch the James Webb Telescope which is going to replace the incredible Hubble Space Telescope. It will peer out into space, capturing the light from far distant galaxies.”—Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

He also pointed to other upcoming milestones for the agency in science, STEM education, aeronautics and more.

Melroy Appears for Senate Confirmation Hearing

On May 20, former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy, the president’s nominee to be NASA’s next deputy administrator, appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation during a confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.

“I’ve worked in aerospace for my entire career and have experience in each of NASA’s four mission areas. If confirmed, I’m ready to help administrator Nelson lead and manage NASA on day one.”—Pam Melroy, Nominee for NASA Deputy Administrator

Melroy, a veteran of three spaceflights, logged more than 38 days in space and is one of only two women to command a space shuttle.

Wrapping Up Orion Water Drop Tests for Artemis II

On May 20, engineers at our Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia wrapped up the latest series of water impact drop tests for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The test series was designed to provide a better understanding of what Orion and its crew may experience during splashdown water landings at the end of future Artemis Moon missions. Data from the tests are also used to help verify that Orion fulfills structural design requirements ahead of Artemis II, our first Artemis mission to the Moon with astronauts.

RS-25 Rocket Engine Testing Continues

Engineers at our Stennis Space Center conducted an RS-25 engine test on May 20, continuing the latest test series in support of development and production of these engines. Four RS-25s will power our Space Launch System rocket during future Artemis missions, including flights that will land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon

Navigation System for Future X-59 Evaluation Flights

NASA recently flight tested the Airborne Location Integrating Geospatial Navigation System or ALIGNS, in preparation for future acoustic validation flights of our X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology airplane. ALIGNS will help a chase aircraft outfitted to gather acoustic data on these supersonic flights, move into various positions relative to the X-59 to collect the most accurate data. These acoustic validation flights are designed to confirm that the sonic thump created by X-59 during flight is as quiet as it’s designed to be, and not as loud as a typical sonic boom.

National Campaign Dry Run Tests Conclude

Our Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign wrapped up another round of integrated dry run testing at our Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, using a helicopter as a stand-in for an urban air mobility vehicle. These future vehicles might transport people or cargo in the airspaces over urban areas. NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and partner companies are combining efforts to create a safe, new air transportation system for these vehicles.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA