THIS WEEK @NASA: Lucy Captures Early Views of Trojan Asteroids, Stretching Orion’s Wings Before Artemis II

By  //  April 15, 2023

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ABOVE VIDEO: A milestone for our experimental supersonic airplane, stretching Orion’s wings before the next flight, and technologies to help fight wildfires … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

A Milestone for our Supersonic Quesst Mission

The experimental X-59 aircraft being built for our Quesst mission has been outfitted with its lower empennage, or tail assembly. Teams can now continue final wiring and system checkouts in preparation for integrated ground testing. The X-59 is designed to demonstrate the ability to fly supersonic and produce just a quiet sonic thump, instead of a loud sonic boom.

Stretching Orion’s Wings Before Artemis II

Teams at our Kennedy Space Center recently tested a solar array wing to make sure it extends correctly. Four of the solar arrays will be installed on the Orion spacecraft for the Artemis II mission. Artemis II will be the first Artemis mission to carry astronauts around the Moon and back to Earth.

Advanced Capabilities for Emergency Response Operations

The ACERO project, led by our Ames Research Center, is using drones and advanced aviation technologies to improve wildfire fighting coordination and operations. ACERO’s airspace management technologies provide situational awareness to help responders avoid conflicts with aircraft operations. Having this situational awareness could also enable them to safely integrate drones into the firefighting effort.

Lucy Captures Early Views of Trojan Asteroids

Our Lucy spacecraft recently captured its first look at four of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids the mission plans to visit. From more than 330 million miles away, the spacecraft spotted Eurybates, Polymele, Leucus, and Orus. The asteroids are just single points of light, but the team can still use the imaging data to prepare for the future up-close observations of Lucy’s targets.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA