THIS WEEK @NASA: Spacewalk to Install New Station Solar Arrays, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson Testifies at Budget Hearing

By  //  June 19, 2021

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ABOVE VIDEO: Installing new solar arrays for the space station, Updating launch and landing dates for Commercial Crew and NASA’s new deputy administrator is confirmed, all this week at NASA.

Spacewalk to Install New Station Solar Arrays

On June 16, NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet ventured outside the International Space Station for a spacewalk to install the first of six new solar arrays that will help the existing arrays power the station.

On June 20, the pair is back outside to install the second array, with the other four being installed at a later date.

NASA, SpaceX Update Crew Launch and Return Dates

NASA and SpaceX have adjusted target launch and return dates for upcoming Commercial Crew missions to and from the International Space Station. Our SpaceX Crew-3 mission is now targeted for launch no earlier than Oct. 31, while the Crew-2 astronauts currently onboard the station are looking at a return to Earth in early-to-mid November. The next crew rotation mission beyond that is targeted for no earlier than mid-April 2022.

Melroy Confirmed as Deputy Administrator

The U.S. Senate confirmed former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy to be NASA’s next deputy administrator. President Biden nominated Melroy for the position in April. She is a veteran of three spaceflights, has more than 38 days in space, and is one of only two women to command a space shuttle.

Administrator Nelson Testifies at Budget Hearing

During a June 15 Senate hearing on the President’s budget request for NASA, our Administrator Bill Nelson discussed how the budget will help America maintain its leadership role in space exploration. He also talked about the importance of the funding to STEM education initiatives through which NASA can continue to recruit and maintain a diverse workforce, which has been key to the agency’s success.

“We are being very mindful to diversify. This, I believe is directed for the entire Executive Branch of government. But I take it very, very seriously.”—Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

NASA Launches Mission Equity

On June 15, NASA launched Mission Equity, a comprehensive effort to review NASA programs, procurements, grants, practices, and policies, and assess potential barriers and challenges that may exist for historically underrepresented and underserved communities seeking access to them. The effort includes an agency request for public feedback. Find out more at

The Power of Active Allyship @ NASA

An agency LGBTQ+ Pride Month event on June 17 focused on the power of active allyship. It featured a panel discussion about what it means to be an ally, some of the barriers faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and what you – as an active ally – can do to help break down those barriers.

New Postal Stamps of SDO Views of Sun

To kick off the start of summer, the U.S. Postal Service issued a set of stamps highlighting NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO. The Sun Science stamps celebrate over a decade of Sun-watching for SDO. The mission helps researchers study and track regular solar activity, like solar flares and coronal mass ejections – which can impact technology and life on and near Earth.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA